Great Houses & Religious Buildings of Cumbria

Yorkshire Dales


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Activity types:

  • Central location
  • Hills & moorland
  • History
From £595.00 - 4 nights


Prices are per person

Room 1:
Room 2:
Room 3:

Holiday overview

  • Explore the diversity of religious beliefs in Cumbria
  • Visit abbeys, halls, priories and churches
  • Brigflatts Quaker Meeting House
  • Swathmoor Hall
  • All in the company of our knowledgeable leader

Holiday Highlights:

Visit an intriguing mixture of interesting houses and religious buildings and explore the diversity of religious beliefs in this isolated corner of England. We’ll also visit a beautiful stately home which contradicts its past as a home to Catholic recusants and hidden priests. Finally, visit a pele tower, built to withstand invasions from the north, and the tiny church in its grounds.

Great Reasons to Join Us:

  • Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, transport and entrance fees to heritage sites
  • Accommodation: enjoy high quality accommodation and excellent food at Thorns Hall
  • Knowledgeable leaders: all our leaders are experts in their field and will ensure you get the most out of your holiday
  • Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays – explore together, eat together and relax together


Dating from 1535, the small manor house of Thorns Hall retains its historic charm with wood-panelled public rooms, fireplaces and a cobbled courtyard outside.    4-star Visit Britain Guest Accommodation



Thorns Hall has 25 bedrooms. Some are located in the main house, with others in the cottages across the courtyard.

Our classic bedrooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available for an extra £8 per night.

You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium bedroom. Premium rooms are available at just £5 extra per person per night.    

If you are travelling with your family, we have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded family bedrooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.

A limited number of value twin rooms are available at a discount of £8 per person per night and value single rooms with a £5 per night discount. Our value rooms have the same facilities as our classic rooms, but bathroom facilities are nearby rather than en-suite.


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All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board, with all meals included between evening meal on arrival to breakfast on departure.

There is a welcoming reception hall plus two cosy lounges, with wood panelling and open fires, one of which also contains the bar. Free WiFi is available in the public rooms.  There is also a range of board games and books. Upstairs, the dining room is light and airy with exposed wooden beams. 

At the front and side of the house is a formal garden which makes a pleasant spot to relax after your walks or activities.

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All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.

Visit England Breakfast Award logo at HF HolidaysStart your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. Maybe enjoy a lighter option of fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, go for porridge followed by a full English breakfast, or select something in between.

Choose from our famous self-select picnic lunches - everything you need to keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.     

Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).   

The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.

All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.

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Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk about local wildlife from a visiting speaker or a team quiz. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.

Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.

Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.

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Due to the layout and the age of Thorns Hall, it is not recommended for wheelchair users and guests with restricted mobility. 

Arrival & car parking facilities

  • 2 disabled bays in the cobbled courtyard, 20 yards from the rear entrance
  • There is parking available for 24 cars in the main car park. The car park is lit during the hours of darkness
  • The car park surface is gravel and the entrance to the house is via gravel path, which is 25 yards long (to the main entrance)
  • It is possible to load and unload cars directly at the rear entrance and assistance can be provided with luggage 

Main entrance & reception

  • The main entrance has 7 steps, each step is 20cm high, 150cm wide with hand rails. The main entrance has double doors, 128cm wide by 168cm high
  • A second door leads into the entrance hall. This door is 92cm wide by 204cm high
  • The rear entrance has double doors, 197cm high by 153cm wide. There is an interior door of 202cm high by 88cm wide. There are 4 steps into the entrance hall, each step being between 16-22cm high
  • The entrance hall measures 6.1m x 6.2m and has parquet flooring.
  • The hall is well lit by wall lights and a large window
  • There is no actual reception desk as the manager's office is situated off the entrance hall 

Public areas - hall, stairs, landing, corridors etc

  • The main staircase leads off from the entrance hall
  • The staircase is U-shaped and consists of three sets of stairs. The first set of stairs has 6 steps to a landing of 1.2m x 1.1m. The second set of stairs has 5 steps to a landing of 1.2m x 1.1m. The final set of stairs has 6 steps to the main landing of 2.4m x 3.5m
  • The stairs are 28cm deep, 16cm high and 120cm wide
  • There is a handrail on the left hand side up the entire staircase
  • The staircase is well lit. All stairs and corridors are carpeted 

