EATING out with the children when on holiday in the caravan is a rare but welcome treat. No cooking packets of pasta or pizza in cramped conditions, and best of all no washing up.

It's even better when the caravan site you are at is Akebar Park, near Bedale, and the restaurant is the Friar’s Head.

It is like no other campsite eatery I have ever been to before and is so popular people will travel from miles around just to eat here.

It is hardly surprising. The Friar’s Head is full of charm and the building dates back hundreds of years.

Inside there is a cosy bar where golfers can relax after playing a round at the site’s 18-hole course with decent pint of Theakston’s.

The restaurant itself is spread into the conservatory, where vines stretch across the ceiling.

It has stone walls and flooring, some of which is a little higgledy piggledy, but wonky tables are easily levelled up with a short stack of beer mats.

The building was converted from old farm workers’ cottages in 1989, 20 years after original owners Colin and Joyce Ellwood first started their caravan site.

The park remains in the family but is now aimed more at the holiday home market with fewer spaces for tourers and camping no longer permitted.

The restaurant has just been taken over and is now under new management with new staff.

We received a friendly welcome on a sunny early evening over the Easter holidays and shown to a table in the corner of the light and airy dining room.

Starters, such as garlic mushrooms, looked appetising but we'd had a busy day mooching around the market at Bedale so we wanted to refuel pretty quickly.

I went for the lamb shank, which came on a bed of creamy mash topped with pea shoots and the smoothest, richest red wine and rosemary gravy.

Priced £15.95, it was served with perfectly cooked al dente carrots and broccoli on the side and was just fabulous.

Normally, a kids’ portion of fish or chicken nuggets with chips would be fine for my little ones, but we had eaten that earlier in the day in Bedale, so, after much debate, and some arm twisting, my son opted for the 8oz sirloin steak and chips, which came, as requested, cooked medium to well done. It was tasty and tender, without any bloodiness he would have found off-putting.

It came with tasty, delicate, freshly made onion rings. The dish, which cost £21.95, is normally served with mushroom and tomato but he asked for them to be left off as he is not a fan.

He loved the steak though and wolfed down most of it leaving a few mouthfuls for his slightly envious old man.

My daughter is a vegetarian, so she went for the vegan beetroot burger, which also came with onion rings and French fries (£11.95).

The burger came in a brioche bun dressed with lettuce and a big slice of beef tomato.

Some might turn their nose up at meatless burger but it was actually really good – less chewy than normal meat with a satisfying smokey taste.

With eyes bigger than our bellies, we saved room for dessert and ordered chocolate truffles and a warm and gooey chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream (both £5.95).

The truffles were a mix of milk, dark and white chocolate, and incredibly rich but so tasty. A lovely, if a little indulgent, way to round off a very pleasant meal.

Staff were helpful and courteous throughout, and the service was friendly and efficient.

The Friar’s Head lies on the A684 about halfway between Bedale and Leyburn and you do not have to be staying at the site to eat there.

If you’re in the area, it really is worth a visit.

The Friars Head

Akebar Park, near Bedale, DL8 5LY

01677 450201

Opening 12.30pm-8.15pm, Monday to Saturday, 12.30pm-5pm Sundays

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 8 Surroundings 9 Service 8 Value 8