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The historic Oldham gastropub serving Michelin standard food

Take in the sights on the journey to this Michelin-recommended pub gem on the outskirts of Oldham
The White Hart Inn

Nestled on the edge of the moors in a small village on the outskirts of Oldham  stands The White Hart Inn at Lydgate, a glorious historic countryside pub recommended by Michelin .

With magnificent views towards Manchester, It’s a haven for West Pennine walkers trekking over the Standedge trail from Marsden, Dove Stone Reservoir or Glossop through Greenfield – taking in the windswept hills and glorious scenery en route to this handsome stone-built 18th Century building.

White Hart Inn at Lydgate

The White Hart Inn
Stunning views, stunning food

You’ll find The White Hart In a short walk from Greenfield train station, at the very top of the hill on Stockport Road, directly opposite St. Anne’s Church.

It looks like a tiny unassuming pub.

But appearances can be deceptive. Like Dr Who’s Tardis, it’s much bigger than it first appears.

The history of The White Hart Inn

The original inn was built in 1788 by local landowner John Buckley. It’s steeped in history with the building having varying uses including the local police station with holding cells, a schoolhouse, a weaver’s cottage, and a lookout point in the Second World War.

The Buckley family sold the premises in 1921 to the Gartside Brewery and the listed hotel was brewery-run until 1987.

In June 1994, the current owner Charles Brierley bought the freehold. He has tastefully extended and renovated the building, carefully keeping the charm.

Today, the award-winning venue offers not only a cosy pub with log fires and snug serving cask ales including “taste of the moors” Millstone which is brewed independently just down the road, but also dining rooms, AA four star Gold Standard boutique bedrooms and four family suites in the cottage next door, plus wedding and event facilities for up to 200 guests through the various function rooms.

The whole place is very well designed, in keeping with the local buildings and respects the landscape using native materials.

What’s the pub like inside?

The White Hart Inn
Keeping things cosy

Think big log fireplaces, stone walls and oak beams. It’s cosy yet manages to feel bright and airy. Natural light floods in every nook and cranny, and there’s charming candlelight for the places it doesn’t reach.

Staff are friendly and inviting, and the walls are filled with landscape photos taken by Charles on his travels around the country including a stunning one taken at Heaton Park in Prestwich.

It caters for all. It’s cosy yet sophisticated, smart yet casual and it’s accessible yet very much a destination.

Dining at The White Hart

The White Hart Inn
A great selection of drinks

Dining at The White Hart takes place in the smart brasserie or cosy tap room, recently awarded two AA Rosettes – an award given for culinary excellence.

It’s also recommended in the prestigious Michelin Guide which spotlights the best places to eat across the country and proudly features 14 top restaurants in Greater Manchester including this stone pub with “British heart and global influences.”

The Michelin Guide describes The White Hart as a “place that constantly evolves”.

“It’s usually busy but the staff have everything under control and there are comfy bedrooms for those wishing to stay.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Head Chef Nathan Sidebottom

Over a decade ago, young head chef Nathan Sidebottom was serving his apprenticeship at 18 years old under chef Mike Shaw (now head chef at MUSU in Manchester city centre), who was trained by Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsay.

After three year’s experience, Nathan decided to broaden his horizons and head to Cambridgeshire to work at the two Michelin-star restaurant Midsummer House.

Originally from down the road in Greenacres, Nathan returned to his roots after three “fantastic” years to attend to some family affairs and rejoined the team at The White Hart.

“I really want a third Rosette,” says ambitious Nathan, who took over as head of the kitchen in 2020 during the pandemic and has since gained a clutch of awards for the gastropub. Oozing with confidence but without a pinch of arrogance, he is warm and personable and seems to have all the time in the world despite a full house.

“We did over 3000 covers in January,” he says, quite an achievement in the current hospitality climate.

Discounted dining at the White Hart

The White Hart is currently offering a discounted set menu featuring two courses for just £16.75 (reduced from £29.50) and three courses for just £17.50 (reduced from £32.50) which is extended through to the end of February.

The menus are modern British seasonal cooking where the produce shines but his techniques and first-class training do too. There are a few menus to choose from including a la carte and set menu, then you have sandwiches and, of course, Sunday lunch menus.

The beefy milk bread

Dishes include warm ‘beefy’ milk bread which is soft, sweetly glazed and served with whipped butter topped with caramelised onion and chives.

The White Hart Inn
A divine duck croquette

Confit duck leg croquette with sweet mustard and pickled onion is colourful and shows a playful use of textures.

The White Hart Inn
Fruits from the sea, a pan-fried scallop

Pan-fried scallops served on a bed of creamy black lentil dhal, onion bhaji bits, and garnished with coriander.

Perky pan-fried stonebass is served with crushed new potatoes, tenderstem broccoli and drizzled with a brothy but creamy fish nage.

Pan fried venison

Venison is beautifully tender and juicy served with a glorious blue cheese sauce, Chantenay carrot, cabbage and a rich red wine jus.

Delicious deconstructed cheesecake

For dessert, try deconstructed fresh lemon cheesecake made with cream cheese and sharp zest of a lemon that cuts through a crushed butterscotch biscuit. It comes served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream made locally at a nearby farm.

You’ll struggle to find this level of food in most restaurants, and at this price, it’s incredible value. If we were Michelin we’d go a step further and give this place a Bib Gourmand for being a friendly establishment serving exquisite food at moderate prices.

It’s advisable to get a table booked quickly because this place fills up fast. From what we saw during our visit, they are showing no signs of things slowing down.

There is so much to love here in all these nooks and crannies.

Traditional pub food at a level rarely seen, with each dish exemplary and faultless.

Offers aside, this will be more expensive than your average local but rightly so, for in any decent restaurant you’d be likely to pay at least this and often more (and it probably wouldn’t be as good).

For those who appreciate exploring quality gastropubs and relish comforting British dishes while relaxing by a log fire with a pint, The White Hart at Lydgate stands as a prime example of the superb offerings of our traditional cuisine.

If you live in Manchester and fancy getting out of town, then head about 10 miles up north to Saddleworth for some seriously good grub and a great weekend walk.

If you live in Oldham and you haven’t been to The White Hart Inn at Lydgate yet, what on earth are you playing at?

You’d be hard pushed to find a fancy restaurant which can do it better. The only criticism, and I’m really pulling hairs here, is there’s no pie on the menu.

The White Hart Inn at Lydgate, 51 Stockport Road, Lydgate, Oldham OL4 4JJ

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