Staff at a north Cumbrian hall are welcoming a return towards normal life after reopening following the relaxation of lockdown.

Netherby Hall, a Grade II listed mansion house just outside of Longtown, reopened its suite of self catering holiday apartments on Thursday amid a great deal of interest from those wanting a break from the stresses of recent months.

The hall is owned by Gerald and Margo Smith, who also own the Pentonbridge Inn four miles away, which is gearing up for its reopening on Wednesday.

The hall's marketing and sales manager Abbie Deeb said that the small team of 26 staff was "very happy" to see such strong interest in their accommodation.

"We're fully socially distanced when we welcome our guests," Abbie said.

It was important to Abbie that the team felt like they were still in touch with each other and the goings on at the hall throughout the lockdown period.

"We produced an internal newsletter throughout lockdown, to keep staff up to date on what was going on," Abbie said.

"We wanted our team to come back feeling like they hadn't lost touch with us.

"It's important that we continued to feel like one unit - we're only a small team here."

The hall's garden team continued to work on site throughout lockdown, with a lot of work also going on in the hall's new walled gardens, which grows fresh produce for use at the Pentonbridge Inn - often the same day as it is harvested.

Some of the hall's projects had experienced a delay given the disruption of the lockdown, such as the renovation of its Victorian stables.

"That project is nearly complete, and when it is we'll have three new apartments opening hopefully in September," Abbie said.

"We'll also have a new meeting room, the Moot Hall. Events have had to be put on hold this year, so we're looking to see what we can promote for next year."

Abbie is looking forward to seeing events restart at the hall.

"In terms of the garden, we're very excited for next year when we'll be able to hold open days and hopefully have plant sales and vegetable sales," she said.

"We will combine those open days with talks and demonstrations at the Moot Hall, having guest speakers come in," she said.

"In normal times, we frequently do an afternoon tea, which is usually the last Wednesday of every month.

"We didn't want to do that this month with everything only just starting up, so the next one we will host will be in August."

Abbie added that any guests that come for afternoon tea are always encouraged to walk the extensive gardens.

One major event for the hall that had to be cancelled for this year was its vintage and classic car show, which was scheduled to take place next month.

However, Abbie says the aim is to make it bigger and better for next year.

"We've released the dates for next year, we're looking to shake things up for next year by making it a two-day event."