Lancrigg Hotel, Grasmere – Review
Lancrigg Hotel, Grasmere
by Karl Hornsey
Driving up and along the road from the bustling village of Grasmere to the hamlet of Easedale in the Lake District felt like stepping back in time, into a bygone era of peace, tranquillity and of no little history. The Lancrigg is set in around 30 acres of woodlands and the drive in sees the landscape open up before your eyes, and the impressive manor house hove into view. With a fresh lick of paint being applied, the outside looked in fine nick considering the building’s age and the hammering it must get from the weather in this area, with the relatively new owners continuing their efforts to restore the Lancrigg to its former glories.
We could quite happily have just stayed outside the front of the hotel and continued to drink in the view, or head off on one of the walks through the gardens and surrounding woods, but we dragged ourselves inside and up to our room, The Wordsworth. He’s everywhere around here, second only in tourist heritage to the ubiquitous Beatrix Potter. We were shown to our room at the top of the stairs on the first floor by a friendly young man and started to investigate what was on offer. The room, and I say this as a compliment, was a mishmash of styles and tastes, which fortunately we liked. I suspect no two rooms are the same, and that’s how it should be in a building of this vintage.
“Peace and quiet”
The bathroom had been recently revamped and was spotlessly clean, with outstanding bath and shower facilities, and a stunning view out over the hills at the front of the hotel. With no frosted glass on the windows though, quite what anyone makes of the view looking in is another matter…
The bedroom was cosy and comfy, although sadly lacking a welcome pack that could tell visitors about local attractions, general information and the history of the building – and there’s plenty of it. Thankfully though, the room was also cleaned to the highest standards, no mean feat in buildings as old as this, and once the walkers had finished for the night, the peace and quiet outside was much appreciated.
We chose to have our evening meal here as well and it had much to live up to given that we had enjoyed a fine dining experience the previous night, but I’m delighted to say we were fully satisfied. The waitress, despite being very busy for the duration of our meal, was friendly and looked after us well, as she also did at breakfast the following morning. My wife started with the smoked pheasant and rabbit terrine, which was meaty and full of flavour, accompanied with a delightful celeriac remoulade, while my pan-fried mackerel with chervil potato salad was a lovely light starter, with soft flakes of fish and a crisp skin.
From the five mains on offer I opted for the golden beetroot spiced rissoles, parched pea hummus, garlic sour dough croutes and aubergine caviar, and my wife had the guinea fowl breast with wild mushroom forcemeat, calovo nero, fondant potato and forestiere sauce. The plates were beautifully presented and were soon empty, with my hummus, croutes and caviar absolutely delicious, although the rissoles, while tasty, resembled the taste of onion bhajis a little too much for my liking, losing the essence of beetroot. The forcemeat addition to the succulent guinea fowl worked perfectly and the sauce was strong, but just the right side of being overpowering.
As often seems to be the case, we saved the best for last, and a sublime fig and damson bakewell with a burnt orange custard. The bakewell, complete with whole damsons would have been delicious enough on its own, but we could both quite easily have demolished a bucketful of the custard, so deep and rich in flavour, yet still working in tandem with the tart to make every mouthful even better than the one before.
“Plenty of choice”
Replete, we retired for a relaxing night’s sleep, followed in the morning by a Full English, which we enjoyed in the Poet’s Bar, an interesting addition to the building that is open all day, offering walkers and other members of the general public the chance to pop in for coffee, cakes, food and beer. Which seems exactly the sort of thing I would want to appear on the horizon if I were yomping around these parts. The breakfast was of a very high standard, with plenty of choice and tasty local produce, and the two members of staff couldn’t do enough for us to ensure our short stay ended in satisfaction.
There has clearly been a lot of work gone into turning The Lancrigg into what it is today and there is still a lot going on around the place, but I would happily stay there again and look forward with interest to seeing how the finished product transpires.
The Lancrigg Hotel, Easdale Road, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9QN
Room prices vary between seasons and days of the week. Room prices can start from £99 upwards. All prices are per room per night based on 2 people sharing and includes breakfast.