Welcome to Volcano...!
Volcano is an 1850s coach house; open plan, yet cozy. (Our reviews appear at the end of this section.)
It's a welcoming home from home where you can relax and unwind. It's a working home, rather than a show home: which means it's wonderfully practical for muddy wellies, pooches and families; with nothing too precious, where relaxing is the order of the day.
Plenty of windows and 8 foot ceilings lend themselves to a feeling of openness, whilst its location in a small group of houses on a private courtyard amongst woodland, with a multifuel stove (i.e. not the instant 'flick for heat' of central heating, but the satisfaction of a fire well built and tended!), make for a perfect retreat in Summer or Winter.
Volcano was originally part of the stables for the original Holmrook Hall, which was home to the Lutwidge family, aka Lewis Carroll's Uncle; and, as you exit the cottage straight onto tracks and fields, it's not hard to imagine where the inspiration for timekeeping hares and lazy caterpillars came from!
During the the Second World War the cottage was part of a Royal Navy land base at Holmrook Hall, and was named HMS Volcano. It was the home of the bomb and munitions training school between 1943 and 1946, with a primary purpose of teaching munitions and explosive demolition to Royal Navy personnel and to special forces including many Norwegians. It was a top secret establishment and the locals were told that the hall had been requisitioned as a recuperation hospital for those who had suffered shipwrecks; a version of events many believe to this day.
Although still remote enough that your nearest chain supermarket is half an hours drive away; the 'secret' of Volcano can now be experienced from within! World renowned walks, pubs, tea rooms, honesty tables with everything from windfall apples to newly picked potatoes perfect for roasting: a visit to the Western Lakes is like stepping back in time.
The 'off grid-ness' relates to all the ways that matter; and all the ways that don't! It's a wonderfully workable family home: it has been to us for 8 years, and to the milkman for a decade before that!
Off grid refers to the lack of WiFi in the cottage, the reduced/non existent mobile phone reception inside the house (there's a secret windowsill where you can pick it up, and which we'll gladly tell you: but, interestingly, no one's ever asked for!) There's no live TV, no traditional central heating (although keeping warm is easy with the multifuel stove, with detailed 'how to build a good fire' directions provided, plus other heating sources in the cottage), a range oven which uses calor gas (although you'd never know it) rather than mains gas, an unadopted track for access (with a few potholes); and generally just off-grid from the speed and pressures of everyday life.
Mainly it's a fun, restorative way in which to reconnect to the landscape and each other; and we get a lot of guests thanking us for not having WiFi in place; but board games instead!
We have three good sized double bedrooms, one of which occupies the whole of the top floor, and is accessed via a private staircase which provides privacy, although the bedroom itself doesn't have a door.
Total occupancy of the bedrooms is 6; however, the cottage is able to accommodate 9 (with the addition of three folding, floor mattress, one of which is recommended only for children), depending on the makeup of your group.
We have one family bathroom with a long, deep, free-standing dream of a bath and a lovely rain shower; complete with dimmable lighting for relaxing soaks!
We also have freestanding oil heaters in each room, and we have a large immersion heater to take care of hot water in the kitchen and bathroom should you be too worn out after your Lake District explorations to make a fire on any given evening!
There is parking for up to two cars in the private, off road courtyard.
Our ground floor has the original cobbles and troughs of the coach house. This means practicality in spades for muddy wellies and paws; but a potential trip hazard too. You easily get used to it, and it's an amazing feature, but it's worth bearing in mind.
Our sofas are really great for slouching; and are made up of old flags which we have collected over the years. They have a unique, worn, character which we love; but aren't your typical sofa covering!
There is a TV that connects to a DVD player for playing DVDs and music: i.e. no live TV and no WiFi, for off grid bliss!
With or without a car, you'll have the opportunity to really embrace the country life: walks straight from the door, a local pub, and a convenience store which can take care of all your immediate needs. We also get Tescos and Asda delivery, and are blessed with an award winning butcher, specialising in bronzed turkeys, and a fifteen minute drive from the cottage is the official provider of 'sausage to the Queen!' We would be happy to help you place a pre order, and can point you in the right direction for other locally sourced specialities.
