Everything you need to know during a stay at Augill Castle.
Our in-room Guest information has come online.We’ve kept it free of pictures so it’s easy to download or print.
Welcome to Augill
It was the chance to breathe new life into a sadly neglected castle that brought us to Cumbria in 1997. We originally anticipated opening a few rooms but the business took off in a way we never anticipated and Augill today is a much bigger project than we could have imagined. Nevertheless, we continue to work hard to retain its unique family atmosphere.
Augill Castle may be unlike anywhere you have ever stayed before. Why? It is, as one guest wrote, perfectly imperfect. The castle has been our family home and we continue to seek to recreate a true country house experience.
Augill is quite simply a place to relax, reflect and kick off your shoes without causing a scandal. We believe big beds, billowing pillows, bath sheets, good showers, fresh ground coffee and homemade biscuits are more important to you than direct dial telephones, trouser presses and modem ports (although, thankfully the castle is almost fully wi-fi’d!).
“I feel like we’ve been in a perfect little bubble for the last two days. All the brilliant little touches aside, it’s like there is a spell over the castle, the atmosphere is wonderful and I don’t know how you do that … it’s magic!” – Easter guests, April 2017
The place is far from perfect and that’s what makes it all so interesting. 148 windows and an acre of roof take some upkeep. But some of our renovation decisions have led to us retaining original features rather than replacing them with new because we want the history of the building to sing – even if it is slightly off-key sometimes.
We are aiming for genuine hospitality made of genuine interactions. We hope you will enjoy what makes us different, revel in the connections you will make while you are here, create long lasting memories and feel you belong here.
We may do things differently from the norm and Augill is a very personal creation, but hope that you will succumb to the magic, as we have, and enjoy the experience!
The Augill extended family
The castle is protected by a comprehensive fire detection & alarm system. Evacuation instructions can be found on a separate sheet by your bedroom door.
If you need a DOCTOR urgently, please call Kirkby Stephen medical centre on 01768 371369 stating clearly that you are a guest at Augill Castle. The surgery operates an out of hours service from this number. An alternative out of hours service can be obtained from 0300 247247.
The nearest 24 hour ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY departments are at Carlisle, Lancaster or Darlington hospitals (all about 1 hour drive). Penrith hospital operates a minor injuries clinic during office hours Monday to Friday only.
A DENTIST, Kirkby Stephen Dental Practice, can be contacted on 01768 371250.
An OPTICIAN, Mike Addison, can be contacted on 01768 353199.
If you need to contact us, one of our team is available 24 hours a day but as the castle rambles and the grounds run to several acres, we may not be instantly accessible. Please try at the Kitchen first. Alternatively, during the day (9 am to 11 pm) call our main number 01768 341937.
For any issues during the night (between 11 pm and 9 am) please call the number on the slate by the kitchen door.
We must remind you that we are unable to take responsibility for your valuables and advise you to keep your bedroom door locked when you are not there.
Our dining is The Music Room at Augill bringing you the best of what Cumbria and our surrounding counties offer.
We seek to marry the best flavours from around the world with the finest local ingredients.
The best quality food, cooked well but simply in the friendliest atmosphere. It’s what we’ve always strived to do at Augill, only better.
Full dinner service is available Wednesday to Saturday. To ensure our team have a decent work-life balance and that they are at their best, there is no dinner service on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Instead we offer an informal selection of starters and puddings.
We ask that you book your table as soon as possible to avoid disappointment, as we are open to non residents too.
Please inform us of any allergy or dietary considerations.
When the restaurant is open we also provide simple children’s dishes for little guests, who can eat earlier than you or together with you – it’s all very relaxed.
So you can relax totally, here is some basic information you may find useful during your stay.
As we have no telephones in the bedrooms, if you need to contact us, please start at the kitchen – the heart of the castle.
Breakfast kicks off in the Dining Room at around 8.30am and finishes around 10.30am. If you need it outside of these times, please just ask the day before.
We offer a full un-traditional afternoon tea – a fusion of sweet and savoury seasonal treats – every day with savoury delights, mini pastries and home made scones. This can be booked between 2pm and 5pm in the sitting room, hall, drawing room, library or dining room.
Dinner is served Wednesday to Saturday 5.30pm and 8.30pm. Menus are on our food and drink page.
On the first Sunday of every month from October to March we host a comedy night with supper. It’s become wildly popular and books up well in advance. Details can be found on our events page.
You will find our Conservatory bar stocked with independently made British drinks as well as more regular brands. Please do not be offended by a corkage charge if you bring your own drinks downstairs.
