A great heritage,
In a great location.

A 400 year old farmhouse in a perfect spot.



We can reassure guests that we are being flexible with all booking deposits for any cancellations affected by COVID.

Thorney How offers a range of pleasant, sociable and welcoming environments for all its guests to enjoy.

The flexible accommodation can cater for individual bookings, family rooms, small groups and large groups. Corporate enquiries welcome, please call to discuss your needs.

Up to 40 beds are arranged in a total of 11 bedrooms ranging from 2 beds to 6 beds per room, including some twin and double beds.

En-suite rooms available include 3 x double en-suite, 1 x twin en-suite, 2 x family en-suite – max 4 beds, 2 x large family en-suite – max 6 beds. All other wash room facilities are shared. All bed linen is provided. Double and Twin en-suites also have towels, toiletries and hot drink making facilities.

The main gentleman’s style residence and 400 year old farmhouse is charming and has well proportioned, comfortable and warm rooms with fabulous views onto the grounds and the distant Fairfield / Helvellyn mountain range. The main house has 7 en-suite rooms and up to 24 bed spaces.

All family rooms and Grasmere Bunkhouse now with wooden bunk type beds (2019).

The main gentleman’s style residence and 400 year old farmhouse


Thorney How’s name originates from ancient Norse indicating that there may have been some form of dwelling here in ancient times, but we have no records of this.

Local information states that the lane running along the north boundary of Thorney How is known as Flash Lonnin (This is an old Cumbria name and describes a rural lane referring to a short cut).

Previous heritage information is sparse but it is very probable that Thorney How operated as a small farmstead for nearly 200 years before becoming a gentleman’s residence in the Georgian period.

Thorney How’s Georgian and Victorian heritage is enhanced by several literary references and visits by William Wordsworth and his associates.

Thorney How was acquired by the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) in the 1930’s and has the distinction of being the first property that the YHA fully owned. We understand that it was opened as a demonstration Hostel around 1932.

Thorney How remained in the ownership of the YHA as a working youth hostel for nearly 80 years until 2011. During their ownership the YHA made changes to the property by converting the barn into a dining room, adding shower and toilet facilities, building an extended reception area and the bunkhouse.

Traditional local building materials were used in the construction of Thorney How. Much of the stonework is unbonded and simply laid one on top of another with no insulation or damp proofing. This has some advantages as well as disadvantages when compared to modern building techniques. We are very happy to be custodians of this Grade 2 listed building and are taking very careful steps to ensure that it remains in good condition.

Since 2011 the new owners have added Biomass central heating, a new bar and reception, en-suite shower rooms and refurbished all of the bunkhouse and main house rooms.

The grounds have also been sympathetically maintained with the addition of rare breed sheep, ducks, hens and a kitchen garden with polytunnel.

Black & White postcard circa 1950's


man hath ever found - William Wordsworth

A second more modern building – the Bunkhouse – was added to house additional bed spaces for staff by the YHA. Records indicate that the Bunkhouse was once a single storey farmers cottage.

Thorney How was sold by the YHA in February 2011, it was reopened as a family run Independent Hostel at Easter 2011.

The Bunkhouse has been recently upgraded by its present owners in 2013 with additional showers and a biomass fueled heating system. There are now 4 independent rooms each with 4 bunk beds, sleeping a total of 16.

This is a gem !
The beds were comfy, it was clean
loved the heated bathroom floor and very strong showers.
Great location, good quality rooms for the price with delicious food and onsite small bar/restaurant. May 2021.

Thorney How - history

We do not permit dogs at Thorney How

We recognise that fell walkers often wish to bring their four legged companions with them when staying away from home. However, we regret that from July 2014 we decided to breed a flock of rare breed sheep. As they are permanent residents in the grounds and will no longer be accepting dogs.

Please be aware that we do not allow dogs to come into any part of the buildings. We do not allow dogs to stay in cars during the day or overnight.

There are other accommodation providers in Grasmere that do permit dogs.

Gardens - flowers



Thorney How is surrounded by two and a quarter acres of unspoilt, private and secluded grounds providing a relaxing setting at the end of your day out, or somewhere to spend a few hours sharing a drink from our bar and something to eat with friends.

In 2014 we introduced some rare breed sheep alongside our free range hens, ducks and three cats. You will also occasionally find red and roe deer, red squirrels, badgers, hedgehogs, frogs and toads, owls, buzzards, woodpeckers and tree creepers to name just a few wild animals and birds.

Maintenance and the development of the grounds is an ongoing project. We have been repairing the traditional dry stone walls, putting up new fencing and carefully felling diseased or damaged trees and pruning others.

The property is surrounded by the wonderful Lake District fells with their ever changing colours and moods.

In 2016 we added a polytunnel to our kitchen garden alongside the fruit trees, fruit bushes and raised beds. You will find our meals served in the restaurant featuring fresh grown items depending on what’s available.

Our woodland areas feature a wide range of traditional trees and wild flowers. The woodland is managed by ourselves and provides logs to be used in our wood burning stoves.

Please feel free to spend time exploring and enjoying the grounds and spotting the various wildlife that finds it’s way into the grounds. We ask that you to observe the private areas and to take care when being close to any of the animals.

Known historical links with Grasmere’s most famous resident, William Wordsworth, and his associates have been found with reference to Thorney How and the grounds in their writing.

Please note that we do not allow open fires or BBQ’s within the grounds.


Runner Ducks

Thorney How and Grasmere Bunkhouse | guest accommodation privately owned and managed by Taylor and Carolyn Nuttall since 2011.