In November, Gibbon Bridge Country Hotel estate in Chipping (near Clitheroe, Lancashire) marked 40 years since Janet Simpson (now 84) and her late mother Maggie decided to turn their barn into a hotel and restaurant. 

What went from a few bedrooms quickly became an on-site bakery, spa, destination venue in the Ribble Valley (overlooking the Forest of Bowland and Longridge Fell) and is now a 30-bedroom leading wedding venue complete with a three-storey bridal apartment, tennis courts and a helipad!

The stunning countryside venue has paid host to King Charles, Princess Anne and Dame Shirley Bassey, as well as hosting celebrity weddings.

Complete with a cavalier lounge, alfresco dining for walkers and all kinds of celebrations, a resident pianist at weekends and, obviously 30 rooms, the venue bakes all of its own confectionery and desserts for weddings and their popular musical afternoon teas.

They are looking forward to taking the business forward and welcoming both new and familiar faces back to Gibbon Bridge to experience all it has to offer – whether it be a lunch, family celebration, short stay, or wedding.

Ms Simpson, who grew up on her family’s farms and knows the value of hard work, said: “When we first set out I had a vision. But I never thought we would get to this.”

Opened by TV celebrity Russell Harty four decades ago, the hotel back then had just six bedrooms and a restaurant in what was formerly a farm building.

But now, Gibbon Bridge Hotel features beautifully manicured lawns, an award-winning bandstand, a kitchen garden and stunning contemporary orangery and conservatory – not to mention 30 individually designed luxury suites and a restaurant renowned for its fine food.

Ms Simpson was particularly pleased to recently have been awarded ‘Lancashire Hotel of the Year’ in the Best Kept Village awards – another accolade to add to the collection received over the years in recognition of her hard work and foresight in developing a small family farm into the beautiful luxury hotel it is today.

They recently had a party to celebrate their milestone with current and previous staff. Four decades is no mean feat, especially with recent struggles, so here’s to the next 40!