A desire to save a country pub near York has paid off for the family who runs it.

They have been presented with a plaque as Pub of the Season by York area CAMRA.

This is in addition to it gaining 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor and 4.6 stars on Google.

Leigh and Catharine Spooner bought the Grapes Inn at Slingsby 12 years ago because they decided it “needed rescuing.”


Catharine, who grew up nearby, told the Press: “It had been on the market for 2-3 years, with temporary managers and was bumbling along.”

The couple “started from scratch” and the pub needed “a lot of hard work” as it developed over the years.

Catharine said: “When we first started, we gutted it and started again, putting in original features.”

The traditional pub has been restored with lavish rooms and at the back came massive changes, fuelled by Covid-19 pandemic, as they were needed for it to keep trading during the pandemic.

(Image: pic supplied)

A marquee has been erected, along with an outside bar and servery and outside kitchen, which makes the pizzas and burgers the pub is now famous for.

“Pizzas are out mainstay,” Catharine continued.

“We have been doing them for four years, they have completely taken over. We are quite passionate about our pizzas and burgers.”

Being such popular sellers, the pizzas sold out the night (June 8) York Camra called, with the pub buzzing to plenty of villagers and campers from the tent and caravan sites nearby, enjoying the live music, extensive range of drinks and tasty food.

Catharine said of the award: “Obviously, we are chuffed to bits. It’s lovely to be recognised. We couldn’t do this without our staff. We have a small team and everybody works so hard. We couldn’t do it without them. We are so grateful.”

York Camra branch chairman Chris Tregellis said: “The Grapes in Slingsby is York CAMRA's Summer Town and Country Pub of the Season.

“It's a great pub which serves its community very well. They really try hard and it shows.

“When we travel for a presentation, we usually take the opportunity to try a selection of pubs in the far corner of our branch area and even sometimes over the border.

“This time we visited the Royal Oak, Old Malton and Sun Inn, Pickering which are actually over the border into Scarborough branch: but we all brought our passports with us!

“Then we set up shop in Kirkbymoorside and visited the four pubs in the town centre before the big event in Slingsby.

“Needing a pit stop on the way home we called in at the Thompson Arms in Flaxton.”

Chris added: “Our coach trips are always interesting days out and places are available for all of our 1100 members, just not all of them at once.”

York Camra will be presenting its Pub of the Year to The Swan in Bishopgate Street on Saturday July 20.