Black Bull Sedbergh Review | Super stylish stay with inventive cooking
Black Bull Sedbergh review written by YFG’s Peter Henry
The Black Bull in Sedbergh is up there as one of Yorkshire’s hippest hideaways. Its many highlights include Head Chef and Owner Nina Matsunaga’s inventive style in the kitchen, perfectly marrying her Japanese/German heritage with the region’s finest local and seasonal ingredients, amazing attention to detail in the bedrooms, bar and dining spaces to create a cool, cosy boutique hotel, outdoor wood-fired kitchen and beer garden with views of the surrounding fells for the perfect summer’s day.
Whichever way you arrive the drive is worth the wait. The book town of Sedbergh is part of the Yorkshire Dales and just on the edge of the Lake District. At the foot of the stunning Howgill Fells, Sedbergh is home to cobbled streets, historic houses and a handful of pubs, cafes and restaurants. The Black Bull makes a perfect base for walking the surrounding fells, exploring the western dales and breathtaking Lake District.
Style and character
The former 17th-century coaching inn was vacant before owners James Ratcliffe and Nina Matsunga began the 2-year renovation back in 2018. Downstairs the space works perfectly to keep its identity as a local pub, as well as a warm, welcoming space to prep for Nina’s superb menus.
The walls are scattered with images of the local area, commissioned by award-winning photographer Rob Whitrow. The bar is the perfect place to start the evening with a pre-dinner cocktail or get cosy by the wood burning stove with a pint of local ale or sharing a bottle of carefully selected wine with friends.
The dining room is a stunning mix of original features and ornate decorations, from wooden floors, beamed ceilings to glass terrariums and dressed windows of hanging branches and moss covered dry stone walls to celebrate the surrounding landscape.
Facilities & Local Attractions
Staff get the balance just right of being polite and knowledgeable and warm and engaging. Guests or locals alike can enjoy the bar area, a perfect spot in the colder months. For warmer days the beer garden has superb views of the surrounding fells, together with a selection of dishes cooked on their newly installed wood-fired outdoor kitchen. If you fancy a walk up the hills there’s maps to borrow, dogs are welcome and allowed in most areas.
Local attractions include fly fishing courses with expert tuition, Ingleton Waterfall Trail, Wensleydale Creamery and also the surrounding Dales and Lake District.
The Black Bull has 18 individually designed rooms offering the ultimate in luxury and reflecting the owner’s love affair with Japanese design and culture. From clean lines and natural tones to bespoke furniture and soft furnishings finished with handmade British wool blankets created by Laura’s Loom of Sedbergh.
Each one of the bedrooms has been named after a local fell, with Japanese tubs, rain showers, slate floors and feature glass walls. Petrichor toiletries have been designed exclusively for The Black Bull by the Sedbergh Soap Company. Cookies from the Black Bull’s sister café The Three Hare’s make the perfect welcoming touch.
Food & Drink
Breakfast and dinner are served in the elegant ground-floor restaurant. Dinner dishes are a sophisticated blend of British, European and Asian inspired influences cooked to perfection. Highlights from our meal included confit pork belly with XO sauce for starters, mouthwatering Howgill Hereford beef pie with seasonal greens and silky mashed potatoes for mains, and a big slab of yoghurt mousse with green apple, douglas fir and honey for pudding.
Breakfast includes a great selection of continental and cooked options with local sausage and bacon, sourdough toast and golden yolked eggs from The Black Bull’s own chickens.
Top tip: Before you set off on your travels, pay a visit to their sister café and deli across the road, the Three Hares. You’ll find a delicious selection of sweet and savoury treats prepared and baked by Nina and her team.
Black Bull Sedbergh Review: Final thoughts
If you’re looking for a super stylish stay, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, a choice of local attractions and the most delicious, inventive cooking, served by a warm and friendly team then The Black Bull should be high on your list of places to book this year.
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