The evolution of Beck Hall through the years
Built in 1705 as a yeoman’s cottage, Beck Hall became a “wayfarers’ hostel” in the 1930s under the ownership of an adventurous explorer called Mr Hardacre. While wandering through “wildest
Yorkshire” he stumbled upon “the most quaint of cottages” that seemed “forlorn and forgotten”. He bought the half-derelict building and set about readying it to welcome “such guests who could love the atmosphere of a cottage fireside and find content in a countryside such as Malhamdale”. He went on
to hand Beck Hall down to two of his most trusted staff, the late Mr Boatwright and his wife, and it was kept in their family for several generations.
In 2014, it was acquired by current owners Andy and Louise Macbeth. Having rescued their staffy-spaniel cross Wookie from Battersea Dogs Home, they discovered a lack of truly dog-friendly accommodation. They stumbled upon Beck Hall on a Valentine’s weekend escape to the Dales and fell in love with it. Shortly after, Yorkshire lad Andy and Lancashire lass Louise uprooted from their home, leaving behind careers in IT and hospitality journalism, to set about creating a truly dog-friendly hotel. The property had lacked love and investment so they set about a complete renovation and overhaul of the business and branding, launching The Secret Garden restaurant in 2015, nurturing and growing the hotel team from just seven employees to 30-plus today. Beck Hall’s streamside location and Yorkshire Dales wildlife have inspired the whimsical interiors. Many of Mr Hardacre’s prized artefacts from his travels have been incorporated into the décor.
At home, Andy and Louise’s ‘team’ has also grown, with the arrival of twins Bonnie and Milo in May 2016, and a second set of twins in May 2017.
Four children under two aside, 2017 was one of the
hotel’s most exciting years as work started on a half million pound extension and renovation to the restaurant, with panoramic glass doors opening onto the streamside, a new bar offering cask ales and the addition of two deluxe streamside rooms, which opened in May 2018.
Over the years, Beck Hall has earned a string of awards and accolades including Yorkshire Post 2022 Dog Friendly Hotel of the Year; White Rose Awards 2018 Small Hotel of the Year highly-commended; Skipton Business Awards winner for Best Accommodation 2016.
A hidden gem, Beck Hall features in the Great Britain Lonely Planet travel guide, Alistair Sawdays; The Times Travel 2023 Top 25 Hotels by the Water; Telegraph Travel; Channel 4’s Four in a bed and is Traveller-rated 15 out of 593 hotels in Yorkshire on TripAdvisor. Behind the scenes, Louise and Andy are keen to pursue their ethical values across all aspects of the business, and became the first hotel in Yorkshire to be accredited as a Living Wage Foundation employer (one of only 20 hotels in the country at the time) and a Green Tourism Award winner.
In spite of the challenges of the global pandemic, 2020 saw the installation of a new smart heating and hot water system including an air source heat pump which reduces carbon emissions by 10 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking five cars off the road. Another ongoing initiative involves funding tree planting to offset employee carbon emissions, having planted 4700 trees and offsetting 285 tonnes of CO2 through the scheme to date – the equivalent emissions of 219 long-haul flights.
Furthermore, winter 2021 brought a £250,000 investment in a new high-spec kitchen and cold room, which has enabled Beck Hall to continue offering a fabulous restaurant experience.
Our next ambitious endeavour has been to transition Beck Hall into the first fully plant-based hotel in England, which aligns with our values as a vegan family.
We cook plant-based food daily at home for our harshest critics, the kids, experimenting with techniques, flavours and drawing on a pantry bursting with ingredients. This has inspired the menu development at Beck Hall, executed by longstanding head chef Louise Kinsella and her brigade. The proof of success is quite literally in the pudding, be it our delicious stroganoff suet pudding with pickled beets or our sticky treacle pud, our plant-based dishes receive fabulous customer reviews.
This shift is not a profit-driven business goal; it’s a personal mission to create a compassionate and sustainable dining experience for our customers and show that plant-based cuisine accommodates many dietary preferences and can be utterly delicious. To continue to foster a culture of innovation among our chefs and strive for excellence in this field, Louise will embark on a Diploma in Plant-based Culinary Arts at the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu London culinary school in January 2024.