A FAMILY who have run a Lake District hotel for 35 years have handed over the reins to new owners.

Neil and Shelagh Stephenson moved from Doncaster with son Ian in 1983 to run The Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale.

Jane Stephenson and Elaine Wright joined the trio in 1985 and have been running the hotel as a three since 1999.

Offering 10 furnished bedrooms, a restaurant and a bar, the hotel offers views of Wetherlam and the Tilberthwaite Fells.

Elaine said that the hotel had ‘completely changed’ over the past 35 years.

“The look of the building has changed,” she said. “We did major alterations in 1987.

“We did major renovations to add three more bedrooms and an extended walkers’ bar and also a separate staff accommodation.

“Over the years Ian has done a lot of work in the building, he’s been very hands on.”

She said that there were people who had been coming to the hotel for years.

“The new year we have the same people come back every year and they are just friends really,” she said. “And we will carry on seeing them outside work.”

The inn has been bought by Anthony Guthrie and James Wilkinson, two successful businessmen from Hampshire who are new to the hospitality sector.

Offering the new owners advice, Elaine said: “Keep enjoying where you are and make time to have walks and things. You have to work hard, that’s no mistake, but our customers are just such lovely people really.”

The Three Shires Inn was marketed by Colliers International for offers of £2.1 million for the freehold of the properties. The hostelry won the ‘Cumbria Tourism Pub of the Year Award 2017’.