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Ten of the best countryside pubs in Lancashire and the Lake District

PUBLISHED: 09:24 15 June 2015 | UPDATED: 22:04 06 April 2016

Drunken Duck Inn

Drunken Duck Inn

nOT Archant

From rustic locals to award-winning gastropubs offering a luxury experience, Lancashire and the Lake District have a fantastic choice of countryside places to eat and drink. Emma Mayoh reports

JUNE 2015

Inn at Whitewell
This Lancashire heavyweight, which dates back to the 1300s, deservedly has an excellent reputation. It has picked up many awards for its food and head chef Jamie Cadman, now in his 14th year, steers this ship successfully while flying the flag for Lancashire food.
Expect seasonal grouse from Lancashire Moor, pheasant and partridge from the Dunsop shoot and Bowland beef and Lonk lamb from Burholme Farm, all of which can be seen from this wonderful, rural inn. Most evenings there will be plenty of diners waiting for an opportunity to sample food from this delightful menu as well as to drink in the truly beautiful views and surroundings. There are in house vintners able to offer an extensive and interesting range of wines, with up to twenty available by the glass.
If you can’t face the drive home, or simply can’t bear to leave, there are also gorgeous rooms to rest your head in or a holiday house, The Piggeries, for longer stays.
Inn at Whitewell, near Clitheroe, BB7 3AT, 01200 448222, www.innatwhitewell.com

The Shireburn Arms
Situated in Hurst Green, the home of the Tolkien Trail, The Shireburn Arms is a historic 17th Century inn with great character. It’s the latest addition to the James’ Places portfolio of inns, wine bars restaurants and hotels in the Ribble Valley which include nearby Mitton Hall and Eaves Hall and The Royal Hotel in Kirkby Lonsdale.
Head chef Matthew Simpson serves up beautiful food that puts Lancashire produce in the spotlight. The pub’s patio areas to the front and rear are the ideal place to enjoy it and soak up the sun in the summer. Or during the colder months cosy up in front of one of the open fireplaces or in one of the pub’s many nooks and crannies.
The Shireburn Arms, Whalley Road, Hurst Green, Clitheroe, BB7 9QJ, 01254 826678, www.shireburnarmshotel.co.uk

The Masons Arms
The Masons Arms is the quintessential country inn in old Lancashire and the arrival of summer is a good excuse to claim one of the seats outside and enjoy the stunning views across the Winster Valley. The downstairs is quaint and full of character with quirky furniture, low beams and snugs leading from the small main bar. The beer is well kept and varied. Upstairs has a more modern feel with a restaurant menu that is confident and full of local produce. All this combined with good service and some stylish rooms for those who decide to stop over made it a Lancashire Life Dining Pub of the Year.
The Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank, Cartmell Fell, Grange over Sands, LA11 6NW, 015395 68486, www.masonsarmsstrawberrybank.co.uk

The Cartford Inn
Patrick and Julie Beaume are at the helm of this 17th century riverside coaching inn, one of the UK’s top gastropubs. It boasts many accolades from the Michelin and Good Food Guides as well as being a winner of a prestigious Lancashire Life Dining Pub of the Year award.
Simple yet creative dishes are the mainstay of the menu using quality ingredients from local suppliers all prepared with care whether its a tempting starter, sharing platter or three-course meal. It is a place that consistently hits the mark.
There is lots of beautiful countryside to explore in the area and if you want to spend the night The Cartford Inn has many stunning rooms to choose from.
The Cartford Inn, Cartford Lane, Little Eccleston, PR3 0YP, 01995 670166, www.thecartfordinn.co.uk

Drunken Duck Inn
This is not just a fine old inn, it also produces some exquisite meals. Another Lancashire Life award winner, it sources its food locally whenever possible and the kitchen team knows the provenance of the meat and the sustainability of the fish. Lunchtime sandwiches are sumptuous but evening meals are something else. They can start with lambs tongue, goats curds, courgette and tomato, followed by lamb rump, champ mashed potato with cockles, peas and broad beans and finish with a passion fruit soufflé. A delight.
The Drunken Duck Inn, Barngates, Ambleside, LA22 0NG, 015394 36347, ww.drunkenduckinn.co.uk

Swan with Two Necks
Take a step back in time to the Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton. This tiny Ribble Valley pub, was recently crowned the best in the UK by the Campaign for Real Ale. Its range of locally brewed beers, the quality and price of its home-cooked food and its role in the community singled it out from the 57,000 other entries. It is easy to see why the organisation loved this charming local pub. You can be guaranteed a friendly welcome at the historic inn as well as great food and of course, drink.
It is also surrounded by green fields just over the road is a small stream. It is well worth having a stroll around the village, a designated conservation area, while you’re there.
The Swan with Two Necks, Pendleton, Clitheroe, BB7 1PT, 01200 423112, www.swanwithtwonecks.co.uk

