A North Yorkshire dairy is celebrating after coming out top in a list of the best cheese shops in the UK.

Courtyard Dairy owners, Andy and Kathy Swinscoe, said they were thrilled and delighted to head The Sunday Times list of best seven cheese shops in the UK, which also includes Cartmel Cheeses in Cumbria; Chorlton Cheesemongers, Manchester and Neal’s Yard Dairy, Borough Market, London.

"Bucolic cheese adventures await at the Courtyard Dairy," says the newspaper, "The shop is a brilliant place to seek out lesser-known cheeses, with most coming from small farms.

"After a day’s hiking, come here for Cais na Tire, a sweet, Manchego-like sheep’s cheese from Ireland; Leeds Blue, a rich, creamy blue made by a Sardinian who moved to Yorkshire; and Yoredale, an old-school Wensleydale that’s nothing like what you’ll find in the supermarket."

The Northern Farmer: Courtyard Dairy Settle James Spence, head cheesemonger

The Courtyard Dairy was set up in 2012 by Andy and Kathy, and moved to its current premises, the former falconry centre on the outskirts of Settle, in 2017.

Seeking to champion small independently family farms making cheese, the Swinscoes and their team mature cheese on site and have helped restore traditional cheesemaking to the area. Winners of numerous awards over the years for their dedication to quality and supporting the local farming economy, the latest Sunday Times accolade came as a great surprise.

Kathy said: "We've put our heart and soul into this business so it's great to see that recognised. It's also such a tribute to see that this style of local independent shops and small scale food producers is still so valued and supported. I'm proud of what we achieve here everyday for rejuvenating artisan cheese."

Andy added: "It was such a thrill to open The Sunday Times - it is thanks to all whole team who work here everyday telling that story and selling cheese in great condition - the award belongs to all of team here, the farmers we work with - and also those loyal customers who support us and allow farm made cheese to keep going."

The Sunday Times says the UK is enjoying an artisan cheese revival.

"Cheese was previously something basic and ubiquitous, usually a slab of cheddar and rarely anything more exciting than a plastic-wrapped supermarket stilton or a tube of Primula.

"Yet, today, any town or city with foodie aspirations has a quality cheesemonger stocking a wide range of unusual British produce. “Cheese tourism” is on the rise, with some people happily travelling across the country just to get their hands on the top blocks."

The Coniston Hotel Country Estate and Spa at Coniston Cold also gets a mention, as the 'perfect place to stay' to bring back your cheeses.