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Restaurant of the Month: Assheton Arms

Restaurant of the Month: Assheton Arms

Restaurant of the Month: Assheton Arms


Winner of a number of awards, including Lancashire Life Dining Pub of the Year, Lancashire Tourism Awards Pub of the Year and Ribble Valley Tourism Team of the Year, this historic Grade II listed village pub is in the untouched conservation village of Downham.

Boasting stunning views of Pendle Hill, 12 bedrooms are available for bookings. This traditional country inn, perfect for a drink with friends or a meal out, has a great atmosphere created by our drinkers and diners.

The restaurant sources the best of British produce to ensure high levels of quality and consistency and also have daily changing specials. Want something off-menu or a specific type of seafood, or cut of meat, just give the restaurant 48hours notice and if it’s in season, they will sort it.

Antony Shirley, executive head chef at the Assheton Arms and the Seafood Pub Company, explains what motives him.

Why do you do what you do? 

I’ve wanted to do this forever. Growing up, I did doubt myself and never knew if I’d be any good at it but I’ve been really fortunate to work with some great people and have been able to develop into the role I’m in today. It’s really amazing to be able to do what you absolutely love.

What  do enjoy most about your job?

To be honest, I enjoy all aspect of cooking. Whether it’s the excitement that comes with the creativity, or the fact that the industry never stands still.

Hospitality constantly evolves, and there are always new techniques to learn and new ideas to explore. There is never a dull moment.

What do you enjoy least about your job?

The hardest part of my role is seeing the lack of chefs’ skills in the market. We actually work very closely with a number of colleges so we are able to work with them to develop and train young people coming through the ranks.

However, there is a shortage but it is getting better so hopefully this won’t be such a challenge in the future.

What achievement for the restaurant are you most proud of?

I think the fact that we rejuvenated the Assheton Arms and made it an integral part of the village again is a wonderful feeling for all of us.

People now travel for far and wide to visit the Assh and that is down to a lot of hard work from so many people across our business.

The fact that it is so highly regarded by guests and the industry is really something else.

Do you use British produce?

Yes, a huge percentage of our fish is British and seasonal – this is something we are really known for.

I’d also say that we use lots of British cheeses too. I don’t think any other country has cheese like ours.

Our business is famous for its specials. The specials menus are effectively written for us by the seasons. So we will always source British and seasonally at any given opportunity.

What do you think is best about using British produce?

It’s fantastic when you can trace your produce directly back to the farm.

From a quality perspective, it’s fresh and hasn’t travelled far and we can always visit the source if we want to.

Given our local, we are very lucky to have some fantastic producers. We have a great coastline for fish, and have some fantastic Lancashire grass fed beef, or even Pendle lamb. We are actually spoilt for choice so it’s a brilliant place to be a chef!

Why should people buy British?

It’s important that we are able to sustain our industries. Not only from an economic perspective but actually because it’s just fresher and tastier!

What is your most popular dish?

Our fish pie is a real signature dish. It’s very well made. We actually make them to order and use quality ingredients which make it a real favourite with our guests.

Contact Antony Shirley, executive head chef at the Assheton Arms and the Seafood Pub Company at or on 01200441227.

Find them on Facebook and Twitter at and @AsshetonArms