A picture-perfect, stone country hall, dating back to the 11th century, with an abundance of original features, set within exquisite gardens and perfect for hill walks and cycle rides.
Discover an enchanting glimpse into Cumbria's history and a welcoming family home at the same time. Sleeping up to eight people in four lovely bedrooms, this home offers its guests a unique opportunity to stay in an ancient manor house, surrounded by antiques and nestled in simply wonderful countryside. The Stanley Family have been at this property since 1345 and the owner has left details of the family's history all around that will enchant everyone. There's a veritable world of historical interest including family portraits, unique furnishings and even reference to letters sent by Oliver Cromwell disgruntled with John Stanley, an ardent Royalist. The hall itself is a magical world of thick walls, deep fireplaces, towering chimneypots with nooks and crannies galore to delight children and adults alike.
The surroundings are no less spellbinding. Set well away from any traffic up a country lane, there are lovely gardens to explore with lawns for cartwheels, seating areas for outdoor dining and a working vegetable garden. The neighbouring farm even shares access so there are sheep and tractors passing through the yard. This part of the Eskdale Valley has a very special charm all of its own. Enjoy tumbling waterfalls, crystal-clear wild swimming pools, a steam railway, quiet walking and cycling trails, three pubs and a patchwork of fields mostly inhabited by hardy Herdwick sheep. The hardiest among you can walk up the Lakeland giants of Scafell and Scafell Pike right from the door but there are plenty of gentler walks to be had too. Cyclists are exceptionally well catered for with a great choice of off-road trails for those keen to get muddy and an iconic mountain pass (Hardknott) just a stone's throw away for the road cyclists.
Boot village is just a short walk where you'll find two good pubs and Dalegarth Station, the terminus of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway. A trip to Ravenglass on this narrow-gauge heritage line is an absolute must for railway children of all ages. While down at the coast why not explore the history of the area at the Railway Museum or at the nearby Roman Bathhouse? For a great family day out, Muncaster Castle is hard to beat with its colourful history, gorgeous grounds and birds of prey. For the thrill-seekers among you why not book a day with Westlakes Adventure just up the road? They offer all kinds of outdoor activities to get the adrenaline pumping. So, if your ideal holiday home is full of character, history, quirky interest and homey charm all set amidst magnificent countryside then this holiday home will be perfect for you.
On arrival at the property guests enter the house by the side entrance into the back porch, with a handy utility room on the right, which has plenty of space for dogs and muddy boots, as well as a dresser for storage and an upright freezer. Three steps take you up to the warm and welcoming modern farmhouse kitchen, with a large breakfast table. There is a wall-mounted TV and a two-seater leather sofa for curling up with a cuppa around the warmth of the Aga. In addition, the owner has thoughtfully added two countertop induction hobs and a fitted fan oven/microwave combi. There's also a dishwasher and all the crockery and cookware you'll need for your stay. For further storage there's a large pantry and cold store with an original stone slab.
A step up from the kitchen takes you into a passageway, with more coat hooks, from which you can access another utility area with a drying room, washing machine and tumble dryer, as well as a downstairs WC. Ahead of you is the magnificent, elegant dining room with walls more than a metre thick, deep recessed windows, an open fireplace and a large oval dining table, surrounded by chairs - suitable for a space fit for a banquet! The furniture and pictures around the wall relate the history of the Stanley family, who originally came to this house in 1345. Here you can enjoy your family dinners soaking in these magnificent surroundings and planning your own Cumbrian adventures.
Up the three steps from the dining area, you reach the oldest part of the house - a beautiful stone-walled living room, which is the perfect place to curl up in the evening. There are two sofas and two armchairs arranged around a deep sandstone fireplace with an enormous wooden lintel over a wood burner. The fireplace is so huge there's even space for two fireside seats within it. For entertainment there's a TV with DVD and, for musicians, there's even a wonderful, old Blutner grand piano to play.
From the living room there are two further doors, one leading to the study where you'll find a handsome antique desk and bookcases filled with books old and new tracing the history of the local area. There are also novels and games to keep you occupied. The second door from the living room takes you through to the bike and boot store. There are French doors from here into the garden making for easy access after muddy walks and bike rides. There is also an access staircase to the bunk room upstairs.
Moving back in to the centre of the house, the hallway leads to the front door and main staircase where there are plenty more mementoes of the Stanley family's history and travels to interest you as you ascend. From the landing you can enter the delightful upstairs living room. It's a gorgeous light space with two windows looking out towards Harter Fell and the surrounding woodland. A perfect place to relax and enjoy views of the wildlife; deer, squirrels and a vast array of birds are regular visitors. On the same landing is the family bathroom which has a large deep bath and a separate mixer shower in a curved enclosure, next door to this is a separate WC.
Moving four steps up from the landing is the enchanting master bedroom, where undoubtedly the centrepiece of this lovely room is the king-size, four-poster bed dating back at least 300 years. The room also has two armchairs, a large window seat for taking in the view down the valley, a carved dresser and recessed cupboard with hanging space and storage. Like the rest of the house the room is a slice of history that is, at the same time, welcoming and homely.
Along the corridor is the rest of the accommodation. There are two steps down into the lovely, cosy twin bedroom which has a wardrobe and a chest of drawers for storage and a long wide window with garden and mountain views. Next to this is the entrance to the spacious family suite, which has a double bedroom and access through to a snug bunk bedroom for two. The main room has a double bed, a wardrobe and two dressers for storage. There's also a sofa and two armchairs for relaxing and enjoying the gorgeous view out onto fields and woodland. The bunk room has access down to the boot room and bike store. This side of the house has a further shower room.
Outside, the grounds and mature gardens continue to offer interest and extensive fell views. There are distinct areas to the grounds with lawns, terraced areas and a small pond (children should be supervised), absolutely perfect for enjoying outdoor dining or BBQs on warm days, or just for indulging in a quiet morning cuppa while taking in the tranquillity and enjoying the sound of birdsong.
In all, a stay here offers a fascinating glimpse of history in absolutely stunning surroundings while also being a welcoming and homely place which families are sure to want to revisit time and time Again.