A north Cumbria village received an early Christmas gift after its local pub re-opened today after being mothballed for nearly two years.
The Sally, at Irthington – formerly The Salutation Inn – has benefited from an extensive £150,000 refurbishment over the last few months.
“It’s been a real race against time but we’re open in time for our very first Christmas,” said joint owner Shaun Gardner.
The Sally now has a stunning modern interior with wood burning stoves and stone floors.
Serving a range of traditional and European dishes, the former Victorian coaching inn is nearly completely booked out in the run-up to Christmas.
“The interest from local people has been fantastic,” said joint owner and head chef Jimmy Little whose parents live locally.
Villager Emma Skelton who chaired a campaign to save the pub when it closed is delighted at the renovation.
“When I stepped inside it took my breath away,” she said.
“It’s got a real contemporary look but there is also this wonderful welcoming ambience.
“Everyone was so worried when the pub closed because once an area losing an amenity it rarely comes back.”
Emma will be running her popular book club from The Sally in the New Year.
Other ongoing plans include six en-suite bedrooms for visitors and tourists using the popular Hadrian’s Wall path and Reiver’s cycle route.
“We’re also creating an area at the rear of the pub for walkers to clean their boots and give their dogs water,” said Shaun.
The business partners ran the hugely successful Brewery House in Workington for several years before buying The Sally this summer.