In the Lake District lies a 13th-century property hailed as England’s ‘top small hotel’ for 2023. The Mail decided to check in and discover whether it matched the high expectations…

In the Lake District lies a 13th-century property hailed as England’s ‘top small hotel’ for 2023. The Mail decided to check in and discover whether it matched the high expectations…

Exploring Askham Hall: A Fairytale Experience

In an enchanting narrative, Ted Thornhill recounts his stay at Askham Hall in the Lake District, a place that seems plucked from the pages of a fantasy story.

This Grade I-listed hotel, crowned VisitEngland Small Hotel of the Year 2023, embraces visitors with its grand yet cozy interiors, reminiscent of a fairytale house brought to life.

Accompanied by his partner and young daughter, Thornhill delves into the property’s rich history and luxurious spaces that seem to whisper tales of centuries past.

A Glimpse into History

Perched above the river Lowther in Askham village, this property dates back to 1280, once a fortified peel tower providing refuge during volatile times in Cumbria.

Evolving through the ages, it became an Elizabethan mansion and, later, a residence for the Lowther family until its transformation into a boutique hotel in 2012.

Notably, Prince Philip frequented the premises annually for three decades, adding a royal touch to its history.

Immersed in Grandeur

Thornhill’s experience in the Train Room, named for its historical use by the Lowther family, paints a vivid picture of opulence.

The spacious room, adorned in rich Burgundy hues, housed a magnificent four-poster bed, a wood-burning stove, and a mezzanine with single beds.

However, the bathroom’s mismatched quality, despite an upgrade, provided a minor contrast to the otherwise lavish setting.

Culinary Delights and Exquisite Wines

The highlight of Thornhill’s stay was undoubtedly the gastronomic journey at Allium, the Michelin-starred restaurant on-site.

The evening began in beautifully adorned drawing rooms, indulging in pre-dinner nibbles and exploring an extensive wine list resembling a tome of spells.

The tasting menu, a culinary masterpiece, featured dishes crafted with precision and finesse, paired flawlessly with an impressive array of wines.

Embracing the Fairytale

Beyond the hotel’s walls, Thornhill and his family explored the quaint Askham village, the nearby Lowther Castle, and the picturesque Ullswater shoreline.

These excursions added to the fantastical aura of the entire experience, allowing them to immerse themselves in a fairytale-like setting, if only for a weekend.

Concluding Impressions

While Thornhill’s experience was near perfection, minor critiques surfaced, such as occasional delays between courses at the restaurant and slight room details that fell short of the property’s overall magnificence.

However, these minor qualms did little to overshadow the overall enchantment of Askham Hall.

Final Verdict and Travel Information

Summing up his stay, Thornhill praised the beauty of Askham Hall, its delightful staff, and the extraordinary culinary offerings. Despite minor room issues, he rated the experience a stellar 4.5 out of 5.

For those intrigued, room rates start around £150 per night, with the Allium tasting menu priced at £125 per person, alongside a £95 wine pairing option. Travel information, including proximity to Penrith via Avanti West Coast, is provided for those wishing to embark on their fairytale adventure at Askham Hall.

TDPel Media

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