Muncaster – Overnight at a Lake District Castle

by David Murray on 28 January 2009

in Accommodation, B&B, Castles, Gardens, Historic Houses, Railways, Stately Homes, Visitor Attractions

Over the past thirty years of driving up to Whitehaven, I’ve often looked across the valley to Muncaster Castle on the hillside above the River Esk not far from Ravenglass. Last week, though, I had reason to stop there. On my way north in the morning, and looking for somewhere to spend the night before driving back south, I spotted a B&B sign outside the gate to the castle’s plant centre.

During a long career I’ve spent much of my time out and about around the UK and further afield, staying overnight in everything from country village pubs and b&b acommodation to five star hotels. Rarely, however, have I experienced B&B to the standard of Muncaster Castle “Coachman’s Quarters”. I was welcomed warmly by the ladies in the office, and having been shown around and booked my room I drove on past Ravenglass to Egremont, Whitehaven and Workington before returning to Muncaster in the evening.

The room itself, with en suite shower room, was comfortable and scrupulously clean (and with a plentiful supply of tea and coffee – a key point with me). The substantial cooked, “full English”, breakfast with lots of options was just what I like when away from home. The accommodation can also be booked for self-catering, and there was a well-equipped kitchen and dining area just down the corridor from my room. I could have used it if I’d wanted (and had the food with me). My preference though was to sit back with a book in the comfortable armchairs of the spacious lounge which, being a winter night with few people travelling in this area, I had entirely to myself.

The castle and gardens are not open to visitors at this time of year (see correction in the comments below), so in the morning before heading south to my next appointment I did a small detour down to the coast to visit the famous narrow gauge Ravenglass railway. Sadly, being out of season there was not a puff of smoke or jet of steam to be seen but it was pleasant to cast my mind back to my first visit as a child with my grandfather almost sixty years ago and a later visit in my early twenties to introduce my fiancé to this less well known part of the Lake District.

Well that’s enough maudlin diversion; let’s get back to today! If you’re en route to the West Cumbrian coast or visiting the Western Lakes you’ll find it hard to get better b&b than the Coachman’s Quarters at Muncaster Castle – or close by take a look at Muncaster Country Guest House.

See also: Where to go on the West Cumbria Coast

Updated November 2011

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Peter Frost-Pennington February 9, 2009 at 18:47

Dear Mr Murray,

Thanks very much for your wonderful write up on Muncaster’s Coachman’s Quarters. We’ve circulated it around the staff with extra pats on the back. Always good to know when all our hard work pays off -we always try (and usually suceed) in surpassing visitors’ expectations. Few people also seem to realise that as well as being one of the Lake Districts top tourist attractions, people can stay here too.

One small point – unless we are carrying out major works in the Gardens (with Health & safety issues), they are always open to visitors staying in the Coachman’s Quarters – the Owl Centre too, no matter what the time of year. Guests enjoy having the gardens virtually to themselves. You should have been told this – if not, I apologise. Come again & do a write up on the Gardens, Owls, etc!

Keep up your good work – it’s much appreciated!

Kind Regards,


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