While we all love a good jaunt to far-flung destinations when possible, sometimes the best experiences are sitting right under our noses.

Based in the heart of the Ribble Valley, Clitheroe is a lovely, picturesque town, with its beautiful hilltop castle and independent businesses making for a perfect getaway. 

One of those businesses is Bowland Beer Hall, based at Holmes Mill in the centre of the town. 

The pub, which is known for its 32-metre bar - one of the longest in the country - has won multiple accolades in recent years, including Taproom of the Year at the National Pub and Bar Awards 2022

The Bolton News: Classic double bedroom at Spinning BlockClassic double bedroom at Spinning Block (Image: Newsquest)

It has teamed up with the three star-rated Spinning Block Hotel, which is also based at the mill, to offer a getaway that will make beer lovers salivate. 

Called 'Beercation' and costing £150, the deal secures a stay for two at the hotel, with £50 of that to be spent in the beer hall, on food and drink. 

Both my girlfriend and I love a good beer, so this was right up our street, but if they aren't to your taste, a selection of other drinks is also available on the offer. 

So, we went along on a Tuesday in late February, which may sound odd, but it was around my birthday and the brewery offers half-price on selected beers on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

Unfortunately, it was chucking it down when we arrived in Clitheroe that afternoon, and during the two-minute walk from the car to the hotel lobby, we got soaked through. 

The Bolton News: Beer gift bagBeer gift bag (Image: Newsquest)

No matter though, a friendly greeting at the reception and we were off to our room to get dry. 

You get a 'classic double bedroom' as part of the deal, which for two people was lovely - spacious, plushly appointed and comfortable. 

An en-suite comes as part of the room, with a walk-in shower that could take the skin off your back if you so desired. 

Also included in the offer is a beer gift bag, with two bottles of Bowland beer (we got Pheasant Plucker and Deer Hunter, both lovely), a packet of crisps and a branded bottle opener. 

There is an ale trail map of pubs in the town, and breakfast the next morning comes as part of the deal. 

The Bolton News: Our beer paddles of Bowland's own brewsOur beer paddles of Bowland's own brews (Image: Newsquest)

We took solace from the pelting rain in the room (which was no great shame), until it was time for the main event: the beer hall! 

We were booked in for 7.30pm, which for a Tuesday was still relatively busy. Punters were sat in the bar enjoying the range of beers, but there was a steady stream of diners throughout the evening. 

Starting with a couple of beers from the vast selection of cask ales, my partner had a Heart and Soul IPA by Vocation and I had a Leap Frog pale ale from Tyneside brewers Two By Two. 

Both were lovely, hoppy beers, although don't count on them being there, as the brewery chops and changes its guest ales regularly. 

The Bolton News: Reporter Zach Harrison enjoying himself on the BeercationReporter Zach Harrison enjoying himself on the Beercation (Image: Newsquest)

We sat next to an old wheel, no doubt a relic from the industrial past of the building. 

Sitting in our wingback chairs, with a candle lit on the table, there was a lovely and unique ambiance in the room, and across the entire beer hall for that matter. 

For food, I had a classic winter warmer: a steak and ale pie from Chatburn-based Roy Porter Butchers, accompanied by mushy peas, chunky chips and 'proper' gravy. 

This meal was cracking! The pie was a lovely texture - flavour-wise, I'd personally have liked more gravy inside it, but that was remedied with the ample gravy that came alongside, and the meat was still of a good quality. 

The mushy peas were great, but the highlight was the chips: so flavoursome, and salted perfectly. I know chips should be a fairly easy thing to get right, but you know when you have a mediocre chip, and these definitely don't fit that bill. 

The Bolton News: Steak and ale pie with chips, mushy peas and gravySteak and ale pie with chips, mushy peas and gravy (Image: Newsquest)

My girlfriend opted for the crispy halloumi, chilli and sesame flatbread, which came with house-seasoned fries, tabbouleh, pickled onions, harissa hummus and garden salad. 

She felt the wrap was "very yummy", was happy that it was a fresher, healthier option and was impressed with the portion size and how quickly it came. 

Her only sticking point was being not as much a fan of the tabbouleh. 

For me, the harissa hummus was a particular highlight, offering a bit of a kick but not too much. 

After the food, having never tried Bowland's beers themselves, we decided to try a selection of their own brews. 

The Bolton News: Halloumi flatbread with fries, tabbouleh and saladHalloumi flatbread with fries, tabbouleh and salad (Image: Newsquest)

As well as standard pints and half pints, the bar offers 'paddles', which allow you to try a third of a pint. 

We had Pheasant Plucker, Deer Stalker, Bowland Gold, their IPA, Bumble and Hen Harrier. 

I loved Pheasant Plucker, more of an old-style bitter, and Deer Stalker, the brewery's stout, while my girlfriend was a particular fan of the IPA and the Gold ale, but all of them tasted great. 

Following the meal, lo and behold, the weather had cleared up, so we went for a stroll up to the castle, where you can take in lovely views over the town. 

The Bolton News: Knocking them down at the duck pin bowlingKnocking them down at the duck pin bowling (Image: Newsquest)

I would love to tell you of the amazing walks we were able to do, or of how we explored the surrounding area, but in the morning it switched back to heavy rain, which puts one off somewhat. 

We did, however, have a wander around Clitheroe during the day, glancing in a few shops and getting a couple of pastries from Stansfield's bakery - well recommended! 

Finally, we decided to have a round of duckpin bowling at Holmes Mill, with smaller pins and balls than classic tenpin bowling. 

You can pay for half an hour for £18, or an hour for £30, with games from standard bowling, to Angry Birds bowling - it's great fun. 

And with that, we got in the car and trudged back to Manchester. 


A well-appointed, comfortable, hotel room, combined with delicious food and stunning beers, this deal makes for a blend not to be missed. 

More about the venue

Located in the middle of Clitheroe, Holmes Mill is around a five-minute walk from the town's high street. 

It is easily accessible by train, being a short walk from the station, and there are plenty of car parks nearby for drivers, with the town not far from Blackburn, Burnley and Accrington and the motorways and major roads that serve the area. 

Nature is easily reached, with both the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland nearby. 

Clitheroe itself offers plenty of options for food and shopping, and nearby Whalley offers more of the same.