Northcote’s notable success is thanks to a formidable double act: general manager Craig Bancroft and chef Nigel Haworth. When they met in 1983, Craig didn’t know that Nigel would become one of the most highly regarded Michelin-starred chefs in the north; Nigel didn’t know that Craig had a gift for wine, as well as being a consummate hotelier and host. ‘We weren’t friends when we started. But we became friends.’ The brilliant food, rooted in the north, is produced with panache by the dream team of Nigel, his Executive Head Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen and Head Chef Nick Evans. And it is richly complemented by the ambience. It feels like a treat to stay here, and it is a beacon of excellence amongst the stunning hills and valleys of rural Lancashire. The solid Victorian house, built for a wealthy spinster, now glows with good living, with supremely comfortable bedrooms. And then there’s the Cookery School: unsurprisingly, one of the finest in the country. Doubles from £280.
Name to Know: Gardener Phil, ask him about the biodynamic kitchen garden. His wealth of fascinating agricultural knowledge includes how the moon can affect produce cultivation.
See: The historic market town of Clitheroe is just a 10-minute drive away, with an abundance of charming, independent shops. A short walk up to the town’s medieval castle offers picturesque Ribble Valley views on a clear day.
Eat: Try Lisa Goodwin-Allen and Nigel Haworth’s incredible 7-course tasting menu at Northcote for a real taste of Lancashire with a contemporary twist.
Buy: Discover a real wine lovers’ treat at D Byrne & Co in Clitheroe. Browse the never-ending cellars packed with old vintages and every variety imaginable. You won’t be able to resist taking home a bottle, or case.
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