Short break - Farlam Hall Country House Hotel, Brampton
- Credit: Archant
Rebekka O’Grady experiences a taste of the good life at Brampton’s Farlam Hall.
Most hotels and restaurants strive to give their guests the best possible service. Even if you think you have experienced excellent customer relations, I bet it doesn’t compare to that of my recent stay at Farlam Hall Country House Hotel in Brampton, north Cumbria. The 12 bedroom Victorian hotel has been owned by the Quinion family since 1975 and from the moment you walk through the door, you know there’s nothing they won’t do for you.
We were greeted by Helen Quinion as we pulled up and she took us to our bedroom, a large and traditional space, furnished with everything you would expect to find in a quintessentially English home. Unfortunately, the quintessential weather we have come to expect during the English summer prevented us from walking around the beautiful 12-acre estate, so we jumped back into the car and drove to nearby Lanercost Priory and Birdoswald Roman Fort, both sites of the historic Hadrian’s Wall.
Dinner was booked for 8pm on both evenings, and we had already selected from chef Barry Quinion’s daily-changing menu of traditional English dishes. Greeted by friendly staff either side of the sweeping staircase, we were taken through to the lounge for a pre-dinner drink and canapés before taking our seats in the elegant dining room, where floor to ceiling windows overlook the ornamental lake.
It’s a mix of relaxed country living and formality: your seats are pulled out for you and napkins placed upon your lap, but there is a sense that you are also family here. Helen remembered what we had done that day, asking how our afternoon had been; it was friendly and certainly not intrusive.
The food can only be described as superb. Sourced locally, it’s clear that chef takes pride in his beautifully presented dishes. Across our two night stay, we enjoyed four-course dinners that included grilled sea trout fillet, sea bass on a bed of crushed potatoes and pesto, tender Cumbrian lamb and homemade banana and white rum ice cream. I must give a special mention to the spectacular cheese board; where a substantial platter of around ten cheeses including a wheel of stilton are brought out for your selection.
You fall asleep in the comfortable beds completely satisfied, only to wake and remember there’s a wonderful breakfast awaiting you. Starters include fresh fruit and cereal, and then there’s a choice of everything from cheese on toast to bacon and poached eggs.
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As we left, we told Lynne Quinion (Helen’s sister-in-law) we thought Farlam Hall was delightful. She explained that some guests are taken aback by the level of service, simply because they aren’t used to being looked after. ‘But by the time they leave we have worked the Farlam effect on them,’ she smiled. And she couldn’t have been more right.
Farlam Hall, Hallbankgate, Brampton, CA8 2NG. Tel: 016977 46234 www.farlamhall.co.uk