Great British Boltholes: Need a hip hotel? Walk this way to Brownber Hall in Cumbria
- Peter and Amanda Jaques-Walker left London to buy Brownber Hall in 2016
- It has been quietly gaining a reputation for being a hip place for walkers to stay
- Selected antiques break up the bedrooms’ whitewashed and minimalist look
Take two Londoners with a love of hiking and climbing, one top former designer for a cool hotel chain (Soho House), one mid-Victorian country house, plus a beautiful setting amid the Howgill Fells and what do you get? A hip eight-room hideaway run with style and panache.
The two Londoners in question are Peter and Amanda Jaques-Walker, who left their full-time jobs in London (barrister Amanda still commutes two days a week for her work), to buy Brownber Hall in 2016.
They did it up with the help of Amanda’s sister Nina, and have been quietly gaining a reputation for being perhaps Britain’s hippest hotel for walkers.
Climber chic: Brownber Hall is a favourite for hikers. It is set among the Howgill Fells in Cumbria
The lounge areas come with Moroccan rugs, Indian coffee tables, Thai lampstands and a ‘sofa from Hackney’ – much of the furniture was picked up on the couple’s travels.
The art and photography throughout is modern and well chosen – Peter studied photography at the Royal College of Art. And shelves are full of local maps and interesting walking books from around the globe. When we ask about a suitable walk, Peter rattles off a few with enthusiasm.
One of the best is from the front door. Cross the gravel terrace and you enter a lane leading to a disused railway track that has been converted into a walking path. From the comfort of Brownber, it’s not long before you’re winding your way through rolling hills in all their splendour.
The USP: This is climber chic. Forget wet socks on radiators (there’s a dry room in the basement) or lumpy sofas that have seen better days. Think more a slick private club.
Selected antiques break up the bedrooms’ whitewashed and minimalist look
The rooms: A whitewashed and minimalist look is broken by carefully selected antiques, reupholstered armchairs and arty old black-and-white pictures. The best rooms face the front.
Televisions come with easy-to-use Netflix, espresso machines, 100 Acres toiletries, and beds with wrought-iron frames. The sound of silence in the morning, with light bathing the front of the house on a good day, is worth the room rate alone.
The food: Pizzas, salads and boards of antipasti are served from Thursday to Sunday. At Brownber, though, breakfasts are king. A full English with local sausages, bacon, poached eggs, chunky black pudding, beans and wild mushrooms is a treat. And the coffee is top-notch.
Brownber Hall, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. B&B is from £100 per night. Visit brownberhall.co.uk.