If a leaky tent and a diet of Kendal Mint Cake don’t appeal, fear not. The Lake District also offers luxury accommodation and mouth-watering food to go with its breath-taking views. Gilpin Lodge near Windermere is one of the most luxurious hotels in the national park. The owner’s grandmother lived in the house for 40 years prior to its conversion into a hotel, “so the restoration has an affectionate family feel”, says Fiona Duncan in The Sunday Telegraph. The suites come with outdoor hot tubs, and therapists are on hand to offer spa treatments in your room.
The hotel’s restaurant has won numerous awards and serves plenty of local produce to tempt you into indulgence. But don’t worry – with hiking, boating, horse riding and mountain biking available nearby, you’ll have no problem working off dinner.
For a more secluded country break, head to The Cottage In The Wood Country Hotel near Keswick. The hotel is situated in Whinlatter Forest, which is home to Bassenthwaite ospreys, and “an army of red squirrels”, says Paul Croughton in The Sunday Times. It is also in an area that famed Lake District writer Alfred Wainwright described as “the most delectable” of all the Cumbrian fells. The hotel dates from the 17th century when it was a drovers’ inn. There are just nine rooms, all furnished to a high standard.
The restaurant is situated in the newly built conservatory and has magnificent views of the forest. “So you can watch the squirrels as you tuck into locally sourced beef and ham,” says Croughton. Numerous walks can be taken straight from the hotel with plenty of footpaths and mountain bike trails in the forest. For water-based pursuits, head to Derwentwater just four miles away.
Linthwaite House Hotel near Bowness offers “spectacular views over the magnificence of Windermere”, says Ines Watson in the Sunday Express. Set in 14 acres of grounds, it is a hotel that is formal, without being stuffy.
The rooms are “all designed to make guests feel pampered”, says Watson, with spacious en suites, Molton Brown goodies and thick, luxurious bath robes.
The restaurant offers a broad array of local dishes including Morecambe Bay shrimps, Cumbrian ham and Cartmen Valley venison.
Wherever you choose to stay in the glorious Lake District, you’ll be quickly tempted into the great outdoors. But should the inevitable Lakeland rain arrive, there is also plenty to do indoors. Children should visit Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter. The shop and garden are open year round, although the house is closed in winter. The homes of fellow writers William Wordsworth and John Ruskin are also open to the public. That said, if it’s particularly grim outside, settling into one of the area’s many pubs, for an afternoon of eating and drinking in front of a roaring fire, is hard to beat.
The Lake District: the best places to stay
Rooms at the award-winning Gilpin Lodge cost from £145 per person per night. Call 015394-88818 to find out more information, or visit www.gilpinlodge.co.uk.
The Cottage In The Wood
Room rates at The Cottage in the Wood start at £90 per room. Visit thecottageinthewood.co.uk or call 017687-78409 for more information.
Rooms at Linthwaite House cost from £113 per person. Visit linthwaite.com or call 015394-88601 for more details.