This grand hotel, the medieval family home of the Earls of Lonsdale, offers authentic country house living in stately surroundings: vast rooms, scattered antiques and a well-worn but comfortable, informal and inviting air. There’s a vaulted library with an honesty bar, plus a self-operated sauna. Outside there’s a small, heated pool, but the real joy is the gardens with lawned terraces, colourful borders, vast topiary, a tangle of woodland and a substantial kitchen garden. Monthly dinners are held in the panelled, candle-lit private dining-room. Guests can fish on the rivers Eden and Lowther, borrow walking routes or book a spa treatment. All rooms have decent views.