Helperby is a historic spot and this village pub is the jewel in its crown. The mellow brick exterior has scrubbed up nicely and a big paved area at the back is a great place to eat out on a sunny day. Inside, the old snug remains, complete with its open fire, oak floors and beams. Two bright and airy dining spaces, one by the rather sophisticated bar, strike a more clubby note: tartan check wool on wing chairs, ruby-red walls, dark elegant tables. An impressive line of brews beckon, including Timothy Taylor and Theakstons, so enjoy a pint by the fire while you choose your food. Souped-up pub classics are chalked on boards: home-cured salmon with capers, shallots and lemon dressing perhaps, followed by local venison with sautéed wild mushrooms and red wine sauce. Upstairs, soak any aches and pains away in a deep bath bubbling with H2K treats. The six sumptuous bedrooms have funky wine-glass chandeliers, huge beds and fine linen, generously padded headboards and monster mirrors. After a spot of retail therapy in nearby Thirsk, Knaresborough or York, the Oak Tree is a pleasure to come home to.