Eagle and Child
This Lancashire Life Traditional Dining Pub of the Year recipient is noted for the fact it operates a scheme to help young people into employment through catering training schemes. However, that doesn’t stop them producing stunning dishes such as Lancashire sausage with chef Eve Townson’s black pudding and Sandham’s tasty Lancashire cheese and ham hock.
A new entry in the Good Food Guide 2015 as well as winning the Alastair Sawday’s Pubs and Inns Guide 2014/15 Community Pub of the Year, Eve and her team serve some of the best locally sourced and seasonal Pennine foods including vegetables grown in the beer garden.
Outside, there are lovely views with plenty of countryside to explore nearby.
Eagle and Child, Whalley Road, Ramsbottom, BL0 0DL, 01706 557181, www.eagle-and-child.com

The Fenwick Arms
This 250-year-old refurbished country inn is part of the successful Seafood Pub Company stable. It is in Claughton, in the beautiful Lune Valley. Despite being just a few minutes from the M6 the countryside here, on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, is wonderful.
The food is as stunning as the views with dishes prepared using the freshest daily catches from Fleetwood as well as a good shop of local produce including poultry from Johnson & Swarbrick in Goosnargh and pork and lamb from Gazegill Organics in Rimington.
The Fenwick, Lancaster Road, Claughton, LA2 9LA, 01524 221 157, www.seafoodpubcompany.com/the-fenwick

Strawbury Duck
This popular Bolton pub is in within striking distance of lovely countryside, forests and reservoirs for you to explore. It’s a venue that has long been known for its warm welcome and great hospitality as well as its beautiful location.
In the summer you can enjoy fantastic food sat in the beer garden while the winter can be enjoyed in front of one of the fires.
Food is sourced locally, including pork bred on the pub’s farm just a couple of miles away in Belmont. Local cask ales are put in the spotlight and the cheeseboard is described as a real taste of Lancashire.
Strawbury Duck, Overshores Road, Turton, Bolton, BL7 0LU, 01204 852013, www.thestrawburyduck.co.uk

Saracens Head
On the banks of the Leeds/Liverpool canal in the historic village of Halsall, the location of the Saracens Head is difficult to beat.  The building, which is more than 100 hundred years old, has a renovation in 2008 transforming it into a contemporary place to eat.
Local produce and seasonal food are at the heart of the menus here as are wines from the award winning producer and merchants, Boutinot, and the finest cask ales.
Saracens Head, Summerwood Lane, Halsall, L39 8RH, 01704 840204, www.thesaracensheadhalsall.co.uk

 

JULY 2014

The Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank
The Masons Arms is the quintessential country inn in old Lancashire and the arrival of summer is a good excuse to claim one of the seats outside and enjoy the stunning views across the Winster Valley. The downstairs is quaint and full of character with quirky furniture, low beams and snugs leading from the small main bar. The beer is well kept and varied. Upstairs has a more modern feel with a restaurant menu that is confident and full of local produce. All this combined with good service and some stylish rooms for those who decide to stop over made it a Lancashire Life Dining Pub of the Year.
The Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank, Cartmel Fell, near Grange-over-Sands, LA11 6NW.015395 68486. www.masonsarmsstrawberrybank.co.uk

Drunken Duck Inn, Barngates
Legend has it the landlady in Victorian times found a group of ‘dead’ ducks and started plucking them for dinner. This was a shame because they were sleeping off the effects of a leaky beer barrel. Today, this is one of the region’s classic dining pubs with rooms. Far from just a fine old inn, it also produces some exquisite meals. A former Lancashire Life award winner, it sources its food locally whenever possible and the kitchen team knows the provenance of the meat and the sustainability of the fish. Cumbrian produce is put firmly in the spotlight. They did not disappoint with drinks wither. Water is drawn for the Drunken Duck’s own award-winning beers from the Lake District fells.
The Drunken Duck Inn, Barngates, Ambleside, LA22 0NG, 015394 36347, www.drunkenduckinn.co.uk

Eagle and Child Inn, Staveley
The legend of this popular inn is part of the Lathom family history where Sir Thomas Lathom had always longed for a son and heir but his wife had only ever had girls. The knight had a son with a servant girl but to appease his wife left the infant beneath a tree where an eagle was nested for her to discover on her daily walk. The child was considered a gift from heaven.
Fortunately, nothing so elaborate has to be organised to enjoy the delights of this Staveley mainstay which has a diverse menu of pub classics including lamb hot pot, Cumberland sausage and Hawkshead Ale pie as well as tapas and Guinness pancakes. There is also a good selection of local ales and regular guest beers at the pub, a regular CAMRA Good Beer Guide entrant. There is also a lovely beer garden by the river.
Eagle and Child Inn, Main Street, Staveley, LA8 9LP, 01539 821320, www.eaglechildinn.co.uk

Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale
You would find it difficult to beat the views at the Three Shires Inn. Outside there are unspoilt views of Tilberthwaite Fells and beautiful countryside which attracts walkers in their droves.
The traditional slate pub, built in 1872, is located near the meeting point of the old counties of Westmorland, Lancashire and Cumberland. During the summer you can enjoy the surrounding landscape from the garden terrace and hotel verandas while enjoying a meal from a regularly changing menu that celebrates Lakeland produce. There is also a good selection of local brews from Coniston Ales, Ennerdale Brewery, Hesket Newmarket, Cumbrian Legendary Ales and Barngates, a choice of 50 malt whiskies and more than 40 wines.
Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale, Ambleside, LA22 9NZ, 015394 37215, www.threeshiresinn.co.uk

