THE North West does not lack for fascinating history, fantastic food and great places to stay – and James’ Places Holmes Mill delivers on all three.
The focal point of the busy town of Clitheroe in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, it packs in a boutique cinema, food hall, gelateria, bistro, hotel and more across a former factory site dating back to 1823.
Inside the Holmes Mill beer hall[/caption]
It can be hard to know where to start so perhaps the best idea is to pull up a seat at the 105ft Beer Hall bar and crack into the range of local IPAs, lagers and ales — with more always waiting on tap.
The Bowland Brewery pilsner goes down a treat, as does the Pheasant Plucker for bitter fans. And both sit well alongside items from the Beer Hall’s food menu.
Pub grub options include burgers crafted in-house, with the crispy chicken concoction a highlight.
But there’s more sophisticated fare on offer too, from crispy onion fritters as a starter to a delicate blackened hake that delivers a surpris-ingly spicy punch.
The Holmes Mill complex is on the site of a former factory[/caption]
The Beer Hall delivers on personality and atmosphere too, yet still feels intimate as you drink and dine among historic artefacts left over from the mill’s former life.
The exposed brickwork and steel frames sit perfectly alongside comfortable, relaxed furniture.
Once your evening is complete, it’s a short walk to The Spinning Block hotel, which sits in a fantastic restoration of the oldest building on the site.
The faultless rooms, which have a quirky, rustic and industrial look, are all individually designed and aim to pay tribute to the building’s heritage, while still offering the mod cons for a comfy stay. And the prices are just as good, with doubles starting from £75 a night.
The Bistro, Bar & Grill is Holmes Mill’s other main eatery, hosting evening meals and a breakfast offering that can be pre-purchased.
While the Continental buffet is slim on options, the cooked dishes, such as the fry-up and haddock on toast, set you up very nicely for a day in the Ribble Valley.
Beer hall has IPAs, ales and lagers on tap[/caption]
Heading out of the car park — which does not always present the easiest of spaces to turn into (perhaps not an issue in 1823) — Clitheroe Castle is the best place to visit for stunning views of the green hills surrounding the town in every direction.
This very English scene looks equally stunning when clouds cover the peaks in windswept, overcast conditions as it does on beautiful sunny days. The town itself offers a choice of indep-endent restaurants as well as the historic family-run wine merchants D Byrne & Co.
Other lovely locations can be reached via a short drive, including Settle in the Yorkshire Dales, from where you can trek up the beautiful Warrendale Knotts hills.
Or if altitude is not your thing, try a lovely stroll down the Leeds & Liverpool canal in Skipton.
Getting into the countryside is a must and country manor hotel Mitton Hall, a James’ Places sister venue also in Clitheroe, delivers an elegant setting for sipping cocktails with a fillet steak or enjoying a late evening glass of port by one of its fireplaces.
Before heading off from Holmes Mill, drop by the Food Hall for a wander around the well-stocked selection of artisan treats and traditional favourites, including the “pub in a bag”, featuring two Bowland Brewery bottles, a pint glass, bottle opener and crisps.
And maybe spend a moment taking in how fabulous it is to see a site that was once famed for its manufacturing prowess, then left empty for decades, now regenerated into a vibrant institution which is welcoming to all.
GO: Ribble Valley
STAYING THERE: Rooms at The Spinning Block hotel at Holmes Mill are from £75 per night for a double and up to £175 per night for the penthouse.
Sun Travel readers can bag a 15 per cent discount off any James’ Places accommodation, including The Spinning Block hotel and Mitton Hall on B&B stays up to the end of November.
Enter the code SUN15 at holmesmill.co.uk or call 01200 407 120.
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