The grounds are gorgeous – we loved the romantic rear garden with its handful of bistro tables where you can relax and take in the perfectly manicured lawns and the flowering wisteria.
During our visit, we stayed in the Tatham Suite, an oasis of calm named in honour of Edward Tatham, the man who built Hipping Hall. This charming attic suite is the perfect place to hole up in for the weekend, curled up in bed with a good book and a cup of tea. While lounging in your bed, you can admire the ancient oak roof beams, which have been lovingly preserved with striking effect.
Five new rooms have been added to the property in what used to be the stables. Guests can also hire the private dining room (with chef service), which is ideal for family gatherings or small events.
One of the highlights at Hipping Hall is its 3AA Rosette restaurant with its striking 15th century dining room, which features a striking beamed ceiling, original wood flooring and a slate hearth, which create a cozy and elegant ambiance. We loved the little touches that made our meal feel like a truly special experience – from the crisp white table cloths to the impeccable service to the comfortable dining chairs, which were perfect for settling in for a long meal –essential if you go for the seven-course tasting menu!
Head Chef Oli Martin leads the helm at the restaurant, preparing an assortment of inventive dishes he describes as ‘modern English dishes with classical roots that have been brought up to date.’ A self-confessed ‘food addict’, he has been cooking for 12 years, having worked in both France and the UK, but it’s here in the UK that he’s happiest, now that he’s returned home to his roots.
Having worked at Hipping Hall for the past two and a half years, he has definitely found his stride and loves coming up with new dishes. He uses local seasonal dishes as/when possible (such as sourcing the fish from Morecombe and the organic vegetables from a grower down the road), but he isn’t a slave to using local ingredients if he can source better ingredients further afield. At the end of the day, it’s all about delivery the best possible quality for his guests. To keep things interesting, the dinner menu changes daily, but every night they offer a seven course tasting menu or a five course table d’hôte menu. Both menus burst with local and seasonal flavour and all dietary requirements are catered for.
The seven-course tasting menu is a real gastronomic experience – with 80% of the guests opting for it. Given its popularity, we thought it rude not to indulge, so we got stuck in enjoying all seven courses with wines to match. Let’s just say, you really need to pace yourself, both with the food and the wine – or you’ll be feeling a bit sorry for yourself at the end (in a good way, of course)!
Some of the highlights on the tasting menu included the mushroom jerky with crème fraiche (which was paper thin and crispy with a smoky flavour) and the venison tartare with sourdough crisps, which was beautifully presented and had a nice flavour without tasting too ‘gamey’. We also loved the trout sashimi, which were served on toothpicks stuck in a cucumber, which was quite fun! Other firm favourites included the hake (which was flaky and perfectly cooked) and the pork belly with kimchi, yogurt, kale and soured cabbage.
Travelling further afield
Each year more than 44 million people visit Cumbria, testament to its allure as one of the UK’s top travel destinations. Guests who want to explore the local area are spoilt for choice when it comes to activities including: mountain biking, hiking, horse riding, trout fishing, clay pigeon shooting or simply wandering around the countryside for those who aren’t into more active pursuits!
Top tip for your stay at Hipping Hall
You really need to keep your wits about you here as all of the wooden beams make it a constant obstacle course for statuesque guests, but it’s totally worth it to have style and charm in spades.
Our experience overall
The property: ★★★★.5
Food and drink: ★★★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★★
During my stay I was hosted by the lovely team at Hipping Hall. All words, opinions and photos are my own.