As a big house, we aim to keep you warm without contributing to excess global warming and the central heating is normally on a timer (actual times depend on the season & the weather). Please do let us know if you are cold, as we may not be (having acclimatised to the Cumbrian weather) – it’s a simple flick of a switch.
We light the hall & sitting room fires each day and if you want to sit by another which is not lit, please feel free to ask us.
In Appleby, Langdale & Pendragon there are open fires and you will find a wrapped heat log in the hearth. Light both ends and it will burn safely for 2-3 hours. Additional heat logs can be purchased for £7.50. Please do not burn anything other than these heat logs on these fires – it is a fire hazard and not covered by our insurance.
You will find a hairdryer in the top drawer or on the side of your dressing table, chest of drawers or desk.
Blankets are available, as are hypo-allergenic pillows & duvets, should you prefer these to the feather bedding provided.
There are two dressing gowns provided- behind the bathroom door or in your wardrobe.
There is an iron and an ironing board in every room.
We offer a laundry service if you need it. A load can be washed and dried for £10.00. Please separate whites & darks and warn us of any delicate items and bring them to us after breakfast. We can’t accept any responsibility for washing accidents due to unsorted clothes. We will aim to get them back to you by the end of the day.
If there is a power cut, you will find a wind-up lantern in your room.
There is no telephone in your room but we can give you access to a house telephone in the castle and there is a good signal for most of the mobile networks.
We are fully wi-fi’d free of charge and you should connect automatically when registered. The password is bookdirect. We have wifi throughout the castle, but the broadband reaching this rural location is slow – we cannot control this.
There is a boot room at the bottom of the main stairs where you can store wellies, muddy boots and damp coats. There are spare wellies there too.
We have a tennis court and rackets can be found in and returned to a basket in the boot room at the back of the stairs. We can provide tennis balls in return for a small deposit, refundable on return.
When you are ready to leave, please come to the hall or kitchen. We accept cash, Mastercard, Visa, Delta, Switch & American Express as payment.
Please check out of your bedroom by 11am to give us time to prepare for our next guests, but you are welcome to stay in the castle and grounds – we understand it may be hard to leave!
We can arrange for gift vouchers in any monetary denomination, for experiences or for whole stays, should you want to share the magic of Augill with friends & relatives.
Please keep your key with you for the duration of your stay
For the security & peace of mind of all our guests, the front door locks behind you
and we may not be within earshot of the doorbell
Please remember to leave your key when you go home
Augill Castle was reputedly built, between 1837 and 1841, by the older of two brothers who fell out with his sibling and resolved to build something big on high ground overlooking his family home. His legacy was a castle built and decorated in a neo-gothic style thought to have been modelled on nearby, much larger, Lowther Castle near Penrith.
Much of the stone used was reclaimed from derelict buildings, barns and stone walls locally. The original part of the castle, bounded by four corner turrets, is random rubble construction, some believed to have come from Brough Castle.
He must have enjoyed his new home and is known to have sat in state on a dias in the main hall receiving his guests who would join him for banquets in the dining hall.
Such a flamboyant house has had its share of colourful incumbents, not least Doctor Abercrombie, surgeon to Queen Victoria, and allegedly something to do with the Jack the Ripper murder investigation, who lived here in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Indeed, there are reports that Queen Victoria once stayed at Augill on her way to Balmoral during this time with a companion. Little more is known but much may be surmised. If true, she most likely slept in the master bedroom, now known as Pendragon.
Until 1927, a single storey library wing stood on the site of the present Music Room. The library was lit by gas which one evening blew up with such force that a brass bell was flung three fields to the East. The mantlepiece in the Dining Room still bears the crack caused by the explosion. The present two storey East Wing, with Appleby & Middlesmoor bedrooms was built in its place.
Between the wars older locals remember the house in its former heyday in the hands of Major Ingham and his family, with a full complement of servants & gardeners.
During the second world war the house was occupied briefly by French Canadian airmen as a planning centre for the D-Day landings. After this the estate fell into disrepair for most of the 1940’s and 50’s. One of our neighbours remembers exploring the empty castle as a child when the dining room was being used as a chicken house.
During the 1960’s the house once again came to life and is widely remembered for the lively parties hosted here on Saturday nights – early raves perhaps!
In the 1970’s Augill was owned by an antiques dealer who, although he had a reputation as something of a rogue, is thought to have been responsible for installing the Tudor panelling in the Hall.
