A SUBSTANTIAL Victorian country house just three miles from Kendal offers elegance and character in abundance.

Thorny Bank House, at Garth Row, was built in 1874 as a shooting lodge. This seven-bedroom, double-fronted detached property has been immaculately refurbished and improved, and is on the market with Michael CL Hodgson for £825,000.

The beautifully decorated family house incorporates many fine features such as dressed stone quoins, window and door reveals, a pitch-pine staircase wood-lined doorways and fireplaces with marble surrounds.

Thorny Bank House was once run as a bed-and-breakfast, and the layout of the extensive and spacious accommodation would lend itself perfectly to such a business again, say the agents.

The property nestles in an elevated, rural location overlooking a sweeping lawn, on the gentle slopes of the Sprint valley, and enjoys scenic views of nearby Potter Fell and the rolling countryside around Kendal.

Grounds extend to around an acre, with gravelled sitting-out terraces for taking in the views, a wide driveway and ample parking. Newly completed is an attractive

triple garage/workshop with annexe above. The gardens also include a vegetable plot, painted timber garden shed, greenhouse, coal shed and wood store.

Inside, at a glance, the ground floor of Thorny Bank House features a porch and hallway leading to a lounge, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, rear hall, rear vestibule, study, utility room and cloakroom/store.

The handsome staircase opens onto a roomy landing, with three good-sized bedrooms, each with en-suite shower rooms, a delightful sitting room and a refitted, traditionally styled bathroom.

The second floor offers four further bedrooms and a second bathroom refitted in a contemporary style.

Highlights of Thorny Bank House include the elegant lounge with its ceiling rose and sandstone fireplace, fitted with cast-iron wood-burning stove; dining room with elegant, carved oak fire surround and art nouveau brass canopy; and rear entrance hall, beautifully tiled in Travertine and with underfloor heating.

The kitchen/breakfast range is fitted with an excellent range of built-in painted units by Second Nature, topped with quartz work surfaces and fitted with a double oven, inset sink, ceramic hob, extractor hood and dishwasher. Converted from the cellar, the study has a charming stone-flagged floor and the original stone-flagged storage shelving.

On the first floor, the lovely sitting room and three bedrooms all feature fireplaces with marble surrounds. An arched Westmorland window overlooks the half landing on the second floor, where four double bedrooms offer built-in storage cupboards.

The annexe above the garages is reached by a staircase and balcony, and consists of a living room with windows on three sides and French doors opening onto a balcony; a large games room; and a store room suitable for creating a shower room.

Michael CL Hodgson, tel 01539-721375.