I love Cumbria. The Lakes are a remarkable land of contrasts. The landscape is simply stunning and believe it or not there are still parts of this beautiful county where one can enjoy the serene pace of country life away from the crowded shores of Windermere.
Whenever we go, we always stay at Broadgate, on the Western Lake District. We came across this jewel on our first visit to the Lakes 5 years ago and have always returned ever since. Broadgate, a perfectly proportioned late Georgian house, was built in 1819 and has been inhabited by the Lewthwaites ever since.
Sober on the outside, with a delightful oeil-du-boeuf crowing its westerly façade has an exquisitely efficient lay out with many light and airy rooms.
The house sits on exquisite grounds, with immaculate lawns and colourful gardens full with rhododendrons and hydrangeas and stunning views over the Duddon Valley perfect for contemplation, relaxing picnics and fun for our whippets Theodora and Tristan.
On entering the house one is welcomed by a generous entrance hall of subtle Georgian proportions, exquisite architectural detail and a pattern mosaic floor interwoven with vivid cerulean stars reflecting the intensely blue Cumbrian skies on a sunny day. The furniture sparse: dark oak and darkened oil portraits on the walls.
The Hall leads directly onto the Library and a grand staircase where family portraits hang. Starting with that of the late Sir David Lewthwaite who was in charge of a delightfully sympathetic redecoration of the house in 2000.
Off the hallway we first find the library then the beautifully elegant dining room decorated in rich bottle green walls and sang the boeuf and gilt curtains.
The Baroque drawing room follows on, one of the grandest of the house, it gathers layer upon layer of family life. This room features a magnificent and imposing black marble fireplace, exquisitely ornate coving, crimson and gold flock wallpaper, rich port velvet curtains with a delicate baroque gilt and velvet pelmet (once hanging at Clarence House when it was the London residence of the Queen Mother), family paintings, antique furniture, petit point upholstery, silk & gold thread embroidered cushions with antique rouches and trimmings, Persian rugs and silk flower arrangements: a true feast for the eyes. Furthermore the room offers majestic easterly views across the rolling Lakeland fells.
A second dinning room of generous proportions follows and one gets the chance of having breakfast on a delightful ‘everyday’ set of antique Copeland Spode Pink Tower stoneware.
Upstairs, spread over 2 floors we find spacious and light flooded bedrooms and bathrooms full of charm and country comfort.
Lady Diana runs the house and Estate with precision and ease and has opened the upper rooms for guests. This is country house living at its purest: raw architectural beauty, ravishingly lived-in interiors, lush location and an unsurpassable hostess. No wonder we are looking forward to returning already!