Jonathan and I came to the Lakes when we bought the Cedar Manor in 2007. He knew the area well; he used to spend holidays here, but I was a city girl, from London, and I had never seen anything so lovely.
Our home and our guests’ holiday home – was built in 1854, designed by the same architect, J.S. Crowther, as St Mary’s Church across the road. Crowther also designed Wynlass Beck and Holehird in Windermere, but he’s best known for major restoration and repairs to Manchester Cathedral.
Cedar Manor was originally used as a country house retreat. That’s what we have set out to recreate with our hotel and restaurant, a real escape from the world, yet still really close to the best of everything the Lake District has to offer. The house is set in beautiful gardens, dominated by the ancient cedar tree from which the building takes its name. It was a “tired” hotel when we took it over, but we set about a 10-year renovation plan to include the roof, the wiring and plumbing, the gardens and the interiors.
It has been a transformation, and we are now proud to own a truly sumptuous and luxurious country house hotel. Our efforts have been noticed: we’re currently the Best Small Hotel in Cumbria, we are up there among the best in the Lakeland hotel awards, and the Hilden style awards. Our guests love what we offer, and they say so, putting us at the top of the Trip Adviser ratings.
We also worked on our restaurant; this was once a B&B which served occasional dinners. Now we have a 2 AA Rosette restaurant with a head chef and terrific kitchen team serving up imaginative British food with a Cumbrian flavour, produced and sourced locally, which is loved by local diners as well as our residents.
Outside we’ve built a paved and walled patio in the shade of our famous Cedar tree, and on summer evenings it’s a perfect place to sit for a drink before dinner. Our gardener, Helen, keeps the grounds looking impeccable, and colourful, all year round.
We have done some very interesting things with the interior, using an award winning international designer, Alison Tordoff at Fidget Design, and the best local craftsmen at Lakeland Fells Furniture, to create a modern and very distinctive style. I love design: I used to work as a beauty consultant, and as a jewellery manager for John Lewis in London, and I think that’s where I developed an eye for detail. We have some very talented artist friends whose work you will see around the hotel, and you can buy items – ceramics, jewellery and so on – in our Welcome Lounge.
We love meeting new people and welcoming them here. Jonathan, who used to work with the Forte and Thistle hotel groups, was also manager of Raffles nightclub in Chelsea where he would chat with celebrities and royalty, so he knows how to make our guests feel special.
It was at Raffles that he learned how to mix a fantastic cocktail, and also learned to play backgammon, and that’s why we now stage the Lake District backgammon championship here at the hotel every year. But we love to get outdoors when we can, usually with Basil, our puppy, in tow. We’re both keen walkers, and I’m training for the London Marathon having done the Great North Run last year. I’m raising money for Lupus UK, and we have occasional fundraising events at the hotel – afternoon teas, fetes and fairs. Our daughter, Elizabeth, loves to help out. Her big sister, Natalie, suffers from Lupus so it’s a cause close to all our hearts.
Want to know more? Read about us in Lancashire Life
Food lover and fell runner, I'm often out and about taking most of the great shots you'll find on Google plus. I look forward to welcoming you to our hotel
Working with our designers, we've helped to create a luxury and welcoming feel to our hotel and rooms. I am looking forward to showing you our newly decorated and refurbished rooms.