The Lake District is England’s largest and most visited National Park, 885 square miles of fells, glacial lakes, mountains, valleys and villages in Cumbria.

Every year over 19 million visitors come to stroll, hike and enjoy water sports amid inspirational natural beauty. Covid-19 has seen a huge swing back to staycations — and the Lake District reminds us why we should enjoy the magnificence on our doorstep.

A limited supply of homes and strict planning rules for new build mean it was always a trickier place than most to buy a holiday home. And when in 2017 the Lake District National Park was awarded Unesco World Heritage status, those problems only increased.

So two projects offering new and newly renovated homes within Cumbria are of special interest to holiday home hunters.

A Gothic-style Victorian limestone pile, Stone Cross Mansions in Ulverston was built for a wealthy mine-owning family and later served as a Second World War military hospital, a boys’ school and the HQ of a lighting company, before lying empty for 10 years.

Now, after a three-year total facelift, it offers 19 two- and three-bedroom flats of 836sq ft to 1,800sq ft priced from £250,000 to £600,000. Annual service charges start from £1,977.

Developer Charles Church has spent £4 million creating modern homes in a classical building.

In the magnificent entrance hall, balustrades from the original grand staircase have been remade, double-height stone arches and columns have been repaired and a Victorian triptych of Tennyson’s Sleeping Beauty has been restored.


From £250,000: modern flats in restored Victorian Stone Cross Mansions, in Ulverston, with the Lake District on the doorstep

The flats have appealed to local professionals, foreign buyers, second home owners and downsizers from London and the South-East as well as Manchester and Cheshire, says Jamie Adam of Savills.

A gated community, it offers “essentially new-build homes in an excellently converted heritage building”, he adds. “On your doorstep are wonderful pubs and restaurants, walks, lakes and the great outdoors.”

On the southern side of the Lakes, Ulverston is generally quicker to reach from London than Cornwall or Dorset, says Adam, adding that it’s certainly quicker by train and is more affordable.

It’s nine miles north-east of market town Barrow-in-Furness for schools, a hospital and theatre. Ulverston station links to London Euston in two-and-a-half hours.

The town has good restaurants and shops and hosts family-friendly annual festivals.

There’s a golf club and leisure centre and Windermere is within 20 minutes.


From £215,000: flats for sale at Ironworks, a development on the site of a former foundry

In Backbarrow in the National Park itself, Ironworks is a development on the site of a former foundry that smelted lead used in Second World War bouncing bombs.

There are 43 new one- to four-bedroom flats priced from £215,000 to £395,000 with annual service charges from £620. So far 16 have sold with several owners in residence.

Modern features include oak floors, full-height windows and fully equipped kitchens with Bosch appliances.

“These would make great rental properties or second homes,” comments Savills’ Jamie Adam. “They have no restriction on occupancy, with the Lakes on your doorstep.”

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