A truly stunning setting for a restaurant and hotel experience unlike you’d ever expect in the middle of Lancashire, Hipping Hall sits at the foot of the imposing Gragareth Peak on the very cusp of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
A gorgeous 17th Century stone-built residence, Hipping Hall opened it’s doors as a restaurant with rooms 12 years ago, and in 2010 featured in the BBC comedy ‘The Trip‘ with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
Alongside some pretty special Ronnie Corbett and Michael Caine impressions, the lads tucked into Hand-dived Scallops, Confit Pork Belly, Roast Halibut and a spectacular Roast Saddle of Holker Hall Venison.
The restaurant today is watched over by Head Chef (and MasterChef The Professionals winner) Oli Martin, whose menu draws from the lands of Lancashire, as well as neighbouring Yorkshire and Cumbria for produce.
With a modern, diverse and often thrilling menu of dishes, Oli packs flavour into every turn, and presents a masterful Tasting Menu that is not only jam-packed with the very finest ingredients, but is also surprisingly light on the wallet.
Stand-outs on the menu include the freshly foraged Hen of the Woods mushroom with St James custard and eggy bread, and the Wild Turbot with truffled leeks, soured barley and brown butter – always a welcome addition to any dish.
Pre-dessert came in the form of a truly excellent Pine Jelly, which perfectly encapsulates Oli’s creativity and experimentation.
The wine list is carefully considered and curated too, with the aim to offer something unique and vibrant for any palate and price range.
Their Sommelier and importer have carefully selected small vineyards from across the world, hand-picking the finest organic, bio-dynamic and natural wines to pair with Oli Martin’s food.
There’s an impressive range of wines available by the glass, alongside bottles of the finest English Sparkling Wines (amongst much else) including the phenomenal Limney Horsmonden Roseé from Davenport Vineyard – a 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir that’s pretty much the greatest bottle of fizz I’ve ever tasted in my life.
Hipping Hall isn’t just a restaurant, it’s also a luxurious and charming hotel, with rooms spread over the Main House, the Stables, Cottage and the best room at the top of the house – the Tatham Suite.
The rooms have all fairly recently been renovated and redecorated and boast the kind of period features you could only dream of at home, with original oak ship timber beams, original floors and furniture and fabrics produced by local artisans and tradesmen.
For example, the curtain poles and ironmongery have been hand-crafted by Albion Ironworks of Lancaster – reflecting Hipping’s origins as a smithy back in the 17th Century when it was first built.
Similarly, walls have been decorated with paint pigments by local artists’ Pip Seymour and Rebecca Wallace, who have made use of minerals from the surrounding areas, including Gritstone from Ingleton, Rudstone from the Lune Valley and Backbarrow Blue from the south of Windermere.
Talking of the surrounding area and there’s tonnes to do once you leave the stunning gardens and grounds of the Hall.
You can explore the nearby market town of Kirby Lonsdale, or get walking or cycling through the Lune Valley, one of the English countryside’s unspoilt gems and a source of inspiration for artists, poets and writers for centuries.
Of course, with you being up here in Lancashire, there’s a long list of other activities in the vicinity, many of which you can see here in our guide to Lancashire this Summer…
Hipping Hall offers up some truly exceptional food, wine and an incredible hotel experience, and the way that things are going I don’t think it’ll be long until Oli Martin picks up his first Michelin star. In fact, I’ll put 20 quid on it right now.