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The Lake District is the best known part of the county of Cumbria. But there is more to Cumbria than the Lake District. The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in Cumbria features hotels across the board from luxurious hideaways in the Lakes like Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, an immaculate country house hotel to The Sun Inn in Kirkby Lonsdale a characterful town pub in a charming market town.

Cumbria Overview

Cumbria is a land of beauty and variety, from its busy cities and historic market towns to its stone and slate villages, each possessing their own character.

Cumbria's landscape is diverse. Wild fells and high passes with endless views stir the imagination. Quiet pastoral countryside and valleys enchant. Rivers twist and tumble.

Glacial lakes reflect cloud-topped mountains. Man-made drystone walls march across the dales. Woodlands and coastal scenery add to the mix.

The best places to stay in Cumbria get very busy especially during the summer months. So our advice is to plan ahead: either book well in advance or else come during the quieter months, when you can really appreciate this stunning county without the crowds.

Best places to stay in Cumbria

For exploring the great outdoors

The best places to stay in Cumbria to explore this rich landscape include:

  • Sharrow Bay a luxury retreat with top notch cuisine and walking straight from the door.
  • For something a little less extravagant check out the Howtown Hotel near Penrith. It's very old fashioned, down-to-earth and is hugely popular with walkers.
  • Another great place to stay is the Wasdale Head Inn, famous with the climbing fraternity and spectacularly situated below Scafell Pike.

For culture

The legacy of the past is here in prehistoric and Roman remains. Stone circles and burial cairns dot the land. Old Roman roads and forts still command attention.

Historic places of worship and ruined castles speak of Norman times. Country houses and gardens delight the visitor.

If Norman history is your thing then a stay at the Tufton Arms should suit - Appleby castle is on your doorstep.

For walkers

Walkers call this county 'paradise'. Everywhere the grandeur of the scenery speaks to the glory of Cumbria.

The best places to stay in Cumbria for walkers reflect its atmosphere and rugged surroundings. A warm welcome, good food and a comfortable bed are at their heart.

  • New House Farm is off the beaten track, but boasts fabulous views plus a 17 acre garden with hot tub.
  • The Pheasant Inn is situated near Lake Bassenthwaite in the less touristy Northern Lakes and is staunchly traditional but in a good way - roaring log fires and oak panelled bar.

For enjoying the lakes

  • For those who simply want to visit Cumbria to lap up the beauty of the Lakes, then book a room at Linthwaite House Hotel. It's an Edwardian pile with glorious views over Windermere and a great restaurant.
  • The Swan Hotel and Spa overlooks the river Leven on the southern shore of Lake Windermere. As well as luxury accommodation it offers top notch spa, plus swimming pool and gym - so plenty to do if the weather's not playing ball.

For families

  • Last but not least in our summary of the best places to stay in Cumbria is Augill Castle a family friendly treat for everyone. It's a quirky property with great atmosphere and more importantly all sorts of thing for the kids to get up to - including their very own children's cookery school.

For our full selection of the best places to stay in Cumbria, browse the list below. If there's nothing of interest here, try our picks in nearby Lancashire.

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The best hotels in Cumbria

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  • Black Swan


    Experience English village life in this traditional country inn. Rooms are decorated in a 'country' style with soft palettes and furnishings. Explore the leafy grounds or enjoy some gastro pub grub and a pint of local ale at the popular restaurant. Pack the car and the kids and the dog!

    14 rooms from $119
    Great walks  -  Plenty of long walks in the Lake District, England's largest National Park
    Fishing  -  Wild trout fising with John Pape Angling
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • Punch Bowl Inn

    Lyth Valley, Cumbria

    Plush boutique styling in this 18thC inn in a sleepy Lake District village with sweeping valley views. Decent food, power showers, flat screen TVs. Good base but need a car.

    9 rooms from $141
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • Sun Inn

    Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

    Characterful and ancient town pub with rooms in charming market town near the Lake District and the Dales. Popular with locals for its award winning menu. A great base for serious walking, but need a car.

