Our latest Great Escape is contributed by the team of volunteers at Hoghton Tower, a historic 16th century house and Lancashire’s only baronial residence. Here they share their tips on the best places to shop, eat, stay and visit in and around Hoghton in Lancashire’s peaceful Ribble Valley.
Where in Britain is it?
Situated at the gateway to the Ribble Valley, Hoghton Tower is one of the most stunning historic houses in the North of England and is perfectly placed for exploring this beautiful and tranquil part of Lancashire.
It is located a stone’s throw from the sweeping countryside of the Forest of Bowland, and the Lancashire Coast with its famous golf courses and beaches. While further north, the historic city of Lancaster and The Lake District are both within easy reach.
Why should I go there?
The Ribble Valley is rich in folklore, myths and legends and Hoghton Tower is a castle steeped in history. Built in 1565, it has witnessed centuries of English history unfold. King James I knighted the ‘Sirloin’ in the Banqueting Hall, Charles Dickens wrote about it, and William Shakespeare is said to have visited as a student. It is a place where time stands still. The fortified manor sits on top of a hill commanding spectacular views over the surrounding Lancashire and Cumbrian countryside. All in all, a perfect getaway for delving into history or simply enjoying the great outdoors.
Will I find interesting local products to buy?
The third Sunday of every month, Hoghton Tower hosts the Merchant of Hoghton Farmer’s Market (pictured). With over 50 stalls, it is one of the largest in the area and features some of the best local food producers. Our own gift shop stocks local products including Droyt’s Organic Glycerine soaps (Made in Chorley) and aprons, oven gloves and door stoppers from local Lancashire cotton mill and fabric manufacturer Ian Mankin.
Where can I eat locally sourced food?
In the village of Hoghton, the Sirloin Inn serves locally sourced produce as does the Clog and Billycock Pub at Pleasington, a five minute drive away. The Michelin starredNorthcote Manor and the Freemasons at Wiswell (pictured) are both within easy reach and are firm favourites with the team here. Their menus feature Lancashire classics with a focus on showcasing local produce.
Can I stay somewhere with a bit of character?
The Irishman’s Tower (pictured below) is located within the ramparts of Hoghton Tower is a natural choice! A romantic bolthole for two with an open fireplace and all the comforts you could possibly need. While Stanley House in Mellor is a 17th century country home which has been transformed into an award-winning hotel.
What should I see, do or visit while I’m there?
A guided tour of the historic wings of Hoghton Tower and a wander through the walled gardens is a must. There are plenty of wonderful walks on your doorstep: walk along the River Darwen at Hoghton Bottoms, walk through to Samlesbury, Pleasington or Witton Country Park. The Brockholes Nature Reserve (pictured, left) is a favourite with the kids. Enjoy the sweeping countryside, wild moors and beaches of the Forest of Bowlandincluding the beautiful sand dunes at Formby Point (pictured, right).
Other historic houses in the area also warrant a visit: Salmesbury Hall and Browsholme Hall in the Ribble Valley. Take a Canal Cruise along the historic Leeds Liverpool Canal. Visit the Pleasington Golf Club or go a little further afield to Lytham St Annes where this year’s Golf Open Championship will be held in July.
When is the best time of year to go?
Hoghton Tower holds fundraising events throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during the summer. The house is open throughout July to September and there are a number of musical events which take place in the grounds, making the most of the long summer evenings.
To find out more about Hoghton Tower and accommodation at The Irishman’s Tower, visit http://www.hoghtontower.co.uk/
For more information about visiting the Ribble Valley and the surrounding area, take a look at http://www.visitribblevalley.co.uk/
Map of Hoghton and The Ribble Valley