‘A great new foodie boutique hotel,’ pronounced the travel section of The Times shortly after The Black Bull’s re-opening in 2018, following major refurbishment of this landmark Sedbergh building.

Since then the accolades have barely stopped, with The Black Bull rarely off the radar of national newspapers and magazines. In December 2021, The Times put it first in a list of its ’31 best winter pubs in the UK’, it was the cover feature of The Caterer magazine two months before and received an outstanding review in The Sunday Times Magazine in late 2020. 

The Good Hotel Guide, Good Food Guide and Good Pub Guide have all included The Black Bull while the inn - run by Nina Matsunaga and James Ratcliffe - was also one of Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs for 2020.

Although much of the praise is directed at the food (the preserve of Nina and her team), the 18 bedrooms have serious appeal too. ‘Stylishly modern and comfortable,’ said the Good Pub Guide 2021, ‘serene, clean-lined bedrooms, sleek bathrooms’, says the Good Hotel Guide 2022.

The rooms are all different in character, influenced by Japanese design and culture and split between suite double, superior double, luxury double and classic double. Half of them have views of the Howgill Fells, one has a Japanese soaking tub, several are dog-friendly.

‘Misty greys and blues’ are the dominant colours and then there are Herdwick and Rough Fell wool carpets and blankets, slate bathroom floors, landscape photographs on the walls by Manchester based Rob Whitrow, porcelain mugs made by local artist Rebecca Callis, and bathroom toiletries from Sedbergh Soap Company.

Downstairs there’s a bar area (with wood-burning stove) to the left as you come in and two restaurant areas to the right, the food here - ‘British, European and Asian-inspired dishes’ - a big draw for many people. 

The ‘ambitious menu’ here certainly helped The Black Bull gain the runner-up position for Gourmet Getaways in National Geographic Traveller’s Big Sleep Awards 2019 while Nina herself was one of CODE Hospitality’s ‘100 most influential women in hospitality 2022’. Now, if that’s not enough to tempt you here…

The Black Bull, 44 Main Street, Sedbergh LA10 5BL: 015396 20264, www.theblackbullsedbergh.co.uk Nina and James also run The Three Hares deli in Sedbergh. See the food and drink section of the website for more information about the restaurant here.

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