“An ancient, history-soaked coaching inn, holding court over a beautifully remote Pennine village”
The 21 rooms are scattered between the main building, a handsome house (The Angel, formerly a pub) across the square, and a row of miners’ cottages. An assortment of shapes due to the nature of old buildings, each has a contemporary-rustic style: wooden floors, panelling, wool-padded headboards. Although stripped down to the point of plainness, there’s a sprinkling of quirky touches - an antler’s head or Baroque-style mirror - and many have beamed ceilings and deep window seats. Heathery colours and tartan patterns add softness.
The larger Canny and Champion rooms offer more space but the Cosy category by no means skimps, and all rooms have a bath, a shower and Aromatherapy Associates potions. For more space, the Suites are proper 2-room affairs with private entrances and wood-burning stoves (though no views).
See Rates for a full description of each room type.
There’s a ‘modern British’ feel to the menus, with a definite north-eastern twang. Dishes are skilful but not fancy: fried duck egg with spiced brown shrimp butter; peppered steak with crispy onions. On our autumnal visit, the mixed beets (with Yorkshire Yellison’s goat’s curd) were home-grown, while the rowan berries accompanying the roasted Weardale grouse came from a tree in the village. Puddings are old-fashioned, perhaps sea buckthorn posset or Bakewell tart with custard.
Lunches are lighter affairs (we loved the home-cured salmon), except on Sundays when it’s a ‘sharing feast’ for the table. Breakfast is simple but quirky - toast your own crumpets, for example - with hot dishes (pancakes, duck’s eggs) cooked to order.
Apart from breakfast, you eat where you want. The Bishop’s Dining Room is light and rustic with huge arched windows. We preferred the cosy Derwent Bar with its low ceiling, slate-blue walls and flickering fire, and the medieval-style Hilyard Room with its gargantuan fireplace, spit roast and wrought-iron chandelier. In summer, the garden offers views down the Derwent Valley.
Although not targeted at families, the hotel has a Family Suite plus baby cots and extra beds. There is no specific children's menu but the kitchens can prepare food for little'uns on request, and there are highchairs.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The Family Suite has a double room and a twin room. Most bedrooms have a bath and shower and can fit either a baby cot or z-bed.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Baby monitors will not work through the thick stone walls.