Public areas - sitting room, lounges, lobbies etc

  • The main lounge and bar are on the ground floor. The bar is entered from the entrance hall through a wooden fire door, which is 75cm wide
  • The lounge is through another wooden fire door (75cm wide) and a single step of 13cm high, 60cm high.
  • The size of the lounge is approx 20 x 10 ft.
  • The lounge / bar area is well lit, it has a short-pile carpet and the furniture is easily movable 

Public WCs

  • There is a public toilet on the ground floor off the main lounge
  • Access is via 4 steps. Each step is 23cm high, 30cm deep and 99cm wide. There is a handrail on the right for the first three steps and a fire door (73cm wide) on the
  • top of the steps
  • The size of the toilet is 1m x 1.6m, with free space of 1m x 0.9m. Toilet seat height is 51cm
  • The hand basin is 80cm high and it is rounded at the front
  • The entrance door to the public toilets is 74cm wide and the cubicle door width is 75cm. 

Restaurant / dining room

  • The dining room is on the second floor
  • From the first floor landing there are two flights of stairs. The first flight of stairs has 7 steps, each step being 15cm high, 25cm deep and 100cm wide
  • There is a handrail on the right hand side
  • At the top of the stairs is a glass fire door, 88cm wide. A second fire door leads to 2 more steps, each step is 17cm high, 28cm deep and 82cm wide
  • The final stairs are 92cm wide, 26cm deep and 17cm high. Handrail on the left
  • The dining room has round tables, with 4 legs. The tables are 74cm high
  • The chairs are straight backed with no arms and the seat is 49cm high
  • The room seats 38. The approx room size is 35ft x 20ft
  • Special diets catered for, but should be advised pre or on arrival
  • Assistance is always available, if required 

Bedrooms & sleeping areas

  • There are 11 bedrooms in the main house and 13 bedrooms in the annexe in the courtyard
  • None of the rooms has been specifically designed for wheelchair users
  • Most of the rooms are en-suite. The en-suite rooms have a shower, no baths available 

Room 22 (annexe bedroom)

  • Room 22 can be accessed straight from the courtyard without any steps
  • Access is from the courtyard, the door is 90cm wide
  • There are 2 beds, which are 50cm high, but can be raised on request. There is a clear space of minimum 68cm between the furniture and the beds.
  • Duvet bedding and the floor is carpeted.
  • The shower room is 180cm x 160cm and has a 76cm wide door
  • The free floor space is 100cm x 120cm
  • The shower is semi-circular and 66cm in diameter, its door opens 40cm wide
  • There is a 30cm lip into the shower
  • Pedestal hand basin is 78cm high and the toilet seat is 40cm high
  • Flooring is non-slip 

Grounds and gardens

  • Large walled garden with a mixture of shrubs, flower beds and mature trees
  • There is a gravel footpath around the whole garden. Seating available
  • Uncovered pond and parts of the garden are unlit at night 

Additional information

  • Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
  • Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
  • Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
  • Information can be provided in large print
  • Staff have received disability awareness training
  • Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
  • Fridge for medication can be supplied


Saturday: Arrival day

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Please join us for afternoon tea at 4pm. All guests are invited – we’ll introduce your leader and welcome you to your holiday.

Sunday: In the Footsteps of Fox & the Quakers

We’ll start our holiday with an introduction to the Quakers and the story of George Fox. We visit Fox's Pulpit on Firbank Fell and then travel to Ulverston to visit his home, Swarthmoor Hall.

Monday: Witches & Reivers

Discover an historic church with 17th century features and Gilbertine monastery ruins in Ravenstonedale. We’ll then visit a church with a Saxon tower - unique in Cumbria. We’ll end the day with a visit to a private home based around a pele tower, built to deter the Border Reivers.

Tuesday: From Westmorland to Lancashire

Today we explore a fine example of Norman church-building, followed by a church with American connections and a very old rectory. After lunch, enjoy a guided tour of Leighton Hall, a Catholic stronghold just over the border in Lancashire, owned by the Gillow family of furniture makers.

Wednesday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast

Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.

Local area

Sedbergh sits at the foot of the Howgill Fells, a peaceful corner of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The centre of Sedbergh is just a few minutes walk from Thorns Hall. The town has a range of facilities including a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a bank. Now famed as England’s ‘book town’, Sedbergh has many second-hand book shops and a good range of pubs and cafés. A wider range of facilities are available in the larger town of Kendal, about 10 miles away.

