8 gourmet getaways in Lancashire

PUBLISHED: 15:53 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:09 29 September 2020

Mark Birchall outside the UK's best restaurant, Moor Hall at Aughton. Photograph by Mark Bristol

Mark Birchall outside the UK's best restaurant, Moor Hall at Aughton. Photograph by Mark Bristol

Mark Bristol

The UK’s best restaurant and the reigning pub of the year feature in our selection of places to eat and stay

A highlight from the menu at the Cartford Inn at Great Eccleston, the 2020 Pub of the Year. Picture by Patrick Baume.A highlight from the menu at the Cartford Inn at Great Eccleston, the 2020 Pub of the Year. Picture by Patrick Baume.

From the garden

In its young, three-and-half year life, Moor Hall Restaurant, in Aughton, has got people talking. Not only do the chefs have a couple of Michelin stars under their belt, but the restaurant prides itself on transparency, provenance – from plant to plate – and you’re there for an experience. The style of cooking is produce-led, so expect a tour of the gardens to identify a few of the products you’ll be eating for dinner before enjoying them being cooked before your eyes in the open kitchen. The professional but comfortable service, and phenomenal dining experience, is only bettered with a stay in one of the seven unique and luxurious guest bedrooms.


One of the bedrooms at the Cartford Inn at Great Eccleston, the 2020 Pub of the Year. Picture by Patrick Baume.One of the bedrooms at the Cartford Inn at Great Eccleston, the 2020 Pub of the Year. Picture by Patrick Baume.

Pub Of The Year

If you need any more of an excuse to dine at The Cartford Inn, Little Eccleston, than its new (and totally charming) socially distanced greenhouses, then this is it. The multi-award winning pub has just bagged yet another accolade in the form of Pub of the Year 2020, chosen by Telegraph readers for the Sawdays Pub Awards. And rightly so. The team has tackled this year with graft and endurance, launching their new takeaway service Taste of the Inn at Home while continuing their position as a bustling hub to eat and be merry, but in a safe, comfortable and beautiful way. The style is cosy and boutique, with each of its rooms offering a comfort to suit you, be it the cosiness of an attic bedroom, the luxurious space of the penthouse or the coolness of a cabin escape.


To relax and revitalise

There’s no feeling quite as good as unwinding after a hard day’s graft at the spa, only made better in the knowledge of being steps away from a two AA Rosette accredited restaurant experience. That’s exactly the kind of relaxing vibe at The Orangery at The Spa Hotel, Ribby Hall, headed by hotel manager Andrew Scott and head chef Michael Noonan. This is casual fine dining at its best: the attention to detail in the food, service and subtle calming ambiance is second to none – and if you’re lucky, you may even hear the whispers of a dish how-to. Whether it’s a spa lunch, gourmet dinner or afternoon tea, in the words of The Orangery, a little bit of what you love is good for you.


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The sophisticated one

Cocktails and seasonal ingredients are the buzzwords at Wildfred’s at Crow Wood Hotel – and boy, is it an occasion to get your glad rags on. The restaurant and bar promises to be the sophistication of a swish restaurant with the friendliness and soul of your favourite kick-back bistro: think Lancashire produce coupled with elegant cocktails in the grounds of 40 acres of private parkland with luxurious bedrooms, award-winning chefs and an award-winning spa. It may be the new kid on the block, but it’s up there as one of the best places to eat and drink in Burnley.


A slice of the country

Attention to detail is everything at Freemasons at Wiswell, where classic pub grub has enjoyed a gastronomic makeover. Think a stylish pub setting that feels as relaxed as your own front room, with traditional cuisine at its heart – but with a place for inspiration from Asia, America and beyond. It’s been all go in the last year: Steven Smith and his team have opened their kitchen up to diners with the kitchen table and kitchen bench (four stools in the hub of the kitchen for the ultimate gastro experience), plus opened up eight luxury bedrooms. And until the end of November, you can enjoy a stay at the AA 5 Gold Star Restaurant with Rooms, with a complimentary, and exclusive, five-course autumn menu.


The food lover’s paradise

Fine dining with real northern hospitality, Northcote showcases the best of executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen. The idea is that a meal should be a celebration and tell a story, with the menus going hand-in-hand with the wonderful surroundings they originate from. Expect the choice of four different Michelin-star menus (five if it’s a Sunday and six if you include afternoon tea) and 26 rooms and suites designed for the ultimate experience in comfort and relaxation. It’s an indulgent treat with the best of the Lancashire countryside.


The cosy retreat

The Inn at Whitewell occupies a beautiful spot in the Forest of Bowland, so it’s definitely a destination place. Enjoy strolling through swathes of gorgeous countryside (including the Inn’s famous stepping stones over the River Hodder) before tucking into a plate of delicious, local food made by head chef of 20 years Jamie Cadman. The roar of the fire offers a warm and welcome hello and the big old sash windows and period features make you reluctant to want to leave. And with rooms centred on old-school chic, and some with beautifully restored Victorian cabinet baths, we say why not take your bubble and make a weekend of it?


From field to fork

A stone’s throw from the meandering River Lune, Hipping Hall, near Kirkby Lonsdale, takes its foodie inspiration from the fields, farms, hedgerows and coastline that surround it. The feel of the place is cool and country, with four AA rosette-awarded head chef and former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Oli Martin offering something that little bit different, be it a picnic a takeaway picnic to enjoy on the grounds or elsewhere, or a set dinner menu with timings down to a tee. The romantic and recently refurbish rooms sit beautifully on the doorstep to the Yorkshire Dales, the Lune Valley, the Trough of Bowland and Eden Valley, so you’re sure to work up an appetite.


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