The Assheton Arms, Downham, Lancashire

Restaurant Review

Assheton Arms, Downham near Clitheroe
Assheton Arms, Downham near Clitheroe

The Assheton Arms lies at the foot of Pendle Hill in the picturesque village of Downham near Clitheroe in Lancashire.  After a lengthy closure, the pub has just re-opened with new owners, Bowland Inns & Hotels, the parent company behind Bowland Brewery and the James Places’ collection of hotels, inns and restaurants.

The bar, Assheton Arms, Downham
The attractive bar

The re-opening of this historic country inn was commemorated with the unveiling of the newly repainted pub sign by Lord and Lady Clitheroe.  The sign reflects the original coat of arms of the Assheton family and is proudly displayed above the entrance door.  I was invited to the pub’s launch weekend and having visited the Assheton Arms under its previous ownership was eager to return and enjoy a meal.


Assheton Arms, Downham with Pendle Hill looming behind
Assheton Arms, Downham with Pendle Hill looming behind

The pub is situated down a country lane, a couple of miles off the A59 Skipton-Clitheroe road.  The closest motorway exit being Junction 13 of the M56 just six miles away.


Downham, near Clitheroe
The pretty stone bridge in Downham village

There’s a car park to the front of the pub with additional parking along the main road through the village.  As we were slightly early we took the opportunity of enjoying a walk through the village before darkness fell.

The village stream, Downham, near Clitheroe
The village stream, Downham, near Clitheroe

Having been brought up in Lancashire, I’ve always thought of Downham as one of the county’s loveliest villages as it is totally unspoilt with its old stone cottages, small humped back bridge and gurgling stream beside the village green.

Bowland Brewery ales at the Assheton Arms, Downham
Bowland Brewery ales at the Assheton Arms, Downham

On entering the pub it felt as if the heart and soul had returned to the village as the bar with its stone flagged floor and exposed oak beams was already full of life and happy customers.  A large wood-burning stove was roaring away in the original stone fireplace and families, friends and pet dogs were all enjoying the convivial atmosphere of the pub’s re-opening.  Before moving into the restaurant we enjoyed a drink in the bar, my husband keen to try a glass of Bowland Brewery’s Pheasant Plucker ale whilst I sipped a glass of Merlot.


Restaurant, Assheton Arms, Downham
Restaurant, Assheton Arms, Downham

The restaurant has been tastefully furnished to complement the age of the building.  Banquette seating and wooden pews line the walls fitted with deep padded seating and comfy cushions to lean back against.  We were shown to our table by Lisa who handed us our menus.  There’s an extensive wine list to suit all budgets with wine by the glass also available.

Assheton Arms
Menu boards

Whilst sipping our glasses of wine we studied the menu and also had a look at the specials board hung on the wall in the corridor.  Ingredients are sourced locally wherever possible with Bury Black Pudding and Clitheroe based Cowman’s award winning sausages being two of the local specialities.

Starters at the Assheton Arms, Downham
Our delicious starters at the Assheton Arms

For my starter I chose coquille St. Jacques served with crusty wholemeal bread.  It’s awhile since I’d last eaten this delicious scallop recipe and I enjoyed it very much.  My husband opted for Tequila cured salmon from the specials board which he found to be very flavoursome.

Sunday roast at the Assheton Arms, Downham
My delicious Sunday roast

Main courses feature refined pub classics including fish and chips, steaks, salmon, fish pie, sea bass, wild mushroom ragout and risotto primavera.  I was thinking about having the sea bass until I spotted Sunday roast of either pork or beef on the specials board.  I adore a Sunday roast with all the trimmings and as we were dining on a Sunday, it just had to be.  I opted for beef and was asked how I would like it served.

Ox cheek pie at the Assheton Arms, Downham
My husband’s ox cheek pie

Plates of fish and chips passed by which looked very tempting and enormous as did our own choices.  I was literally in food heaven over my Sunday roast as there were two huge slices of succulent roast beef served pink and exactly to my liking, a giant crispy Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese, carrots, green beans, roast and creamed potatoes and a generous jug of tasty gravy.  I savoured every forkful and declared it the best roast dinner ever.  Whilst I was tucking in to my feast, across the table Mr. C. was equally happy with his ox cheek pie accompanied with root vegetables, creamed potatoes and a red wine jus.

Vanilla sherry trifle at the Assheton Arms, Downham
My vanilla sherry trifle

A little rest was required before we were ready to tackle desserts but having a sweet tooth I couldn’t resist.  Desserts included chocolate fondant, vanilla cream brûlée, sticky toffee pudding and cheese and biscuits.  Mr. C. went straight for the apple and rhubarb crumble with custard whilst I dithered about what to have, finally selecting raspberry and vanilla sherry trifle.  This arrived in an individual glass bowl and was light and moist with a generous splash of sherry.  Needless to say the crumble went down a treat and it disappeared before I got chance to have a little taste.


Assheton Arms, Downham, near Clitherhoe
The Assheton Arms

Considering the restaurant had just opened, the service was exemplary with all the staff on duty fully trained, courteous and coping extremely well with all the tables in use.  Dishes are reasonably priced for a posh pub and the food served absolutely delicious so much so, I’m absolutely certain the re-opening of the Assheton Arms will be a rip-roaring success.  In addition to the cosy bar and restaurant, there are 12 individually designed rooms to enjoy the delights of the scenic Ribble Valley.  I can’t wait to return for a relaxing overnight stay and to look forward to the Assheton breakfast.

Details: The Assheton Arms Top Row, Downham, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 4BU.

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Exploring Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley

Ribble Valley highlights

We were guests of the Assheton Arms and I would like to thank Sarah, Megan, Lisa and Annabel for their welcome.  As always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.



36 thoughts on “The Assheton Arms, Downham, Lancashire

    1. Sunday roast and trifle – my perfect meal! Hardly ever see trifle on menus anymore. My grandma’s was divine and this was too! So wonderful that the pub has been able to re-open! Thanks for reading and I hope your weekend goes well.


    1. The Assheton Arms has always been a gorgeous pub and now under new ownership I’m certain it will flourish once more. We enjoyed a lovely evening and my husband can heartily recommend their Bowland Beers. Thanks so much Allan for your interest and comments.


    1. How wonderful to read that you’ve stayed at The Assheton Arms as it’s always been a delightful pub. It’s wonderful that it’s been brought back to life both for locals and visitors to the Ribble Valley and I’m sure it will flourish. Thanks so much for your interest and welcome thoughts.


  1. ThingsHelenLoves

    Love the thought of the pub being the ‘heart and soul’ of the village. Just how it should be! Wishing the Assheton Arms every success. The name caught my eye too, there’s a lot of history in this part of Wiltshire around the Assheton family and estate. Wonder if it’s a branch of the same family?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was absolutely lovely to see the village pub brought back to life Helen with locals being able to pop in for a drink and/or some delicious food. I’m not aware of any links to the Assheton family in Downham with Wiltshire but as it’s an unusual name it’s quite possible. Thanks so much for your interest and I hope your weekend is going well.


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