Travel & Tourism

The best restaurant in the UK is just 90 minutes from Manchester – and the runners up are much closer to home

The north west has been named as one of the top foodie regions this year.

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 13th December 2023

The best restaurant in the UK has just been named as L’Enclume, the much-loved Lake District restaurant owned by Simon Rogan.

And the north west has shone across the board in the Harden’s Top 100 Best UK Restaurants, with eight other local spots making the prestigious list.

There were two entries for Greater Manchester, three for Lancashire, and three in Cumbria.

Both Mana in Ancoats and Where The Light Gets In in Stockport were awarded positions in the top 100, with the latter storming into the top 50.

It comes off the back of Where The Light Gets In being awarded a fourth AA rosette just a few months ago, to go on its mantelpiece with its Michelin Green Star.


But the top spot this year in the Harden’s guide has gone to L’Enclume, a restaurant that has always featured on the list but never before made it to number one.

Diners hailed the 17-course set menu at L’Enclume as ‘a completely faultless experience’.


Chef owner Simon Rogan says: “My team and myself are honoured that L’Enclume has been rated the number 1 restaurant in the UK by diners on behalf of Harden’s.

Simon Rogan of L'Enclume restaurant, just named the best in the UK. Credit: Supplied
Simon Rogan of L’Enclume restaurant, just named the best in the UK. Credit: Supplied

“To have been featured in Harden’s Top 100 every year since its inception in 2011 is an amazing achievement and being awarded the top spot for the 2024 edition is a testament to the amazing year we’ve had.”

Peter Harden, co-founder of Harden’s, added: “L’Enclume has always been consistent in its top quality offering and it was wonderful to hear the recent news that Paul Burgalières, who has been a key figure in L’Enclume’s evolution over the past six years, has now been appointed Executive Chef.


“Coming in at £300+ it’s certainly one of the higher priced restaurants in our listings, but we see none of the resistance from diners with regards to paying those prices that we’ve seen at other top establishments. Those who’ve made the pilgrimage think it’s money very well spent.”

Paul Burgalières added: “I am very proud of everything we have achieved at L’Enclume over the past couple of years. To take the position of Executive Chef has been a great honour, and I am excited that our work at the restaurant has achieved such a high level of recognition.”

The number of London restaurants on the list has fallen to an all-time low as the spotlight moves further north, with the North West now one of the best-performing regions outside the capital.

Mana was praised for its ‘outstanding all-round’ form while Where The Light Gets In was celebrated for its ‘major emphasis on sustainability and local sourcing’ with ‘delicious wine pairings’ all served by ‘lovely staff’.

Mark Birchall’s Moor Hall, just up the road in Aughton, also shot into the top 10 and placed at number six.


Northcote, also in Lancashire, ranked 70th in the top 100 and the White Swan at Fence was labelled ‘restaurant of the year’.

The Forest Side, which was recently named the AA Hotel of the Year, achieved another top 50 placing too.

Peter Harden, co-founder of Harden’s, comments: “This year it has been interesting to note that London’s grip on the Top 100 list is the weakest that we have ever recorded (the lowest previous figure was 41 in the 2020 guide). Whilst 12 months is too little data for firm pronouncements, this swing to the shires may reflect the increasing excellence of dining out across the UK.

“The North-West has made a strong showing in this year’s list, not necessarily for the cities themselves but for top dining in leafy touristic locations such as the Lake District and Lancashire. With more and more diners seemingly valuing and indeed seeking out these types of dining experiences, the region could have even more to gain by drawing further attention to its stunning countryside locales.”

The 33rd edition of the Harden’s Guide is published this week, priced at £20.

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Featured image: The Manc Group