Buoyed by the success of the Red Lion at Hinxton, Alex has snapped up the 16th-century Black Bull in nearby Balsham. Unloved for years, it is now back on track as a pretty thatched pub. The beamed and timbered bar is spruced up, a new bar servery has been added, wooden floors gleam and there’s a smart mix of old dining tables and leather sofas fronting the glowing log fire; so cosy up with a pint of Rusty Bucket on a winter evening. The ancient, high-raftered and adjoining barn has been restored and refurbished to perfection and is the place to sit and savour some cracking pub food; try the lamb shank with roasted garlic mash and rosemary jus, or the smoked haddock with tarragon foam. In the bar, tuck into roast beef and horseradish sandwiches or a plate of Suffolk ham, eggs and hand-cut chips. Comfortable rooms in the annexe, some overlooking the car park, sport oak floors and hand-made furniture, and huge duvets on king-size beds. Tiled bathrooms come with bath and shower. A peaceful bolthole with a sun-trap back garden, handy for the A11/M11, Cambridge, country walks and the Newmarket Races.