If you lean toward staying in homes rather than hotels, then head for this magnificent corner of the Lake District, between Ullswater and the Eden Valley. The mighty yet approachable Grade I listed pele tower (fortified house), was the family home of Charlie Lowther and his parents, the Earl and Countess of Lonsdale. Having made a success of the George and Dragon at nearby Clifton (see page 000), Charlie turned his attention to Askham Hall. The romantic, quintessentially English gardens, open to the public, are a joy and include extensive kitchen gardens and fields of free-range chickens, goats and rare-breed pigs. There’s also an atmospheric Kitchen Garden Café and barn and medieval hall for private parties. A joy too is the house with its vast drawing room, panelled ‘French’ room, antiques, contemporary paintings, laid back luxury and 18 delightful and unusual bedrooms, plus a pool and small spa. Cream on the cake: Allium Restaurant, where the sensational food of Richard Swale is dictated by the cycle of life in those gardens and fields.
Nearby Lowther Castle and Gardens, with its strong family connections to Askham Hall.
In the hotel restaurant where head chef Richard Swale creates menus using ingredients grown and reared at Askham Hall and on the 800-year-old family estate.
Ceramics from local potter Stuart Broadhurst.