    11 rooms from $147
    Local exploring  -  Great base for exploring both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.
    Inn  -  Authentic market town pub
    Lively  -  Popular with locals
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • Drunken Duck Inn


    In the little village of Ambleside, nestled amongst the Southern Lowland Fells lies this 18th century inn. Arguably the Lake's most famous gastro pub it is also a pretty superb hotel. Rooms and gardens look like a 'Country Living' spread. What's more? Guests have access to nearby Langdale Club.

    17 rooms from $156
    Spa  -  Langdale Spa and Country Club which is situated in Elterwater which is a 15 minutes drive
    Sights nearby  -  Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount, former homes of poet William Wordsworth
    Great walks  -  Traverse the Southern Lowland Fells
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
  • The Swan Hotel & Spa


    Hotel overlooking the River Leven on the South shore of Lake Windemere. Views, walks, airy interiors. Indoor pool and spa, brasserie and bar.

    51 rooms from $162
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith, Sawdays
  • Grange Hotel

    Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria

    One of a kind and full of character: old fashioned, genteel Victorian hotel in a Lake District seaside resort. Ornate rooms, fine dining, pool and spa. Weddings galore.

    58 rooms from $164
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Spa Swimming Pool
    Full of character
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
  • Wasdale Head Inn

    near Gosforth, Cumbria

    Famous climbing inn at the head of Wasdale, spectacularly sited below Scafell Pike with magnificent views. Hearty food and simple but comfortable rooms. Self catering available.

    12 rooms from $175
    Views  -  All bedrooms have stunning views of Wasdale
    Climbing  -  At the foot of England's highest mountain
    Great walks  -  Top hill walking
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
  • Fayrer Garden House Hotel

    Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria

    Victorian house set in 5 acres of gardens overlooking Lake Windermere. Panoramic lake views. Spacious airy rooms, gardens, restaurant.

    28 rooms from $178
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Johansens
  • Tufton Arms Hotel

    Appleby in Westmorland, Cumbria

    Old coaching inn in the centre of picturesque Appleby. Elegant rooms, antiques, rich fabrics. Conservatory restaurant, wine shop, bar.

    22 rooms from $201
    Fishing  -  In the River Eden nearby
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
  • Eltermere Inn


    Everything you would want from a Georgian property. Traditional decor, high ceilings and roll top baths; this is sophisticated country living. The restaurant offers a hearty, locally sourced menu & a well picked wine list. Guests enjoy complimentary entry to Langdale Spa as well as many activities.

    12 rooms from $208
    Great walks  -  The Langdales are great for walkers - book a day with Mike Wood, the hotel's recommended guide
    Sights nearby  -  The Wordsworth Museum, Beatrix Potter's house, Ruskin's house are all close by
    Hideaway  -  Get away from it all in this beautiful Lakelands inn
    Spa  -  Guests have complimentary access to Langdale Spa
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Good Hotel Guide
  • Overwater Hall

    Ireby, Cumbria

    Secluded country house in 18 acres of gardens and woodland. French windows, ballustraded terraces, views. Spacious comfortable rooms, award winning restaurant.

    11 rooms from $223
    Restrictions on children  -  No children under 5 allowed in the restaurant
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • Askham Hall Hotel

    Penrith, Cumbria

    Country house hotel with a thoroughly modern twist. Large comfortable rooms with up to date bathrooms, enviable views, enticing food and homely feel. Great for stop over or a cosy weekend.

    12 rooms from $223
    Garden  -  Attractive outside space.
    Full of character
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
  • Farlam Hall

    Brampton, Cumbria

    Quintessential English manor house in the heart of Cumbria. Country retreat, gardens. Elegant lounges, individually styled rooms, restaurant.

    12 rooms from $223
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
  • Augill Castle

    nr Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria

    Eccentric, fabulous family castle hotel stuffed with antiques and four posters in pretty rural setting midway between the Lake District and the Dales. Good base for expeditions if you have a car. Excellent for children and families.

