The Abbey Inn Hotel

The Abbey Inn, York YO61 4BD

Next door to The Abbey Inn, the 12th-century ruins of its namesake, Byland Abbey, loom large. Set on the edge of the North York Moors and steeped in gothic romance, it’s the perfect setting for Tommy Banks’ latest opening. Since assuming the position of head chef at his family pub, The Black Swan at Oldstead, ten years ago – and rising to fame for retaining its Michelin star at the tender age of 24 – Tommy has stayed true to his roots, slowly and carefully building an empire that reads like a love letter to Yorkshire. No surprise, then, this most recent launch is just a mile down the road from Oldstead, close enough for him to keep a close eye on the kitchen (run by head chef Charlie Smith) and guaranteeing easy access to produce from his parents’ farm.

In keeping with the ‘family business’ approach, Tommy’s mum Anne is behind the sensitive renovation, carving out three bedrooms for guests. There’s a homeliness to the decor (albeit a ‘home’ with a roll-top bath and built-in window seats). In the dining room, a roof lantern brightens dark local materials – flagstone floors, heavy oak furniture – and sheds light over impeccable dishes that channel Tommy’s trademark style.

Their take on a pub burger uses Dexter beef and comes with pork fat fries and chicory jam. And, with bay leaf chocolate fondant served with whey sorbet and perhaps a forced rhubarb schnapps to follow, it’s a sweet relief that the rooms to roll into are so close by.

Words by Rachel Walker

Doubles from £350, including breakfast and £50pp towards dinner.

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