The Cartford Inn, Little Eccleston
Patrick and Julie Beaume are at the help of this 17th century riverside coaching inn, one of the UK’s top gastropubs. It boasts many accolades from the Michelin and Good Food Guides as well as being a winner of a prestigious Lancashire Life Dining Pub of the Year award.
Simple yet creative dishes are the mainstay of the menu using quality ingredients from local suppliers all prepared with care whether its a tempting starter, sharing platter or three-course meal. It is a place that consistently hits the mark.
There is lots of beautiful countryside to explore in the area and if you want to spend the night The Cartford Inn has 14 stunning rooms to choose from.
The Cartford Inn, Cartford Lane, Little Eccleston, PR3 0YP, 01995 670166, www.thecartfordinn.co.uk

Swan with Two Necks, Pendleton
Take a step back in time to the Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton. This tiny Ribble Valley pub, was recently crowned the best in the UK by the Campaign for Real Ale. Its range of locally brewed beers, the quality and price of its home-cooked food and its role in the community singled it out from the 57,000 other entries. It is easy to see why the organisation loved this charming local pub. You can be guaranteed a friendly welcome at the historic inn as well as great food and of course, drink.
It is also surrounded by green fields just over the road is a small stream. It is well worth having a stroll around the village, a designated conservation area, while you’re there.

Derby Arms, Treales
The Derby Arms has carved itself a well-deserved reputation for good quality food and drink. The Robinsons pub, in the middle of peaceful village Treales, has recently been refurbished. Local produce is showcased on the menu and in the summer, there are barbecues in the gardens areas as well as outdoor activities.
This great pub is an ideal place to stop at after a day strolling around nearby coastal towns of Lytham and St Annes.
The Derby Arms, Church Road, near Kirkham, Preston, PR4 3SH, 01772 683705
www.derbyarmstreales.robinsonsbrewery.com

General Burgoyne
Winners in the Lancashire Life Food & Drink Awards, this pub claims to be the only UK hostelry bearing the name of the 18th century general. But it’s cosy snug and open fires make it a special stopping point in any hike with home cooked food by landlord and head chef Craig Sherrington topping the bill. Talking points include a skull in a cupboard.
The General Burgoyne, Church Road, Great Urswick, LA12 0SZ, www.generalburgoyne.com

Rose and Crown, Cark-in-Cartmel
This traditional village inn, dubbed The Top House due to its hilltop location, is a great place to while away a warm summer evening. There are views across Morecambe Bay to enjoy from the patio area or you can relax in the cosy interior. Home cooked food is served up and lunchtimes and in the evenings at the pub, which went under refurbishment just over 12 months ago.
It is well located for a walk around the pretty village of Cartmel, where you can enjoy a trip to the races. Grange-over-Sands and Holker Hall are also within striking distance.
Rose and Crown, Cark-in-Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, LA11 7NU, 01539 558501, www.roseandcrowncark.robinsonsbrewery.com

Pig and Whistle, Cartmel
Chef Simon Rogan’s fine little pub is a popular place to visit in Cartmel. The Robinsons owned pub, which serves cask ales and has gardens that overlook the Cartmel Valley, has been Simon’s local since he and partner Penny Tapsell moved to Cartmel over ten years ago.
Whether you’ve just been for a walk on the fells or are simply passing through, the pub offers real ales and great food with a menu based on this area’s seasonal changes.
Food is served in the cosy dining room, snacks can be eaten in the bar area and roasts are served all day, every Sunday. The regularly changing menus are full of organic produce that is harvested from Simon’s nearby farm and there is a strong local theme in the dishes created by the chefs.
The pub also stocks local and traditionally brewed ales, some better known lagers and ciders, and has a carefully selected wine list.
Pig and Whistle, Aynesome Road, Cartmel, LA11 6PL, 015395 36482, www.pigandwhistlecartmel.co.uk

 

READER RECOMMENDATIONS

Assheton Arms, Downham, near Clitheroe
Honest, high quality food is served up by executive chef Antony Shirley in this seafood-led historic pub. His international experience has led him to prepare top ingredients simply and let them speak for themselves. Caught that day fish is always on the menu.

Freemasons, Wiswell
Chef and patron Steven Smith has created a unique and diverse menu of the highest quality.

The Spread Eagle, Mellor
A family run pub located in the beautiful Ribble Valley. Head chef, Matthew Illingworth believes in sourcing the best local ingredients for their menus.

The Three Fishes, Mitton, near Whalley
This Nigel Haworth-run  former Lancashire Life dining pub of the year and still earns accolades as one of the UK’s top dining pubs.

Redwell Country Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale
An award winning, family run 17th century country inn with seasonal a la carte menu.

To recommend your favourites leave a comment below or send us a tweet at @lancashirelife

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