New lease of life as Bull I'th Thorn pub near Buxton reopens as a ‘light and airy’ cafe

A former pub landlord has brought famously-haunted pub the Bull I’Th Thorn back to life - converting the 700-year-old building into a ‘light and airy’ cafe.

By Ben McVay
Friday, 10th July 2020, 5:00 pm

The well-known drinkery - famous for its macabre artefacts such as bits of medieval armour and low beams - has been closed for three years.

New owner Paul White told how the infamous boozer - now renamed Bull i Thorn Cafe & Camping - had slowly declined over the last decade.

While its adjoining campsite - which he has upgraded with ‘great facilities’ and ten brand new camping huts - had become a ‘disgrace’.

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Paul White, of Bull i Thorn cafe and campsite in Buxton

The cafe is now open and serving butties to go ‘to the white van man’ or eggs Benedict to mums while their kids run around in its garden.

And the campsite - which Paul hopes will feed customers into the cafe - was ‘full’ on its opening weekend.

Paul said: “We’re trying to wipe the slate clean and we’re really pleased with the results.

“The previous owner took all the old trinkets, the old oak tables and chairs - even the wood panelling has gone.

The serving area at Bull i Thorn cafe and campsite, Buxton

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“So we’ve made the cafe a light and airy room with a to-go area at the front for a butty or you sit down for eggs Benedict or cake and ice cream.

“We’re serving things like Buxton Roastery Coffee and all our food is made in-house.”

Father-of-two Paul has revamped the campsite as a ‘family-friendly’ destination with ‘really nice facilities’.

Socially-distanced seating at Bull i Thorn cafe and campsite

The site can fit 42 pitches however Paul has reduced capacity to 27 - ten camping huts and 17 tent pitches - as this was ‘the right thing to do’ to ensure social-distancing.

Though Paul said ‘I’m really happy with it’ he admitted the coronavirus pandemic had presented ‘challenges’ during the conversion.

He said: “It’s been tough and challenging because of supply conditions - there have been times I’ve only had two or three people working on the place but now we’re open it’s great.

“The cafe room is huge and I’ve only got half the amount of tables I would have had previously but there’s lots of space for people.

The garden at the revamped Bull i Thorn cafe and campsite

“I’ve got hand sanitiser everywhere, arrows on the floor and I’m taking people’s names for track and trace.”

Though Paul, who ran Hurdlow’s Royal Oak for 12 years, says the secret to the cafe’s success will be the camping site he added: “My aim is to develop not only the tourism business but the local trade as well.

“We’ve a garden area outside for mums to let their kids run around while they have a coffee but we’ll also take the white van man as well.

“I hope locals will see we’ve reopened and the improved exterior of the building - we’re getting good feedback.

“We’ve really got the building looking nice after the state of repair it’s been in for so many years.”

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