Situated on what was once the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith railway line, Bassenthwaite Lake Station saw holidaymakers and haulage alike pass between its platforms between 1865 and 1966, when the Beeching cuts put an end to its operation.
Over the years, the once proud sandstone platforms and stately outbuildings of the station became dilapidated, the trackbed buried and hidden by brambles and the signalmen’s cottages collapsed and became ruins.
Simon and Diana Parums bought the site in April 2019, after Diana, whose grandparents lived locally, watched the station fall into a state of disrepair over the years. The Parums originally looked to buy the Station House alone as a quirky, lakeside holiday-let, but upon noticing the commercial potential for the station site itself, negotiated the sale of both from two separate vendors with the intention of establishing an attraction that would have wide appeal for visitors and locals alike. Supported by the Lake District National Park Authority, the station and its outbuildings were painstakingly restored over the course of two years, in keeping with the 1930’s era that was inspired by the arrival of the replica train.
The French SNCF Class 241 steam engine that is now a permanent fixture on the track is in fact a replica - the very train that appears in the Kenneth Branagh 2017 film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ starring Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Built a little bit wider than a ‘real life’ train in order to fit in camera crews, nowadays the Restaurant carriage serves as seating for our café with enough room to comfortably accommodate around 30 people, whereas the Salon carriage is reserved for Afternoon Teas.
Special care has been taken to preserve the natural beauty of the station’s surroundings, which also serve as a habitat for the many species of native flora and fauna that can be quietly observed from the peace of our wildlife walkway and bird hide. The newly-planted woodland, orchard, and wildflower meadow provide increased habitat diversification.