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, of course, the thing, produced with panache by the dream team of Nigel, his Executive Head Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen and Head Chef Aled Williams. But 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 £260.
Do: Book one of the Louis Roederer private dining rooms for a wonderful private dining experience.
Eat: There’s elegant and excellent food at the Northcote. Make sure you don’t miss the exciting puddings.
Buy: Visit the excellent D Byrne & Co wine shop in historic Clitheroe, a ten-minute drive away.
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