Yorkshire Dales, United Kingdom

The Malabar

Price per night from$166.45

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP133.33), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.


Born in a barn


National Park perch

Once a Grade II-listed cattle barn, now a luxury B&B, The Malabar near Sedbergh has gone from bovine to boutique, but still serves up udderly delicious breakfasts. Shippons and byres (that’s cattle sheds to townies) have been reimagined as pretty bedrooms, spiced up with furnishings and artworks that nod to the owners’ stints in Mumbai and the Far East.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A tin of the Malabar’s artisan, loose-leaf tea


Photos The Malabar facilities

Need to know


Six, including three suites.


10.30am. Check-in is from 3pm to 9pm (Monday to Saturday only); there's no-one at the front desk between 12pm and 3pm, so you won't be able to check in early. Prompt is best if you'd like afternoon tea.


Double rooms from £160.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include a delicious cooked breakfast, plus a tea selection for two (including scones, crumpets or cakes).


Clever Graham has a bread-making and patisserie course under his belt, which makes itself known in the Malabar’s 'tea selection'. Choose from an array of loose-leaf teas (12 in total, including the Malabar’s house blend), plus scones, cakes or crumpets.

At the hotel

Eight acres of grazing land; trampoline; pretty terrace; delightful dining room; cosy lounge; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV; Roberts radio; Bath House lotions and potions.

Our favourite rooms

Earlston is a top-floor suite that surveys the River Lune to the west. Pops of soft pink, blue and orange enliven the suite’s stone walls and oak beams; there’s also a big Excelsior bath tub below the eaves of the roof. The suite takes its name from the tea-estate bungalow in Kerala where Graham grew up.

Packing tips

Bring clothes you can stride across Dales in, a thirst for a good cuppa, and a story or two to tell around the communal breakfast table.


Each floor has a well-stocked tea-and-coffee station: a nod to owner Graham’s tea connections (his father and grandfather were tea-planters in Kerala). Graham and Fiona lived in Mumbai before Yorkshire – hence the far-flung flourishes.


A maximum of two dogs can stay in the Ladbroke Suite for a flat fee of £20 each. See more pet-friendly hotels in Yorkshire Dales.


Little Smiths of all sizes are welcome (though the Malabar reckons it’s best for children aged six and above). Ladbroke has a sofa bed and room for a single or cot. On-loan kit includes: cots, cribs, baby bed-linen, bottle-sterilisers, high chairs.

Food and Drink

Photos The Malabar food and drink

Top Table

Pull up chairs at a cosy table for two in the dining room, request breakfast in bed, or enjoy it out on the terrace, weather-permitting.

Dress Code

Whatever you feel comfortable sipping tea and eating cake in. Factor in the Great Outdoors: bring waterproofs and wind-cheaters outside of summer (and perhaps even then; this is England, after all).

Hotel restaurant

There’s no restaurant, but there’s also no chance you’ll go hungry, thanks to Graham’s hearty breakfasts. Begin the day with a Cumbrian breakfast with local sausages, bacon and black pudding made to a secret recipe; there’s also a veggie version, lassis, home-made granola and other sweet options. Dinner is available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings only and should be booked ahead of your stay. It's served at small candlelit tables in the dining room. On Thursdays and Saturday evenings, a four-course seasonal set menu will be served for £30 a person; on Friday evenings, a four-course Indian feast will be served, for £35 a person. There’s a selection of wines and craft beers to choose from, too.

Hotel bar

The honesty bar in the lounge is stocked with wine, whisky and a pleasing lineup of craft beer, some of which is local. 

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 8.30am to 9.30am. Tea is served in the lounge or dining room from 3pm on the day of your arrival. Dinners can be arranged from Thursday to Saturday (but should be pre-booked).

Room service

Staying in a suite? Let the owners know if you’d rather have breakfast in bed. Forget alarm clocks: here, days begin with a gentle knock on your door at an appointed time (you decide when) and a tray of just-brewed tea left outside your room.


Photos The Malabar location
The Malabar
Garths Marthwaite
LA10 5ED
United Kingdom

Do not set a course for southern India: the Malabar occupies a picturesque pocket of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The Lake District’s southern tip is just 10 minutes away (you’ve basically reached hiking heaven).


Manchester Airport (www.manchesterairport.co.uk) is 84 miles away, a 90-minute drive. Leeds Bradford Airport is closer – 67 miles from the hotel – but the drive takes just under two hours (www.leedsbradfordairport.co.uk).


Oxenholme Lake District station offers services connecting to London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Preston; it’s eight miles from the Malabar (a 15-minute drive). Hop in a taxi from the station for around £25.


Wheels are a handy accessory, given the immensely beautiful countryside; the hotel has parking for guests. Kendal is a 20-minute drive away; the Malabar is three miles from junction 37 on the M6, just two miles from Sedbergh. If you're coming from London, consider taking the train to Kendal then hiring a car there (it'll save you around two hours of travel time).

