Assheton Arms Pub with rooms in Downham, Lancashire

Prices from:
£80 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Beautiful conservation village setting
  • Handsome building – gives you a glow
  • Feels pubby – rustic but very smart
  • Impressive, friendly service
  • Very appealing, crowd-pleasing menu
  • Comfy bedrooms – amazing views

PerkInn Places Perk

Complimentary Bottle of Prosecco

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitNo Car NeededPrivate Dining

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Call this inn 01200 469173


Assheton Arms Downham, Lancashire, BB7 4BJ

The personal touch

Lord & Lady Clitheroe own Downham and it hasn’t altered in decades; you won’t find any street signs, road markings or TV aerials – but you will find a beautifully preserved village laid out gracefully beneath the often dark and always intriguing Pendle Hill. They own the 18th century, Grade II listed Assheton Arms too, though the Seafood Pub Company, operated by Joycelyn Neve, are very happy to have it in their ‘stable’ and they have done a fabulous refurbishment job. Driving into the village is to leave the 21st century behind, and the feeling continues as you step into the handsome pub, though it’s bang up-to-date in the ways that matter. Stone flags, wood floors and beams remain and the feel is rustic chic, with comfortably upholstered chairs, buttoned banquettes and scrubbed wooden tables. There’s no shortage of places to sit, with five different rooms including a smart private dining area and a cosy room downstairs with a working range. As the nights draw in, settle in the charming stone-floored snug in front of the fire.

Sticky fingers

Kids are very welcome and they have their own menu: pitta soldiers with hummus, fish bites with fries & peas, fish pie, cheese & onion fritters, fish finger butty, chicken fried rice with peas. Little puds: ice cream, choc mousse with oat cookie. Importantly, there’s loads of room so you can avoid families if you’d rather! There are ‘activity packs’ for your little darlings to keep them occupied too, and they can stay over too – there’s a family room and a family cottage available.

Muddy paws

Dogs allowed in the bar and two of the bedrooms.


The place to be on a good day is outside on the lovely patio with its views across to St Leonard’s church and down the high street.

What’s on?

Tandoor on the Terrace; beer tastings; High Tea with live music once a month.

What’s the Damage?
12 doubles: £80 – £220

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking: small car park but there’s another (free) car park just down the road

Waitrose Good Food Guide; AA 5 Star Inn & 1 Rosette


Assheton Arms Downham, Lancashire, BB7 4BJ

Do not disturb

You’ll find the twelve bedrooms in two locations close to the inn; The Old Post Office is just below the pub and Ash Cottage just above. Both buildings have been carefully renovated and the spaces are intriguing, with lots of original features thoughtfully retained, including deep window sills, beams and fabulous fireplaces. Whilst your surroundings nod to the past, the rooms couldn’t be more modern – find beautiful bed linen, fat mattresses and luxurious textiles and calm, soothing colours. Bathrooms are a big feature – no expense has been spared – they’re all rather glamorous (with Orla Kiely smellies) and one or two are absolutely stunning, with free-standing baths and huge walk-in showers. If you’re bringing your canine chum, book a room in Ash Cottage and take advantage of the private, enclosed garden at the back – it’s a lovely place to enjoy a sun-downer whilst Fido frolicks safely – and treat him to the home-made doggie biscuits in your room.

Creature comforts

Orla Kiely smellies; homemade dog bics!


Wi-Fi; Flatscreen TVs

What’s for Breakfast?

Lancashire breakfast (full English); smoked salmon, scrambled eggs on toasted muffins; kippers; 3 egg omelette; bacon or sausage butty; wild mushrooms on toasted brioche with a poached egg; pastries

What’s the Damage?
12 doubles: £80 – £220

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking: small car park but there’s another (free) car park just down the road

