IT’S been a while since I ventured into the Ribble Valley. An area with many outstanding watering holes. So, on a blustery, rain-swept day, it was extra comforting, to seek sanctuary, in one of the locality’s establishments.

I remembered this hostelry as the Station Hotel. However, in March 2010, Thwaites reopened this pub, as the Inn at the Station. After extensive alterations. I say pub, but, as you walk through its attractive, half-glazed panelled doors, it’s now appears more bistro, than boozer – in my opinion.

The ‘pub’ was immaculately presented. Its spacious, open plan interior, offering lots of options to relax and unwind.

Leather settees and armchairs are placed in most areas, along with upholstered stools around its oak panelled, L-shaped bar. The decor in varying light shades of purple, gave it a warm, contemporary feel. A raised, more private area is also provided.

It was a nice feature, giving both customers a relaxed and quieter environment to enjoy a drink and a chat. Or indeed a meal, from their extensive and tasty looking menu.

The Wainwright beer battered haddock, hand-cut chips and mushy peas looked appealing.

As did the steak and Thwaites ale pie. Maybe, I was in beery mode, as I cast an eye down the list of meals on offer. Which leads me nicely to more important things – the beery menu! Just the two casks on offer.

Thwaites core beers, namely, Original and Wainwright's. The former at £2.90 was in exception condition. It's an ordinary, standard, malty slurp – and I do sigh, when one of their excellent monthly ales are absent on the bar.

Wainwright's at £3.10 is also an average beer in my opinion. Again, in good condition but, since brewing has headed to the Black Country, some of its refreshing, citrusy appeal, has diminished.

The place was ticking over nicely for a rain lashed, Tuesday afternoon. Carley and Thea behind the bar, were providing a friendly and helpful service. Carley said: “We get a nice, friendly, cross section of customers. Lots of shoppers and many people from further afield, who arrive via the railway and bus stations, across the road.”

Two couples had just arrived, and were ordering two Wainwright ales and two coffee lattes. A cheery, talkative group, they strolled over to a comfy area, with their beverages, and I got the impression the gents were on the lattes and the ladies had plumped for the pints. Then again, perhaps my eyesight was deceiving me.

This town centre establishment surprised me a tad, to be honest. It had more class than I had expected.

An upmarket tavern, providing a most restful, comforting and easy going environment.