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Overview

Steven Smith's skilful, confident cooking has been drawing foodies from afar to his unassuming pub for just over a decade. However, it's only in recent years we have seen the Freemasons, formerly three small cottages set up a dead-end lane in tiny Wiswell, climb the rankings for quality pub food - 7/10 in the Good Food Guide and number 3 in the Gastropub Awards.

It has been a slow burn but this talented chef is now justifiably reaping the deserved rewards and recent investment in adding four beautiful bedrooms (more to come) and a fabulous private dining room is set to take the Freemasons to another level.

Despite the accolades, this thriving foodie destination is still very much a pub, the relaxed bar area and upstairs dining rooms ooze warmth and traditional charm - low beams, roaring log fires, rugs on flagged or wooden floors, rich fabrics, interesting artwork on painted walls, and fresh flowers and candles on old pine or oak tables. Upstairs has an elegant feel with antiques, candelabras and several private dining options.

Rooms from

Doubles: £160

Good to know

All major credit cards accepted

Rooms closed Mon & Tues

Disabled access

Village street parking

Alfresco & private dining

Quiet romance

Splash out - book Mr Fox or Mr Hare with their upstairs tubs and the kitchen bench for two in Mr Smith's (private dining room) and indulge in the Taste of Mr Smith's set menu accompained by some fine wine.

Dog-friendly

Ground-floor rooms Grouse & Partridge can accommodate two dogs free of charge; welcome in the bar too.

Outdoor Adventures

Climb Pendle Hill or venture into the Trough of Bowland for some exhilarating moorland walking or cast a line in the River Hodder - the fishing is fantastic.

Rooms

Following months fighting planning issues to transform an adjoining cottage into accommodation, four stunning rooms were finally unveiled early in 2019 and they are truly the icing on the cake for this destination dining pub. Now avid foodies can stay overnight and fully indulge in the Freemason's experience.

Arrive early and savour your room as no expense has been spared in making it super comfortable and you won't want to leave - good job the pub is just a few steps away. Expect luxury fabrics, giant beds with the best linen and down, stylish designer lamps, books and objet's art, upholstered easy chairs, Sonus sound systems, a 50-inch Smart TV, and Nespresso machine.

Lavish bathrooms are marble tiled with freestanding tubs, double sinks, vast walk-in storm showers, bathrobes and generous supplies of posh toiletries. Mr Fox and Mr Hare have freestanding baths on mezzanines and separate huge shower rooms. Wake up to a memorable breakfast, served in Mr Smith's.

Restaurant & bar

Local lad 'done good', chef-patron Steven Smith may have plied the stoves at some top foodie places across the North West, but he loves pubs and developing the Freemasons from a humble boozer to one of the best gastropubs in the land has been his passion for the past 10 years.

True to his roots, Steven sources the best local ingredients available and his constantly evolving menus still find room for classic Freemasons' favourites - slow-cooked and sticky beef cheek with crispy potatoes - on the set lunch and early supper menus, and delicious roast beef sirloin on Sundays.

Taking inspiration from around the globe, menu dishes are governed by the seasons and are full of ideas and imagination, with exciting ingredient combinations and bold flavours. Dishes are also expertly prepared and beautifully presented, whether tucking into the hearty winter menu in the bar or lingering over the tasting menu at the kitchen bench in Mr Smith's private dining room, where you can chat to the chefs as they prepare the dishes for you (from £100 per person). Bowland beers on tap and a cracking, thoughtful wine list to explore.

Private dining

Created in 2019 in Steven's 10th year at the Freemasons, Mr Smith's is a forward thinking, experimental and revolutionary kitchen space that showcases the skill and flair of the kitchen team through the special Taste of Mr Smith's menu.

Book the kitchen bench (four stools) in the hub of the kitchen for the ultimate gastronomic experience, or the fabulous oak kitchen table for larger gatherings - maximum 10, minimum 6 people for an intimate dining experience.

Get closer to the culinary action and savour this cutting-edge kitchen space on one of Steven's Cookery Masteclasses or the Chef for the Day Experience. There are also private dining options upstairs in the pub.

Things to do

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.

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

Spend the morning at the Freemasons, one of Britain's best foodie pubs, and learn what it takes to be a professional chef. After the all morning preparation is complete, sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch in the private dining room.

Getting here

Directions

Nearest train station: Whalley

Taxi from station: 5min

Drive: Clitheroe 10min; Blackburn 20min; M6/Preston 30min

Address

8 Vicarage Fold, Wiswell, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9DF

Enquire to book

To make a booking, please use the form below or you can call our reservations team on 020 8161 0100. Our phone lines are open Monday - Friday, 9am - 5.30pm.

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