The Malabar

Cumbria, Northern England, United Kingdom Book from Book from £160 per night

A blissful boutique-barn B&B: wood-burning stoves, cool styling and wild moorland through the windows
This is an unbeatable place for hearty walking and deep relaxation. After slogging along the M6 and up a pot-holed road deep into the moors, you arrive - and immediately know the journey has been worth it. A cream door in the huge stone barn swings open, and Graham and Fiona - all smiles and quiet elegance - take your coats and cases, and settle you in front of a wood-burning stove, with homemade scones, cakes and a menu of a dozen teas.

The teas are a clue. Both owners have lived abroad (Graham brought up on an Indian tea plantation), and beautiful furnishings and objets from their travels are scattered throughout the barn’s 3 huge floors. The first-floor dining and sitting areas are an airy, open-plan affair with exposed stone walls, open beams, limestone-flagged floors and lofty windows. The guest bedrooms - just 6 - are filled with exotic vases and colourful wall-hangings. A dream barn conversion, and perfect for couples in search of a stylish, outdoorsy, peaceful escape.


  • A delicious afternoon tea to welcome you, and imaginative breakfasts available as late as you like
  • Relaxed but clever styling, mixing vintage and Indian pieces with masses of fresh flowers
  • Just 6 generous bedrooms and super-indulgent bathrooms
  • Stunning wild moorland on the doorstep, with guidebooks, wellies and maps to borrow
  • Totally peaceful, with no pressure to do anything


  • Other than charcuterie/vegetarian boards, no evening meals are served, which means a car or taxi to pubs in Sedbergh (3km)
  • Other than walks, there’s nothing on the doorstep
  • A communal breakfast table may not suit everyone
  • Although bedrooms are big, their windows are small

Best time to go

The guesthouse is open all year. Weather up here is never guaranteed, but autumn, if you're prepared for the vagaries of wind and rain, is especially lovely: crisp air, flame-red trees, mist-wrapped fells.

Our top tips

Head 20 minutes west across the M6 into Kendal, to the small-but-perfectly-formed Abbott Hall art gallery. Look out for watercolours by Turner and Ruskin, and portraits by local-lad-turned-society-darling, George Romney. Afterwards, walk along the river and have lunch at funky Baba Ganoush.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 6
  • Breakfast plus snack meals
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Honesty bar


The 6 rooms are big, bigger, and ridiculously big. Following the rest of the house, a mix of vintage and Indian furniture is set against a rustic backdrop of ancient stone walls, and sturdy beams and timbers. So you might find a faded floral chaise longue near a velvet-upholstered colonial-chair or a 1930s dressing table by a carved elephant footstool. An angle-poise lamp sat on an exotic vase by our bed, making a neat bedside table.

There are pops of colour in faux-fur throws, fresh flowers and Roberts radios while bathrooms - cleverly hidden behind huge sliding timber doors - are vast, sexy and ultra-modern with slate tiling, walk-in showers and colourful roll-top baths.

We loved the space in Earlston (a suite, with a sofa and chaise longue), and the chair for window-gazing in Tregenna (also a suite) but Kundaly and Millmount are cosier and more romantic.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Communal tea- and coffee-making facilities
  • Hairdryer
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


This place is about small meals done well, with as much homemade or from trusted, local suppliers as possible. The welcome afternoon tea includes Graham’s mini scones and cakes (chocolate brownies and lemon tarts on our visit), as well as his homemade sausage-meat sandwiches.

Breakfast is deliciously unconventional, with options including sweet lassi, homemade granola, and a choice of toppings for porridge (the poached apricots and pistachios was heavenly). All this is followed by a smorgasbord of cooked items - everything from wild boar bacon, and venison and damson sausage, to vegan black pudding and homemade baked beans. Plus eggs from their hens.

For evenings, there’s a choice of a charcuterie board (meats from a local smokehouse) or a vegetarian option, both with Graham’s homemade artisan breads, soup and assorted dips and pickles. An honesty bar offers several wines, local bottled beers plus decent gins and malts. Or there is a very good local pub and an award-winning bistro in Sedbergh.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals


  • Sedbergh (3km/2m) is worth a good browse with an excellent bookshop, gift shop, arts and crafts centre, and then the Three Hares cafe/bistro for lunch
  • Pop over to Hawes in Wensleydale (24km/15m) and take a walk up to Hardraw Force - reputedly England’s largest single-drop waterfall - then explore the famous cheese ‘creamery’
  • Walk from the doorstep: either a gentle stroll along the river or pick up the Dales Way (the 125km long-distance trail from Ilkley, West Yorkshire, to Bowness, Cumbria), which passes through the property
  • Or Fiona and Graham will advise on other local walking, including the Howgill Fells, and lend OS maps so you don’t get lost
  • Prefer to be guided? Book a walk with a local shepherdess; she’ll even take you barefoot if you fancy that back-to-nature feel
  • Come back to a deliciously decadent in-room massage or a pampering facial or manicure (book ahead)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being


Although children are welcome, and there are surrounding fields to play in, The Malabar is not specifically geared to families as most guests seek a quiet weekend away. That said, the Ladbroke Suite is perfect for a family with its own front door onto the yard, and plenty of space for 2 kids (plus dogs!). The Malabar is also perfect for an Exclusive Use booking: up to 12 adults and 6 children.

Family friendly accommodation:

The Suites all have a sofabed in their lounge for 1-2 children or there are baby cots to borrow.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The children's breakfast menu includes pancakes, boiled eggs with soldiers, cereals, hot chocolate and a mini full English.


  • Airport: 90 mins' drive (Newcastle)
  • Shops: 3.5km (Sedbergh)
  • Hospital with A&E: 42km (Lancaster)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests


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