This could be one of the most exciting developments in Lake District accommodation for a long time. The young owner, Charles Lowther (half brother of the present Earl of Lonsdale) and family have created a ‘hometel’ – a home from home hotel out of Askham Hall, on the eastern edge of the Lake District.
Unless you heed the detailed directions they’ll give you on booking, you’ll be unsure whether you’ve come to the right place. After driving through Lowther Park, and reaching the pretty village of Askham, the hall’s gates are a little way down the hill from the houses. Here follow the sign and enter what appears to be a large private manor house: you might find a framed message on the hall table saying ring for attention.
Charles has given serious thought to making this place super-relaxed, more like staying in a private house than a hotel. It’s somewhere between the upscale chambres d’hote of the French chateau and a conventional small hotel. Its one-off location in a family home give it an added twist of originality. As you settle down in the drawing room, a member of the small staff will glide in to offer tea and drinks, or show you to your room. Otherwise, unless in the dining room, you’re hardly aware that the place is serviced.
The eclectic, occasionally quirky country house style decoration and furniture is all different. Bathrooms have top-quality new showers, baths and fittings. Downstairs, there’s no bar – instead, an honesty bar in a charming book-lined sitting room off the drawing room. A professional kitchen, which has recently been awarded a Michelin Star, produces flavourful food from a small menu which is served in the informal dining room-breakfast room – the only new bit of the house, parts of which date from the 12thC.