During your visit to Thorns Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:

Sizergh Castle
Situated near Kendal, about 25 minutes' drive from Sedbergh. Sizergh Castle is a fine medieval house, surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Levens Hall with impressive topiary in the gardenLevens Hall
Visit this stately home, famous for its magnificent formal garden and its topiary displays. Levens Hall is south of Kendal, about 30 minutes' drive from Sedbergh.



Appleby stationSettle to Carlisle Railway
Ride England’s most scenic railway through the Yorkshire Dales from Garsdale station, about 10 miles from Sedbergh. Heading south you could cross the famous Ribblehead viaduct and visit Settle, Skipton and Saltaire. Heading north you could head to the small market town of Appleby, or the border city of Carlisle.

Hawes & Wensleydale
A 30 minute drive through the Yorkshire Dales will take you to the small town of Hawes. Visit the famous creamery that produces Wensleydale Cheese. You may want to continue through the valley of Wensleydale, well known as the setting for All Creatures Great &

The market town of Kendal, about 20 minutes' drive from Thorns Hall has a good range of specialist shops.The excellent Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry is also worth a visit.

Steamer on WindermereLake District
A 40 minute drive will take you to Lake Windermere, gateway to exploring the beautiful scenery of the Lake District National Park. Here you could take a steamer trip on the lake, or visit the visitors centre at Brockhole. or


Thorns Hall, Cautley Road, Sedbergh, Cumbria, LA10 5LE.

New at HF HolidaysIt just got easier to get to Sedbergh

Our own station transfers: We offer a reduced price taxi transfer between Oxenholme railway station and Thorns Hall every Saturday and Wednesday (Friday and Monday in the low season). The pickup is at 4.15pm from Oxenholme, the Lake District railway station. On departure day the transfer will get you back to Oxenholme station by 10.00am. The transfer is £5 return, but a place must be reserved in advance by calling our Reservations team on 0345 470 7558.

By train: The nearest train station is Oxenholme, the Lake District, on the main line between London and Glasgow. For train times and general rail enquiries visit or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).

By taxi: If you can’t meet our station transfer, the 10 mile journey from Oxenholme station to Thorns Hall can be made by taxi. Taxis cost approx £23 per journey. Every year we negotiate a pre-booked rate for these journeys. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. We recommend pre-booking your taxi and the taxi company will arrange shared taxis wherever possible. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Thorns Hall Manager.

By car: Leave the M6 at junction 37 and follow the A684 for 5 miles to Sedbergh. On reaching Sedbergh follow the road to the right into Finkle Street (avoiding the main street), then almost immediately turn left at a small roundabout into Back Lane. At the next mini-roundabout bear left onto the A683 following signs to Kirkby Stephen. Thorns Hall is a further 100 yards along the road on the left. Look out for our sign. A large car park is available in the grounds with free parking.

To help you plan your journey, use



Jill Durnford

Brought up in south-east England, Jill has lived in the West Country, Scotland and, since 1998, Cumbria.  She has a real passion for Britain, its history, geology and wildlife and loves sharing that with other people. She loves visiting stately homes and gardens but is also interested in how ordinary people lived in the past. Jill works as a Blue Badge Guide which is the perfect job for combining her wide range of interests with a love of communicating with people.  


Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
10 May 2016, 7:14 a.m.

Service rating:


Product rating:


Service review:

Would have been excellent but the room allocated and the food not as expected.

Product review:

Dissatisfied with the supplement of £100 I paid for sole use of a double which to me should be sold as a single room. Also very cold room.
Thank you for your feedback and the queries about the room. We do charge between £10- £15 per night for double or twin rooms for sole use per night. Single rooms are £8 per night but this will be reviewed for 2017. I am sorry you felt the room was cold and we will pass this onto the house manager.

Toni McNulty
Customer Relations Manager
HF Holidays
10 May 2016, 6:43 a.m.

Service rating:


Product rating:


Service review:

No review provided

Product review:

I still think there is an over emphasis on cups of tea. All too often, we leave the house immediately after breakfast, up to 1 hour on the coach - yet on arrival at the first visit - we have a tea stop !!

Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
2 Sep 2017 SDHRB - Great Houses & Religious Building of Cumbria - Sedbergh 4 £635.00 £595.00 Special Early Booking offer - £40.00 off pp Book Now

Prices are per person


  • Standard single room: (2016) £8 per night; (2017) no supplement
  • Premium single room: £15 per night (2017 only)
  • Premium twin/double room: (2016) £5 per person per night; (2017) £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person

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