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About us

John was born in Wharfedale & Jan in Heston, London. We married in 1983 and lived in Scotland. John made maps for the Ordnance survey while Jan changed from nursing to a vet receptionist. Our 2 children were born in Edinburgh. We lived for a time in Selkirk then moved to Berkshire and the family farm. Then John started an IT company and Jan became a GP receptionist. We also developed ‘Cards of Encouragement’, which was sold a few years ago to Gospel Cards etc.

It has taken us some time to escape back to the hills and a sane pace of life but that is what we have found in the Eden Valley. Appleby is a wonderful place, big enough to have most things we need & small enough to be friendly. It's a world away from the 'rat race' and we would love to share it with you.

The Hollies is part of this escape for us and it is our delight to have been able to create such a homely haven that enables us to share with others not only our love of this area but also our creativity, our concern for the environment and our hospitality. If you are here on a Sunday we would also love to share the fellowship at one of the local churches with you.

John and Jan Hall

Environmental Ethos

Here at The Hollies, we take our environmental responsibility seriously. Being surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK, we would like to keep it this way for the longest possible time.

We have been awarded the 'Green Leader Silver Award' for our environmental standards by Trip Advisor. We were refused Gold because we will not throw away fully working but non AAA rated appliances!

Cumbria Action for Sustainability

We are happy to be part of the Cumbria Action for Sustainability Green Open Homes Scheme and support these green initiatives and our local recycling policy, as well as the nationwide Freegle scheme.

Freegle is a British organisation with free-of-charge membership similar to the international Freecycle. We have used the local Freegle group to source certain items and donated ours. We believe in reusing furniture and furnishings to reduce our carbon footprint, but also to give furniture a new lease of life.

Foxgloves at the Hollies

Renovation of the Hollies

Both the main house, for Bed & Breakfast, and the Self-Catering Cottage have undergone extensive renovation. Where possible, we have kept original furnishings and fixtures, but brought the Hollies up to date with all the facilities a modern guest could want!

There is a distinct charm about the old building and its grounds which we have retained by creating a homely atmosphere in which to welcome you. Renovation in an eco-friendly manner has been important to us throughout this process, along with a team of helpful local builders and experts! Thank you to all those that helped in the renovation and we hope you’ll agree that the house is back to her former glory.

During the refurbishment of The Hollies, we have tried to restore this building as sympathetically as possible to both the environment and the house itself. Some windows have been replaced with modern double glazed Planitherm, but are still wooden sash design. We have relocated, replaced and reused as appropriate throughout the renovation process. Insulation where possible has been done with hemp. The new wooden floors, where required, use bamboo.

Everyday Eco

Every little counts is what we are all told, and so the little changes we make to ensure an eco-balance are an everyday process for us. The Westmorland Breakfast you are served in the morning is sourced from as many local providers as we can - reducing the carbon footprint whilst helping our local economy and serving you with a truly delicious morning meal providing a real taste of the area!

Cleaning and cleaning products are a great pressure on the environment, and as such, we use eco registered cleaning fluids, recycled FSC toilet roll, and energy efficient dual flush toilets have been installed to make sure our footprint is as light as possible. We have also retained our 150 year old septic tank so please treat it with respect!


As part of our renovations, we have installed a Biomass Boiler, which has replaced two oil boilers & one Flogas one. We are delighted to be using this renewable energy, and can’t wait to share the warmth with you when you next visit! If you would like to see the 'Big Beastie' when you are here please just ask.



Tools with a Mission

Tools with a Mission van collecting from The Hollies

This is the main charity that we have supported for many years. We act as a local area collector picking up tools and storing them until they can be collected and transported to Ipswich where they are packed into containers going mainly to Africa at the moment.

TWAM are a Christian charity that collects unwanted usable tools, refurbishes them, sorts them into trade tool kits and sends them to the developing world for livelihood creation.

Please have a look at their website. You are welcome to bring any suitable tools to us or contact a collector in your home area via their website.