The Western Lakes are a privilege to discover. Away from the well trodden tourist trails, Volcano is less than 2 miles from the beach, and less than two miles from the Lake District National Park, with Scafell Pike routes a short (15-20 minute) drive away.
Ambleside and Windermere are an hour and a half drive, Lancaster two hours, and Carlisle a similar distance in the opposite direction.
The Cumbrian Coast Mainland Railway is one of the most beautiful railway journeys in England, and it delivers you to within a half hour walk from our door. The Cumbrian Coast line, and L'al Ratty (Cumbrian for: Little Railway) have featured in a BBC programme entitled Britain's Greatest Railway journeys, hosted by Michael Portillo.
Muncaster Castle is also just a five minute drive away and its Owl Sanctuary, falconry show and incredible views (not to mention, haunted bedroom!) make it one of the Lake District's hidden tourist gems.
The recent winner of "Britain's Favourite View", Wastwater is 7 miles from our small village of Holmrook; which manages to squeeze in a post office come agricultural feed store, a petrol station come village store, and, the all important pub - a 4 minute walk (& only because of the lack of street lights!) directly from our front door to theirs!
If you're a history buff, try entering Holmrook Hall into Wikipedia, for more history of how the cottage came by its name: (HMS) 'Volcano'; or we have lots of locally sourced research and books at the cottage which you are welcome to browse.
ONE NIGHT BOOKINGS
We charge a £80-£130 supplement (depending on the time of year and size of group) for one night mid-week bookings; on the rare occasions a one night booking on a weekend might be possible we charge a one off £150 one night supplement for these. These supplements are in addition to the nightly price.
Dogs are welcome, and we charge a flat fee of £25 per dog. We ask that they not go on, or up the stairs, or on the furniture, and are not left unattended in the cottage or garden unless in a travelling crate. We can provide a stair gate to assist with the stairs element of this House Rule.
PRIOR TO BOOKING
* When submitting a 'Booking Enquiry' or 'Request' please:
- Use the phrase "We love off-grid (and so does our dog - if appropriate!) !" so that we know you are happy with all the quirky elements of the cottage, and are happy to agree to the house rules and pet fee.
- It would also help if you could confirm the configuration of your group/how many beds you'd like made up for you to use. We can tell you more about the different layouts when you enquire.
- Please also let us know the names (and ages for the little ones) of all Guests (plus any animals)...
- Along with what brings you to the Lakes, when booking as we do a welcome note and it's nice to personalise it and include everyone on it.
This helps us know that you'll love the cottage, and makes the process of confirming your reservation much quicker :-)
From the initial communication through to the welcome note and delighters when we arrived, we can't speak highly enough of Carl and Caroline. The cottage was fantastic and is exactly the kind of unique experience that we use homestays for and we can't recommend Volcano highly enough. Thank you!
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the "Volcano" in Holmrook! Our family of 5 (with children aged 11, 9, 6) all thought the cottage was fantastic. We were amazed at the transformation of this one time stable into the perfect country cottage that Caroline & Carl had done. As part of our England/Scotland tour - it was very fitting to stay somewhere with such unique history. The cobble floors and interior decor added to the great experience! The kids loved the fact that horses once stood on the same floors. The cottage was very nicely appointed with all that you could need. All linens were very clean and the cottage was spotless. Being able to have a fire in the wood stove at night was terrific. Locally, there were some amazing pubs and things to do. An easy drive to Keswick, 10 minutes to the incredible views of Wast Water and the coast made it a perfect base for our Lake District adventures. Hosts Caroline & Carl were awesome! They made sure we felt welcomed and provided pointers on interesting things to do locally. Make sure you visit Muncaster Castle, the steam railway, the Strands Inn, Keswick, Wasdale/Wast Water - and many more things!
Carl and Caroline are wonderful hosts with a terrific, characterful home. The house is well-located for a range of walks and activities, as well as for shops and restaurants. Volcano has a very cosy feeling with a well-equipped kitchen and a great wood burner.