Lancashire Life and Lake District Life Luncheon at the Lindeth Howe

The former Lakeland home of the Potter family was the venue for our latest Lancashire Life luncheon. Roger Borrell reports

While departing guests at lesser establishments content themselves by cramming their suitcases with towels, shower-caps and strange smelling things in small plastic bottles, they have a more discerning clientele at the wonderful Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel.

The hotel’s affable managing director, Bolton-born Stephen Broughton, reveals the main crime at this picturesque establishment involves the regular disappearance of Lancashire Life from the bedrooms.

While we could never condone this, it’s reassuring to know people are prepared to risk the full majesty of the law to get their fix of Britain’s biggest selling county magazine.

Happily, we took along a few spare copies when we staged our latest Lancashire Life and Lake District Life luncheon at the Lindeth Howe, situated in lovely countryside near Bowness.

There are few buildings in this part of the world that don’t claim some sort of association with Beatrix Potter, but Lindeth Howe is the business. Even the postal address, Longtail Hill, suggests its provenance.

Like many fine Lakeland houses, it was built as a retreat for a Lancashire mill owner and, like many similar properties, it has changed hands several times. At the turn of the last century, the Potter family became friends with the then owners and Beatrix illustrated two stories - Timmy Tiptoes and Pigling Bland - while staying there.

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She fell in love with the house and in 1915, following the death of her father, Beatrix bought it for her mother, Helen.

The hotel is now owned by Oldham businessman Norman Stoller and Stephen Broughton. They haven’t found any of Beatrix’s original work under the floorboards, but her father, Rupert, was a keen photographer and some of his plates and prints of the house are still there and now adorn the walls.

Also on one of the walls is a framed review by the erstwhile hotel spy of the Daily Telegraph, Paddy Burt. Never a woman easily pleased, even she had to admit her stay was ‘memorable’ and for all the right reasons.

Another wall displays the 2009 Lancashire Life Lake District Restaurant of the Year trophy so guests were looking forward to seeing what double AA Rosette chef Marc Guibert (a Frenchman married to a local lass) and his team had to offer.

We weren’t disappointed. Each course came as a threesome, showing culinary skills at full stretch. Before lunch we tried to some delicious canap�s with a fizzy Colli Vicentini Rose Frizzante from Janette McLoughlin, of EWGA Wines at Carnforth.

Our starter of poached trout fillet,  chowder with cockles and bacon and Cumbrian air dried ham with a tangy Australian Riesling set the bar high, but the main course was more than a match.

This involved three different treatments of Cumbrian beef - a fillet, braised ox cheek and a stunning oxtail sausage. It was well matched with an equally meaty Bordeaux, Chateau Tour Caillet 2008.

Dessert was also steeped in local tradition - sticky toffee pudding, Grasmere ginger cake and Kendal mint sorbet with a soft but not oversweet Australian Semillon. Lunch ended with three lovely pieces of Cumbrian cheese.

Three of a kind turned out to be a winning hand.

Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel, Lindeth Drive, Longtail Hill, Bowness on Windermere, LA23 3JF.

Tel: 015394 45759 

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