The Brackenborough Celebrates 30 Years Serving The Lincolnshire Public
Keeping It In The Family: The Brackenborough Arms Celebrates 30 Years Serving The Lincolnshire Public
“I wanted to be a farmer, but the rain put me off,” remembers Ashley Lidgard, Director of the Oak Ridge Group and owner of The Brackenborough Arms. “Instead, I ended up a waiter here, working for the family and fell in love with it all.”
This year sees the much-loved Brackenborough Arms celebrate 30 years serving loyal Lincolnshire locals, tourists to the region and its fair share of big name celebs. Most recently, in fact, even Jeremy Clarkson popped in for a stay and bite to eat.
Situated on the edge of the Wolds, there’s no wonder highly rated hotel has stood the test of time. Its picturesque grounds and spacious buildings have served as the backdrop to many gorgeous weddings, weekend retreats and office Christmas parties.
“We opened on the Friday and had our first wedding the following week,” remembers Ashley’s mum, Audrey Lidgard, who built the hotel with her late husband, John Lidgard, back in 1989. “I knew people would like it from the moment we opened the doors.”
With the planning in place for new lodges onsite, the receipt of an AA silver rosette in 2009 for culinary excellence and Ashley’s son, Tom, joining the team – it promises to remain one of the region’s top destinations for many more years to come.
In an increasingly difficult climate for the hospitality industry, when asked why he thinks its stood the test of time, Ashley is quick to point out it’s the fact that family runs so strongly through the whole place.
“It’s all about the people,” says Ashley. “Now Tom has joined us, it means the Brackenborough has been in our family for three generations. It’s a family business and all the staff who work here feel part of that family.”
Indeed, it was Ashley’s parents – Audrey and John Lidgard – who first transformed the Brackenborough into a hotel and restaurant in 1989.
Audrey and John were well-loved landlords in Lincolnshire before they opened the Brackenborough. They first met working together at The Countryman in Humberston. As a couple, they took over managing the place for a number of years before being asked to take over at The Beachcomber.
After many enjoyable years in Cleethorpes and later at the Granby in North Thoresby, the couple began to look for a house with enough ground to build their own hotel and restaurant. They came across a run-down farmhouse on the outskirts of Louth and The Brackenborough Arms was born.
In the early days, Audrey took care of all the cooking and John would clean the hotel. “They said John turned on the sunshine in the morning,” remembers Audrey. “You’d see him sweeping up about the place smiling and chatting with all the guests.”
Always watching Mum and Dad, Ashley was quick to pick up the trade himself. After working as a receptionist and kitchen hand at The Brackenborough, he branched out on his own. At just nineteen he went out on a limb and bought The New Inn in North Thoresby. In doing so, he became one of the youngest people in the country to own a pub.
When his father sadly passed away in 2005, Ashley returned to buy the Brackenborough from his parents. While he’d been away, Ashley had launched various different businesses to great success and put this experience to good use. He bought and renovated The Ashbourne in North Killingholme and, more recently, he opened The Counting House on Sea View Street, the first cocktail bar in Cleethorpes.
Hearing about his Dad’s plans to launch a new bar in Cleethorpes, Ashley’s son Tom saw an opportunity. Like his father before him, he’d been doing odd jobs at the Brackenborough, but had bigger plans. He moved to London to undergo intensive training as a professional cocktail mixologist before returning to help set the incredibly high standards still in place at The Counting House today.
It was with enormous pride that Audrey saw Tom continue the family tradition this year when, 30 years after she first turned an abandoned farmhouse into a family hotel, Tom took over as the Head of Beverages at The Brackenborough, The Ashbourne and The Counting House.
Asked where he plans to be in ten years time, Tom cheekily points over to his Dad and says “just there.” Ashley laughs. He’s not quite ready to retire just yet, but it’s nice to know things will be in good hands when he does.
It’s wonderful to see a family business succeed in the way The Brackenborough Arms has over the past 30 years. And to celebrate so many years serving the public, the family are running a special offer for guests to come and dine during from Monday 10th June to Friday 14th June. All week they’ll be serving classic dishes that were on the menu when they first opened in 1989. And they’ll be knocking down the prices to what they were back then too.
You can make sure you don’t miss the celebrations and treat your family to a great three course meal in wonderful surroundings – and at amazing 1980s prices too – by booking a table for lunch between 12 noon and 2pm or dinner from 5pm until 6pm.