6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Woodlands Tearooms in Holmrook serving cuppas from a shed for 60 years

PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 January 2015

The Woodlands Tearooms

The Woodlands Tearooms

not Archant

We visit a quirky tearoom that started off 60 years ago in a shed

The Original Tea Rooms The Original Tea Rooms

There is something about the British and their obsession with sheds but this one is in a class of its own.

Set back just off the road between Irton Hall and Santon in the Western Lakes, the delightful Woodlands Tearooms and Gift shop blends into the surroundings and it is currently enjoying its 60th straight year of continuous business. No mean feat in this day and age.

The current proud owners are Alan and Nancy Banks. Actually, they are quick to point out that being called ‘owners’ is not the right word. ‘Its such an iconic place that we feel we are more like custodians,’ says Nancy. ‘We are keeping it going for the next generation. In fact, we regularly get people coming in with their grandchildren and they tell us how they came here in its formative days.’

Alan adds: ‘Nowadays there are two buildings but back in 1954, there was nothing here but Forcebank Cottage. That was owned by a Mr and Mrs Young. They had a shed in their back garden where they sold crafts such as walking sticks. They also served tea and cakes to passers-by. Peacocks and a golden pheasant would roam around as people sat outside. It was idyllic and just it grew from there.’

Nancy and Alan outside the Gift Shop Nancy and Alan outside the Gift Shop

It’s obvious the Bank’s are proud of what they have. ‘It’s a lovely place to own and work in and we know that it has continued to evolve with each successive custodian,’ says Nancy. ‘Adding to what is on offer and keeping up to date with trends is important. It is not just about making your own mark but continuing to be a thriving business.’

In 2001, the then owners expanded it into a ‘proper’ tearoom just as Foot and Mouth took the rural community in its grip.

As a food supplier they were allowed to continue to open and that helped them survive that awful time. The theme of onwards and upwards continues as the tearooms are now classed as ‘Bistro’ style but with a twist. Nancy explained: ‘We have been here eight years and in that time, we came to realise that people didn’t just want a sandwich or soup. They asked for “proper meals”. So we decided to offer a full menu. It proved to be good business and that has taken us into other directions. For example, you can now come into here and whatever you find on offer, you can actually order and take home for you to cook. We call it Woodlands Street Food which is advertised outside and it has been very successful.’

In an area that enjoys a large transient holiday population, they are now competing with the traditional Inns for ‘meal time’ custom. They have gone one further and expanded that concept though. After a good day’s walk on the fells, you can now have your own chef or “Rent A Chef” as Alan calls it. ‘It has been successful so far and as well as my preparing meals for people in the holiday lets, we have also moved into outside catering too.’

I look around the gift shop and notice that they sell local chutneys and jams. Nancy then explains that one section of this shop will soon become a Deli with an expansion of the ‘street food’ planned.

Before leaving, I walk outside to take photographs. It’s a glorious sunny morning and the ‘al fresco’ tables are filling up.

If you go down to the woods today, you are sure of a pleasant surprise.

The Woodlands Tea Rooms is based at The Craft Shop, Santon Bridge, Holmrook, Cumbria CA19 1UY.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Bar & Grill at Holmes Mill, Clitheroe is now open 7 days a week and to celebrate we are offering a selection of dishes at half price until 13th July.

Read more
Friday, June 8, 2018

This Liverpool restaurant may serve small plates but the flavours are huge

Read more
Italian Food
Friday, June 8, 2018

The Lake District’s new World Heritage status was the spur behind a £19 million project to turn a landmark hotel into a luxury resort.

Read more
Lancashire Life Luncheon
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Meet the newcomers creating a stir on Manchester’s thrilling restaurant scene

Read more
Manchester Restaurants
Monday, June 4, 2018

Make the most of the county’s stunning scenery by taking a seat outside this season.

Read more
Friday, May 25, 2018

Kara Johnson is following in her dad’s footsteps at one of the county’s legendary food producers. Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

Kids eat free every Sunday from 12 - 2 pm at The Feilden’s Arm Mellor Brook.

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

Join The Feilden’s Arms at Mellor Brook for their steak night every Thursday from 5pm.

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

Tea for two every Wednesday from 5pm at The Feilden’s Arms Mellor Brook.

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

Pie and Pud for just £15 all day every Tuesday.

Read more
Friday, May 18, 2018

Our prestigious Food and Drink Awards return this October, and we want your nominations to help find out who is the cream of the crop.

Read more
Friday, May 18, 2018

We have five copies of The Lakes and Cumbria Cook Book for readers.

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Afternoon tea has grown in popularity as a summer pastime, here are a selection of some of the best on offer across the North West.

Read more
Thursday, May 17, 2018

20 Stories in Spinningfields is Manchester’s newest restaurant to see and be seen in. Janet Reeder went along to check out what chef Aiden Byrne is up to now.

Read more
Manchester Restaurants Spinningfields
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search