Askham Hall, a Grade I-listed building dating back to the 14th century in Cumbria, is to be converted at a cost of £2.5m into a 26-bedroom country house hotel.
Used as a private residence by the Lowther family since the 1830s, the property near Penrith is being project managed by Charles Lowther. Conservational architects Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, who has worked on Windsor Castle, is carrying out the conversion, while Charles and his wife Juno are creating the interior design.
"We want to continue the life of Askham Hall in a positive and proactive way and to do something that is sensitive and in keeping with the character of the building," explained Charles Lowther. "We want to create a new style of hotel in Cumbria offering a unique relaxing retreat with a modern twist within a beautiful old building."
The new hotel - marking one of the most ambitious hotel projects in Cumbria for several years - is intended to be homely, relaxed and unpretentious with contemporary design and art complementing the hall's original features.
It will incorporate a restaurant, using produce from the seven acres of gardens and surrounding Lowther estate, a café with function space for up to 200 people in a separate Grade II-listed barn, spa and outdoor swimming pool.
The restaurant will be run by Paul McKinnon, who is currently head chef at the nearby George and Dragon pub, also owned by the Lowther family. Chris Curry will be the general manger of both Askham Hall and the George and Dragon.
By Janet Harmer
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