At the junction of four rivers sitting within the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lake District at the foot of Howgill Fells is  the historic  Cumbrian market  town of Sedbergh.

Steeped in a fascinating history it’s a place of narrow cobbled streets, small narrow ginnels and old fashioned fronted shops. Close your eyes and its not hard to imagine archetypal Jane Austin characters stepping out of the shops in their poke bonnets having purchased ribbons and embroidery silks and maybe the latest novelette.

Standing proudly in Main Street is The Black Bull,  an historic coaching inn that dates back to the 17th century.   But this is no ordinary pub with rooms. It’s a lovingly restored property that so beautifully incorporates modern stylish rooms, a superb restaurant and a traditional bar with a warm and comforting atmosphere.

After a busy day and a late start we eventually arrived at the Black Bull turning down a narrow street, in the centre of the small town,  there was just room to turn left and manoeuvre our car into the small car park at the rear.

From the outside The Black Bull  looked like any other market town pub but once you enter it’s a whole different story. This is a modern take on a traditional pub which has still retained its historic ambience and not lost any of its atmosphere.

Stepping through the door we experienced a lovely friendly welcome and made our way  up the large oak staircase. I had to stop to admire the stained glass window as we made our way to our room on the second floor – it was almost ethereal.

When we opened the door to our room  I was amazed how spacious it was.  The room was so expertly planned the design and furnishings being traditional with a nod to modernity. Reflected in the décor was the fact that the town was once connected with the woollen industry so the carpets, bed throw and cushion covers were made from local wool.

In fact everything wherever possible had a local flavour right down to the crockery on the hospitality tray, home made biscuits and a handwritten personalised welcome note

Our room had a small lounge area with a chaise longue type sofa that was just so comfortable and the large sash windows made it light and airy. The lighting was perfect and its design fitted in perfectly. I loved layout of the unique  white tiled bathroom with a free standing bath and rainwater shower with its perspex walls the bathroom was fitted with a modesty curtain to draw across for privacy. The ultra comfortable bed was a large king size bed with crisp linen sheets and pillows to sink your head into.

Each room is individually designed and some back facing rooms have small balconies.

After quickly depositing our luggage in our room we decided to venture back downstairs to the bar to revive ourselves with a beverage of some kind.

The bar can only be described as chic and cosy with dark red leather seats and banquettes loaded with rugs, a reclaimed wooden floor and exposed black stonework walls. The walls were adorned with photographs, portraits and paintings and all around were plenty of ferns and plants to add  a touch of colour.

Centre to this part of the bar was a wood burning stove – quite welcome on a very cold evening.  The bar was quite full with those enjoying a staycation or weekend away, locals and walkers and the occasional very well behaved pet dog – as this is a very dog friendly place.

It was so welcoming and comfortable in the bar we could have stayed longer but it was time for me to get into my glad rags and my partner into his debonair look.

The transformation of The Black Bull over the last few years has been the joint effort of Nina Matsunaga and her partner James Ratcliffe. James was born and brought up in the area but Nina was born in Germany to Japanese parents and it is she that brings a unique cultural influence to the partnership.

Nina’s food is well known in the area for its unique style. Her menu achieves a delicate balance through her experience and understanding of Asian cuisine which she couples with the excellence of local produce.

The restaurant is small but overlooks the cobbled street which in the evening gives it a rather romantic ‘Victorian gaslit look” through its large windows.

There is a taster menu on certain evenings, an a la carte or you can eat in the bar. We opted for the a la carte. We started with some nibbles and a selection of no less than five different types of bread from their own bakery.

We chose the crispy lamb nibble with black garlic which came in balls crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and the very tasty Maple Pea Hummus, which was exceptionally smooth and served with homemade Linseed crackers.

For starter I chose the BBQ’d Celeriac, Romesco and Pistachio which was beautifully cooked and served with pickled and red onions.

My partner chose the British White Beef Brisket Majo Rajo and Pickles. It was light and tender and cooked to perfection with the pickles making the perfect pairing.

Main course saw him choose the Howgill Hereford Beef Pie – the most  popular dish that night. Served with seasonal greens and a lovely mash, the pie just melted in the mouth with its semi suet crust.

My choice was the Brish White Beef Pave, which came cooked as I requested it, along with a large portion of Brisket and Mushroom Ravioli and Parmesan. The ravioli was the best I have ever tasted and although served as a side with the meat it was a large portion.

Could we face a dessert? Well I had my arm twisted by our server who said I had to try the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Now this is not my favourite pud but I went with her recommendation and was glad I did – it was a real delight.

The cheeseboard was my partners choice which consisted of local cheeses and fruit and every crumb of it went down well.

After retiring to the bar for coffee and a couple of nightcaps it was time to head up the wonderful oak staircase to our room and a luxurious night’s sleep.

Next morning we indulged ourselves with breakfast before heading off back on our two hour car journey, praying it would not snow as predicted.

The Black Bull is certainly a place for pampering and self indulgence and its so close to some beautiful countryside and The Lake District. But if  you are looking for tailored recommendations from walks with your dog or the best day trips nearby away from the crowds then the hotel are happy to help source these for you.

The Black Bull offer a bar menu from 12noon-5pm, a Sunday menu 12-8 and have a Pie Night and Curry Night on certain midweek evenings. Check the website for details.

The Black Bull 44 Main Street, Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5BL – web:

Picture Credit: Amanda Farnese-Heath and Phil Rigby

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