Worth getting out of bed for

Take a book to the lounge or your legs on an adventure: start by roaming around the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Howgill Fells or the Lake District (a 10-minute drive away). Fiona and Graham will happily suggest half- or full-day itineraries, with walks, cream-tea pit-stops and pub lunches thrown in. If you grew up with Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor, visit The World of Beatrix Potter at Crag Brow. Sedbergh holds an artisan farmers’ market one Saturday a month; there’s also a weekly Wednesday market at Joss Lane car park. If you want to stock up on mementos from your stay, pick up loose-leaf tea from Farrer’s in Kendal (responsible for the Malabar’s blends), treat yourselves to Bath House lotions and potions from the shop outside Sedbergh, or ask Graham and Fiona about procuring some of the Masham-made Rosebud Preserves, used at breakfast.

Local restaurants

If you’ve got a taste for local beef and pork thanks to the Malabar’s breakfasts, keep going at The Dalesman inn, which sources its cattle from from Birks Farm in Sedbergh. Try ‘Dalesman Angus’, a breed with a distinctive marbling, tenderness and flavour. (There are options for vegetarians, too.) Head to gastropub The Black Swan for almond-topped sea bream, slow-cooked duck with fennel and rhubarb and ginger cheesecake. Coaching inn The Black Bull serves upscale comfort food with an Asian influence (reflecting head chef Nina's heritage). Fancy summat fancy? Dress up for L’Enclume, a riverside restaurant with rooms. Sensibly, Simon Rogan and head chef Tom Barnes put the focus on local produce, showcasing the highlights of Cartmel countryside, plus vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers from their own 12-acre farm. Dishes are full of whizzbang flavour: previous crowd-pleasers include oyster pebbles, beetroot and horseradish snow, and shorthorn with charcoal oil, mustard, apple and celeriac.

Local cafés

Pick up bread and cakes from Three Hares – owner Nina is a master baker. 


Photos The Malabar reviews
Olivia Triggs

Anonymous review

By Olivia Triggs, Creative counsel

Just inhaling the scent of sheep in the moist air told us we weren’t in London any more. We were, in fact, at Oxenholme Lake District railway station, where we’re greeted by our taxi driver Ian, who has been booked – rather thoughtfully – for us by one of our hosts, Fiona.

Fiona, along with Graham, runs the Malabar: a boutique B&B at Garths Farm, just outside Sedbergh. And sure enough, the pair are waiting for us, along with Pluto and Monty, their two rescued gun dogs from Cyprus.

Our room, the Earlston, is named after the tea-estate bungalow in Kerala where Graham grew up. It’s beautiful, large and spacious – the type of room you’d expect in a grand hotel.  It’s scented with an array of fresh flowers, its bed is huge, its views spectacular.

We decide to set off on a walk in the drizzle, following the river to get our bearings. Arriving back just as the dark is setting in, we’re treated to a choice of teas (Graham’s specialty) and home-baked cakes.

Fire on, we officially switch off. Our evening meal of a low-key soup and cheese proves to be massively under-sold, rather its a joyous spread of homemade soup, a charcuterie board, cheeses, fennel salad with lemon and parmesan, chutneys, relishes and freshly baked bread with salty butter. All washed down with a few glasses of red, which you can help yourself to at the honesty bar. All that’s left to do is to take a long wallow in the bath. Bliss.

After a very comfortable night’s sleep, we awake to our tea tray (for tea appreciators, which we are, this was a highlight. You can request a time to have a tea tray brought to your room, with a gentle knock on your door to let you know it’s arrived. It’s been very much missed since returning home) followed by an enormous breakfast.

We get particularly into breakfast during our stay. Basically, you’re left a clipboard each evening on which you can mark up what you’d like for breakfast (and on your tea tray) the next morning. It’s a very satisfying debate to have: one egg or two? Shall I add the homemade beans tomorrow? Apricot and pistachio topping on my porridge, or sour cherries?

The previous day’s gentle drizzle has now given way to non-stop torrential rain, which goes on for three days. There is serious flooding in the area, but it doesn’t hinder our enthusiasm for getting out and about. I make the mistake of thinking my hiking boots are fine for a few days in the Dales. They aren’t, but thankfully proper boots are on offer to borrow. I borrow.

We decide to walk from Sedbergh to Dent, over rolling Yorkshire dales (and wet fields), past stone walls and mossy clumps. We pass plenty of Herdwick and Swaledale sheep – I can now officially tell the difference: Swaledales have the black faces, you know.

It’s only 4.30pm when get back to Sedbergh but already feels like evening. We take our place at the Dalesman Country Inn, peel off our still damp layers and put them by the fire to dry. Then we settle into wine drinking, a game of scrabble and an early supper before heading back to the Malabar.

Hot baths, robes and a night of TV follows, all to the tune of my favourite natural music: rain on Velux.

The following day, we take a longer route into Sedbergh along the raging river. We treat ourselves to a late lunch, walnut cake and coffee in the Three Hares (thoroughly recommended) before ambling back in fading sunlight.

Of course, on our last day we awake to sunshine and blue sky. We’re thankful to be booked on the late afternoon train so we could make the most of it. Fiona drops us off at the foot of Howgill Fell, and, armed with nothing more than a flask of coffee, we head onwards and upwards. The morning frost turns into snow by the time we reach the top, and it was breathtaking.

Back at base we say our goodbyes and head back to the station, our pockets full of fresh fudge – a parting gift from Graham and Fiona. After all our adventures, it’s a sad moment saying goodbye to the two of them – they’ve looked after us so well in our Yorkshire cocoon. Not even the rain could dampen our enthusiasm for the Malabar.


Price per night from $166.45

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