A popular communal room on our Ambleside site has recently been given a much-needed facelift.

The bar area, a large room on the ground floor of Brathay Hall and used by most of our visitors during their stay, has been refurbished and re-launched as the Harden Lounge.

The room takes its new name from former residents John and Jessy Harden, tenants at Brathay Hall in the early 1800s, who enjoyed a gentrified life in the Georgian property long before it was taken over by our charity’s founder Francis Scott in 1939.

Since the refurbishment, guests are now made welcome with comfortable sofa seating, a beautifully-restored fireplace with open fire, and improved IT and audio-visual provision suitable for any group gathering or business event. A muted, period colour scheme is set off by new light fittings and the original Georgian floorboards have also been painstakingly stripped and polished.

In celebration of the Hall’s past history, a collection of prints from the Harden’s time at Brathay Hall are displayed on the walls. They depict an elite artistic lifestyle, with John and Jessy Harden appreciating the Lake District whilst socialising with Wordsworth, Coleridge and Constable.*

‘We are thrilled with our new-look lounge bar and are very proud to be able to welcome guests into such an impressive and historic room,’ says our Venue Manager Natasha Dalton. ‘It was always an attractive room with its elegant tall windows and amazing views over Ambleside and the surrounding fells, only now it has a feeling of real grandeur.’

Since re-opening, Harden Lounge has been enjoyed by our B&B visitors as they relax after a long walk or evening meal; business delegates either networking or socialising after hours on our corporate training courses, and apprentices and others on residential courses who are invited to help themselves to hot drinks during the day.

We offer a fully-stocked licensed bar in the evenings and our overnight visitors are able to help themselves to tea and coffee with biscuits and fresh fruit, free of charge.

Improvements to the room’s main fire escape route have also been carried out to permit more people in the room at any one time.

*Prints on display are featured in ‘Jessy’s Journal’ written by our archivist Maurice Dybeck and available for purchase at Brathay Hall’s main reception.