Charlie Lowther has found a new head chef, award-winning Gareth Webster, who does perfect justice to the slow-grow breeds of beef, pork and lamb produced on the Lowther Estate – and you’ll find lovely wines to match. Ales and cheeses are local, berries and mushrooms are foraged, vegetables are home-grown. Our twice-baked cheese soufflé with a hint of spinach was divine. As for the long low coaching inn, it’s been beautifully restored by craftsmen using wood, slate and stone, and painted in colours in tune with the period. Bare wooden tables, comfy sofas, intimate alcoves and crackling fires make this a delightful place to dine and unwind; old prints and archive images tell stories of the 800-year-old estate’s history. Outside is plenty of seating and a lawned play area beneath fruit trees. Upstairs are 11 bedrooms of varying sizes (some small, some large and some above the bar), perfectly decorated in classic country style. Carpeting is Cumbrian wool, beds are new, ornaments come with Lowther history, showers are walk-in, baths (there are two) are roll top, and breakfast is fresh and delicious.