SURROUNDED by one of the UK’s largest National Parks with mountains, lakes and thriving communities, the Lake District remains one of the country’s most popular places to escape.
The area’s popularity is in no small part due to the exemplary hospitality at its hotels, as showcased in 10 of the Good Hotel Guide’s hotels in the Lake District…
Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Windermere
A glamorous country house hotel with modern spa lodges in the grounds, each complete with an outdoor hot tub and views of the Lake District moors.
Gilpin Hotel and Lake House is also blessed with a Michelin-starred restaurant, chef Hrishikesh Desai cooks contemporary British-with-a-twist dishes.
Bowness is a 10-minute drive away, but there’s plenty in the lovely grounds to fill the day, including strolls through the Victorian flower gardens and a peek at the llama paddock.
Ees Wyke Country House, Near Sawrey
In a stunning Lake District location overlooking Esthwaite Water, Ees Wyke Country House, was once the holiday home of Beatrix Potter, who checked printer’s proofs for her nascent Tale of Peter Rabbit during her stay.
Settle in to one of the traditional, country-style bedrooms before taking a sunset pre-dinner stroll by the lake.
In the winter it’s a chance to hole up with a book by the window in one of the fire-warmed lounges.
Cedar Manor, Windermere
A former Victorian country retreat, Cedar Manor is a five-minute walk from the lake shore, and a stroll from town.
The ‘superbly appointed’ bedrooms are each different – choose one with a canopy bed or a four-poster, perhaps one with a view of the eponymous ancient cedar.
Askham Hall, Penrith
A Grade I listed building built around a medieval pele tower and brimming with the owners’ personality.
There’s a shabby-chic feel in the public rooms making for an idyllic space in which to relax by the log fire with a drink from the honesty bar.
Every one of the comfortable country house-style bedrooms is different: choose one with a four-poster bed and an antique bath, or something more modern.
The Pheasant, Bassenthwaite
Wooded hillside forms a pleasing backdrop to this ‘comfortable country hotel’ in an ‘optimal position’ for exploring the northern Lakes.
Hunker down by a log fire, on comfortable chairs, and with plenty of old editions of Country Life magazine.
Traditionally furnished bedrooms are made homely with locally made biscuits and a china tea service – everything you want from a winter escape.
Farlam Hall, Brampton
A creeper-covered manor house in mature grounds, Farlam Hall has traditionally furnished sitting rooms filled with the comforts of a cherished private house: paintings, wide sofas, a careful selection of ornaments. Generously sized bedrooms, each different, have comfy seating and garden views while tall windows in the dining room look over lawns to an ornamental lake.
Aynsome Manor, Cartmel
In quiet countryside this old fashioned hotel has the atmosphere of a home away from home with elegant details such as a grandfather clock and deep armchairs.
There is a moulded ceiling in the panelled dining room, added in 1842 for a visit by the Duke of Devonshire, and attesting to its history.
Work up an appetite by climbing Hampsfell to the 19th-century travellers’ refuge built by Aynsome Manor resident John Remington.
Howtown Hotel, Ullswater
For more than a century, the Baldry family’s ancient farmhouse has stood in this remote setting.
For more than a century, too, the family has greeted guests with ‘a welcoming fire in one of the lounges, and an even more welcoming pot of tea.
Old fashioned and historic, it’s a bit like staying at one’s granny’s house as a child with its fringed lampshades and collection of glass bowls.
In the evening a gong heralds the single dinner sitting and in between there are rural walks, steamer cruises and good, old-fashioned chats over a fireside scone or two.
New House Farm, Lorton
Peace and quiet surround Hazel Thompson’s Lake District B&B in the Vale of Lorton.
The beautifully restored Grade II listed farmhouse stands in acres of field and pasture, ponds and stream, with fell views all around.
Everything about it gets five stars: the rooms, the breakfasts, the roaring log fire and the wonderful hot tub in the garden.
Leathes Head Hotel, Borrowdale
Beautiful views of the Borrowdale valley and fells, combined with lovely walks to go with them, this charming hotel near Derwent Water brings parasols on the pretty terrace in sunshine while inside the smart, well-kept former country house sees sofas gathered around the fireplace in the lounge.
Cumbrian produce is showcased: asparagus, sourdough, crispy egg yolk, mushroom ketchup; duck, pickled turnip, spelt, artichoke and candied endive for an idyllic Cumbrian escape.
From a selection of the Good Hotel Guide’s hotels in Cumbria.