It was in the late 1980’s that the castle suffered most at the hands of unsympathetic developers who attempted to divide the castle into flats but later abandoned it and left it empty for the several years before we found it. Their two lasting legacies were the roof and the central heating.
Eating out Locally
No-one delivers food to Augill, but you can collect a take-away and we can provide napkins, crockery & cutlery from the kitchen or one of the guest pantries.
Pizza Roma, Appleby (01768 353880) : open Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday 5-11pm, Friday & Saturday 5pm to midnight. Closed Tuesday & Thursday. Take-away only.
The Mango Tree (Indian), Kirkby Stephen (01768 374960) : open daily from 5-11pm. Restaurant & take-away.
Century (Chinese), Kirkby Stephen (01768 372828) : open 5-11pm Monday to Sunday. Closed Tuesday. Restaurant & take-away.
Fish & Chips, Brough : open Tuesday, Friday & Saturday only 5-9pm. Eat in or take-away.
Please be aware that most pubs and restaurants locally open around 6pm and take their last orders for food by 9 pm, often earlier in the winter months.
Taxis are scarce and can’t be guaranteed. They MUST be booked and you should arrange your return trip when you are dropped off. Try 01768 372557 or 01768 371682.
Brough Castle, Church Brough (01768 341219) : open daily 10am-4pm for coffee & homemade ice cream made with milk from their own cows. At the foot of the castle ruins, this is a great spot to sit & reflect.
The Black Bull, Kirkby Stephen (01768 371237) : open daily 12-9pm. Great for Sunday lunch.
The Mango Tree, Kirkby Stephen (017683 749600 ; open daily 6pm–10pm. Excellent curries and very friendly.
The Nateby Inn, Nateby, Kirkby Stephen (017683 71588) ; open daily 5.30pm–8.30pm and for Sunday lunch. Traditional, honest pub food in friendly surroundings.
The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale (01539 623204) : open daily 12-2 pm and 6-9 pm. A family run hotel & restaurant serving a modern British bar menu or more formal restaurant dining. Excellent quality, great staff.
The Masons Arms, Long Marton (01768 361395 : open Wednesday to Sunday 12-2pm & 6-9pm. A great traditional pub with good food & fabulous ales.
The Mill Yard Cafe, Morland, Penrith (01931 714155) : open daily 9am-5pm. A delightful cafe overlooking Morland Beck waterfall. Evening meals are also served on Fridays & Saturdays when booking is essential.
The George & Dragon, Clifton, Penrith (01768 865381) : open daily 12-2.30pm & 6-9.30pm. A gastro pub using produce from the Lowther Castle estate.
Larch Cottage Nurseries & La Casa Verde, Melkinthorpe, Penrith (01931 712404) : open daily for lunches 12-2pm and teas 2-5pm. Evening meals are served on some weekends when booking is essential. Great Italian inspired food set in a beautiful nursery which specialises in rare & unusual perennials.
Tan Hill Inn, Long Causeway, Richmond DL11 6ED (01833 628246) : open daily for a great pint : Britain’s highest public house at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level. Great views, open fire. Recently under new ownership and things look set to be great again after a long period of doldrums!
There are innumerable places in the Yorkshire Dales, towards Barnard Castle & over in the Lake District and we have details of many. We are always happy to advise so do ask. We may not always have the answer but can guide you towards a very happy meal!
Children & Families
We know how difficult it can be to find somewhere truly family friendly. We don’t just tolerate children, we actively welcome them. But not just the children, the whole family.
While we don’t offer baby sitting (Ofsted has made that rather difficult), we don’t have a ghastly kids club in a sweaty room in the back of the cellar either. What we do have is an open house mentality and a few tricks up our sleeves to cater for small guests.
We have a range of DVD’s to choose from and every bedroom has a DVD player.
We have board games and other toys to borrow.
For babies we have cots, highchairs, soft cutlery and bedrooms where they can cry without fear of waking the entire castle. We have baby monitors and sealable nappy bins. Guests usually bring their own food but we can always rustle up finger food & purees.
The pond, half way down the garden, is not deep but the mud can be very sticky, so it should be treated with the same caution as any open water.
If you have brought bikes, please be careful on the drive as the cars may not be familiar with the grounds and be travelling faster than you can stop. You can arrange bike hire, including delivery & pick up via the links on our website. Bikes can be stored in the boot room at the back of the main stairs.
Over the years our efforts have not been confined to the interior of the castle and its fabric. We have spent a great deal of time on the garden and grounds, which were in a very sorry state having had no care or attention for more than five years when we arrived. But in restoring them, we have not sought to reverse everything resulting from that neglect.