    14 rooms from $238
    Child friendly  -  Lots to do for children, including cookery classes
    Full of character  -  Antiques, four posters, curios - a real castle
    Cooking classes  -  Cookery school for kids
    Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • New House Farm

    Cockermouth, Cumbria

    400 year old farmhouse in remote part of Lake District. Spectacular Lakeland views, 17 acre gardens. Traditional interiors, oak beams, open fire places. Restaurant/dining room, tea room.

    5 rooms from $238
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • Howtown Hotel

    nr Penrith, Cumbria

    Wonderful old-fashioned, down-to-earth hotel, popular with walkers. No frills like TVs or phones, good value with great views and hearty meals. Tranquil lakeside setting. Closed in winter.

    13 rooms from $247
    Great walks  -  Fabulous base for walks from the front door
    Views  -  Beautiful views over Ullswater
    Traditional  -  Old fashioned, no frills
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
  • Linthwaite House Hotel

    Windermere, Cumbria

    Slick, stylish yet relaxed Edwardian hotel, with gorgeous hilltop views over Lake Windemere and the fells. Good walking from the door, excellent restaurant. Ask for larger rooms with views.

    30 rooms from $254
    Exclusive offer  -  Free Dinner
    Private Hot Tub  -  One room has a private outdoor hot tub with lake views
    Views  -  Hilltop views over the lake and fells
    Great walks  -  Great walking from the door
    Restaurant  -  Excellent restaurant
  • Holbeck Ghyll Hotel

    Windermere, Cumbria

    Comfortable, luxurious country house style in this classic former hunting lodge, with Michelin starred food. Fabulous views over Lake Windemere from restaurant and many rooms. Small spa, extensive grounds.

    20 rooms from $268
    Private Hot Tub  -  Miss Potter Suite and Ghyll Side cottage both feature a private hot tub.
    Garden  -  Fine grounds sloping to the lake
    Views  -  Great views of the lake
    Restaurant  -  Michelin star
  • The Windermere Suites

    Windermere, Cumbria

    Contemporary B&B in the heart of the Lake District. Romantic interiors. Monochrome rooms, breakfast included.

    8 rooms from $268
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  Johansens
  • The Pheasant Inn

    Cockermouth, Cumbria

    Stay at this old coaching inn, with fine dining and a bistro, to avoid the crowds. Close to Lake Bassenthwaite, in the less touristy north, it's cosy, with access to local spa and pool.

    15 rooms from $268
    Great walks  -  Sale Fell on its doorstep, Skiddaw range 10 mins away
    Spa  -  Access to private local spa with swimming pool.
    Restrictions on children  -  No children under 8
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • Swinside Lodge Hotel

    Keswick, Cumbria

    Intimate 'drinks before dinner' atmosphere in this charming Regency house hotel in a peaceful valley near Keswick. Excellent walking on its doorstep and a stroll from Derwentwater.

    7 rooms from $291
    Great walks  -  At the foot of Cat Bells, with the Allerdale Ramble a short walk away
    Quiet  -  Very peaceful setting
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
  • Sharrow Bay

    Penrith, Cumbria

    Stately hotel on shores of Lake Ullswater. Forests, hillsides, views. Luxury bedrooms, classical decor - the original Lakeland country house hotel

    24 rooms from $297
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
  • The Samling Hotel

    Windermere, Cumbria

    Charming hotel located in the hills surrounding Lake Windemere. Beautiful views, Michelin chefs, separate cottage.

    11 rooms from $327
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
  • Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

    Windermere, Cumbria

    Immaculate, spoiling Relais & Chateaux country house hotel, with luxurious bedrooms, private suites in the grounds, top notch service and well reviewed dining. Separate Lake House with suites, pool and spa.

    26 rooms from $431
    Exclusive offer  -  Magic Moments Package
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor Pool in Spa Area
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Private Hot Tub  -  Six garden suites in the main house have private verandahs with their own hot tubs
    Spa  -  Lake House guests only, otherwise access to local spa
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