Celebrating in Style
Still owned and run by the same family who opened the doors almost 70 years ago, this hotel is a Lancashire institution and it certainly knows how to throw a party, writes Kate Ford. Photography: Robin Lyndon
A year after opening the Barton Grange Hotel in 1951, Ada Topping received a surprise request from a couple wanting to hold their wedding reception there. Excited by the potential business opportunity, Ada had a wall knocked down to create a room big enough to hold the guests.
After the event, faced with a large room which needed filling, the illustrious Ada came up with the idea of hosting dinner parties on a Saturday night (those were the days before the evening do became a must). A band was hired, the guests arrived, and the Barton Grange Hotel began to establish its reputation as a hotel that loves a party.
Almost seven decades and thousands of weddings later, that reputation remains strong. Ada’s son, Eddie, is still chair of the Barton Grange group of companies and her grandson, Guy Topping, oversees the hotel. Over the years, the hotel has developed a stylish, contemporary look whilst still retaining many of its original features, giving it great character as an event venue.
“Weddings and banqueting are really important to us, and our events co-ordinators always pull out all the stops to ensure a truly memorable occasion,” says sales and revenue manager, Leigh Walker.
The main banqueting room, The Barton Suite, has a dedicated entrance with a sweeping walkway into the balcony bar, which then leads into the main ballroom. For weddings, there’s a choice of gardens, as well as an outdoor terrace, for the happy couples to take their photographs.
The hotel hosts every kind of event from charity fundraisers and school balls through to family celebrations. “Whether you’re organising a birthday party, an anniversary or a celebration of someone’s life following a funeral, we’ll work with you to ensure the event is just how you want it to be,” says Leigh.
The team at Barton Grange also host their own in-house events, including popular murder mystery nights and wine tasting evenings in the Walled Garden Restaurant.
It may be just the start of summer, but the Barton Grange Christmas Party Nights are somewhat legendary in the north west and the team have a lot to live up to. “Last year, we chose ‘The Greatest Showman’ as our theme and the feedback we had was excellent,” explains Leigh. “This year, we’re having James Bond-themed party nights so you can expect some action-packed but very stylish entertainment.”
Individual companies and groups can book as many or as few tables as they want for the Party Nights, which run from early December until Sunday 22nd December. With a three-course dinner, plenty of entertainment, casino tables and lots of Bond-inspired surprises, you could say these nights have a licence to thrill and offer plenty of value for your moneypenny!
When the parties are this good, many of those attending choose to stay the night and the hotel offers specially discounted rates for all wedding guests and party goers. The 51 stylish, en-suite bedrooms feature British-made mattresses, plush pillows and the finest bed linen; the flat screen TVs have a full Sky package and there is free high speed wi-fi for all guests.
With use of the gym and pool, and a delicious breakfast served in the Walled Garden the following morning, it’s a great way to sign off your celebrations.
The Walled Garden is open to non-residents, Monday to Thursday evenings from 5pm to 9pm and Friday to Sunday 11.30am until 9pm, offering a varied, seasonal menu featuring locally sourced meat and fish, alongside vegetarian options, and the afternoon teas are a treat not to be missed.
There are also regular themed evenings, featuring particular cuisines, such as Chinese or Mexican, which will be announced on the Hotel website and social media.
The hotel lounge is also open every day for food and drink, served in peaceful surroundings with an elegant contemporary feel. You can drop in for a tea or coffee or choose a light lunch or snack from the menu. Service is friendly and relaxed, and before you know it, you’ll be feeling right at home.
Which is exactly how Ada Topping wanted you to feel when she started writing the Barton Grange story all those years ago.
Barton Grange Hotel
Garstang Road, Barton, Preston PR3 4AA