Dalemain is an elegant and historic stately home just 10 minutes from Sharrow Bay.
It is still very much a family home, lived in by the family since the 17th Century. The interiors show idiosyncratic touches of a family with fine visual flair combined with centuries of collecting art and masterful artefacts - as all the best families did. Here you get a feeling it was done because they loved their home and what they collected for being themselves, not to display status nor exhibitionism - it is an interior of rare beauty and discerning taste with unexpected yet striking juxtapositions.
The 17th century house remains essentially unchanged, evolving gently through the generations until the dramatic addition of its elegant Georgian facade. This easy comfort and elegance belies Dalemain's history as one of the areas premier border mansions, and the violence that historically entails. A home has been on the site since the 12th Century; between the landscape and the politics the house became a necessarily peaceful refuge.
The gardens exhibit the same adventurous visual aesthetic, we visited last in late September yet the flower beds were still packed with joyously creative combinations and a riot of butterflies. A relaxed terrace leads to further garden rooms, and through a walled garden you wander into a riverside woodland Stumpery - sprouting various funghi in the mossy folds and pockets of tree roots. Returning to the terrace via the riverside again, a vast coiled topiary dragon lurked beneath the first scattering of golden leaves.
It is still a working estate, leading from the car park the magnificent Barn and old farmyard attached houses a gift shop, from which we unexpectedly purchased a splendid antique ceramic trout, and some delicious Marmalade Fudge - Dalemain is also home to the world famous Marmalade Awards and Festival. https://www.dalemain.com/marmalade-awards/ A tearoom is housed in a medieval stone hall, via a flagged passageway from the cobbled yard and entrance - in very early spring this is bordered by thousands of Aconites, one of the welcome signs of changing seasons.
Dalemain is paid the ultimate compliment, in that it has a duplicate in Australia. In an unsurpassable romantic gesture, a lovestruck settler built a copy of Dalemain to woo his homesick northern sweetheart. Such is the power of its charm.
Opening times change seasonally so please check via their website. Guided tours are available too, again, please check directly for details of times and availabilty. Extra to the marmalade Awards they host a season of special events, from Vintage Vehicles to Fell Pony shows - our native breed and a favourite of the Queen. https://www.dalemain.com/