What’s The Bluebell Inn like?
This traditional village pub is renowned for its food and has a creative young team driving it forward. Its rooms are located in a converted barn just behind the main building, which is roughly a 10-minute drive from the market town of Retford. The Bluebell Inn is also close to the A1, which makes it a great stop-off point for anyone travelling north to south.
How dog-friendly is The Bluebell Inn?
Good. No special provisions are provided but all of the rooms are dog-friendly. Well-behaved pets are also allowed in both the bar and restaurant area. There is a large grassy beer garden just behind the accommodation too, which is handy for early morning and late night ablutions. Up to two dogs can stay at a time for an additional charge of £10 per night.
Tell me more about The Bluebell Inn
There are three rooms available at the pub, all housed in a converted barn behind the main building. We stayed in Room 3, which was lovely – and about twice the size of what I was expecting! It had a huge bed (two singles zipped together) and cosy teddy bear throws to match the neutral colour scheme. There was also lots of oak furniture to store things away, a mini fridge and a table for two.
The tiled en-suite shower room was also spacious and the complimentary toiletries were welcome. Everything in the room seemed quite new and fresh and I really liked the cute little touches that were dotted around. These included a large map of the local area and a metallic bird sculpture above the bed. A campsite accommodating up to five motorhomes and 10 tents is also located in the fields behind the pub.
What’s the food like at The Bluebell Inn?
Next-level pub grub. You won’t find a menu online as the dishes are based around whatever fresh, local produce is available, but you can see lots of examples on the pub’s social media pages. When we visited, there was everything from homemade Scotch eggs to pan-baked salmon on the menu but as we stayed on a Sunday, we just had to try their roasts. The veggie option – a beetroot and butternut squash wellington – was delicious and Ernie and Stan can also vouch for the quality of the pigs in blankets!
While the pub doesn’t serve food in the mornings, a continental in-room breakfast is included in the price of all overnight stays. We were really impressed with what had been left for us. As well as tea, coffee, orange juice and fresh milk, there was a choice of three different cereals, two pains au chocolat, bananas, oranges and apples and two different flavour yoghurts. It was more than enough to set us up for the day and it felt quite decadent to have breakfast in bed.
Are there resident dogs at The Bluebell Inn?
No, but you may well bump into some local pooches that have popped in for a pint.
Where are the best dog walks near The Bluebell Inn?
Idle Valley – one of the largest nature reserves in the East Midlands – is just a five-minute drive from the pub. The site, which spans 375 hectares, is rich in birdlife. In 2021, the former gravel pit also became home to the first beavers in Nottinghamshire for 400 years. There are four designated walking routes around the reserve ranging from the 1.2-mile Wetland Trail to the 5.8-mile Riverside Trail. To see a map of the reserve, click here.
Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times when visiting the nature reserve due to the sheer amount of wildlife onsite. As well as the walking trails – which take in a mix of lakes, ponds, pits and woodland – they are also welcome in the modern visitor centre and cafe, which has great views over Belmoor Lake. It’s free to visit Idle Valley but Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust – which manages the site – asks for a recommended donation of £3 to park.
What Ernie and Stan loved about The Bluebell Inn
The pigs in blankets, the quiet room, the cosy teddy fleece throws
What I loved about The Bluebell Inn
The delicious pub food, being able to have breakfast in bed, the spacious accommodation
How to book The Bluebell Inn
Overnight stays start from £65 per night, including an in-room breakfast. For more information or to book, call 07900 028161 or visit The Bluebell Inn website.