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Best Hotels in the Lake District

The Lake District is understandably one of the most popular destinations in the United Kingdom. It has spectacular scenery, awe inspiring walks, plus history and culture not just in the form of some literary greats. The best hotels in the Lake District can be tricky to find; the good ones need to be winkled out from the vast array of elderly, overpriced, over-chintzed places that abound in this area, especially around the most popular lakes.

However, exceptional Lakeland boltholes do exist. We have found gracious waterside houses in glorious grounds, as well as simple, remote inns, perfect for walkers, plus a few fresh and contemporary newcomers.

Best Hotels in the Lake District for luxury

For those who are looking for a spot of pampering in the Lake District, there are no shortage of properties purporting to fulfil the brief. However of the best hotels in the Lake District for luxury our favourites would have to be Gilpin Hotel and Lake House and Linthwaite House Hotel.

Gilpin Hotel and Lake House has been owned and run by the same family for over 21 years and has built a reputation for superb yet understated service. Bedrooms are luxurious and if you book a garden suite it comes with a private cedar wood hot tub.

The food too is excellent – 3 AA Rosettes – and head chef Daniel Grigg uses the finest local produce and West Coast seafood on his menus.

Linthwaite House Hotel is an Edwardian pile with fabulous views over Lake Windermere. It offers a stylish, yet relaxed vibe without skimping on the luxury.

The loft suite is ideal for a romantic break; its enormous bath can easily take two and if star gazing is your thing, then the telescope positioned under the skylight window will do the trick!

  • Gilpin Hotel & Lake House 31 rooms from $280

    Windermere, Cumbria

    Immaculate, country house hotel, with luxurious bedrooms and private suites, plus a Michelin starred restaurant. A separate Lake House with suites, pool, spa and rooms with private Hot Tubs. Set in 40 acres of stunning surroundings with a picturesque lake and lots of activities to offer nearby.

    Foodies  -  Chef Hrishikesh Desai knocks it out of the park everytime, he crafts exciting menus using locally sourced wonderful ingrediants.
    Romantic Break  -  Six of the incredible suites come with their own private gardens and cedarwood hot tubs, ideal for a romantic getaway!
    Country Escape  -  20-acre gardens filled with magnolia, cherry blossoms and copper beech, not to mention the stunnig private lake.
    Fishing  -  Fishing can be organised on site, either on the private lake or a day trip to somewhere nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Johansens, Relais & Chateaux, Sawdays, Michelin Travel
    Check prices
  • Linthwaite House Hotel 30 rooms from $255

    Windermere, Cumbria

    Slick, stylish designs meet an intimate Edwardian country house offering all round comfort. Award winning dishes and fine wines at the restaurant. From its hilltop location over Lake Windermere and the Fells - explore The Lake District on foot, bike or horseback. Serenity at its finest!

    Total relaxation  -  Pamper yourself with in-room beauty treatments and massages, refreshing walks and spoiling four course meals.
    Romantic Break  -  Take the stunning views, plush suites, two man tubs and candlelit dinners and you are guaranteed romance.
    Fishing  -  Try your hand at Fly fishing on the hotel's lake, a wonderfully peacefull way to spend an afternoon.
    Great walks  -  The hotel provides route-finding sheets of all the spectcular local walks, plus a guide if needed.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Tablet, Good Hotel Guide, Johansens, Kiwi Collection, Sawdays
    Check prices

Best Hotels in the Lake District for those on a budget

If you’re feeling a bit strapped for cash there is also plenty on offer, though some of the best hotels in the Lake District for those on a budget are definitely more desirable than others. Our selection aims to offer cheaper options, which have not sacrificed service or charm!

The Punch Bowl Inn has garnered accolades galore and it’s not difficult to see why: superb food, stylish bedrooms, roll top baths and power showers. What more could you ask for after a day in the fells?

  • Punch Bowl Inn, Cumbria 9 rooms from $137

    Lyth Valley, Cumbria

    Quaint 18th Century Inn, ideally situated in a Lake District village with sweeping valley views. Plush boutique styling throughout, rooms exude comfort and indulge in modern bathrooms. Popular lunch food for locals and great dinner menu. Good base for local exploring but a car is needed.

    Romantic Break  -  Ideal for a romantic weekend away, with his and hers tubs, candlelite dinners and sweeping views of the countryside.
    Active Holiday  -  Some of the best walking in the British Isles is right on your doorstep, be sure to bring your hiking boots!
    Foodies  -  Chef Scott Fairweather never fails to impress, with local ingrediants and inventive combinations.
    Great walks  -  With something for every level of comitment, from full day hikes to an afternoon stroll.
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays
    Check prices

Best Hotels in the Lake District for Walkers

For those of you who like to stretch your legs now and again whether to go for a short amble or for a more serious hill climb, there is no better location (a good source of info for walkers of all abilities is Walkopedia). The best hotels in the Lake District for walkers are not necessarily out in the middle of nowhere, though if you want to go straight from the door, it’s better to be slightly off the beaten track.

The Howtown Hotel is a wonderfully old fashioned establishment situated 200 yards from Ullswater. With fantastic paths direct from the front door it is immensely popular with the walking fraternity. Accommodation is on a half board basis and a loud gong signals that your hearty dinner is ready.

