Great British Boltholes: A review of The Yan, Cumbria

Great British Boltholes: The boutique hotel in Cumbria that’s gone from cow shed to the epitome of cool

  • The Yan is a boutique hotel situated on the outskirts of Grasmere in Cumbria
  • It is based on the 17th Century Broadrayne Farm site, known for breeding sheep 
  • The rooms are ‘calming’ and the food on offer for breakfast and dinner is ‘hearty’

I judge a restaurant by how much smoked salmon it serves.

If a treat is on the menu, don’t hold back. Thankfully, The Yan does not disappoint on quality of food, or on its plentiful portions.

Situated on the outskirts of Grasmere in Cumbria, this boutique hotel served a thick and plentiful cut of smoked salmon for my breakfast, complementing my poached eggs and creme fraiche on toast. There is hearty food on offer for breakfast and dinner – and a genuine welcome from owners and staff.

Rustic charm: The Yan is based on a farm known for breeding sheep 

Bought in 2011 by Dave and Sally Keighley, it was originally run as a 24-bed self-catering hostel. Their daughter Jess and her chef husband, Will Manley, wanted to set up a business in the Lake District after working in the French Alps. The two couples joined forces to create a contemporary place to stay with on-site dining. It is now a sevenbedroom hotel, and opened last summer.

The Yan is based on the 17th Century Broadrayne Farm site, which was known for breeding Herdwick sheep native to the area. The name ‘The Yan’ translates into ‘the one’ in the old Cumbrian dialect used for counting sheep, which is still used by farmers today. The building that houses guests dates from the early 19th Century when it was used to store hay, barley and oats on the upper floor, with a cattle shed below.

Now you will find an open-plan living space with books, sofas, shelving space for muddy boots, and two floors for seven en suite rooms. Each room is named after fells in the region, including Helvellyn. Occupants of this room can expect a far more relaxing experience than climbing its namesake. The super-king mattress and plush new carpets will make you want to extend your stay. Neutral tones give the rooms a calming feel, while understated artwork shows just a splash of colour against the natural-looking wooden panelling.

The farm is conveniently located in the heart of the Lakes. It suits those who don’t want to be too far from the dramatic landscapes to the north or from the bustle of shops and tourist attractions in Ambleside or Bowness to the south.

The food is 'satisfying and made to share', writes Laura Shannon. Pictured is the hotel's chef, Will Manley

The food is ‘satisfying and made to share’, writes Laura Shannon. Pictured is the hotel’s chef, Will Manley

The USP: The owners’ down-to earth stamp on the hotel. It’s their dream come true to make your stay a welcome one.

The rooms: Seven clean and modern rooms, each with en suite bathrooms. Standard rooms sleep up to three guests, deluxe up to four. There are also two dog-friendly rooms. Each comes with a smart TV, free wi-fi and tea-making facilities.

The food: Satisfying and made to share. We enjoyed the thyme and garlic beef brisket, with baked potatoes filled with garlic cheese, corn on the cob, coleslaw in a spicy Cajun sauce, and flatbread. There was no room for dessert but we had them anyway – a decadent chocolate mousse and a sticky toffee pudding.


The Yan, Broadrayne Farm, Cumbria. Double rooms cost from £100 a night, not including breakfast. For more information visit


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