Georgian grandeur to the creeper-clad exterior; country house character and contemporary comforts inside; this classic, large coaching inn has commanded a bridge over the River Greta for three centuries. In Victorian times Charles Dickens passed through; he likely based a scene in Nicholas Nickelby here. In the bar, an eye-catching mural of Dickensian characters was painted by 'Guinness' artist Jack Gilroy; the practice of promoting local artists continues, with regularly changing works of art on display. Accommodation is stylish and the award-winning food, is rich with local pickings. Bar meals such as fish pie or braised shoulder of pork are served in the Dickens Bar and Bistro; the more gracious Gilroy's Dining Room has a changing menu which might offer wood pigeon starter followed by hoggit loin, salt-baked leg, wild garlic purée and gnocchi, and mint jus; or sea bass with crispy chicken wing and French peas. Local real ales and a good selection of bins seal the deal.