Monday, February 13, 2006

Appleby Manor Hotel

We love this place! We discovered it when Angel was tiny and we saw it recommended as a family-friendly hotel. Over the ten years since then we have been back both with and without the girls as an occasional treat. It is a long drive in British terms (250 miles), but worth the time on the road. Midway between the Lake District (think Beatrix Potter, Swallows and Amazons and Charlotte Mason) and the Yorkshire Dales (James Herriot country), the location is superb. The house itself was built in the late nineteenth century by John Heelis, a wealthy solicitor (lawyer). I am privately convinced he must have been a relative of Beatrix Potter's solicitor husband, Willie Heelis. I haven't been able to confirm this - but how many families of solicitors called Heelis could there be? It is a classic English country house, with wood panelled walls, log fires and a general sense of comfort and solidity. The food is superb - if anything it gets better every time we visit - and the hotel has managed to combine a luxurious feel with friendly service and a genuinely warm welcome to children. There are games in the lounge, a swing and a playhouse in the garden, and ice cream cones as an alternative to desserts more appealing to adult tastebuds. It is also the one place I know where Tevye slows down visibly within minutes of arriving!

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