Broadoaks is a small, oak-panelled Edwardian house surrounded by green fields. It’s found up in the hills, somewhere between Windermere and Troutbeck. Broadoaks was built in 1836 by Colonel John Hutchinson who is responsible for planting that enormous sequoia tree on the front lawn.
After Colonel Hutchinson’s death his nephew, Henry Ormerod Hutchinson inherited the house. He in turn sold it to William Grimble Groves in 1899 and in 1900 Groves let it to Mr C H Slingsby. Slingsby was responsible for many of the improvements to the house that we see today, including the music room of 1904. This long barrel-vaulted lounge with its delicate plaster relief work in the style of William Morris still houses a Bechstein baby grand piano that was actually commissioned for the room.
The house was sold on a number of occasions during the twentieth century before passing to Charles and Joan Pavelyn in 1990. They were responsible for turning Broadoaks into a hotel, which was bought in 2007 by its current owners, Tracey Robinson and Jo Harbottle.
Tracey has filled the music room with old family portraits and the bar with signed photos of famous people who have not necessarily stayed at Broadoaks (eg Robert Redford) and those who have (Mary Berry).
All twenty ensuite bedrooms are very different from each other. Two of them have working fireplaces and three have reclaimed lavatory seats, including one that belonged to the Victorian actor, Forbes Robertson. The hotel is proud of the fact that there is every reason to believe that it would have been used by the eminent actress Ellen Terry, great aunt of John Gielgud. (The provenance of the other lavatories is less august.)
The hotel has a lovely policy of serving its afternoon tea in vintage bone china teacups and saucers donated by members of the public. For every cup received by Broadoaks’ Tea-Cycle programme the hotel makes a donation to the Lake District Foundation charity.
Today guests are welcome to play the Broadoaks piano and sometimes the hotel provides a pianist during pre-prandial drinks. There is also a dedicated dog-walking field and the hotel has won two national awards in recent years for its dog-friendliness. This is a pleasant, fun hotel to stay in, particularly if you are a dog-lover because so is Tracey. All rates at Broadoaks are DDBB (Doggie, Dinner, Bed and Breakfast) and there are kennels at the rear of the hotel for those who want to dine (for example) without their furry friend.
The hotel’s restaurant, Oaks Brasserie prides itself on Cumbrian produce with a French twist under executive chef Sharon Elders. As she herself puts it, “Modern French fine dining classics combined with our own Cumbrian favourites.”