Waitrose Good Food Guide; AA 5 Star Inn & 1 Rosette

Eat & Drink

Assheton Arms Downham, Lancashire, BB7 4BJ

Mastering the menu

The Neve family has been fishing since 1840, so it’s no surprise that those years of passion, experience and expertise are reflected in the menu. Expect the likes of devilled crab, salmon and brown shrimp with sea salt croutes and Goan king prawn curry, or hake with smoked salmon potato pancake and shellfish butter sauce. Give the kitchen 24 hours’ notice and they’ll procure oysters and langoustine for you. There’s not just fish though – they’ve a Robata grill and the gammon ribeye, pork fillet wrapped in bacon and glazed belly with black pudding fritter is a fabulous plate – best tackled after a walk round the stunning village. Chef Antony Shirley earned his stripes at Harvey Nichols and Raffles in the West Indies and knows a thing or two about crowd-pleasing – his appealing menu runs through the entire place – choose one of the handsome, comfortable dining rooms where wood stoves belt out cheer on a chilly day or the stone-floored snug. When the sun’s shining, the place to be is the big sun-trap of a terrace which commands views down the street. Specials change daily and might include the likes of sea bass with noodles, ginger and chilli. Herbs and leaves are often supplied by Lady Clitheroe who pitches up at the back door when there’s a glut in her kitchen garden!

On the menu

Devilled crab, salmon and brown shrimp with radish and cress salad
Southern fried cod with gem salad, avocado, lime & chilli mayo
Piggy grill (on the Robata): gammon ribeye with fried duck egg, pork fillet wrapped in streaky bacon with pineapple and grain mustard ketchup, glazed pork belly with mash and black pudding fritter
Toro pie: slow-cooked beef and chorizo with manchego & paprika fries
Indian shepherd’s pie with spiced mash and chilli pickled beets

Sunday Roasts

The usual suspects: beef, lamb, pork, chicken

Foodies extras

They’ve got a Robata grill in the kitchen and their own smoker. Breakfasts are available from 7.30am for walkers/postmen/insomniacs.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 7.30am – 9.30am (8.30am – 10am weekends)
Lunch: 12 noon – 5pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm (12 noon – 10pm weekends)

Behind the bar

There’ll always be three hand pulls behind the bar – Thwaites Wainwright, Timothy Taylor Landlord and Moorhouses Pride of Pendle are regulars, with Black Sheep and Copper Dragon ringing the changes from time to time. There’s a good gin list if that’s your poison, and for the soft drinkers, Fentimans Ginger Ale is a favourite. They’re serious about their coffee too, with a good Americano appearing from a hissing espresso machine.

Bar snacks

Sour dough baguette with oil & balsamic; haddock goujons with marie rose sauce; pitta bread with hummus; cheese fritters with caramelised onion mayo; fried Padron peppers with sea salt

Time at the bar

10am – 10pm (longer at weekends)

Local, local, local

Meat from Grassroots, Pendle (
Poultry from Reg Johnson, Goosnargh (
Dairy from Dewlay and Hills Fine Foods, Longridge (www.hillsfinefoods)
Fish from Chris Neve, Fleetwood
Lady Clitheroe sometimes pitches up with herbs from her ‘garden’ and Chris Neve brings figs from his tree at home.

What’s the Damage?
12 doubles: £80 – £220

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking: small car park but there’s another (free) car park just down the road

Waitrose Good Food Guide; AA 5 Star Inn & 1 Rosette

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know –

1 Inn Location - Assheton Arms


Cheesie Tchaikovsky, Castle Street, Clitheroe BB7 2BX

It’s impossible to leave this wonderful shop without an armful of goodies! Owner Jan Curtis is something of an expert and there’s nothing she likes more than to be quizzed on the diverse range of UK and continental artisan-made cheeses in her shop, including great cheese from Rungis market in Paris. Jan is careful to include the best local and British cheeses too, including Shorrock’s Black Beauty, Greenfield’s Tasty, Blackstick’s Blue and Silk, Mrs Kirkham’s and the beautiful new soft cheese from the Pextenement Cheese Company in Todmorden.


D.Byrne & Co Wine Merchants, Clitheroe BB7 2EP

In the family for over 130 years, this fabulous Victorian shop is one of the countries best independent wine merchants. Their selection of wines, stacked floor to ceiling in the labyrinth of rooms is formidable, but they also have a staggering collection of specialist spirits. The Byrnes - great grandsons of the founder - are immensely knowledgeable and completely approachable.


The Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe BB7 9DF

Steven Smith continues his inevitable journey to stardom in this comfortable, stylish, smart country inn in pretty Wiswell. Expect accessible fine dining and a menu that exemplifies the local/seasonal mantra from a kitchen posse who really seem to care; the Herdwick lamb, roast rack and belly, black olive, roast Cevennes onion and Haggis Shepherd's pie nails it. You'll have a truly memorable meal.


Roy Porter Butchers, Chatburn, Clitheroe BB7 4AW

Traditional shop selling meat from traditionally reared native breeds 'cut by butchers who care'! Find beef, pork, lamb, poultry and game - and possibly the best home made meat pies in the county!


