13 weird and wonderful places for your Lancashire and Lake District staycation

The eco-friendly cabins at the Cartford Inn

The eco-friendly cabins at the Cartford Inn - Credit: Archant

Sick of Spain? Tired of the Tropics? Too frazzled to be bothered with airports? Then we have the answer to your problems – a staycation in one of these gloriously quirky spots

Go on, branch out

No one would ever accuse you of being out of your tree if you stayed here - officially one of the best tree houses in Britain (there are others?). It comes complete with rope bridge, sunset deck, private boat house and boat. Secluded in private woodland at Cleveley Mere, the construction of this remarkable house featured on TV's Grand designs. Everything has been done to the highest spec - the kitchen, for instance, is a Miele creation that cost £40,000. The floors and furniture are solid oak and the beds are handmade Hypnos and top of the range. The two superb en-suite bedrooms have floor to ceiling windows with spectacular lake and river views.


Peace in a pod

These luxury self-catering pods have just opened at Browsholme Hall in the Forest of Bowland. Ten micro lodges each with a double bed, en-suite shower room, kitchenette, sitting area and an outside veranda are set among ancient oak and beech trees. Perfect for the outdoor pursuits from hill walking, cycling, climbing to gentle rambles. A number of 'bouldering' sites - low level climbing - are nearby and award-winning shops and restaurants are within a few miles. The Hall and gardens, home to the Parker family since 1507, open on certain days. While there you can sample the delights of their 'Five Mile Menu' in the Tithe Barn tearoom.


A Rookery nook

With a mix of steampunk and industrial décor plus a grass roof, The Rookery is holiday accommodation like no other, and is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in East Lancashire. Inside you'll find bespoke craftsmanship and outdoors there are breathtaking views. The detached stone cottage was a labour of love for the owners, who have created a place to escape from the run of the mill.


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In the grounds of one of our most historic homes, the Grade I listed Samlesbury Hall, this hamlet of cosy, colourful shepherds' huts is where glamping meets luxury. Each is centrally heated offering comfort and has a spacious en-suite. In groups of twos and threes, they enable families and friends to glamp together around a campfire. You can have breakfast at the hall then join in family activities during school holidays with Betsy Bumblebee and a small children's farm where Elvis the pig reigns supreme. For quieter, grown-up stays there are free weekly tours to explore the fascinating history of the hall and the chance to visit the award-winning Bee Centre.


Sprinkling some Stardust

Calling these creations luxury cabins doesn't really do them justice, but whatever they are they are remarkable places to stay. With quirky yet eco-friendly design and build, they are handily located in the grounds of the Cartford Inn, one of the region's award winning dining pubs. Owners Patrick and Julie Beaume have used everything from driftwood (they overlook the River Wyre) to dramatic modern art and their shared love of David Bowie turned one of the cabins into a temple to Ziggy Stardust.


Romany and Romantic

At the Blue House B&B you can now book a romantic stay in an original gypsy caravan. This cosy bow-top caravan is authentically decorated with beautiful hand-painted woodwork, illuminated by candlelight and a wood-burning stove. The double bed is very comfortable but any one over 6ft might find it a little short. With plenty of seating in the caravan plus your own outdoor fire pit and benches you can step back in time and enjoy a holiday with a difference as well as a home cooked breakfast.


Posh camping ay Wyresdale

Posh camping ay Wyresdale - Credit: Archant

Park life

It could almost be a scene from Swallow and Amazons. Feather Down at Wyresdale Park, Scorton, offers upmarket glamping in tented lodges looking out on to the Lake. There are boating jetties for sailing and, in July and August, you can book fishing. After a busy day rustle up a nice slow-cooked dinner on the wood burning stove and at Wyresdale Hall you find the much loved Walled Garden Café in the Victorian glasshouse.


The Old Tower is part of an Ambleside church

The Old Tower is part of an Ambleside church - Credit: Archant

Answer to a Prayer

In a conservation area of Ambleside you'll find Tower House, which forms the front part of a Grade II listed church complete with tower. There has been a church here since 1550, but this one dates from 1812 when it took on a more Gothic style. Surrounded by the village's oldest houses, Tower House benefits from being in a quiet location surrounded by shared gardens, while only a short walk away from town. It is comfortably furnished, mixing modern luxuries while retaining original features, from the solid studded door to the arched church windows. The twin room on the top floor will be popular with the children as they look out of their bedroom window over the castellated roof to the fells.


Captured by the Castle

It may have been built in the 1840s but at Augill Castle, near Brough, you feel like you've stepped back to medieval times. The 17 bedrooms range from wildly romantic and decadent to contemporary. Others have turrets for wardrobes, claw-footed baths, stained glass and stunning views. Each room has a sofa or two armchairs and some come with working fireplaces. It's everything you'd expect of a boutique hotel with all the comfort of a mildy eccentric family country house. Guests get the run of the castle and its 20 acres, shared with no more than 30 others and the family that run this marvellously quirky pile.


Shed your worries and relax

Not many people can boast they've stayed in the shed that once housed the village grass roller. But the owners of this tiny landmark in the foodie paradise of Cartmel have turned it into self catering accommodation for two after a loving renovation scheme which saw the creation of a contemporary open plan living area with under floor heating, wall mounted Smart TV, Bluetooth, iPod dock, corner sofa and bi-fold doors with remote controlled blinds. The master bedroom with king size bed has a Velux window overlooking fields towards the lovely Cartmel Priory.


Light an Eyrie

John Ruskin, the great Victorian thinker and artist, was inspired by the superb setting of his house, Brantwood, just outside Coniston. Now, the upper floor known as The Eyrie has been renovated, creating self catering accommodation in the house Ruskin occupied from 1872 until 1900. The accommodation for two has spectacular views over Coniston Water and to the Lake District fells beyond. It has beautiful interiors with original artworks and is furnished to the highest standard for a comfortable stay.


Love yurts

King-size beds with fur throws, wood burning stoves and en suite bathrooms make staying in a yurt at the Red Pump a million miles from camping. The tiny village of Bashall Eaves, near Clitheroe, is home to this well known dining inn with a steak house restaurant, local ales and, for those not so keen on the great outdoors, some swanky bedrooms. But for those who love yurts, there awaits a breakfast in the pub and those who need a little help sleeping there is a nightime flask of hot chocolate.


The real Teal

If you fancy a trip on a canal boat but don't want the hassle of locks, then Lady Teal is the magnificent 5 Star hotel boat offering crewed and fully catered breaks. All cabins are en-suite and prices are all-inclusive, including all drinks, secure parking and chauffeur limousines to or from your parked car. Cruising the quiet stunning canals through the Lancashire countryside and beyond is a glorious experience and the schedule allows you to go for walks and, if you must, you can even learn to work those locks work and do some steering. Host Nick will talk you through some of the history of the canals.