In the ‘book town’ of Sedbergh on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, this revamped coaching inn offers sleek rooms and a daring, hyper-local approach to food
Lying on what, in Lake District-tourism terms, is the “wrong” side of the M6 in that beautiful-but-confusing bit where Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales national park overlap, Sedbergh is literally a fringe destination. But ever since the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak, this tiny town – about 20 minutes by car from the mainline Oxenholme station – has worked hard to exploit its natural assets: as a base for walkers, birders and cyclists, stargazers or students of early Quakerism, while offering new reasons to visit.
Most notably this is one of only three UK book towns (Wigtown and Hay-on-Wye are the others). Main Street – a narrow cut of crooked historic buildings and tight ginnels – is home to an unusual cluster of bookshops, and round the corner on Long Lane (Howgill Fells looming in the near-distance) is the vast Westwood Books, which relocated here from Hay-on-Wye. Each October, Sedbergh Book Town Festival (5-7 October 2018) pulls all this love of print into even sharper focus.