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Sharrow Bay - The original Country House Hotel

Sharrow Bay is unique. From a small Victorian fishing lodge it became a beacon among Lake District hotels way before the tourism industry as we know it now was established in the lakes. It is the hotel that coined the phrase Country House Hotel, and that spawned the genre.

Sharrow Bay's story begins when the original building, a fisherman’s lodge dating back to 1840, was advertised for sale in the Manchester Guardian in 1948 as ‘a mansion on the edge of Ullswater with 12 acres of grounds and formal gardens’ – and Francis Coulson bought it.

Francis arrived by train with a suitcase and a saucepan tied to the outside. He had very little cash, no experience and a great deal of faith.

With the property’s magnificent views of Ullswater and its surrounding fells, Francis felt that if he worked hard, then he could probably be successful. With the help of some friends, who were mainly unpaid, he created four bedrooms and opened Sharrow Bay in the spring of that year - coining the phrase ‘country house hotel’ to describe it.

Food and petrol were still being rationed after the Second World War, there were no major roads in the area, and the English Lakes was not considered a fashionable destination at the time.

Nevertheless, by producing remarkable, homemade afternoon teas, making people feel at home and charging two shillings and sixpence (12.5p in today's money), Francis succeeded.

In 1952 he was joined by Brian Sack, whose original intention was to stay for just the summer. His arrival began a 46-year friendship of leadership and continual innovation in hospitality. They established Sharrow Bay’s reputation for fine dining using the best of local produce; they also invented Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Sharrow Bay is one of a kind, with a tradition of generous welcoming hospitality from the minute it was built. It’s a happy, much loved house, which lives and breathes to share the magic of Ullswater from its secluded vantage point.

For more information go to the Sharrow Bay website


Sharrow Bay Hotel - Photo Credit © Sharrow Bay Hotel Ullswater Way