Finding the perfect balance between contemporary flair and vintage glamour, The Lawrence in Padiham is a one-off boutique hotel with character in abundance.
Lancashire may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think about escaping to the British countryside for the weekend, but hotelier Michael Huckerby believes that could be about to change. In fact, he was so taken aback by the vast and untapped natural beauty of the area, that he decided to take a punt on a stunning Grade II listed building in the humble town of Padiham and give it a modern makeover.
The end result has so far paid off, because The Lawrence Hotel immediately began picking up glowing reviews and bookings have gone through the roof. Featuring just 14 rooms, each of them unique, you can see where every penny of the £750k investment was spent.
My visit couldn’t have come at a better time, as I was fresh back from Les Gets, where apres ski had outnumbered sporting activities two-to-one by the end of the trip (talk about first world problems). The five-star service kicked in no sooner had we arrived, from the friendly greeting to the freshly baked brownies delivered to my duplex room.
The Tolkien Suite is undoubtedly the hotels show-stopping centrepiece, boasting a super king-size bed with Simba mattress, and a floating bathroom complete with double shower and claw-foot tub.
Exposed beams and oversized Edison lightbulbs create a luxurious feel, and minute details such as the rubber duck perched on the bath and the complimentary sweetie jar add a sense of fun.
And, where many of today’s hotels fall down when it comes to mod-con’s, The Lawrence excels. The huge flat screen TV comes Netflix ready, whilst a Dab radio, Samsung tablet and Amazon Echo make selecting your favourite tunes a breeze.
Downstairs, a grand living room filled with leather sofas and cosy chairs is the ideal spot to unwind with a drink from the honesty bar, which comes with a small but impressive range of spirits. The Courtyard Room is popular with wedding bookings, but also serves as the hotel’s restaurant.
Dinner here was a delight, with the menu making good use of local produce to create a tempting selection of hearty plates. Highlights included the meaty King Prawns and Chorizo in chilli and garlic butter, which came with a welcome side of mop-up bread.
The Smoked Lancashire Bacon and Black Pudding Bon-Bon’s were suitably rich, and balanced perfectly with the sweet chilli jam. Mains were equally satisfying, with the buttery Sirloin Steak all the better for its accompanying field mushroom, onion rings and triple cooked chips.
The homemade Lawrence Burger is big on size and flavour, and blessed with Lancashire cheddar and bacon, and served with crisp skinny fries. The waiting team were again on full form, and more than happy for us to go chill out in the lounge where we enjoyed the decadent White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake.
After a much needed night of kip on the super-comfy bed, I was back down downstairs for a tasty full English.
It’s worth noting that your breakfast order is taken after check-in, and I can highly recommend the Power Green Smoothie, which can be enjoyed along with the usual coffee and juices. Here, we also became acquainted with Hettie the adorable sprocker spaniel, who just so happens to be the hotel’s official mascot.
As you may have guessed, the hotel is very much dog-friendly, which makes it ideal for those looking to enjoy a walking weekend with their four-legged beast. Padiham is conveniently located close to Ribble Valley and The Forrest of Bowland (an AONB since 1964), making The Lawrence the perfect base to explore the untapped gems of Lancashire.
With stunning décor, friendly service, great food and impeccable attention to detail, it would be difficult to find anything to grumble about in this exceptionally charming hotel.
The Lawrence, 26-28 Church Street, Padiham, Lancashire, BB12 8HG. Tel: 07921 684742.
This review is an edited version of a feature which originally appeared in our Winter 2019 issue.
Words and photography by Jordan Fletcher.