Askham Hall – Askham, Cumbria
If you lean towards staying in homes rather than hotels, head for this magnificent corner of the Lake District, between Ullswater and the Eden Valley. Askham Hall’s mighty, yet approachable Grade I-listed ‘pele tower’ (fortified house), was formerly the family home of the Earl and Countess of Lonsdale, whose son, Charlie Lowther, converted it into a hotel in 2012 after making a success of The George and Dragon in Clifton (in 2019 he also acquired Askham’s village pub, The Queen’s Head). The romantic and quintessentially English 40-acre grounds are a joy; they include a cafe (open to the public), extensive kitchen gardens and fields of free-range chickens, goats and rare-breed pigs. A joy, too, is the house with its vast drawing room, panelled French room, antiques, contemporary paintings and 19 delightful bedrooms, plus a pool, hot tub and access to a nearby Health Barn. The icing on the cake? The Allium restaurant, where the sensational food of Richard Swale is dictated by the life cycle of those gardens and fields. No wonder it holds a Michelin star.
Doubles from £160
+44 (0)1931 712350; askhamhall.co.uk