Hall’s well for the family who look after a superior historic home

Leighton Hall, Carnforth, home to the Gillow family since the 18th century

Owner Suzie Reynolds guides visitors around the home, Pam Shread on a tour with schoolchildren and Leighton Hall Falconer Jim Brown
Leighton Hall, Carnforth, home to the Gillow family since the 18th century Owner Suzie Reynolds guides visitors around the home, Pam Shread on a tour with schoolchildren and Leighton Hall Falconer Jim Brown

Leighton Hall is a beautiful historic Lancashire house that has had to work to earn its keep, but this week owners the Reynolds family and staff have received a special tourism recognition for their “Superior Service.”

The stunning home in Carnforth, which opens its doors for visitors from May to September, has been presented with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence after earning exceptional traveller reviews on the traveller site.

Leighton Hall, Carnforth, home to the Gillow family since the 18th century

Owner Suzie Reynolds guides visitors around the home, Pam Shread on a tour with schoolchildren and Leighton Hall Falconer Jim Brown

Leighton Hall, Carnforth, home to the Gillow family since the 18th century Owner Suzie Reynolds guides visitors around the home, Pam Shread on a tour with schoolchildren and Leighton Hall Falconer Jim Brown

The Certificate of Excellence honours hospitality businesses and attractions that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from visitors.

Owner Suzie Reynolds says: “We are delighted to receive this award. We’ve never had one like it before and it truly shows the power of people and social media.

“We are so thankful that after spending a day with us, our guests have given up their time to write a comment or some feedback about their visit and it’s wonderful to see such lovely comments and read the testimonials.”

The award is testament to the hard work that goes into the job of running a visitor attraction, one which also happens to be your family home and entertains tourists, brides and grooms, corporate guests, schools and groups around the year.

Leighton Hall, Carnforth, home to the Gillow family since the 18th century

Owner Suzie Reynolds guides visitors around the home, Pam Shread on a tour with schoolchildren and Leighton Hall Falconer Jim Brown

Leighton Hall, Carnforth, home to the Gillow family since the 18th century Owner Suzie Reynolds guides visitors around the home, Pam Shread on a tour with schoolchildren and Leighton Hall Falconer Jim Brown

It is certainly no easy task, but it is a job former High Sheriff of Lancashire, Suzie and daughter Lucy, who is in charge of the office and estate, relish.

Suzie says: “One week we can be hosting a local community group for a lunch and a tour and then a car rally, wedding or even a charity car boot sale.”

Last month, the family did help to host a giant car boot sale for the British Red Cross in the grounds and recently the home was chosen as the venue for an exciting photoshoot for the brand new Leatherman Tread wearable multi-tool.

Suzie admits running Leighton Hall is no ordinary job. The lovely house, home of the Gillow family of furniture makers since the 18th century sits in a substantial estate, with idyllic rural views.

Leighton Hall, Carnforth, home to the Gillow family since the 18th century

Owner Suzie Reynolds guides visitors around the home, Pam Shread on a tour with schoolchildren and Leighton Hall Falconer Jim Brown

Leighton Hall, Carnforth, home to the Gillow family since the 18th century Owner Suzie Reynolds guides visitors around the home, Pam Shread on a tour with schoolchildren and Leighton Hall Falconer Jim Brown

They welcome around 20,000 visitors through the front door each year.

It was Suzie who developed the visitor attraction and created the way for weddings and corporate events.

She and her husband, Richard Gillow Reynolds, an ex-Irish Guards officer and engineer, have run the estate since the mid-1970s, following the death of Richard’s mother.

“We live in every room, there is nothing moved or altered for visitors, it is very relaxed,” Suzie says, “People coming to visit, host an event or having a wedding come from all walks of life.

“We have had so many wonderful people over the threshold over the years- it is extraordinary.

“We are very lucky it works so well

“It seems a bit strange but I have never known any different.

“I realised pretty soon after moving into the house, it was going to have to earn its keep! You don’t do it for yourself, you do it for the future of the house

“But it is all great fun.”

The family are helped on the estate by ‘very knowledgable’ and long serving staff including estate manager Stephen, Pam Shread and falconer Jim Brown.

Suzie adds: “We have been so fortunate to have the help of some fantastic staff who have been here many years.

“Visitors have high expectations – for us it all about delivering a high level of customer care.”

l For more details about the hall, visit www.leightonhall.co.uk/