LITTLE ECCLESTON, Preston, PR3 0YP
Set in an idyllic location adjoining a toll bridge across the tidal Rive Wyre, this award-winning 17th-century coaching inn enjoys extensive views over the countryside towards the Trough of Bowland and the Lake District. Owners Julie and Patrick Beaume have created a relaxed family-run inn. Its stylish and contemporary interior is an appealing blend of striking colours, natural wood and polished floors, whilst the smart open fireplace and an eclectic selection of furniture adds a comfortable and relaxed feel to the bar lounge. If your arrival coincides with coffee or tea time, you won't be disappointed. Coffees are blended with beans from Guatemala, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Sumatra; teas range from the house blend Irish breakfast, to a decaf Ceylon, green chai, or hedgerow tisane. There's a choice of eating areas - the Riverside Lounge, Fire Lounge and alcove, and outside on the terrace - where you can enjoy an imaginative range of dishes based on quality ingredients from local suppliers. Lunchtime sees plates of Goosnargh duck salad served with roasted heritage carrots, fried ginger, plum, beetroot, dressed with chipotle and honey; or a French baguette of bavette steak with pickled shallots, horseradish relish, fries and salad. A typical three-course choice could start with potted confit rabbit, and continue with a Lancashire hotpot or the day's delivery of fish from Fleetwood Docklands. Round off with a Lancashire parkin tart with liquorice purée, white chocolate and spiced syrup. The Cartford Inn makes an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding area; Lancaster, the Royal Lytham Golf Club, and Blackpool with its Winter Gardens and Grand Theatre are all within easy reach.