Discovering the 13th-century gem in the Lake District named as England’s ‘best small hotel’ for 2023: Does it live up to the hype?

**Experience the 13th-century Charm of Askham Hall Hotel in the Lake District**

Askham Hall, a grade I-listed hotel nestled in the picturesque Lake District, has recently been honored with the prestigious title of VisitEngland Small Hotel of the Year 2023. With its rich history dating back to the 13th century, this enchanting property sits above the river Lowther in the quaint village of Askham, offering a perfect blend of grandeur and homeliness. Let’s delve into the captivating experience of visiting this timeless gem and whether it truly lives up to the buzz surrounding it.

**A Step into a Fairytale**

Upon stepping into Askham Hall, visitors are transported into a world that seems straight out of a fantasy novel. The interiors exude a sense of regal charm, complemented by a kitchen garden that wouldn’t seem out of place in Middle-earth’s Shire. The warm greetings extended by the staff make one feel as though they have stepped into a royal palace, and the numerous awards adorning the entrance lobby set the stage for the grandeur that awaits.

**Unraveling the History**

The property’s history is as captivating as its enchanting ambiance. Dating back to the 13th century, when it served as a peel tower offering refuge from invasions, Askham Hall has witnessed centuries of transformation. From being an Elizabethan mansion in the 16th century to becoming the residence of the Lowther family in the 1930s, the hotel is steeped in a rich tapestry of stories. Notably, the annual visits by Prince Philip and the hotel’s association with the prestigious Lowther Show week add to its historical allure.

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**Luxurious Accommodations**

Upon checking in, the opulence of the hotel becomes apparent. The ground-floor guest lounges exude majesty, and the lavish bedrooms, each with its own unique story to tell, offer a perfect blend of comfort and extravagance. The Train Room, named after the room housing the model railway of the Lowther family, impresses with its immense space, a wood-burning stove, and a mezzanine featuring two single beds. However, the bathroom may leave one desiring a more luxurious touch, highlighting a minor inconsistency in an otherwise exquisite experience.

**Culinary Exploration**

One of the hallmarks of Askham Hall is its culinary offerings. The Michelin-starred restaurant, Allium, presents a dining experience that is deeply intertwined with the surrounding landscape. Much of the produce used in the restaurant is sourced from the kitchen gardens and neighboring farms, adding a farm-to-table aspect that further enhances the overall experience. The captivating views through mullioned windows complement the delectable menu, creating a truly immersive dining experience.


In conclusion, Askham Hall stands as a timeless testament to the grandeur of the Lake District. Its rich history, luxurious accommodations, and gastronomic delights combine to offer a truly immersive experience. While minor inconsistencies may be observed, they pale in comparison to the overall enchantment that this 13th-century gem exudes. With its well-deserved accolades and a captivating aura, Askham Hall undoubtedly lives up to the hype, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a blend of history and indulgence.

In the end, the enchanting experience of Askham Hall transcends mere hospitality – it’s an exploration of history, luxury, and culinary excellence that truly captivates every visitor.

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