Roaming Roosters Bistro, Higham BB12 9ER

Take a seat at the Olde Spot Bistro in this fab farm shop and enjoy dishes made from the free range and organic produce you've just been browsing- the likes of gammon and eggs, Blue Rooster chicken escalopes or a grass-fed beef steak and chips.


Food by Breda Murphy, 41 Station Rd, Whalley BB7 9RH

One of Ballymaloe's star pupils (she subsequently became a tutor) Breda Murphy has shifted her skills to an incongruous semi by the railway station - but don't be put off. Her style is fresh and innovative, and her presentation is pretty as a picture - expect the likes of pan seared sea bass fillet with kimchi but save room for warm Guinness parkin, iced cream cheese and date caramel. Outstanding.


Hudsons of Chatburn, 2 Downham Road, Chatburn BB7 4AU

Old fashioned, family run home made ice cream parlour - fab flavours and seats outside to enjoy them, with lovely views down the pretty village. They sell local eggs, honey and cakes too. It's a good place to buy sandwiches if you're planning a picnic by the beautiful River Ribble.


Roaming Roosters Farm Shop, Higham BB12 9ER

Award-winning farm shop and great cafe - you'll find free range meats of all descriptions plus local honey, biscuits, preserves and cakes. It's all good stuff, and they have an emphasis on sustainable, traditional and heritage.


White Swan, 300 Wheatley Lane Road, Fence BB12 9QA

It's a Timothy Taylor pub, but don't expect sticky carpets and a dart board - an adventurous young chef, Tom Parker (ex-Northcote, a pupil of Lisa Allen) is wowing the food world with his simple but startling dishes - his shepherd's pie is nothing like you'd expect, and the rice pudding has never been less school-dinners. It's a friendly, relaxed vibe and you can of course have a pint - but try the home-made gin, it's a belter!

Out & About

1 Inn Location - Assheton Arms



Bowland Forest Gliding Club, Chipping PR3 2WN

For a taste of real Pennine adventure, try soaring on the thermals high above the stunning landscape of the Forest of Bowland. This exhilarating activity captures the region's varied scenery at its best.


Fishing BB7 3AT

The Forest of Bowland boasts four of the most scenic and picturesque rivers – the Ribble, Hodder, Wyre and Lune – which mainly offer game fish, including salmon, brown trout and sea trout. The upper Hodder has a growing reputation for grayling fishing. For a directory of other places to fish in the region, visit:



The Emporium, Clitheroe BB7 1BE

Expect a few surprises at this former Methodist chapel site, which has been lovingly and painstakingly converted to provide three huge levels for eating, drinking and shopping, or more specifically a coffee shop, wine bar and brasserie, and interior design superstore.


Simpsons, Greenfield Road, Colne BB8 9PF

Bespoke furniture is Simpson's speciality. Founded in 1977, the company employs a large team, including skilled craftsmen, all of whom are based in a striking 18th-century mill.


Skipton Antiques and Collectors Centre, The Old Foundry, Cavendish Street, Skipton BD23 2AB

You might have seen the Skipton Antiques and Collectors Centre on the BBC's Antiques Road Trip. It comprises four floors of specialist dealers selling jewellery, furniture, clocks, ceramics, books and loads more.


The Vintage Washhouse, 3 Court Lane, Skipton BD23 1DD

An unusual little shop with a 1940s theme, selling handcrafted dishcloths, vintage-inspired homeware and gifts as well as a wide selection of traditional cleaning products - soap flakes, white vinegar, soda crystals, laundry starch and traditional linen scrim, for example. Old-fashioned cleaning methods have made something of a comeback recently, giving excellent allergen-free results. The owner's 'Mrs Mop' outfit adds the finishing touch.


Mill Bridge Gallery, Skipton BD23 1NJ

The gallery is located in a canal-side building dating back to 1675 (said to be the oldest dwelling in Skipton), and is a showcase for the work of more than 20 talented local photographers and sculptors.


Cave & Crag, Market Place, Settle BD24 9ED

C&C specialises in clothing and equipment for climbers and walkers, plus camping gear, guide books, footwear, rucksacks, GPS - in fact, pretty much everything you might need for that outdoor adventure.


