netherby hall

Horsing Around at Netherby Hall and The Pentonbridge Inn

Monday 01st Jul 2024 |

Are you a Bridgerton fan? If you are, or actually even if you’re not, I have the perfect place for you to stick on your to-do list for a weekend break or midweek treat.

Netherby Hall is in a spectacular location, surrounded by the rolling hills and woodland of Cumbria and close to the Scottish Borders, even the drive there is magnificent.

When I was invited to a ‘Summer Experience Stay’ at the historic Netherby Hall, I was thrilled, what could be more wonderful than a countryside retreat in one of the UK’s most beautiful locations?

After a scenic drive from Leeds, I rolled into the Netherby Estate on a rather drizzly summer day in June and was greeted by the imposing grade II* listed mansion house surrounded by manicured lawns and gardens. After a friendly welcome from the reception team, I was shown to my accommodation, the very well-appointed Clocktower apartment.

Purchased by Gerald and Margo Smith in 2014, Netherby Hall has since been transformed into a modern hospitality enterprise, with nine luxury self-catering holiday cottages and apartments, as well as a venue which is available for corporate event hire.

My apartment is located within the courtyard which comprises further apartments and working stables. There is a definite nod to the equestrian throughout the whole estate – the stables would be a joy to any keen horseman/woman, and comprise coach-houses and grooms quarters’ to house all the facilities required for the maintenance and upkeep of the horses and carriages – yes, horses and carriages!

The Clocktower is self-contained with a fully equipped kitchen, (very) spacious lounge and dining area and a huge bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe and luxurious (and again rather huge) bathroom complete with both a luxurious shower and an opulent roll-top bath.

The decor throughout is stylish and tasteful with relaxing hues taken from nature balanced with plush furnishings and wonderful attention to detail – there are delicious bath and body products, fluffy robes and slippers, plentiful tea and coffee facilities with fresh milk in the fridge, and fresh flowers in each room, it is delightful and immaculate.

There are other types of accommodation available at Netherby, so if you are planning a group or family trip, just have a look at their website which offers a 3D tour of each.

I did mention horses and carriages earlier, not something I know much about, of course, I have seen them on Royal occasions and in period dramas on the telly, but I have never had the occasion to ride in one myself, that is until now.

After a relaxing afternoon taking in the walled gardens and beautiful surroundings, my husband and I had been invited to dine at The Pentonbridge Inn, a Michelin-starred eatery a little over three miles from Netherby Hall, and we were to arrive in style, on the estate’s own (very grand) horse-driven carriage.

On this occasion the weather wasn’t smiling on our hosts, keen equestrians and owners of the estate, Gerald and Margo, in fact, the heavens opened as we climbed into our rather cosy carriage and began rumbling through the spectacular scenery, but they were dressed the part and embraced the great British summer weather with gumption!

A timeless experience that transports one back to a bygone era, the rhythmic clatter of hooves against the earth creates a soothing melody and rolling hills stretch out as far as the eye can see, dotted with quaint farmhouses and grazing livestock. A magical and memorable journey ending at a most welcome sight, the ambient Pentonbridge Inn.

Seated at a cosy table for two with a wonderful view of the surrounding meadows, we had both worked up at appetite and were ready to indulge (nothing new there). On this occasion, we were to experience the eight-course tasting menu which started with a glass of Champagne and some delicious canapes.

Moving on we enjoyed  Chalk Stream Trout with Vichyssoise, Curry and Caviar followed by North Sea Halibut with Crispy Oyster and Cucumber – both dishes were incredible, the combination of flavours imaginative and delicious.

My stand-out dish was without a doubt the Cumbrian Herdwick with Stuffed Morel and Wild Garlic – this was sublime and if it’s possible, personified the exact taste of the Cumbrian scenery we had meandered through earlier in the evening. The meat sliced like butter and melted in the mouth – it might be cliche but it’s the only way to describe it!

The kitchen has an open pass at Pentonbridge, so whilst you dine on the finest local and seasonal ingredients you can watch the talented kitchen team plate the exquisite dishes with precise artistry and finesse. It’s a real culinary adventure.

Desserts were just as delicious with my particular favourite being the cheese plate with a delectable rhubarb chutney. We also indulged in Millefeuille with rum and raisin and finally Petit Fours. Stick a pin in me and roll me home!

The Pentonbridge Inn is curated by a team of passionate chefs who are committed to showcasing the finest local produce. Each dish on their thoughtfully crafted menu reflects a deep respect for seasonal ingredients, often sourced from nearby farms and suppliers.

Service at Pentonbridge Inn is attentive yet unobtrusive, enhancing your dining experience without ever feeling overbearing. As you savour your meal amidst the serene countryside views, it is clear that dining here is not just about nourishment but about celebrating food as an art form.

As the evening drew to a close we were chauffeur-driven home in the Netherby Hall Estate’s private car with a friendly and knowledgeable driver who took care to get the rather quiffy couple from Yorkshire back to our beautiful Clock Tower abode.

The beauty of working as a travel writer, is that we get to see and visit some incredible places that we otherwise may never have heard of. There is so much more to Netherby Hall and its wonderful owners than I have had time to write here, but I insist you head over to the website where you can find much more detail about the history of the estate and the remarkable restoration journey Gerald and Margo have undertaken.

This was a truly unforgettable experience and as I headed back down to the Lake District, I was a little sad to be leaving after just one night, albeit it a fantastic one! If larking around in beautiful countryside, rumbling through the hills in a horse-drawn carriage and Michelin star dining is something you would enjoy, then this is the place for you and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Tell them I sent you.

Words by Joanne Brook-Smith

Netherby Hall and Estate

Netherby, Longtown
Carlisle, Cumbria

Contact: +44 (0) 1228 792 732
Office Hours: 8:00 – 16:30 GMT

Pentonbridge Inn

Penton, Carlisle, Cumbria CA6 5QB

01228 586 636

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