A Bell Inn has stood here since 1500, although this one, reputedly the oldest coaching inn on the old Great North Road, is mid-17th century, with an impressive stone façade, a splendid inn sign and a fine original interior with an upbeat feel. It once welcomed (or maybe not!) highwayman Dick Turpin, as well as Clark Gable who was stationed nearby in 1943. Famous as the birthplace of Stilton cheese, the Stilton cheese sampler is a must. Modern British dishes in the bar/bistro include honey roast pumpkin soup; herb baked camembert, garlic bread and chutney to share; venison loin with juniper berries, butternut squash, parmesan, mashed potatoes and truffle; and beetroot risotto with warm ragstone goat's cheese and figs. For dessert, try the pear and almond tart with plum and elderflower jam, clotted cream and Earl Grey crème anglaise. All the en suite bedrooms are round the old courtyard – two have four-posters.