FARMHOUSE holiday home High Fellside Hall, at Sedbergh, picked up the award for best luxury property at the Sykes Gem Awards 2019, run by holiday rental firm Sykes Holiday Cottages.

Owners Ian and Diane Handley's three-storey property has been almost fully booked since opening its doors in 2017.

The couple have since converted the barn next-door, High View Barn, and they also own a third holiday let, Three Parks Barn, in Chapel-le-Dale.

High Fellside Hall is a detached former farmhouse with its own private leisure centre, and is set in five acres of grounds on a high hillside above the Lune Valley. The property picked up the trophy for best property for large groups at the 2018 Sykes Gem Awards.

High View Barn opened to holidaymakers earlier this year and has a hot tub and outdoor bowling green looking across to the Howgills.

Diane Handley, said: “We’ve put so much into making High Fellside Hall a success, and constantly get great feedback from our visitors, but an award like this really does mean a lot. The trophy will definitely be given pride of place for all to see.

"We enjoy every minute of the holiday letting process, from welcoming visitors and sharing our beautiful property with them, to receiving all the lovely feedback. The flexibility of owning a holiday let suits us perfectly, allowing me to spend more time with the family while being able to do something I love.”

The Sykes Gem Awards are designed to celebrate the best people and properties in the UK’s growing holiday cottage sector.

They were judged by a panel of industry experts including The Sun newspaper's deputy travel editor Jacob Lewis.

The judging panel said they were impressed by the style and luxury facilities on offer, along with guest feedback on cleanliness, comfort and value for money.

The seven-bedroom holiday let sleeps 18 and offers an 18-metre swimming pool, steam room, jacuzzi and yoga/pilates area.

Sykes' awards are now in their third year and received 2,500 entries from throughout the UK and Ireland across 30 categories, ranging from best for romance to best for glamping.

Graham Donoghue, Sykes Holiday Cottages’ CEO, added: “We launched the awards to recognise and reward the hard work of the owners who are part of the Sykes family. Back then, we had no idea how popular they would be, but we’ve been overwhelmed by the response and this year received a record number of submissions.

“I love being part of the judging panel; you hear about people's passion for holiday letting and everything they do to go above and beyond to deliver unforgettable breaks throughout the UK.

“More and more travellers are opting for staycations over holidays on the Continent, and last year we saw a real boost in bookings to Cumbria. Because of this, those with a second home or money to invest are increasingly turning to holiday letting. Who knows, we may see them on the Sykes Gems shortlist next year.”