Food Obsession

For Michelin-starred foodie havens look no further than Northcote

Lancashire’s luxury gem, Northcote, is situated just south of the Forest of Bowland in the gorgeous hills of the Ribble Valley, and has been the lair of Michelin-starred chef patron, Nigel Haworth, for over 30 years. Previously of Gleneagles and The Ritz, Haworth joined forces with managing director, Craig Bancroft, and has expanded his skill set with a catering company, numerous television appearances, cookery schools and gourmet breaks; of which Obsession, a showcase of global chefs, is now the highlight.

Situated just twelve miles from Preston, savvy bookers will be able to bag a return ticket from Virgin Trains, between London Euston and Preston for around the £100 mark. Taking just over two hours for this comfortable journey and, being just eight miles from the M6, Northcote makes for the perfect gastronomically indulgent, easily accessible, de-urbanising experience.

Although appointed with all the trappings of modernity, this 26 bedroom, 19th century manor house retains the charms of a stately home, with intimate nooks and crannies, voluptuous cushions and open log fires – creating a relaxed atmosphere that permeates the hotel throughout, perfectly blending old-world provenance with modern accoutrements.

Moving from the old house to their new annexe, the Garden Lodge, one leaves the stately-pile ambience behind and finds altogether a much more contemporary building, styled as a luxury country retreat. This sumptuous addition has added extra capacity to Northcote’s offering, with its eight luxurious rooms, including one regal master suite, all fitted out to the highest of standards.


Each year, Northcote is home to Obsession, their annual homage to the finest food and wine. Established in 2001 as one of Europe’s premier gastronomic events, Obsession sees Michelin-starred guest chefs jetting in from across the globe, each one taking over Northcote’s extensive kitchen facilities for the night and rising to the challenge of producing a unique menu for the evening’s guests.

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“The perfect gastronomically indulgent, easily accessible, de-urbanising experience”

This series of show-stopping dinners showcases local produce and global flavours in a food festival like no other – as these giants of gastronomy celebrate the finest food, wine and service one could imagine.

What began as a small celebration for Northcote’s customers has now evolved into an event that has gained real traction and acclaim, a genuine festival that people at the top of their profession clamour to take part in and to be associated with and, this year, Obsession celebrated its seventeenth outing, presenting 23 chefs in a seventeen-night celebration of cuisine, with an incredible line-up of talent from across the world.

Chef Patron, Nigel Haworth, said: “Obsession is now in its seventeenth year and its great reputation means that it is self-propelling; as soon as we finish one event, we’re already thinking about the next. We now have an eclectic mix of chefs, covering all spheres of cooking from across the world, including a new focus on the Americas. Many guests will come and book stays of several nights, so I want to make sure there are plenty of appealing options.”


The Northcote’s award-winning restaurant has held a Michelin star for 20 consecutive years since 1995, having been founded by Haworth and Bancroft in 1984. Mr Bancroft now handles the day-to-day running of Northcote and, with his wine team, selects the wine pairings for each à la carte course and tasting menu.

Awarded an ‘Award of Excellence’ in the 2016 Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards for their absolute commitment to wine and breadth of the cellar across multiple wine-growing regions, it is clear to see the great lengths to which the team at the Northcote are pushing themselves.

Calibre Christmas Wine Guide


If you can gather a group of six couples then you can experience a two-night stay and the tasting menu at the chef’s table, where head chef, Lisa Allen, takes guests on a tour de force of culinary exploration. For £1,218 per couple you can experience a two-night stay with breakfast, a five-course gourmet-tasting menu with wine pairings, and a half bottle of Louis RoedererChampagne per couple on the first night and an à la carte dinner in the restaurant on the second.

With a highly slick and professional service team, the hospitality is exquisite and service in their 60-seat restaurant, beneath an ornate crystal chandelier, is welcoming and perfectly pitched.

Needless to say, the food is second to none and the Northcote truly ranks among the best dining and hospitality experiences one can find in the UK.

Barnaby Dracup