The Wasdale Head Inn is a famous climbing inn and couldn’t be better situated at the foot of Scafell Pike, though it might be a bit bleak for some! The bedrooms are simple but comfortable and all have magnificent views of Wasdale. Ritson’s bar is understandably busy in the evenings – everyone congregates here to exchange stories of days on the fells.

The Pheasant Inn will also suit keen walkers. Located close to Bassenthwaite in the less touristy north Lakes area, it has Sale Fell on the doorstep and is only 10 minutes from the Skiddaw range. Bedrooms are tasteful yet essentially traditional and all have been enlarged and modernised over the past few years. You’ll also get great food here and if you can summon up the energy, there’s free access to a private local spa with swimming pool.

  • Howtown Hotel 13 rooms from $216

    nr Penrith, Cumbria

    Wonderful old-fashioned, down-to-earth hotel in the Lake District. Popular with walkers and those seeking the peace and quiet provided by absense of TVs, wifi and phones. Good value with great views and hearty meals. Tranquil lakeside setting.

    Sights nearby  -  Visit the historic Dalemain House, with tudor and medieval rooms, behind a Georgian façade.
    Great walks  -  Fabulous base for walks around the Lake District.
    Views  -  Beautiful views over Ullswater
    Traditional  -  Old fashioned, no frills
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide
    Hotel Website
  • Wasdale Head Inn 12 rooms from $77

    near Gosforth, Cumbria

    Famous climbing inn at the head of Wasdale, spectacularly sited below Scafell Pike with magnificent views. Satisfy your stomach with hearty pub food or enjoy the finer things in the wood-panelled Dining Room. Rooms are simple but extremely comfortable and all boast breathtaking views.

    Great walks  -  Miles from anywhere, this Inn has some of the most unspoilt walking in England.
    Views  -  All bedrooms have stunning views of Wasdale
    Climbing  -  At the foot of England's highest mountain
    Sights nearby  -  The Smallest Church in England, St Olaf's at Wasdale Head.
    Check prices
  • The Pheasant Inn, Cumbria 15 rooms from $182

    Cockermouth, Cumbria

    An old, remote coaching inn, with fine dining and bistro. Friendly and welcoming with well kept gardens and a cosy lounge with fireplace. Enjoy country walks and fishing in the nearby Lake Bassenthwaite. A country retreat with access to local spa and pool.

    Foodies  -  Enjoy locally sourced produce at this acclaimed casual Bistro- think wholesome food, fine wines and craft ales.
    Country Escape  -  Make the most of your surroundings at this charming coaching inn just meters from the Bassenthwaite Lake.
    Sights nearby  -  Head to Dalemain House and Gardens and explore the historic house and it's beautiful gardens.
    Great walks  -  Sale Fell is on your doorstep, and for the more adventurous Skiddaw range 10 mins away.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
    Check prices

Best Hotels in the Lake District for Foodies

Planning a trip to the Lake District but fussy about what you eat? Our selection of the best hotels in the Lake District for foodies should solve that problem. Whilst the majority of our recommendations in the area have great restaurants or produce simple, yet hearty fare, we can suggest a couple of places where you can get something really special.

Holbeck Ghyll Hotel is a superbly run hotel in a classic Victorian Lakeland house – plus it boasts a Michelin star which it has held for the last 12 years. Food is not the only thing to get excited about; the views over Lake Windermere are breathtaking and there is a top notch spa on site.

The Samling is another property which should satisfy even the pickiest of palates. Head chef Ian Swainson, is one of the most exciting young chefs around. Set amid sixty seven acres of beautiful grounds, The Samling is a great base for exploring the area's literary highlights – Wordsworth's and Beatrix Potter’s homes are both close at hand.

Last but not least Sharrow Bay prides itself on the quality of its food and some claim that it’s the place where Sticky Toffee Pudding was invented. Situated on the shores of Lake Ullswater, what was once a fisherman’s lodge has been converted to a traditional yet stylish country house hotel.

  • Holbeck Ghyll Hotel 23 rooms from $339

    Ambleside (Cumbria)

    Luxurious former Hunting Lodge overlooking Lake Windermere makes for an intimate hideaway. Classically styled rooms offer comfort and views. Michelin starred food and an extensive wine list welcome you at the dining room. Whether enjoying the spa or exploring the grounds - relaxing is on the cards!

    Total relaxation  -  Unwind in Victorian English style with pampering suites overlooking Lake Windermere, spa services and impeccable service.
    Active Holiday  -  Walkers and ramblers bring your wellies and explore this stunning part of the country.
    Great walks  -  Ask at the front desk for an outline of the wonderful walks around the lake and beyond.
    Private Hot Tub  -  Miss Potter Suite and Ghyll Side cottage both feature a private hot tub.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide, Johansens, Sawdays, Small Luxury Hotels
    Check prices
  • The Samling Hotel 11 rooms from $287


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

    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith
    Check prices
  • Sharrow Bay 24 rooms from $261

    Penrith, Cumbria

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

    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
    Recommended by  -  Kiwi Collection, Relais & Chateaux, Michelin Travel
    Check prices

Can’t find the right place in our selection of the best hotels in the Lake District? Take a look at our full Cumbria list.


Written by Sarah Empson

posted Friday, 12th February 2010
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