If culture and heritage are you thing, why not combine your stay in North Lancashire with a day trip from Lancaster House Hotel to Leighton Hall?
Set within the Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Carnforth, the history of the hall goes back nearly 800 years and there is plenty to explore. Our receptionist Carolyn paid a visit on a ‘big day out’:
I’d always thought Leighton Hall with its gardens, tearooms and activities would be well worth a visit, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Nestled in wide expanses of picturesque rural land, the history of the hall goes back to 1246 but the welcome and tour of the beautiful manor is by no means dated.
The hall is still home to the current owners, Lucy Gillow Arthurs and Daniel Arthurs, whose ancestors have lived there across many generations. They have been kind enough to open their home to the public to share their history and vast collection of art and furniture.
From the warm welcome at the gate, the customer friendly tour of the hall and its grounds and the delicious home-made cakes and drinks in the café, we immediately felt relaxed.
Unlike so many other country estates and rural houses open to the public, Leighton Hall has ‘no ropes or boundaries’ in it rooms. Guests are encouraged to sit down in the Gillow dining chairs and to feel the quality of the bird’s eye maple wood in the bedroom furniture of Lady Reynold’s bedroom.
The tour starts in the grand entrance hall, and you immediately see the magical ‘flying staircase’ beneath which nestles a beautiful Daisy table. The guide tells the history of some of the paintings and the clock displayed here and talks about the mystery of the Daisy table.
The tour talk was delivered in a friendly, chatty manner and we had the opportunity to ask questions as we went along.
There’s plenty of time too to admire the antique pieces of furniture positioned around the rooms, with explanations as to whence some of the pieces were sourced, or what they were used for.
Drawers and cupboards doors are opened to reveal the insides of many curious pieces collected over many years. Many are Gillow manufactured but there are some contrasting French pieces showing marked differences in their design.
Some were highly practical in their use and would have been used on a daily basis. Others were used to house intriguing collections that family members acquired on their travels and showed off to visitors in days gone by.
In the music room, we were encouraged to relax and take a seat whilst discovering the history of the room and renowned performers who have entertained the family and their guests in the past. The cosy drawing room and its bay window extension allow for a moment to enjoy the countryside views too.
A visit upstairs to the principal bedroom of Sir James and Lady Reynolds reveals a very different style of furniture which was not made by the Gillows. The highly ornate bed, matching wardrobes and drawers give a contrasting vibe to the furnishings of other rooms.
There is small, intimate chapel in the hall where the family used to go to pray and attend services in the privacy of their own home.
We also got a peek at the servants’ quarters downstairs: seeing all the bells to summon staff to the many different rooms around the house was quite an eye opener. Learning each bell’s individual tone to respond to the correct room must have been a nightmare.
Following the very informative and entertaining tour of the hall, we were treated to a highly skilled falconry display. The recall demonstrated by one of the birds would make any dog owner envious, instantly responding to the trainer and returning to the ground on command.
Our day was brought to a satisfying conclusion with a trip to the tearooms where you can enjoy a drink and snack on the homemade cakes, either sitting inside or outside in the sheltered courtyard area.
The hall also has a lot to offer children with its Teddy Bear Hunt competition in the summer, a play area and a maze. There’s a trail to find tree faces, an area to indulge in brass rubbings, an insect hotel and bee corner too, or you and your family can simply take a gentle stroll through the beautiful woodland area or take some time to admire the walled garden.
For further information or to organise a visit during your stay at Lancaster House Hotel, go to www.leightonhall.co.uk
Front of House Operations Manager at Lancaster House Lynn Porter took her children for a big day out in Lancaster at the Williamson Park’s Butterfly house and mini zoo.
It’s not always easy to find interactive activities which are fun, immersive and educational for your children, especially during the school holidays.
But there’s a little treat in store for kids of all ages at Williamson Park in Lancaster, where they can extend their science and biology knowledge in a little oasis of wildlife, thanks to the Butterfly House and mini zoo.
Once an Edwardian tropical palm house, families can now explore the building which is a maze of different habitats for a diverse range of butterfly species. And children can quickly learn about the life cycles of the butterflies, caterpillars and pupae, as well as catching a glimpse of exotic animals such as a marmoset, Koi carp or a tortoise.
“One of the most challenging things we found was trying to photograph the butterflies – it’s pretty tricky trying to get them to pose or be still for very long! But the kids were thrilled with the experience and it’s a great environment for them to explore and find out more about nature. All in all, they had a great time, and loved the mini beasts as well, although Arlo wasn’t that keen when a butterfly landed on him.”Lynn Porter
Angela Martindale probably didn’t realise when she got married at Lancaster House Hotel in 2016 that in half a dozen years or so her daughter Nicole Pilkington would in some ways be following in her footsteps.
Nicole is currently a wedding co-ordinator at our Lancashire venue which specialises in helping couples tie the knot with a memorable big day. So is it a coincidence that she landed her favourite job at the same place her mum got married?
Nicole had worked in a number of roles in hospitality before joining English Lakes Hotels in 2018 as a receptionist. From the moment she arrived she struck up a friendship with Lancaster House wedding organiser Lisa Ng and more or less from day one said she’d love to be involved in helping brides and grooms organise their nuptials.
As the venue’s reputation for wedding events grew, so too did the workload, and when a new job was created, Nicole grasped the opportunity to join the wedding team and has never looked back.
I suppose Mum and my step-dad Andrew’s wedding here influenced my thinking without me knowing it. But the idea of getting involved in co-ordinating other people’s weddings didn’t really hit me until I saw what Lisa did in the job and how rewarding it is.Nicole
Angela and husband Andrew speak very fondly of their wedding experience at Lancaster House too: “It was just the picture-perfect venue to host our wedding day and they tailored everything to our needs,” she enthuses.
