The Lowther family have owned the 13th century Askham Hall near Penrith since the 1800s, but only launched the business as a restaurant with rooms in 2013. The awards came thick and fast soon after reopening, with Askham Hall awarded Guest Accommodation of the Year and Wedding Venue of the Year in 2016 at the Cumbria Tourism Awards, as well as two consecutive Taste of Cumbria prizes.
This success was spearheaded by Charles Lowther, who opened the 18-bedroom hotel in its current look and feel with his sister Marie-Louisa Raeburn and his wife Juno. Despite the build up of accolades and industry recognition, it’s during the last two years that business has really started to motor.
Lowther hailed 2018 as an ‘exciting year’ and he didn’t disappoint. In the spring, the hotel’s restaurant was relaunched as Allium, led by head chef Richard Swale with an emphasis on home grown produce.
A few months later, Lowther acquired a former pub situated next to Askham Hall in a bid to meet an increased demand for accommodation. The Queen’s Head is undergoing a refurbishment before reopening and sits adjacent to a new health barn, which was first unveiled in November 2018 to capitalise on the wellness trend.
Lowther is also overseeing a bedroom expansion at Askham Hall to bring the total room number across the two sites to around 25.
Charles Lowther and family also own and operate the George and Dragon at Clifton, which they opened in 2008.