Bristowe Hill is an elegant Edwardian Lakeland mansion. But it’s also a retreat. Hellvellyn, Skiddaw, Bencathra and Catbells stand guard, while Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite lakes nap placidly to the north and south. Somewhere in the middle, Bristowe sits high on a hill, surveying the valley past conifer and spruce.
Follow the tree-lined driveway through five acres filched from the Lake District’s loveliest corner and the sense of seclusion is immediate. That and the grand elevation, in more ways than one. Serenity reigns, yet there’s nothing remote about Bristowe Hall. Keswick is a sharp stroll away and the motorway is within easy reach.
Descend for dinner to the oak-panelled dining room. Take tea in the orangery. Sip aperitifs on the terrace. Or retreat to the pavilion for afternoon tea. Break out the croquet, soak up the views. A little more ice in your G&T? You can live like lords and ladies here, but don’t put on your pearls. Bristowe Hill is like a home from home.
With a little nurture and plenty of nature, Edwardian times were when the English began to craft rural idylls around their properties. Gardens became creative reactions against the rigid formality of Victorian times. That’s true of the five acres of Bristowe Hill, renovated and restored along with the house to Edwardian elegance.
The sweeping curve of the driveway pays homage to this informality. A spruce here and a conifer there stand proud before the mountain backdrop. It’s the perfect place for a pre-prandial stroll, a spot of cricket or croquet, or hide-and-seek on a grand scale.
With the Lakeland evening sun flooding across the fells and lakes, there’s no finer spot to be in. So exit the orangery onto the al-fresco terrace for dinner or drinks, or potter over the parklands to the pavilion for afternoon tea or steak and sausages on the barbie.
Bristowe Hill is all dressed up in its finest, but it’s happy to be a home, too. Completely refurbished, yet with a contemporary twist, this is a slice of Edwardian elegance with impeccable manners. But it has its feet up on the coffee table. You’ll feel pampered here, yet comfortable and cosy too.
Bristowe Hill marries the best of the past with the ultimate in modern living. In the hall, the original staircase is grand and imposing. In the living spaces, traditional cornicing and mouldings sit well with heavy drapes and picture windows that suck in the mountain vista.
There are snugs to escape to and places to come together with family and friends. Reminisce over dinner and drinks, settle down for a movie on Freesat TV, or enjoy a little in-house pampering. Bose provides the soundtrack to your stay and you’ll keep in touch with the wider world through superfast fibre Wi-Fi.
All while the kids find the games or make more of their own, with tag or hide-and-seek in the ultimate indoor playground.
The kitchen’s all you’d expect, bar the butler (although such things can be arranged). Off of the kitchen you’ll find the orangery, the perfect place to dine, with the views cascading in through the glass. Go further and exit to the al-fresco dining terrace, flanked by trees and sucking in the horizon.
Reunion, anniversary or birthday? Celebrate in style. Chillax while our chefs sweep in, set the table, light the candles and work their magic over the stoves to bring you a delectable dinner that befits the occasion. They’ll even take care of the washing-up. Just say the word.
Down in Keswick, near enough to stagger, The Pheasant is pleasant for homely, hearty fare such as Cumberland sausage or steak-and-ale pie, while The George is all real ale, oak beams and flickering flames, plus some award-winning nosh, too. Or how about goulash washed down with Woof and Bang at the Dog and Gun?
If finer dining’s your thing, go gastro at The Farmer’s Arms, or there are Michelin-starred eateries an hour away at Cartmel and Windermere. Or pick from the best of Keswick dining, including The Square Orange for tapas and pizza, The Chalet Tearooms (dogs encouraged) or Morrels for the pre-theatre crowd.
After a day climbing the fells, ascend the original oak staircase to the king doubles. Bristowe Hill sleeps 20 in ten grand bedrooms, one of which is a downstairs with en-suite wet room suitable for guests with mobility issues.
Eight are king doubles and there are two twins for the kids to get excited about. If you’re overloading on guests, there’s even a zedbed. Bathrooms are cool and contemporary with baths or showers, and they number nine, so no crossed legs on the landing.
Gone are the days when the only way to view a house was solely by way of poring over flat and sometimes confusing floor plans. With the emergence of 360-degree video we have an exciting new way of being introduced to the layout of a house.
With a few clicks you can be leisurely making your way through living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, kitchens and bathrooms – the whole house in all its beauty waiting for you to step on in for an effortless and insightful virtual tour.
What better corner of the country to spend that most special time of the year? The Lakes are notoriously beautiful in many respects. At the year’s end, the peaks, valleys, fells and lakes glitter in snow and ice – and all that beauty never stops being explored.
Equally beautiful, Christmas is a time perfectly at home here – by the fire in the house or the pub or the restaurant; and with romantic rowing out onto the crisp lakes under bright night skies. Bristowe Hill and the Lakes come alive in new ways you just have to see to believe.
kate & tom's is rated 4.67 stars by Reviews.co.uk based on 784 merchant reviews