We stayed at the Spinning Block Hotel and indulged in some local booze, cheese pie and a live rendition of Shania Twain
7 minute read
There’s nothing better than a staycation. Discovering a part of the world that’s right on your doorstep, but feels like you’re a million miles away thanks to a proper change of scenery. Holmes Mill does just that. With everything from an in-house Everyman cinema to a selection of beers and ales brewed on-site, it’s a proper treat just over an hour away from Manchester.
You could get lost in here for hours, and come out with some locally-sourced meat from The Butcher Brothers and a Happy Belly scotch egg
Nestled in the green, stoney town of Clitheroe right on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, Holmes Mill has that cosy village vibe with festoon lighting and cobbled paths. The Spinning Block Hotel sits right at the front of the site, and we stayed in a Superior Double Room with a bathroom big enough to dance in.
The interiors are warm and homely, and our view looked out into the town with its indie homeware shops and stone churches. This spot, built in 1823, makes you want to go out and explore with its endless views and handy guides for the local area, but also have a killer cosy nap with its tweed soft furnishings and plush carpets. The hotel has been "lovingly restored", and you can feel that as you make your way from the chic lobby to your carefully curated bedroom.
Within the Holmes Mill complex, you can wander from one building to the next and explore everything the site has to offer. It’s quaint and inviting, even in the Northern drizzle. Slightly lost on arrival, we walked into the entrance for the Bowland Beer Hall, and got all excited for dinner before we’d even put our bags down. The smiley staff pointed us in the right direction for the Spinning Block, but we stopped off on the way to peek through the windows of the Boiler House Bowling Alley and the Bowland Food Hall. If you love a good farm shop, you’re in for a treat.
After a quick walk around the local area and a stop off in the nearby Tiger Lounge for a pre-dinner mojito, we made our way back to the Beer Hall for a pint of bespoke lager and a hearty evening meal. The Beer Hall has one of the longest bars in Britain (105ft 4 inches) and hosts a minimum of 24 individual cask beers at any one time. There’s also bottled beers, cans, ciders, and floor to ceiling windows that allow you to see the inner-workings of the brewery in all of it’s steel glory. It’s like looking into Willy Wonka’s choccy factory or the kitchen at the Gooey café.
There’s live music in the Hall every Thursday, which makes you want to nestle in by the fire and sip on a pint of Bowland Gold whilst you listen to an acoustic rendition of Still the One by Shania Twain. We ordered fish and chips with proper mushy peas and tartare sauce, and a locally supplied Roy Porter cheese and onion pie with chips and gravy. Both went down a storm.
We shared a cheesecake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate wafers for pud and asked the staff about the beery offerings and the local suppliers. Everything feels community-orientated and smiley, and the grub at Holmes Mill is comfort food at it’s finest, with an extra long bar and some authentic industrial fixtures to boot.
If you'd rather spend a day indoors, or you've covered the length and breadth of The Ribble Valley already, you can catch a new release at the Everyman cinema, go bowling in The Boiler House, or tie in your stay with one of the dates on the eclectic Holmes Mill events calendar. The whole spot feels like a holmes away from home, so customise your stay as you see fit.
For breakfast the next day we explored the Bowland Food Hall, a light and airy outside-in kinda space with everything from fresh baguettes to vats of Italian olive oil. I had the full english brekkie and my pal had the Bowland free range eggs benedict with roast ham.
As with the Beer Hall menu, the Food Hall has loads of variety, with everything from granola to stacked sarnies, and Bucks Fizz to earl grey. Far from your bog-standard hotel buffet, the grub was fresh and pretty and prepped us for a winding walk between the shelves of handmade homeware and locally-sourced produce. You could get lost in here for hours, and come out with some locally-sourced meat from The Butcher Brothers and a Happy Belly scotch egg. My kind of lost.
After brekkie, we bought some nice crackers and a jar of red onion chutney for the road, and left full, well rested and ready for a drive back over the misty hills into Manchester.
Holmes Mill is as cosy and inviting in the winter as it is buzzing and fresh in the summer, and if you're after a one-stop-shop for family fun and fab food in that part of the world, book a room and plan some scenic walks in and around The Ribble Valley.
Holmes Mill, Greenacre St, Clitheroe BB7 1EB
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