So we just got back from a little weekend up in Cumbria, where we spent a lovely leisurely night at Brownber Hall: an old country home jazzed up with colourful Hackney flair. A gorgeous guesthouse with very welcoming hosts, it’s the perfect place to go, switch off, chill out and soak up the great outdoors.
Young, outdoorsy couple Peter and Amanda, left London for the hills when they realised they were spending too much time on the motorway, with every weekend spent hiking, climbing and wild-swimming up here. Swapping city life for a more wholesome lifestyle, they’ve done an amazing job of not only sprucing up this place and making it feel like a cosy-cool country spot for a staycay, but running it with such warm and homely feel too.
Brownber Hall is located in the heart of the Howgill Fells, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Here, you’re well placed to explore both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District — Ullswater is only 40-minutes drive away, so it’s a perfect base for scratching the surface of both beautiful national parks. Despite the fact we’ve been this way a few times and I spent a lot of time in the Dales as a kid, I always forget just how beautiful it is up here. A world away from London that’s for sure. So pure and so serene.
Set back off the road, so blissfully isolated even your GPS won’t find it, Brownber Hall is surrounded by nothing but rolling hills. 8 bedrooms are are all different, individually designed by Amanda’s sister, with iron bed frames made by a local blacksmith, and printed curtains sewn by Amanda’s mother. Their cosy but cool: Monocle and Ernest make for good bed-time reading, slick bathrooms are stocked with all-natural Bramley toiletries, and beautiful artisan mugs will make you rethink your crockery collection at home.
Dinner in the eclectically-furnished dining room is a cosy set up. They’ve shunned your classic British fare for (delicious!) stone-baked sourdough pizzas instead. A much better choice in my eyes, and a nice little touch of London coming through. After dinner, kick back in the lounge with a book or a board game, and a nightcap from the honesty bar, which is stocked with local spirits and craft beers.
Take your walking boots and waterproofs because the great outdoors are calling. Fuelled up on eggs and homemade sourdough, head for the hills. Peter and Amanda know every corner of the Howgill Fells, and will happily give you routes, starting points and guides you to places to see, like the Smardale viaduct, and Cautley Spout — England's highest waterfall. Come back in time for tea and cake in the lounge, and a lazy, leisurely evening.
We loved our little staycation at Brownber Hall and already can’t wait to head back. With a flat rate hovering around £100 a night including breakfast, it’s the perfect affordable base for a wholesome weekend away.
BROWNBER HALL, rates from £100/night