Northcote, Hotel and Restaurant

It has to be a pretty special restaurant to convince me to drive 4.5 hours. After a weekend at Nigel Haworth’s countryside retreat in Lancashire, I can confirm that Northcote is worth the journey.


Northcote is located on the edge of the Ribble Valley, nearby to the ruined abbey at Whalley and the spectacular Stonyhurst school. It is a popular area for keen walkers, and hikers who want a real challenge can enjoy the 38 mile Three Peaks of Lancashire. Thanks to the famously British weather, we spent most of our trip relaxing at the hotel and indulging in the award-winning food.


The hotel has 26 rooms spread over two buildings: the Manor House and the Garden Lodge. Each room has a different character, but all have comforting soft furnishings and up-to-date modern amenities. We were staying in a very spacious Garden Lodge room, which was so smart and luxurious it felt almost brand new. The rooms are designed by Jill Holst of Ward Robinson in a grown-up style, our room was quite business-like, with furniture in shades of beige and olive green. The bed was wonderful, huge and indulgent ensuring every guest gets a blissful night’s sleep.


I loved our bathroom which featured a big bathtub for evening soaks and a powerful walk-in shower. The toiletries are provided by Temple Spa, a lovely luxurious beauty brand, which made me think how nice it would be if Northcote had a spa onsite.


A wholesome Lancashire breakfast was served in our room… a feast of brioche bacon buns, fresh fruit and yoghurt and strong coffee and juice. It was immediately obvious that this array of fine food had come from a Michelin starred kitchen… the ingredients were of the finest quality and each dish was presented beautifully. I was particularly impressed with the delicious Greave’s home-cured bacon and the sausages from Farnsworths in Whalley.


The main reason to stay at Northcote is to eat in their renowned restaurant. Chef Patron Nigel Haworth and Executive Chef Lisa Allen are both well-known for their TV appearances on Saturday Kitchen, Masterchef and the Great British Menu. Northcote proudly holds one Michelin star and is often considered as one of the country’s finest hotel restaurants. I was excited to be trying the gastronomic cuisine days after the restaurant had hosted the prestigious Obsession food festival.


There are various menus to choose from, and though we were tempted by the tasting menus, we opted for a more sensible three-courses. There is a choice of seasonal lunch menu (£33.50 for 3 courses and coffee), or the more elaborate a la carte. After speaking to the very well-informed waitress we decided on a few of Nigel’s signature dishes.

To start, the White Beetroot with coconut and white chocolate was a wonderfully healthy and refreshing dish. The subtle earthy flavours of beetroot matched perfectly with the sweet chocolate and the fresh coconut. Orkney Scallop with dashi and seaweed was another light starter, the delicate flavours of the sea blended carefully with the Japanese inspired dashi broth.

To make up for the lack of calories in the starters we went all out with the mains; Wild Venison with liquorice mole and kolhrabi for me, and Beef steak with triple cooked chips for my guest. It was a real treat to indulge in such superior meats. The venison was particularly delicious, cleverly cooked with a hint of spicy aniseed from the liquorice and a crunch from the segments of kolhrabi, a lovely winter cabbage vegetable.


For dessert I convinced the staff to let me try the magical Lemon Meringue Pie, a triumph thanks to it’s Instagrammable appeal. A lifelike cocoa-butter lemon cracks to reveal a beautiful citrus mousse which sits on an assortment of meringue and lemon bits. It was my ideal dessert, vibrant and satisfying yet cleansing for the palate.

The meal was accompanied by unusual and delicious wines from the sommelier. I was pleasantly surprised to see Northcote offer wine in taster 70ml size, so you can try a different wine with each course without needing a lie down at the end of the meal!

While in the area I also highly recommend a pub lunch at The Three Fishes, nearby to the hotel. This friendly gastropub is also owned and overseen by Nigel Haworth and serves up great seasonal food and local drinks. After a long country walk there is nothing better than a hearty Lancashire hotpot, a speciality at the Three Fishes.

More information and book a room or table at Northcote here.

Locanda del Feudo, near Modena

The little, sleepy town of Castelvetro is a short drive from Modena in central Italy. Deep in the heart of the old town you will find Locanda del Feudo, a charming boutique hotel with just six suite rooms.

Locanda del Feudo

I was lucky to stay at this lovely hotel for two nights last month, whilst on a culinary pilgrimage to try Massimo Bottura’s food. The hotel suited us perfectly, after long days of sightseeing (and eating!) at nearby Traditional Balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano factories it was a relaxing place to return to.

Locanda del Feudo

We were in Suite Calla, a few floors up. The suite felt cosy and old-fashioned, a nice contrast to many of the modern hotels I have visited recently. The bedroom had a large double bed and ornate vintage furniture. At night the hotel was silent making it a heavenly place to get a deep and restful night’s sleep.

Though small and dated, the bathroom was all in working order, though we struggled a bit with the tiny shower! A lovely spacious living area offers tea & coffee facilities, a comfortable sofa and petite dining table. In the mornings, light came streaming in through the large windows making it a beautiful place to sit and read with a cup of coffee.

Locanda del Feudo

Locanda del Feudo are well known for their restaurant, which was sadly closed when we visited. The celebrated eatery is run by brothers Andrea and Roberto, who were taught to cook by their grandmother. Both worked elsewhere before making Castelvetro their home. We had a taste of the culinary skill at breakfast when fresh pastries, fruit and cooked recipes were served in abundance.

Quiet and quaint, Locanda del Feudo is a great place to stay while visiting this special area of Italy.

More information and book a room at Locanda del Feudo here.

Adriano Residence, Bologna

I was excited to visit Bologna, but knew little about what to do in this Italian foodie city, aside from eat lots of pasta and parmesan! With only a couple of days to explore, we needed somewhere central to stay and Residence Opera fitted the brief perfectly. The Adriano Group have transformed several historic buildings across Bologna, offering visitors with modern apartments, fully equipped with all the amenities you would need for a short or long stay.

Adriano ResidenceAdriano Residence

Ahead of my stay, the office had given me precise details about how to access the flat we were staying in, and after a 15 minute drive from the airport we found ourselves completely at home in the ‘Tosca’ room. The keycards give easy, independent access so you can come and go as you wish, and there are security protected car parks for leaving your vehicle.

Adriano Residence

The apartments come in varying sizes, with one, two or three bedrooms, perfect for couples or families. Our bedroom was small but felt spacious, all decorated in white and subtle shades. The room was very clean and well-kept, with towelling robes & toiletries, a kitchen & cooking equipment all ready to use should we need it. I loved the big window which let in lots of natural light and overlooked the historic streets of Bologna.

Adriano Residence

On our first afternoon in the city the Adriano team kindly took us on a tour of their beloved city. It was lovely to see the streets through a local’s eyes… discovering the best aperitivo spots and marvelling at the iconic architecture. We stopped by to try out the ‘whispering walls’ and even saw a glimpse of ‘little Venice’.

Whatever your budget, there will be an Adriano Residence apartment to suit your needs. I found our little flat wonderfully comfortable and blissfully easy to have as my home during my Bologna visit.

More information and book a stay at Adriano Residence here.