The Yorke Arms, which is run by acclaimed chef Frances Atkins, has been acquired by serial entrepreneur Jonathan Turner.
The 18th century 16-bedroom coaching house has been owned by Atkins and her husband Bill since 1996 and the restaurant won a Michelin star in 2003, which it has retained ever since.
Atkins was the country’s first female chef to win a Michelin star and despite the acquisition, she will stay on at the property with her team to continue to run The Yorke Arms.
Turner is CEO of The Bayford Group and also owns Bowcliffe Hall in Yorkshire.
He will now spearhead a refurbishment programme at The Yorke Arms, which is the former site of an 11th century monastic cheesery.
The property joins Turner’s stable of businesses, which span the property, hospitality and wedding sectors and include the Laudale Estate on Scotland’s west coast.
He said: “I have always admired the drive and talent of Frances who is respected for her culinary creativity and is a champion of local, seasonal produce. We share a collective passion to further enrich and enhance Yorkshire’s rich heritage and I’m looking forward to working closely with her and her talented team.”
Atkins: “We were all set to embark for pastures new, but Jonathan’s deep rooted love of Yorkshire, his style and panache are very infectious and it really struck a chord with me. He has a genuine enthusiasm to create something even more special here and we hit it off straight away. I am thrilled to be part of his new team as we set out to deliver new, exciting plans for The Yorke Arms.”
Specialist hotel consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), took the property to market and identified The Bayford Group as a potential buyer due to its portfolio of high-end restaurant, wedding and licensed businesses.
Alistair Greenhalgh, the director from LSH who headed up the sale, said: “Like The Bayford Group, there are a number of investors actively looking for opportunities for country house venues like The Yorke Arms, due to the increased appetite in the staycation market.