Yorkshire Dales, United Kingdom

The Malabar

Rates from (ex tax)$177.64

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP160.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.


Born in a barn


National Park perch

The Malabar was once home to cows and other cattle; following a clever makeover, the only thing that’s bovine here are the udderly delicious breakfasts. Former shippons and byres – that’s cattle sheds to the uninitiated – have been reimagined as boutique 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, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.


Double rooms from $177.64 (£133), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

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 21 days.

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

More details

Rates usually include a delicious cooked breakfast, plus afternoon tea for two (served on the day of arrival).


Clever Graham has a bread-making and patisserie course under his belt – his skills are apparent in the Malabar’s home-made afternoon tea, served as a welcome treat. Pick from an array of loose-leaf teas (12 in total, including the Malabar’s house blend), plus sandwiches, scones, pastries and cakes.

At the hotel

Eight acres of grazing land; trampoline; pretty terrace; communal 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.


Little Smiths of all sizes are welcome (though the Malabar reckons it’s best for nippers aged six and above). Each suite has a sofa bed; extra beds can be added to rooms. On-loan kit includes: cots, cribs, baby bed-linen, bottle-sterilisers, high chairs.

Food and Drink

Photos The Malabar food and drink

Top Table

There’s only one: the communal table, where breakfast is served. If the thought of morning small talk has you lost for words (literally), don’t worry; you can 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 wild-boar bacon and venison and hedgerow-jelly sausages; there’s a veggie version featuring a creative take on ‘black pudding’, if you’re less meatily inclined. (You can also try lassi, home-made granola and other extras.) Later in the day, soup and a charcuterie board can be rustled up on request.

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 whenever guests want it (within reason). Afternoon tea for two is served as an arrival treat – enjoy it in the lounge or dining room, from 3pm, on the day of your arrival.

Room service

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


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). Rather than hop in a taxi from the station for £15–£20, ask the owners to pick you up – they only charge £10 (and they’re lovely).


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.

Worth getting out of bed for

Take a book to the lounge or your legs on an adventure: start by roaming around the 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 on the fourth Saturday of every 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

Three Hares at 57 Main Street is an excellent café, bistro and bakery; it’s only open for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, so book ahead. The menu honours the owners’ backgrounds: James grew up locally; partner Nina was raised in Germany by Japanese parents. Dishes are diverse and exciting: Japanese-style rabbit with curd cheese salad; sea bream and black-pudding risotto; lemon and stem-ginger fool with rhubarb slice, for example. 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.) Fancy summat fancy? Dress up for L’Enclume, a riverside restaurant with rooms – and two Michelin stars. 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

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.


The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Malabar’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The decor, the peace and quiet, the tea tasting in the afternoon when we arrived and the owners.

Don’t expect

A lively night scene! The Malabar really does feel like it's in the middle of nowhere – in a good way! The most noise you are likely to get is from the sheep in the fields.


Stayed on 11 Oct 2017

We loved

The hospitality at The Malabar was superb and you really felt at home from the moment you walked in the door. Graham and Fiona were so helpful with lots of great local recommendations, and sent us on our way to hike up to Cautley Spout armed with a flask of hot coffee. We were served a delightful afternoon tea in the garden (showing off the family's expertise in teas and patisserie skills!) and the full 'Cumbrian' breakfast the next morning was something to behold. We were also big fans of their gorgeous dogs which they'd rescued from Cyprus, and their cat, Mog :) We visited The Three Hares cafe/bistro in Sedbergh, just 5 minutes drive away, which was superb. We also climbed up Cautley Spout waterfall which has incredible views across Howgill Fells – it's a fairly easy walk, we're not active hikers!

Don’t expect

Nightlife or bars – you're out in the countryside here! Also it's a B&B, so don't expect other meals to be served.


Stayed on 28 May 2017

We loved

Fiona and Graham's hospitality and the lovely cups of tea and delicious food.

Don’t expect

Wild nightlife – only wild scenery.


Stayed on 17 Mar 2017

We loved

Hosting, quality of fittings, breakfast and afternoon tea – best ever breakfast, with so many delicious home made items, gorgeous beds and bedding. Ideal location for walks and visiting Lakes or Yorkshire Dales.

Don’t expect

Lively night life.


Stayed on 3 Mar 2017

We loved

Playing chess in the early evening by the wood burning stove. Waking up to fresh tea outside the door, and Graham's amazing breakfast. Local village Kirkby Lonsdale is very pretty, lovely shops and great places to eat. I travelled with my 10-year-old daughter. 

Don’t expect

Hotel service - the rooms' breakfasts are boutique hotel standard, you can lie in bed all day if you want to, but remember, this is a B&B.


Stayed on 17 Oct 2016

We loved

The accommodation was fantastic, the welcome so warm and friendly and the afternoon tea was delicious! The bed tea in the morning was a lovely touch. We travelled with our 16 month old baby boy. We were looked after so well and he had a fantastic time! We would highly recommend a stay at The Malabar.


Stayed on 7 Oct 2016

We loved

Fiona and Graham were the perfect hosts! The room was lovely and the food was great. We were really touched by the lift to the pub - couldn't have asked for anything more. Can't wait to go back. There is a little pub in Sedburgh that serves the best chips - perfectly crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside!

Don’t expect

Late night midnight snacks.


Stayed on 1 Oct 2016

We loved

Everything! From homemade afternoon tea through to the full breakfast,there was nothing that we could fault. Camellia (our room) had its own patio, so just to sit out was a bonus. Dalesman pub in Sedbergh does great food.

Don’t expect

Run of the mill B&B.


Stayed on 1 Oct 2016

We loved

How much we felt at home the instant we arrived at The Malabar with hosts Fiona and Graham. Welcomed with a delightful afternoon tea, we settled in to the Camellia suite with its fabulous bathroom and lovely sitting area overlooking the Dales and the back garden of The Malabar. The location was ideal to explore both Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District National Parks. We hired a car, but several guests embarked on walks directly from The Malabar. On our first evening, we joined other guests at the honesty bar to toast a couple who had just become engaged - the young man proposed on top of the Dales. And what a breakfast each morning! Extensive options with local ingredients. All of the guests commented that The Malabar is the only lodging in the area with such modern amenities, beautiful design aesthetic and peaceful countryside location. We cannot wait to return! Don't miss the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, Jervaulx Abbey or Middleham Castle in the Yorkshire Dales. We also escaped the crowds in Windermere and journeyed to Keswick and the stunning Borrowdale Valley for a walk up Walla Crag for a day in the Lake District. Fiona and Graham helped arrange bookings at The Three Hares, an incredible local restaurant, in nearby Sedbergh and a taxi to/from. They provide a list of their favorite restaurants in your room and are eager to help with any recommendations.

Don’t expect

It's totally manageable, but be prepared for the narrow driveway to The Malabar.


Stayed on 27 Aug 2016

We loved

The beautiful rooms and fantastic afternoon tea. Recommend the Three Hares restaurant on a Friday or Saturday NIght

Don’t expect

Lively nightlife or a plethora of activities within walking distance (other than beautiful hill-walking)


Stayed on 26 Aug 2016

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