We would pack a quick bag on a Friday night and shoot up the motorway, arriving in time for hearty pub food by the open fire and the chance to plan the following day’s walking.
But that was 20 years ago, before kids and a mortgage. Would the place still hold the same allure? I needn’t have worried. The Sun Inn, always cosy and comfortable, is now a five-star boutique inn, marrying that original old world charm with luxury accommodation and an AA two rosette restaurant.
All the original character remains. The real ale is still on tap, the log fires burn brightly but the bedrooms now have a luxe country house hotel feel with elegant furnishings, wi-fi, chic bathrooms and fluffy robes.
Crucially, the inn has also teamed up with local technology experts to offer something unique for guests – more of which later.
For now, though, we were happy to drop our bags and go for a wander around this lovely historic market town which borders the three counties of North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the Lake District.
We meandered around the individual shops and antique stores and then through the churchyard, over which our room looked to Ruskin’s View. It’s the perfect spot from which to gaze over the River Lune and take in what was according to the artist “the finest view in all of England”.
If you fancy pulling on a pair of boots there are some great riverside walks to be had and, slightly further afield, the lovely countryside surrounding Ingleborough – but we had to get back to our room and prepare for a hot date with Humphrey Bogart.
The Sun Inn, anxious to offer guests that extra something, has teamed up with the experts at The Majik House, who, as well as being experts in audio, security and lighting, also specialise in installing home cinema equipment.
Their nearby showroom is impressive, showcasing the latest in home tech and big screen entertainment. And what better way to demonstrate the owners’ expertise than to offer private cinema experiences? And that’s how, after being picked up from the hotel by private car – carrying a cool box full of drinks – we found ourselves sitting in enormous cinema style seats eating pizza, courtesy of the on-site kitchen where nibbles can be prepared.
From an enormous selection we had chosen in advance to watch Casablanca – the first time we had seen it on a big screen. It was a fabulous experience made all the better by the great hospitality of The Majik House.
A simple idea if you want to get a group of friends together for a really different night out or a special celebration.
The following morning, after a more-than-hearty breakfast, we strolled by the river following its course to the 14th-century Devil’s Bridge and beyond.
Then, with the rain setting in, it was time to repair back to the Sun Inn’s award-winning restaurant, the Carter at the Sun Inn.
We opted for Sunday lunch, starting with camembert tart and duck livers before moving on in spectacular style to the lamb and pan fried cod. I managed to squeeze down a trio of Lakes ice cream – rude not to – and then coffee to finish. The restaurant has been called ‘a local gem’ in The Good Food Guide and it’s easy to see why.
There was just time for a last stroll around the town, the bells from St Mary’s Church tolling as we did.
It had been 20 years since I’d heard them. I won’t leave it so long again.
To find out more about the ‘Big Night In’ plus more information about The Sun Inn visit http://www.sun-inn.info/rooms/special-packages-offers/the-big-night-in-private-cinema-experience/