Thursday, 10 November 2011

Out & About - The Inn at Whitewell

The Inn at Whitewell sits in an idyllic spot in the middle of nowhere. So why does The Sunday Times reckon you should visit? 

Part of the Duchy of Lancaster (The Queen's) State and sitting by the River Hodder in between hills at the heart of a village with only a handful of houses and farms, it is more than fair to say The Inn at Whitewell is a little hidden away. But don't be fooled. This little gem is one of the best pubs/ inns in Britain according to many travels guides and The Sunday Times. (For my non-English readers: Pubs are traditional English Public Houses or traditional old-fashioned English bars)

Whitewell is rural England at its absolute best: friendly staff, gorgeous local food, beautiful scenery, great wines, dog friendly and surrounded by nature walks, good fishing, and wildlife. You couldn't get more fairytale-ish! So it is no wonder you might need to put your name down on the waiting list one year in advance if you want to stay here depending on the date you wish to visit.

Including a restaurant, bar, hotel rooms, and a wine shop, this is no small Inn. The Queen herself has paid it a visit while passing. As a matter of fact, she famously quoted this particular valley is so beautiful she would like to retire here. 

Every room is decorated individually and while they have all been modernized, they still keep true to the English countryside style. At this time of the year, and as long as weather permits, Whitewell also hosts The Hunt. I have to admit, while they no longer really hunt foxes because of all the legislations and the sheer difficulty of it, to watch all the riders and dogs get ready to go is just magical. It definitely has a decadent feel that brings you back to another time, another era. Think picture perfect.

In spring, the woods around the village are covered in Blue Bells (flowers) creating this beautiful purple carpet under the trees. If you are into photography, this place is just heaven. Every season and every corner present an opportunity.

Food wise… I have four words for you: Fish Pie - Finger Lickable. If you ever get there and there is a mad woman with mad curly hair licking her plate… That will be me. The food is mostly produced locally so the menu always has seasonal game meat on it like Pheasant, Partridge (both birds) or Rabbit. And the portions are truly British. There is no stinginess with pile-it-tower-high-on-top-of-a-50p-coin here. If it’s on the menu, also try the Apple Crumble. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Sunday lunch or Friday nights are the two most popular times for the restaurant so if you are visiting, make sure you book a table. There are also two menus: The Restaurant and The Bar. The Whitewell is dog friendly so you will be able to take your pooch into the bar and the bedrooms if you are staying, but not into the restaurant. Children are equally welcome and for them this place is like a pirate ship just waiting to be explored. Ask them to spot the fox running into its hole near the toilets.

If you are a bookworm like me, try snuggling up near one of the fireplaces for a cozy read with a good cup of coffee or tea and some of their amazing scones (tea cakes) and don’t go easy on the clotted cream or jam. I know. It’s evil. But it’s soooo goooooddd!!! Go for one of the country walk after and you will restore the balance.  ^_^

Now here is my little treat… Whitewell is a very special place for me. I got married at St Michael’s Church - the tiny little church next to the hotel. So go and have a nosy if you are there on Sunday. It is only small, but so rustic and idyllic it hurts.

Ambient: *****

Price: ££££
Food: *****
Children: (And dogs - no pun intended.
I do have both and they are both my babies)  Yes

To check the rating system click here 

The Inn at Whitewell

Dunsop Bridge Road, Whitewell

Near Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 3AT

Tel: 01200 448 222

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