Stydd Gardens, Stoneygate Lane, Ribchester PR3 3YN

Stydd Gardens is one of the region’s quirkiest shopping venues – hugely captivating, entertaining, vintage shabby and chic – with a garden nursery with the accent on old-fashioned roses and plants grown on site, and a bespoke wine company among the attractions.

Places to visit


Settle to Carlisle Railway BD24 9EJ

More like a cleverly designed visitor attraction than a vital lifeline serving countless communities in the wilds of Cumbria and North Yorkshire, the Settle-Carlisle Railway offers a constant backdrop of fells and moorland. Make a day of it and jump off at any number of stops en route.


Pendle Heritage Centre, Barrowford BB9 6JQ

The museum explains in great detail the history and origins of local people and where they settled. The museum, tearooms and shops are housed in attractively restored farm buildings overlooking Pendle Water.


Browsholme Hall, Cow Ark, Clitheroe BB7 3DE

Pronounced 'Brusome', the hall is the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire, the ancestral home of the Parker family, who have lived there since it was built in 1507. Together with the gardens it is open to visitors from May to September. Chinese porcelain and antique oak furniture are among many fine items on display.


Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham, Burnley BB12 8UA

Sir Charles Barry, who designed the Palace of Westminster, was responsible for the striking interiors of this imposing house outside Burnley. Gawthorpe Hall was once home to the Kay-Shuttleworth family, influential figures in the local textile industry. There are paintings here on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.


Skipton Castle, BD23 1AW

The massive twin towers of Skipton Castle dominate the town's High Street, and it's one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England. You can explore the banqueting hall and kitchen or climb from the dungeon to the top of the watchtower.


Bolton Abbey, Skipton BD23 6EX

Taking its name from a 12th-century Augustinian monastery, Bolton Abbey lies on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The setting is superb and the tranquil surroundings are infused with fascinating history and legend.


Malham Cove BD23 4DG

This huge cliff formation is curved like an amphitheatre. The cliffs themselves are about 260 feet high, with an unusual area of deeply eroded limestone pavement on top. People have been visiting the site for hundreds of years as it creates a unique habitat for wildlife and all kinds of rare wild flowers and ferns. You might recognise it as one of the places Harry and Hermione camp in during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.


Stydd Gardens, Stoneygate Lane, Ribchester PR3 3YN

Stydd Gardens is one of the region's quirkiest shopping venues - hugely captivating, entertaining, vintage shabby and chic - with a garden nursery with the accent on old-fashioned roses and plants grown on site, and a bespoke wine company among the attractions.


Yorkshire Dales Lead Mining Museum, Earby, Barnoldswick BB18 6QF

This visitor attraction offers the chance to view a unique collection of tools, photographs and memorabilia reflecting the mining, dressing and smelting of lead ore. Other items include, of all things, a steel hook and socket worn by a miner who had lost his hand.

Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1964, the rugged grandeur of the Forest of Bowland is a spectacular part of Britain’s Pennine landscape – where steep-sided valleys and tracts of heather-covered grouse moor entice the walker. In addition to gentler routes and family rambles, there are longer walks to try – among them the long-distance Ribble Way and Pendle Way.

One of the best destinations for cycling in the Forest of Bowland is Gisburn, in the region’s south east corner. This is Lancashire’s largest forest and within it you’ll find several graded, colour-coded mountain bike trails. There’s a green route for beginners, while those who like their cycling to be more challenging there is an 8.5km blue route and a 20km red route.

The Forest of Bowland is blessed with a great many festivals and events, celebrating and reflecting the cherished traditions and rich heritage of this unique area. There are art events – including ceramic workshops, photography, theatre and creative writing, wildlife meadow walks, and farm visits for families.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Downham is signed off the A59 between Clitheroe and Gisburn, 3 miles north-west of Clitheroe.


Downham,Clitheroe, Downham, Lancashire, BB7 4BJ

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Sally Shalam, Conde Naste Traveller (UK) 2015,
“River-threaded woodland and the plateau summit of isolated Pendle Hill lure walkers to the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire. Downham Brook wends its babbling way through the estate village of Downham, across the street from my latest discovery, the Assheton Arms. This dining pub rewards walkers with its smokehouse delights (haddock with ale rarebit, potted smoked duck), but the kitchen also makes much of Morecambe Bay and Lancastrian farm provender. Rooms, created from the old Post Office next door are being teased into completion right this minute. Which means instead of attempting to navigate Bowland’s narrow lanes after dark, you can feed the ducks before breakfast.”

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