This small, but perfectly formed, country house hotel at Langho has been crowned England’s Hotel of the Year for 2016/17 by the AA and it is no mystery why. Nestling in the delightful Ribble Valley, in unspoilt countryside to the east of Preston, Northcote has carefully evolved into the epitome of excellence, with Michelin-starred cuisine in a perfectly-presented and contemporary statement of style, ambience, comfort and service. Like the maturing of a fine wine, the process has lasted many years and today’s offering is the culmination of over three decades of drive and dedication.
Since 1983, when it was a modest, four-bedroom establishment, the Northcote has been the brainchild of the esteemed hotelier, Craig J Bancroft, an irrepressibly enthusiastic taskmaster, demanding of the very best from the team he leads and generous with praise when that is what he receives. Having overseen the burgeoning success of the Northcote, and a series of other local inns and hospitality enterprises, he has risen to the position of MD of Northcote Leisure Group. He has had the great good fortune to have had at his side, throughout the years, the imposing figure of Head Chef, Nigel Haworth, a proud Lancashire man who has guided the development of his restaurant into a place of pilgrimage for ‘foodies’ from all over the UK. His face will be familiar from his many TV appearances, especially as a winner in Great British Menu 2009, as will that of newly-appointed Executive Head Chef, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, a dynamic young talent. Good food deserves good wine and, in Head Sommelier, Tamas Czinki, Northcote has the right person in place to present diners with an award-winning wine selection and to offer reliable advice, when invited.
It is its people who have made this unsung corner of England a ‘magnet’ of a destination. Don’t resist the force.
Visit website: northcote.com/obsession
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