Dalston Hall, Carlisle, Cumbria: hotel review

Bling decor and patchy food marred a stay in this beautiful 16th-century manor house hotel on the edge of the Lake District

Once the basics such as clean room and comfy bed are in place, unlooked-for extras can be what make a trip a real treat: charming staff, say, or small things such as delicious homemade biscuits. But while the fundamentals at Dalston Hall, north of the Lake District near Carlisle, were fine, the extras it offered were, for us, not just unlooked-for but unwanted and unnecessary – particularly in a beautiful 16th-century fortified manor house.

Perhaps the motors outside should have been a clue. Its front door, down some steps from the guest car park, was flanked by a Bentley and a couple of other flash cars with personalised plates. (I later learned that the Rolls and Bentley are available to collect guests from stations or airports. Thanks but I’d be fine with a cab.)

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