Yes, it was a very enjoyable visit to three of Oakman’s inns, taking in the scenic splendor of the northwest countryside, but with plenty to do and shops to visit within a short drive.
All three sites we visited are relatively recent additions to the Oakman Inn family. The Seafood Pubs now exists as a brand within the Oakman Group which was previously owned by The Seafood Pub Company and they have continued to be surf and turf specialists with fresh fish and shellfish delivered each morning. More information on meals later!
Our first port of call was The Derby Arms, located in an idyllic stretch of countryside between Longridge and Chipping in the Ribble Valley near Preston. A walk outside and you are immediately blown away by the view of the Forest of Bowland, recorded as one of the UK’s areas of outstanding natural beauty, and a great place to visit during your stay.
With the wonderfully warm weather we were able to contemplate this awe-inspiring scenery as we had our drinks and meals under the impressive outdoor glass roof, but if it wasn’t so temperate and sunny, The Derby Arms has a stylish and welcoming restaurant. with notes of oak and slate and a rustic bar with a fine selection of wines and whiskeys.
All rooms have a private bathroom with a flat-screen TV, tea / coffee maker, hairdryer, free mineral water and free Wi-Fi. A plethora of pillows and a cornucopia of cushions adorn the deep pillowtop bed and, indeed, this comfort is reflected in every hotel we visited.
Being a 250 year old building, expect rustic beams and traditional sash windows and although there is no air conditioning we were comfortably put into the unusually warm night by the fans.
Tourist visitors can head to the Lake District, the Pennines and the Trough of Bowland, and Preston is not far away if you fancy a bit of shopping therapy!
While reluctant to leave such a relaxing hotel, we weren’t disappointed with our next venue, The Fenwick, based in the village of Claughton, near Lancaster.
The Fenwick is a short drive from Devil’s Bridge, the Forest of Bowland and the historic town of Lancaster with its 12th century castle and many typical shops.
It enjoys an ideal location for hikers and cyclists who wish to admire the majestic surrounding countryside, and an ideal stopover hotel to enjoy a wonderful, relaxing meal and a comfortable night’s sleep, being a doorstep. ideal entry to the lakes and Scotland.
Again, this charming inn has the added charm of being over 250 years old and continues to rank among Lancaster’s busiest and best gastro pubs, bursting with character with large open fireplaces (in winter! ), low beam ceilings and oak floors.
The Fenwick’s state-of-the-art rooms, located in a new extension to the building, all come with the same amenities as in The Derby Arms, and pet-friendly rooms are also available on request.
Finally, we arrived at Colne and then made the ascent to the village of Laneshawbridge and the Alma. Here we were blown away by the magnificent view offered, and even more so by a walk to the upper parking lot to be greeted with an incredible 360 degree view.
Local attractions include Wycoller Country Park, a favorite haunt of the Bronte sisters who referred to many of its landmarks in Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
Rising 557 meters above sea level, Pendle Hill is one of the county’s most famous attractions, possibly best known for its connection to the Pendle “witches” and their subsequent trial at Lancaster Castle.
If you fancy taking a stroll through the stores Colne is just down the street as is Burnley for the best retail experience.
Alma’s rooms are located in this former coaching inn, originally built in 1725 and lovingly but sympathetically restored to become the famous gastronomic pub it is today. Foodies flock from everywhere to sample the delicious dishes on offer or to stay in one of its nine comfortable rooms. TV’s Gok Wan is a regular at the location while filming Say Yes to The Dress in nearby Colne.
Again, imagine tasteful elegance with sash windows, dreamy upholstered rugs and modern period style bathroom sinks and faucets, while downstairs in the bar and rooms dining, the original stone floors and beams take you back to the days of Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester!
So let’s talk about food. All three inns, part of the original Seafood Pubs, have similar main menus with a few changes here and there. The daily changing specials showcase the best of the season. In addition to the daily fresh fish and seafood, produce is sourced from local farms through the venue’s respective menus with options to suit all tastes, including traditional pub classics and creative international dishes.
The favorite dish of my stay was the Malaysian Seafood Curry (£ 16.95), made from the fish and shellfish that were just caught that day. It’s refreshing to know that every curry is likely to be different, depending on what you take in the morning. As the menu says: “You will find the best of the day’s catch on our chalkboards. We buy a few portions of each, work our magic, and when it’s gone … it’s gone ”.
I can’t name all the specialties on the menu, but other noteworthy dishes we enjoyed were the lamb chops (£ 18.95), 28-day dry-aged rib eye on the bone (25.50 £) and Goosnargh’s Chicken and Ham Pie. (£ 15.50), all with their sides included in the price.
We sampled a pint of Perroni (£ 5.50) and Grolsch (£ 4.30) with our meals, as well as the deliciously crunchy Tooma River Australian Chardonnay, spiced with zesty citrus flavors (£ 23.50 a bottle ).
Breakfast isn’t a poor relation either, with tasty local produce whether you choose full English, wholegrain vegetables, eggs benedict, omelet, smoked salmon – the list goes on.
Prices? Well it depends where and when you go, but a night for two with breakfast at The Derby Inn starts from just £ 90, from £ 97 at The Fenwick, and there’s a great deal right now at The Derby Inn. Alma with dinner, B&B for just £ 129 with a dinner allowance of £ 30 (food only) per person.
I would recommend going to all three – and there are even more Oakman hostels across the country, each with its own unique identity. Just visit www.oakmaninns.co.uk and plan your road trip!
As well as soaking up the rural beauty and shopping, why not take a trip to Lancaster and visit the castle. At the moment a full visit is not possible but we enjoyed an exterior tour of the keep, which dates from the early 12th century (some claim it to be the 11th century), and the old prison courtyards. The castle courtyards, including the café, are open daily and tours of the outer courtyards and courts are free. Always a working civil and crown court, we have been told some interesting and informative stories, including that of the infamous Pendle Witches trial. Pre-reservation is essential. Visit www.lancastercastle.com/tours-visits
Fancy a day at the beach? Morecambe is a short drive away, particularly from The Fenwick, while we had a go-kart experience like no other at Prestige Karting, just down the road from The Alma in Colne. Imagine putting on some F1-style overalls, balaclava and helmet, then step on the pedal! Every lap you take is monitored by state-of-the-art technology and your count, speed, fastest lap, and position within your party are printed for you. A great experience for couples, families, groups and organizers of team-building experiences! Visit www.prestigekarting.co.uk
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This notice was published: 2021-07-25 18:15:26