Rupert Parker travels north to stay and eat at Northcote Michelin starred county house hotel.
It’s 23 years since I last ate at Northcote and a lot has changed since then but I’m glad to report that the food is of the same gloriously high standard. The restaurant won a Michelin star in 1996 and has retained it ever since. Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen champions the finest produce and sources her ingredients from the surrounding Lancashire landscape, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Located in the Ribble Valley, on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, Northcote is now one of the finest restaurants and country house hotels in the UK. On my previous visit, it only had a handful of rooms which were perfectly adequate but nothing to write home about. All that’s changed and the accommodation is of a very high standard indeed
Originally a private house built in 1880, it became a hotel a hundred years later and now has 26 luxurious rooms. There are 18 in the Manor House plus seven junior suites and one large suite in the Garden Lodge. These all have a terrace or balcony overlooking Northcote’s gardens and Ribble Valley.
We stayed in a spacious Junior Suite on the ground floor of the Garden Lodge, with a large terrace opening onto the surrounding nature. A king-sized bed and a lounge area, complete with a living flame fire, made us comfortable. A Smart TV and Ruark DAB Bluetooth radio kept us entertained. The bathroom had a large bath and double shower, twin sinks supplied with Temple Spa toiletries. Complimentary bathrobes and slippers were provided.
At the heart of Northcote is the Michelin star restaurant, elegant and sophisticated, overlooking the gardens. Gourmet menus, championing the finest produce and honouring local ingredients, are created by Lisa Goodwin-Allen, one of the UK’s top chefs regularly seen on BBC’s Great British Menu, Saturday Kitchen and James Martin’s Saturday Morning. An award-winning wine list compliments the dining experience.
The bar offers signature cocktails with the menu changing regularly, using seasonal fruits, herbs and garnishes sourced from Northcote’s own gardens.
We ate at the chef’s table, in a dedicated room, with glass doors offering a window to the theatrical setting of the busy kitchen. Lisa kept popping in to explain her dishes and was relaxed enough to answer all our questions. A dedicated Kitchen cam on the wall, meant we didn’t miss a thing. In truth we were too busy enjoying the food to pay too much attention.
A day in the Northcote Cookery School will teach you seasonal dishes and enhance your kitchen skills. We spent an educational afternoon learning how to prepare and cook stuffed roast crown of chicken with Chef Bruno Birkbeck. He also let us into the secret of failsafe apple crumble soufflés. Even better, the food we’d prepared was boxed up, so we could cook it later at home.
The Ribble Valley is ideally placed in the dead centre of the United Kingdom, the perfect stopover when travelling from north or south. Bowland and Bay offers artisan foodie adventures in the surrounding area, visiting gin distilleries, cheese shops and traditional bakeries. Within an hour you can be in the Lake District or visit the North West’s famous cities of Liverpool and Manchester.
This hotel is for those who seek out good food and wine and want to wallow in luxury in the heart of beautiful countryside. It’s also an excellent setting for private celebrations, business meetings and small weddings. The high-end rooms make a perfect base for exploring Ribble Valley and the Forest of Bowland, an undiscovered part of the country. Best of all, of course, is the food – it was worth waiting all those years to try it again.
Tell Me More About Northcote
Northcote Northcote Road, Langho, Lancashire, England, BB6 8BE
T: 01254 240 555 E: email@example.com
A Superior room with breakfast starts from £260, for two people sharing.
The five-course gourmet menu is £115. Wine pairings are £69.55 extra.
A one-night Gourmet Getaway with Artisan Food Adventure costs from £575 for two people sharing a Classic Room.
A one-night Gourmet Getaway with a day in the Cookery School* costs from £825 for two people sharing a Classic Room.
A Northcote private dining room, with its own cocktail bar and champagne terrace, is available for celebrations, business meetings and small weddings.
For two weeks, in January and February, a different guest chef cooks every night for the Obsession Food Festival – it takes place from Friday 20th January to Sunday 5th February 2023.
Bowland and Bay offers artisan foodie adventures in the surrounding area, visiting gin distilleries, cheese shops and traditional bakeries.