Frequently Asked Questions
Is there free parking at Halecat?
Yes. We have private parking for ten cars on the gravel at the entrance of the house. We have even had a fleet of wedding cars and a boat out there on occasion. (But not at the same time!)
How many people can stay?
There are permanent beds for seven to eight people. But we can accommodate more by adding 3 extra beds into the rooms. Chat with us about maximum occupancy before booking, or to organise extra or alternative sleeping arrangements. We also have a cot although you will need to bring your own bedding.
Is the house detached?
The house is not detached. Although it can feel like it is because it is such a well proportioned home, designed for a large family and because all rooms overlook the gardens. In fact when you stand in the garden looking over Morecambe Bay you may feel like the only person in the world. Halecat is part of a working country house estate. The Stable Yard and East Wing contains various artists’ studios and the estate management office. These used to be the servants quarters, butlers pantry, house kitchens, parlour and dairy; if you’ve ever watched Downton or Upstairs Downstairs then you can imagine the hive of activity it once was. Nowadays it is more of a quietly creative hub. You are welcome to pop in and have a chat with our artists with a view to buying their work, but they will not disturb you. The rental house you will stay in forms the whole of the main house to the west.
Is the garden private?
We are aware of how special our gardens are and would like as many people as possible to enjoy them. We therefore have a policy of allowing public access every day from 9-5. We don’t have many visitors and they tend to be quite unobtrusive but if you want total privacy while you are at Halecat, then we have a sign (second draw down in the chest in the hallway, or on the firewood crate) that you can put on the gate to indicate the gardens are closed.
Are pets welcome?
Of course. Halecat is a former family home and we believe that pets are part of the family. We welcome a maximum of two and request they are well behaved. You will need to bring a hard bed for them and keep them from clambering all over the furniture, They are not allowed in the bedrooms. You might need to keep them on a lead around our free range hens, and we can’t guarantee they won’t be able to escape from the garden. (Your pets not the hens!)
Are the bare essentials provided?
We provide the basics; a welcome tray on arrival to enjoy before you unpack laden with cakes, tea, coffee and milk on arrival before you unpack, plus tea towels, washing up liquid and toilet rolls. Beyond that you can enjoy some quality Lakeland food shopping in Grange Over Sands which has a vibrant selection of independent shops or for something larger take a run out to Booths or Asda Or you can enjoy the delights of the deli at nearby Sizergh Barn Tea Rooms. We have a village store too, run by the community, for the community.
Is there a pub nearby?
If you like a good country pub you are so in luck. The Derby Arms is renowned for its food and real ale. The Mason’s Arms at Strawberry Bank, The Wheatsheaf at Brigsteer and The Strickland Arms at Sizergh are also delightful, with roaring fires and a cosy atmosphere.
What are the catering facilities like?
We have the space to cater for wedding parties at Halecat and our kitchen is therefore pretty well equipped with large double oven, microwave and large fridge freezer. You are welcome to be as adventurous with your self catering as you like. Or if you would like to have a dinner party and relax then we can recommend a local company who will come in and take over in the kitchen. http://www.thelakescateringcompany.co.uk/
For some reason we also have enough tea pots to host the largest Mad Hatter’s tea party on earth.
What about the bathrooms?
Our bathrooms are the genuine original article so you won’t find power showers, exotic showerheads or rainforest music. But you can enjoy plenty of hot water, provided by our wood biomass boiler in the woodyard, and a great view from the loo.
Is public transport good?
If you want to you can leave your car behind altogether and travel sustainably. The X6 bus service runs every hour (20mins past the hour) which stops on the A590, near the Derby Arms. There is a train service to Grange Over Sands and it is possible to travel to Oxenholme or Lancaster quite easily from major UK stations.
The house is within walking distance of Witherslack village where the community shop can keep you in food or drink, with the Halecat great outdoors keeping you occupied during your stay. There are local trains from Grange if you want to access the beautiful coastal towns and villages.
If you wish to travel further afield while you are here then you may need a car. Rural bus services are limited and may be more expensive than you are used to. We can help you with contacts for car hire and taxis.
If you do bring your own car, the nearest petrol station is 1 mile away on the A590.
Is it possible to rent bikes or go horse riding?
The local equestrian centre in Witherslack can provide horse riding sessions for all the family. You can hire bikes locally from Silverdale, from Grizedale Forest or by the day at Windermere Station. If you don’t have a lot of energy and need a little help you could hire an electric bike. Or hire an electric car from several Lakeland hotels which you could recharge from our drive via a normal plug socket. You haven’t really lived until you have climbed Hardknott Pass in a Renault Twizy!
Are there walking and cycle trails nearby?
There is an abundance of both. You can walk from the doorstep on estate land which extends from the lowland mosses to the low fells of Whitbarrow, Yewbarrow and Cartmel. Details for walking trails can be found in the guides in our hallway. If you bring your own bikes then you can store them in the porch or barn. There are plenty of bike shops around including the famous Wheelbase in Staveley which can advise on routes locally including the North Face trail in Grizedale Forest, or send you off on orienteering trails.
How about fishing?
We encourage it! We have two fishing permits which give you exclusive access to the estate’s coarse fishery Witherslack Hall Tarn. You can stomp through beautiful woodland over Yewbarrow to get there if you don’t want to drive. You may be able to hook a carp, perch, bream, roach, pike, tench or rudd. And watch out for the friendly otters.
When is the house available?
We hire out the house all year. Peak times tend to book up early so contact us in advance of school holidays. We have some exceptional deals in the winter months including weekend and mid week breaks.
What’s a good time to arrive?
We will require an approximate eta to arrange to meet you at the house. Also, if you text us as you exit or cross over Junction 36 of the M6, we’ll get there to greet you at the door. At that moment in time you will be just 20 minutes away from your holiday!
Who is on site to help in case of problems?
All the information you will need about this you will find in a folder in the house. But in short: if you require any assistance during your stay please call 0151 708 7441. The housekeeper, Elaine, is generally available from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday and the grounds-man, David, is available for repairs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Please can you let us know if there as soon as possible if there are any items requiring attention – we would not want a this to spoil your stay.
How many keys are available?
We’d love to give you extra keys but I’m afraid this isn’t possible. There is one main key to the house that you will need to share for the duration of your stay.
Is there WIFI?
Yes but you might want to keep that a secret from the kids! There’s a dedicated phone line in the house with incoming only calls (999 outgoing only) and broadband wifi. The best mobile signal is Vodafone, and there are 2 boosters on site.