Travel review: Sun Inn gives a warm welcome and gateway to country life
Leah McLaren dons her wellies and embraces the countryside experience as she enjoys a visit to The Sun Inn, in the Cumbrian town of Kirkby Lonsdale.
I HAVE never had a relaxing break in the countryside so, when the opportunity came up to visit Kirkby Lonsdale, in Cumbria, I jumped at the chance.
This historic market town, between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, is only two hours from Derbyshire by car, just off the M6 and only 20 miles from Windermere.
As we drove into the town it quickly became apparent how quiet it was there.
The old stone buildings and tiny, cobbled streets oozed character. A short walk through St Mary's churchyard brought us to our accommodation for two nights – the charming Sun Inn, a five-star 17th-century inn and restaurant owned and run by Mark and Lucy Fuller.
Welcomed by a roaring fire as we entered the pub part of the Sun Inn, we were greeted and shown to our room.
We had to duck our heads because of the low wooden beams and as we went up the stairs our host pointed out the wellies which we could help ourselves to for a walk if we wished. I was impressed – a nice touch.
I was even more impressed when we were shown to our room, one of 11 individually modelled rooms in the B&B.
Our accommodation was a superior guest room, with a huge original stone wall as the main feature, stunning timber beams, a huge bed and crisp white sheets.
All rooms boasted a high-end bathroom with big bath, fluffy robes and my favourite touch – a big bowl of bath salts that you could scatter to your heart's content.
All bathroom accessories were naturally made from the local village bath shop.
Our room looked out on to the church yard and sitting in a gorgeous little box on our mantelpiece were a couple of pairs of earplugs to stop the church bells waking you.
Well-behaved dogs are also welcomed. It really was the little things that made the difference in this place.
Having a wander around the town didn't take long, in fact a whole ten minutes, but a selection of boutique shops kept us entertained for a couple of hours.
Visitors can browse in charity shops, search for something new in high-end outdoor shops, stop for a cup of tea in one of the tearooms or take time out for lunch and a drink at one of the pubs. We tried the Snooty Fox.
As we walked around Kirkby Lonsdale there were surprising little lanes and alleyways that caught the eye, with names such as Salt Pie Lane and Jingling Lane.
For dinner, we booked a table by the fire in the Sun Inn's own restaurant and settled in for the night.
We had three courses from the à la carte menu.
My companion and I both chose the ham hock terrine to start.
For the main course I decided on the lamb shoulder and my other half opted for the saddleback belly pork.
We could barely fit in a dessert but we both tried as it looked so good and both ordered the toffee apple crumble with ice cream and toffee sauce.
After all that, a lie down in our comforting room was definitely in order and we were both fast asleep by 10pm.
Up bright and breezy the next morning and, after a filling breakfast, we grabbed some of those wellies for a walk.
It is a 20-minute walk along the River Lune to get to the fabulous Devil's Bridge, which dates back to the 13th century.
Along this route, walkers can also stop and admire one of the most breathtaking views in the Lune Valley, described by the writer John Ruskin as "the loveliest in England".
There are endless walks in the area and the helpful Sun Inn staff will give guests advice and a map to help them on their way.
It was not surprising that when we asked about booking to return later in the year they were already fully booked for Christmas and new year.
THE Sun Inn is in Market Street, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria.
Rates vary but rooms cost from £76 for a one-night stay in a standard room to £162 for deluxe accommodation.
For more information, call 015242 71965 or the e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.