IT has been described as one of England’s best kept secrets by former guests, and now the Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel is searching for a new owner.

The Alston hotel closed its doors for the final time in October 2019 after a previous potential sale fell through and no other buyer could be found.

But as the country has seen a rapid increase in 'staycations' this year, estate agents have begun searching for a buyer.

Local agents Pennine Ways have been appointed alongside Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) to secure the sale of the Georgian-constructed property, which comprises a 15-bedroom hotel, as well as four-bedroom bungalows and two holiday cottages.

Lucy Garner-Currie, Senior Surveyor at LSH, said the hotel has been 'an integral part of the local economy for many years'.

"The property boasts huge redevelopment potential to restore its reputation as a prestigious venue and UK holiday destination and we look forward to helping make that happen.”

Eden District Council granted planning permission in January 2018 for the conversion of the existing hotel, holiday lets, and owner’s accommodation to provide 38 holiday let facilities.

A new leisure and catering facility, additional new park and new access facilities were also included in the new permission.