We have kept the structure of the formal terraces and lawns in front of the castle which, from historical pictures and records, we know to be contemporary with the building and would have once been known as the “pleasure grounds”. The herbaceous borders have been replanted with a mixture of both plants that would have been familiar in the Victorian garden, and modern varieties which often flower a little longer and more vigorously. Potted geraniums are our one foray into tender gardening in a climate which favours none but the hardiest!
The beds closest to the castle were replanted in September 1999. The formal terraced beds a year later and both are subject to the close attention of a seemingly ever increasing population of rabbits, voles and deer.
The lawns sloping down to the drive are a mixture of meadow grasses and low growing wild and semi-wild flowers and are kept at a length of around 4 inches for most of the summer. The West lawn was once a rose garden and we always have plans to restore it.
Beyond the drive, we have opened up paddocks above and below the pond which is fed by an unnamed beck in the neighbouring field. It was almost certainly originally dug to water livestock and possibly enlarged later. It is unusually clean water as it is spring fed and supports a diverse wildlife. The paddocks were formerly grazing for stock and due to their size and topography were probably never ploughed or improved. We keep the margins unmown and they support a variety of wild flowers.
Unlike formal gardening, wild flower gardening is unpredictable. The number and type of flowers can change from year to year depending on relatively subtle variations in climate. Inevitably they are best in early summer and by the end of July, and particularly after heavy rain, they can look flat and neglected.
We have planted hundreds of native hedgerow trees and shrubs and each year transplant dozens of self seeded willow, birch & beech saplings.
We have a cutting flower bed in our private garden and have dallied with vegetables in raised beds over the years to varying degrees of success. We have now decided to turn these to a nursery to bring on saplings and cuttings to extend the garden with the plants that do best.
In our attempt to be sustainable, we have embarked on various projects over the years including the introduction of our free range chickens for eggs; rare breed pigs (long departed and they were delicious!), and mulching, chipping & composting.
We have moved from using fossil fuels in the log burners to recycled sawdust logs alongside the wood which is felled from the grounds and from locally managed forests. And we use the candle stubs as firelighters.
We aim to cook using seasonal and local ingredients, with a mind to food miles and we are part of the slow food movement. Our bar celebrates British artisan producers.
We recycle, reuse and redistribute as much as possible – paper & card, glass, cans, plastics, ink cartridges. Our old clothing and unclaimed lost property is sent to a BagstoSchool project supporting entrepreneurism in Africa.
Our heating system is zoned so that we can turn bits off and on separately and every radiator has a thermostatic valve and our ambient temperature hovers at around 19 degrees C.
We use a laundry service with a grey water plant and don’t change your towels unless you ask or after three days.
We are on a continuous programme to upgrade our lighting to LED wherever possible.
And we encourage you to do your bit by turning radiators down or off before opening windows; using the plug in your basin; sharing baths; switching your lights off when you aren’t in your room; not overfilling the kettle. We don’t intend to lecture, more hope you feel as protective about our stunning and varied landscape as we do.
Little Gems & Special Places
You should find tourism brochures in your room to cover Eden, the Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales. We have further information and a wealth of local knowledge and our local tourist information centre in Kirkby Stephen can be contacted on 01768 371199
Health & Beauty
Emily Bennett make up artist : [email protected]
Katie’s Mobile Therapy will come to the castle : 0775 370240
Luiza, mobile beautician : 07778 501546
Mon Petit Spa, Barnard Castle : 01833 695000
Aqua Sana, Centre Parcs Whinfell : 08448 266205
North Lakes Spa, Penrith : 01768 867141
Unique Happy Days : quirky experiences put together by Jennie
Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby : National Trust gardens, cafe & working watermill
Larch Cottage Nurseries, Melkinthorpe, Penrith : fabulous walled rare plant nursery
Rheged, Penrith : cinema, restaurants, shops all built into the hill
Wetheriggs, Penrith : cafe, animal rescue centre
Stonetrail Riding, Ravenstonedale : horse riding and mountain biking across the fells
Go Ape, Grizedale or Whinlatter forests : high wire adventure for over 12’s
0845 643 9215
Via Ferrata, Honister : climbing tethered to the mountain & zip wire for over 12’s
Eden Outdoor Adventures : tailor made courses for individuals, families & groups
Cracking Days Out : guided walks & multi activity adventure days for all
Shooting : we are surrounded by 12 shoots within a 20 mile radius
Fishing : local licensing, Bessy Beck, guide 01539 623303 www.bessybecktrout.co.uk