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Standing at a crossroads in sleepy Dolphinholme, deep in rolling farming country, you'll find the grey-stone Fleece Inn with the mighty Bowland Fells as a backdrop. The former 17th-century farmhouse has been rescued and revamped, focusing on preserving the pub for the local community.

The warren of dining rooms exude traditional charm and character, and there's even a small shop to compensate for the loss of the village store a few years ago, selling local artisan produce, interesting wines, little necessities and maps for guests staying at the inn.

Expect crackling log fires on cooler days, fresh flowers on oak tables in the summer, rugs on ancient flagged floors, oak-panelled walls, leather banquettes and a relaxing, music-free atmosphere - just happy hubbub at the bar. The food fits the setting perfectly - traditional dishes and adventurous specials cooked very well from local produce. Equally in tune with the setting are the nine beautifully refurbished rooms. There are picnic benches tucked behind planters at the front and a secluded garden and a wild flower meadow to the rear of the pub.

Rooms from

9 doubles & 1 apartment: £125

Good to know

  • All major credit cards accepted
  • Disabled access
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking available
  • Dogs welcome overnight in two rooms

Family favourite
Children are made very welcome in the bar with a kid's menu and there is family accommodation for an overnight stay too.

Outdoor adventures
The rugged grandeur of the Forest of Bowland is a spectacular part of Britain's Pennine landscape, perfect to explore by foot.

Scenic and serene
Deep in rolling farming country and with gorgeous vistas of the mighty Bowland Fells, this is the perfect spot to switch off and indulge in some real relaxation.


The nine refurbished rooms are named after local walking areas and all are individually styled to a very high standard, with all but one located up the fine oak staircase, dominated by an impressive deer antler chandelier.

Rooms in the original building are all character and charm, retaining high ceilings and exposed old beams, while rooms in the new extension offer more space and superb countryside views. Dogs are allowed overnight in Marshaw Fell and Ward Stone rooms.

All are well designed and beautifully furnished in classic style, with deep, soft lambs-wool carpets, comfortable king-size beds top with quality linen, rich and colourful fabrics, interesting artwork on warmly painted walls, big lamps, and super tiled bathrooms with both bath and huge walk-in rain showers.

The new Tarnbrook Suite is a spacious self-catering apartment, comprising a very comfortable lounge; a swish bathroom with Lakeland Stone wall and floor tiles, and seperate bath and shower facilites, a fully-ffitted kitchen, and a luxurious bedroom with plush furnishings and an oak beamed ceiling.

Restaurant & bar

Serving up good honest food from locally sourced ingredients, dishes are well presented and big on flavour, merging pub classics alongside more inventive specials.

Lancashire is well blessed with artisan food producers and The Fleece taps into this flourishing network, sourcing produce from Neve of Fleetwood for fish, Honeywells Butchers at Woodplumpton for meat, Ribble Farm Fare at Longridge for vegetables and Pebby's bakers in Little Eccleston. Typical choices include black pudding scotch egg with homemade brown sauce; Lancashire hotpot; and steamed stem ginger pudding.

Expect to be greeted by four gleaming handpumps at the bar, all dispensing ales from Lancashire and North Yorkshire breweries, perhaps Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Lancaster Blonde, Black Sheep Best Bitter, and Bowland Gold.
Things to do

For a little injection of history, head to Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham. Sir Charles Barry, who designed London's 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, so it's worth the visit.

The rugged grandeur of the nearby Forest of Bowland is a spectacular part of Britain's Pennine landscape. The forest is characterised by steep-sided valleys and tracts of heather-covered grouse moor. In addition to gentler routes and family rambles, there are several long-distance trails to enjoy - including the Ribble Way and the Pendle Way. For something a little different, try the 9km-Tolkien Trail at Hurst Green, north of Blackburn.

Close to the Forest of Bowland lies one of Britain's oldest and most fascinating cities - Lancaster. This was Lancashire's former county town and here you can tour its historic streets and quaint riverside quays. The castle and the priory look out over the rooftops and down near the waterfront the very informative Maritime Museum recalls the era of cotton and slavery.

Getting here


Nearest train station: Lancaster
Taxi from station: 19min
Drive: Kendal 35min; Blackpool 36min; Manchester 1hr


Dolphinholme, Lancaster, Lancashire LA2 9AQ

Enquire to book

To make a booking enquiry, please use the form below or you can call our reservations team on 020 8161 0100. Our phone lines are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11am - 3pm.

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