“The atmosphere on the day was so relaxing and the staff genuinely friendly and super-efficient. It was the little decorative details and additions which made all the difference, extra special touches you noticed around the hotel.
“We stayed in the main Silverdale bridal suite that overlooks the beautiful grounds. The reception was held in the Dalton suite with bespoke design and natural light coming through the window. The team absolutely catered to our every need down to the final details and helped organise our wedding accessories on our arrival too.”Angela
Angela and Andrew’s guest list was around 60 and due to long travelling distances for some family and friends, quite a few took the opportunity to book a room and stay overnight in the hotel.
Lancaster House has around 30 weddings planned in the coming months of 2023, having successfully delivered 37 in 2022, some of which were held over from Covid related postponements. The venue has capacity for up to 50-60 such events each year and Lisa and Nicole are aiming to build on their successful working partnership and grow this side of the business.
If you are looking for a top venue for your wedding in North Lancashire, Lancaster House may just be the answer! Whether it’s to plan a smaller, intimate, close knit wedding experience with family and best friends or a larger scale celebration for up to 140 guests, our team can help you every step of the way with tailored packages, special offers and specific requirements.
Find out more here https://englishlakes.co.uk/lancaster-house/weddings/
call us today on 01524 585 175.
When you’re looking for somewhere to stay when visiting Blackpool, Lancaster House Hotel is the great base for you and your loved ones.
Whether you’ve decided to enjoy the unique sights of the renowned Blackpool Illuminations, or you’ve booked to take in a show at the Winter Gardens, it’s nice to know that you can quickly escape the hubbub and immerse yourself in the relaxed atmosphere of a spacious four star venue with its own health club, restaurant and grounds.
The hotel is in a great location, an easy motorway drive into the centre of Blackpool and is just 5 minutes from the centre of the historic city of Lancaster itself.
Before you head off into the bright lights and showbiz of Blackpool’s attractions, you can spend your time relaxing by our indoor pool facilities which include a hot tub, steam room and sauna.
Blackpool is bursting with life throughout the year, with its world famous tower and classic ballroom and of course its reputation for fantastic light shows and evening entertainment.
And there’s plenty for the kids to enjoy during the day too, with the zoo, the Sea Life Centre, Sandcastle Waterpark, Madame Tussauds and of course the Pleasure Beach amusement park always proving highly popular with families.
Blackpool is alive with holiday makers from May to September, enjoying the sunshine, the golden sands, the historic piers, amusement arcades and the nightlife. Autumn is a fine time to visit too with a host of fantastic family events which celebrate the town’s rich history for spectacular after dark shows in the lead up to Christmas and the new year.
November sees the annual visit of the Strictly Come Dancing contestants strutting their stuff at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Did you know that the town also plays host to the World Fireworks Championship in front of the promenade over four successive weekends each year?
And as well as the world renowned Blackpool Illuminations, there’s also the annual Lightpool Festival. Lancaster House Hotel is the ideal spot to make your home for a few nights whilst you make the most of everything that Blackpool has to offer.
The Blackpool Illuminations is close to the hearts of many families who have visited them each year from generation to generation. The display stretches six miles North to South down the entire promenade with the Golden Mile perhaps featuring all the latest innovations to the spectacle.
The illuminations have now been extended through Christmas until the early new year so that families have the entire festive period to enjoy them.
Another fabulous autumn event in Blackpool is the now well established Lightpool Festival which features a plethora of exciting installations, large scale light projections, street entertainments, performance artists and live music. There is also the Illuminated Tram Parade which is fronted by LED lit drummers outfit, Spark!
Halloween is also a special time to visit the town which always looks to make its mark on the traditions and history of the spookiest day of the year. There are Halloween events and parties across the resort for all the family to enjoy, as well as the ghost trains and trams, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon and the Haunted Hotel tableau in the Illuminations.
The Globe Theatre at Blackpool Pleasure Beach hosts the atmospheric Circus of Horrors show with rock music and burlesque acrobatics. There’s a child friendly version of the show in the late afternoon as well as the full throttle evening performances.
Blackpool lays claim to having the largest portfolio of attractions outside of London. With the convenience of high quality facilities, the Sandpiper Leisure Club, Foodworks Restaurant and the Sandeman Bar, Lancaster House Hotel is the perfect location for a short break near Blackpool.
Here’s a few more suggestions for days out for all the family in Lancashire …
We like to keep our visitors to Lancaster House informed of what’s going on in the area. We’ve selected just a few activities in and around Lancaster to suit different interests, price ranges and age levels. Take your pick …
A special day in the English Lakes calendar, 24th March was when we announced the winners of our 2016 Employees of the Year. Directors and nominees attended a beautiful lunch at Lancaster House, eager to have the winners of seven different categories, including the prestigious MRWB Award, announced. A short citation taken from the nominations was read, and the winners received certificates and champagne.
Lancaster House is proud of the region’s rich food history and heritage. Indeed, our Foodworks Restaurant pays homage to the tradition of good
Served as part of the Lancaster House 8-Course Tasting Menu, Head Chef, Damien, is happy to share the recipe for you to try at home.
Melt the butter and dripping over gentle heat. Add all other ingredients. Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake in a low over for 1.5 hours, or until a skewer comes away clean.
We serve this with a rich toffee sauce and a generous helping of Walling’s Vanilla Ice Cream Pearls … Delicious!
On Mother’s Day, Mums are presented with flowers, choccies, perfume or sometimes a thoughtful personalised gift. Don’t get me wrong, any and every gift is cherished, especially the glitter-laden home-made card. However, research has shown, and I can testify to most of these in various seasons of life, that the most-wanted list is really quite simple …
Children, fathers, take note! (more…)