Oh, deep joy! A hotel that thinks it’s a home. A house with guest rooms. A place to snuggle by the fire. A spot where kids are welcome. It’s called Lancrigg.
This charming hotel is a delightful mix of contemporary art, comfy sofas and friendly conviviality. Wendy and her husband have only been the managers here for a few months, but their enthusiasm is infectious. ‘We are proud to be one of the best-reviewed dog-friendly hotels in the Lake District,’ they say.
Lancrigg has looked after guests since the early 19th century. The hotel has the air of a small yet perfectly formed country manor, from the outside. It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to visualise ladies in flowing Victorian dresses taking a little tea and a little time to admire the view from the garden. That vista is breathtaking and ever-changing, but remarkable at any time of year.
Mouth-watering scent of burning
The entrance offers convenient benches which will be welcomed by hill-walkers back from a hike and in need of boot-removal. So many Victorian architectural features still remain, along with some contemporary art decorating the walls. The sitting room is furnished with a collection of sofas and cosy chairs, and some of these are arranged around a log fire. The almost mouth-watering scent of burning wood hangs in the air, tempting one to stay for dinner in the adjoining restaurant. I can confirm that it’s a good idea to do just that.
The Poet’s Bar is found in a room that was originally John Richardson’s library. John lived here from the 1860s, and he actually knew the Scottish poet Robert Burns. He also accompanied Lt. John Franklin on the first two expeditions to the Artic and was a friend of Charles Darwin. This room is utterly charming, rustic and just the place for a little of one’s favourite beverage. It seems to be a draw for walkers on the adjacent path, who wander by for a drink and a nice sit down.
There are ten individually decorated rooms at Lancrigg. Ours at least felt like the spare room in a friend’s home. The room was small but there was everything one would want: a tea and coffee-making station, TV, wardrobe and shelves. The bathroom was brand spanking new and a soak in a hot bath was inviting after a few hours out in such chilly weather. The bedroom window let out onto the roof with a view of a rustic stone building beyond. We were warned not to leave the window open. No, not burglars ready to leap into our room and rob us of my extra undies and two packs of gingerbread. It was the cheeky cat from next door who would be in and sitting on your lap given half a chance. This hotel is a world away from the inner city.
Brekkie of choice for those hardy hikers
Lancrigg is a calm oasis in a hurried world. It is nestled amongst 30 acres of gardens and woodlands, so nothing to disturb the day apart from the distant sound of woodcutting, and nothing at all to disrupt a good night’s sleep. And then there is breakfast.
There is the ubiquitous full English and that’s likely the brekkie of choice for those hardy hikers, especially on these frosty mornings. But there are other options that are a bit different. My guest ordered smoked Cartmel salmon and scrambled eggs. Yes, this is a classic combination but the point of difference here is its evident quality. The salmon is smoked locally, the eggs are free-range, the bread is artisanal sourdough!
I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian so choosing the non-meat big breakfast was something of a leap of faith. The Lancrigg kitchen didn’t disappoint. The plate was laden with traditional baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes. There were vegan-friendly sausages, scrambled tofu, toasted artisanal granary bread. This is called the Lancrigg Breakfast. Don’t be alarmed, dear egg-loving reader, the tofu does look pale in comparison to your usual scramble, but it is well seasoned and has the familiar texture. The sausages are flavourful and worthy of the name. No meat in sight, but this was a delicious and sustaining start to the day.
The Lancrigg is casual and friendly. The staff can offer great advice about walks for every age and ability. They will help you make the very best of your stay at this informal hotel in this perfect Lake District location.
What to see nearby:
The village of Grasmere is one of the most beautiful villages in The Lake District. It’s situated in the heart of the National Park and famous for its connection to William Wordsworth, who described Grasmere as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’. That’s true, and I am sure Bill enjoyed the shopping here too. There are lots of high-end boutiques selling gifts and outdoor clothes. But then there is the aforementioned gingerbread, first made in Grasmere in 1854 by Sarah Nelson.
Phone: +44 (0)15394 35317