Being based near Preston, Lancashire, I’m lucky enough to live just under an hour from the Lake District and it is hands down my absolute favourite place here up North. It’s where I’ve done my first 7-hour hike, it’s where I went wild swimming for the very first time and it’s where I was proposed to by my now husband! It reminds me of home and every time I’m there, I get this rare sensation of total peacefulness. We don’t spend nearly as much time there as I would like to, even though it’s right on my doorstep, but over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at and visit some pretty spectacular hotels and B&B’s.
It’s really funny how the way I look at commercial spaces now have changed since I started working in the industry. You start looking at things like the position of light switches and brainstorm about where the wallpaper has been sourced for (hands up if you’ve ever had a 20 minute conversation about whether the tabletop is solid wood or MDF in the middle of a romantic meal!) – which might sound quite anal but it also means that I really appreciate lovely places where somehow they just get it right.
So I thought I would put a list together for you: 7 of the loveliest hotels in the Lake District, from a designers point of view.
Linthwaite House, Bowness-on-Windermere
I had a two-day business trip up in the lakes back in June and we have visited Linthwaite House to see if we could organise an event there. The space wasn’t quite right for what we needed it for but 2 seconds into our private tour I was head over heels love with the house.
There is no bad view in the Lake District but Linthwaite House comes with one of the prettiest views of Lake Windermere I have ever seen. It really is a full package – the view, the 5.7 hectares that surround it, the food and the interior design is truly special. Founded by Analjit Singh and part of the Leeu Collection, Linthwaite House is a reflection of Mr Singh’s love for South Africa, travelling and art.
Luxury hotels can often feel stuffy and too ‘grown-up’ but South African interior designer Beverley Boswell seems to understand that comfort and a relaxed atmosphere should go hand in hand in with luxury interiors. Nearly everything in the hotel is British made and the design celebrates the surroundings of the house, with a few subtle nods to the designer’s South African heritage.
Gilpin Hotel, Windermere
Funnily enough, I visited the Gilpin Hotel on the same day as I saw Linthwaite House! I first found out about it through Ben Cunliffe Architects, a Crook-based award-winning architecture firm I’ve been a long time admirer and who had a very large part in turning this hotel into the beautiful thing it is today. I’ve been hearing about it for quite a while now and boy, it did not disappint. The Gilpin is everything (and more) you would hope for from a luxury Lake District hotel.
There is absolutely no way you won’t find the right room for yourself at the Gilpin – from classic bedrooms, contemporary cedar-clad Spa Lodges or the spacious Garden Suites to the Gilpin Lake House with it’s own little tarn just down the road, this place hits all the right buttons.
Apart from the location, the spa facilities and the beautiful interiors, what makes me want to take up permanent residency at the Gilpin is the two out of this world on-site restaurants. Yum. Cumbrian cuisine with a twist – you can have a go at this at either the one Michelin star (and three AA Rosettes) HRiSHi restaurant or at the more laid back (but equally stunning) Gilpin Spice.
Rothay Manor, Ambleside
If you like luxurious, listed buildings, and a little bit of traditional Lake District charm (then you have to become my best friend) you will love Rothay Manor! Think panelled walls, wildlife-inspired wallpapers, rattan headboards and tartan cushions put together in the loveliest, most tasteful way.
I don’t own a dog (yet!) but if I would, Rothay Manor would definitely be the place for me. Proof that luxury and dogs can (sometimes) work well together, Rothay Manor welcomes all pups with an open arm!
I’ve hard so much about the amazing food served here in the 3 AA Rosette awarded fine dining restaurant, lovingly prepared for you by Head Chef Dan and his team – besides interiors, I’m all about food and if the food at Rothay Manor is as tasty as it is beautiful, we’ve got a definite winner here.
Storrs Hall, Windermere
If you’ve ever been to the Lakes, changes are you already know about Storrs Hall. We used to pass this impressive building every single time we went to Windermere and for years I wanted to see what it looks like on the inside! It’s a Grade II listed Georgian manor which is basically a heart-stopper of a building in my books. A brief nerd-moment for my fellow literature lovers…guess where Mr Wordsworth has recited ‘Daffodils’ one time? Right here, in the drawing-room at Storrs Hall!
The building has been beautifully refurbished and I love how they kept traditional elements when considering the interior design of the rooms and communal areas. Storrs Hall was built in the 1700s and when it comes to such a historically rich estate such as this one, I think the design should always complement the history and heritage of the building.
The rooms are comfy, spacious and they all seem to have a really relaxed, homely atmosphere (just what you need after a long day out walking all over the place). If traditional design is not really your thing, you can always check out The Boathouse with more of a contemporary finish (especially in the bathroom).
Another Place, Ullswater
First of all, I love the hotel’s motto: ‘It’s about the good things in life; having fun, eating well, letting go.’ Everything I want to do and need when I want to wind down for a few days! This is another Georgian building (yes, there is a theme here) with 18 acres of land to explore and take advantage of!
It’s more of a young, cool hotel and I can imagine families really loving this place. It’s part of the Cornwall based Watergate Bay Hotel group and you can definitely see their aesthetic coming through in the Another Place hotel – which is apparently just the first hotel of many created by the team behind the Watergate Bay Hotel!
Joules clothing and lifestyle brand has recently designed a suite (obviously called the Joules Suite) for the hotel and I’ve loved following Hunters and Heels’ and her fab family’s antics when they were invited to stay in this exclusive room. I love the green walls and the pops of mustard yellow – brave, fun and young!
Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa, Keswick
Who doesn’t like a good spa, right? Part of the Lake District Group, Lodore Falls is one 6 of the family owned and run hotel in the Lake District. It’s main jewel is the Falls Spa, which opened in 2018 and is the ultimate spot for relaxing and letting go of the outside world!
It will come as no surprise that there is an in-house design theme behind the interiors of the hotel and the spa. It is sophisticated and soothing with it’s bright and airy contemporary rooms and the spa that has it all! There is a clear transition between the rooms and the spa so that you feel equally as relaxed and at home no matter which area of the hotel you are spending time in.
They also have a really exciting on-site pan asian restaurant called Mizo, led by Sri-Lankan chef Kasun Jayasooriya. A mixture of Japanese, Korean, Malaysian and Thai food right in the heart of the Lake District is a different but oh so welcome experience!
Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa, Bassenthwaite
This is such a beautiful building – one of the original stately homes of England, this luxurious (if a tad traditional) hotel sits on 400 acres of deer park and woodland and it’s one of those places that just take your breath away if you are anything like me and you are obsessed with period (11th century!) properties.
And there you have it. Some of the loveliest places in the Lake District for a weekend getaway or for a full-on staycation!