Right on the border between Lancashire and Cumbria, this distinguished 17th-century country mansion is surrounded by lovely grounds with gorgeous views – although its main attribute is an atmospheric dining room that looks as if it might do duty as the backdrop for some riotous medieval banquet. Beamed ceilings, tapestry-covered walls and a minstrels’ gallery provide an antiquated backdrop for food with a forthright contemporary accent. Dish descriptions are fashionably terse – think ‘cod, pepper, tomato, courgette’ or ‘Cumbrian pork, cheek, belly, orange, choucroute’ – but the cooking is artful and measured, with lots of fine contrasts and textures. To finish, try a cheeky combo of rhubarb, marshmallow and tonka beans or honeycomb with whisky and raisins. Meals are interspersed with modish extras, and each dish is flagged with a suitable recommendation from the wide-ranging wine list.