The Malabar

Cumbria, Northern England, United Kingdom Book from Book from £140 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.

Highs

  • Stunning Yorkshire Dales moorland on your doorstep, and just 30 minutes' drive from Lake Windermere/the Lake District for easy day trips
  • 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
  • Totally peaceful, with no pressure to do anything

Lows

  • Other than charcuterie/vegetarian boards, no evening meals are served, which means a car or taxi to pubs in Sedbergh (3km)
  • 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...

Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

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

Eating

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
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • 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
  • You're 30 minutes' drive from the Lake District for easy day trips
  • Come back to a deliciously decadent in-room massage or a pampering facial or manicure (book ahead)
  • 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

Activities on site or nearby include:

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

Kids

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 huge 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.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

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

Kids Activities on site:

  • Trampoline

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Lakeland Climbing Centre Kendal
  • Pandemonium Pots Kendal
  • Rheged Centre has a cinema, play area and other kids activites

Distances:

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

Location

The Malabar is in the heart of Cumbria, northern England. It's approx 3km (2 miles) from the historic market town of Sedbergh, and 5km from the M6.

By Air :
The closest international airports are Newcastle (125km away) and Manchester (135km away); the former has the most flights. For a list of airlines serving these airports, click on the links at the bottom of the page.

From the Airport
Fiona can arrange a taxi to collect you but you'll probably want your own car; it's around 1.5 hours from Newcastle or Manchester airport. See our car rental recommendations.

By Rail:
Guests travelling by train can go to Oxenholme (14km from the hotel). The journey is 3 hours from London, 2 hours from Glasgow or Edinburgh and around an hour from Manchester.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • Newcastle Airport 125.0 km NCL
  • Manchester Airport 135.0 km MAN

Other:

  • Beach 45.0 km
  • Shops 3.5 km
  • Restaurant 3.5 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Exceptional stay without a fault

10/10,

Beautiful place to stay. Received afternoon tea which was a very nice extra. Friendly owners who gave all the information required. Very good breakfast. We highly recommend this B&B.

10/10,

We are already planning our return to The Malabar. Everything about this B&B is perfect! The warm and effusive welcome on arrival, the afternoon tea and cakes (best cucumber sandwiches I have ever eaten), the stunning fresh flowers... Our room, Kundalay was just beautiful and so comfortable. The bathroom is the same size as the bedroom with a huge rainfall shower and a gorgeous roll top bath. Graeme will offer advice on where to walk and days out and they can even lend you some wellies if you forgot to pack them. The setting is just beautiful with rolling green countryside all around but they are in easy access of the M6. Sedbergh itself is a charming little town and The Black Bull pub was a great choice for dinner. Good food and hearty portions and super friendly staff. Breakfast is also a treat. The Malabar is everything that I love about i-escape properties - a real hidden gem but one I want to tell everyone about. Just go - you will not be disappointed.

10/10,

We had a wonderful stay over Easter. The place is stunning and beautifully designed. Fiona and Graham are very helpful and relaxed with guests, which made it a stress-free break! The dogs are beautiful and we loved our walks around the dales followed by fab charcuterie boards!

10/10,

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