The Cartford Inn

North West England Lancashire Preston

  • 15 Guest Rooms & Suites
  • Contemporary Coaching Inn

This Lancashire inn is a shining beacon of good cooking and warm hospitality

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If ever there was an advertisement for the benefits of the entente-cordiale, then the Cartford Inn is surely it – a contemporary inn situated in a perfect position on a meander of the river Wyre in deepest rural Lancashire. It's the brainchild of Anglo-French couple Julie and Patrick Beame, who met in Texas some 30 years ago, worked in hospitality and eventually came back to Julie's old local to found their own business – a foodie inn that has grown in recent years on the back of its own success. It's a far cry rom the inn's previous rather dubious reputation as a place of amorous liaisons and shady dealings. It remains an inn, and it's by a river, but it's unlike any riverside country inn you may have been to and all the better for it – a shining beacon of good cooking and warm hospitality in a beautiful rural location.

Originally confined to just the front part of the building, Julie and Patrick added an extension and more bedrooms in 2011, and since then they have converted the outbuildings, which include a former brewhouse, to  a deli and gallery and private dining space. They have also added a couple of modernist cabins that serve as high-end suites. The guest rooms are all deliberately different, and reflect Julie's tastes in contemporary art, with bright and vibrant colours and all sorts of eclectic features. They vary from cosy 'Deluxe' doubles to the fabulous cabin suites across the car park, which have balconies that overlook the river. One of the cabins  – Ziggy's – is decorated in retro style to reflect Julie's love of Bowie (indeed there are reminders of 'The Dame' all over the hotel), while both not only have record decks and a choice of vinyl but also heaters on their balconies so you can enjoy your rather special view all year round – just one among the many details that set the Cartford Inn apart from more run-of-the-mill places.  Seven rooms have baths as well as spacious walk-in showers, and all the rooms come with comfy beds, good wifi, Smart TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities and water; some also have Sonos sound systems and digital radios.

The bar and restaurant is a relaxed space that's as good for a big night out as it is for a romantic dinner for two, and it matches the playful and contemporary sense of style of the rest of the inn, with up-cycled timber and lots of intriguing art and colourful friezes. Just reading chef Patrick's Franco-Lancashire menu is guaranteed to make you hungry: it includes a few French crowd-pleasers – snails, French onion soup, a fruits de mer platter – along with more recognisably local dishes, such as  pickled cockles and suet pudding, and seasonal ingredients like locally foraged mushrooms, black pudding and various other hearty Lancashire fixings like oxtail and lamb's hearts. Food is at the heart of everything at the Cartford Inn, and it's hard to fault it, but you can at least  take something home with you from the the deli, which sells the Inn's own-label products (gin, wine, chocolates and much more). Then it's time to leave. But not without saying a big fat Merci to Julie and Patrick for meeting up all those years ago and creating something unique – Vive la Difference!



Open all year.


Double rooms from £190 to £280 a night, including breakfast.


Contact Website  01995 670 166  The Cartford Inn, Cartford Lane, Little Eccleston, Near Preston, Lancashire PR3 0YP

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  • Bar
  • Gardens & Grounds
  • Restaurant
  • Wifi
  • Walking
  • Restaurant with Rooms
  • Car-charging points
  • Family rooms
  • Parking
  • Five-Star Luxury
  • Foodies
  • Historic
  • Remote location
  • Romantic Retreat
  • Sensational Views
  • Waterside
  • Boutique hotel

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