Brownber Hall, near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria – hotel review

Amid fells alive with birdlife and red squirrels, this stylish hotel in the north-west corner of the Yorkshire Dales proves a great base for walking

Coming up the drive to this elegant mid-Victorian mansion house, I notice a number of things: that the lane is flooding, the trees are shaking and that dark clouds are looming over the fells – it’s a full-throttle melodramatic arrival and probably not a rarity in these parts, I reckon. Along the lane are also lots of warning signs about the red squirrels. I am always the person who scoffs at such animal-caution signs, never having subsequently seen any sign of deer, frogs, and hedgehogs. Then we turn up the final section of drive and narrowly miss squishing a bushy-tailed gingery creature. He looks justifiably outraged, before posing for photographs.

Related: The Cottage In The Wood, near Keswick, Lake District: hotel review

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