<p>Lake District hotels like the Swan come with killer views</p>

Lake District hotels like the Swan come with killer views

10 best Lake District hotels to stay for comfort and location

Where to stay in the Cumbrian beauty spot

Olivia Blair,Hazel Davis
Thursday 13 May 2021 11:02
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There’s a reason the Lake District is a Unesco World Heritage Site: it offers extraordinary landscapes, fantastic walks, peerless views... and some fantastic hotels from which to explore it all.

It’s more accessible than you think, too, with trains from London Euston to Oxenholme taking under three hours, and the journey from Glasgow taking just 105 minutes.

After a slew of new openings and refurbishments in recent years, there’s something for everyone when it comes to places to rest your head. From family-friendly to pet-friendly, luxury to budget, here are some of the best.

The Independent's hotel reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and book, but we never allow this to affect our coverage.

Hotels can reopen in England from 17 May.

Best for quintessentially English style: The Belsfield

The Belsfield enjoys a prime location on Lake Windermere

In a prime location overlooking Lake Windermere, it’s hard to compete with the view here. Nevertheless, the Belsfield tries – acquired by Laura Ashley in 2014, the 62 rooms are impeccably furnished, and there’s a fine dining restaurant and a swimming pool too. A five-minute walk from the hub of Bowness-on-Windermere, it is particularly ideal for a first visit to The Lakes. OB

Address: Laura Ashley The Belsfield, Kendal Road, Bowness-On-Windermere, LA23 3EL

Phone: 01539 442448

Price: Doubles from £171

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Best for mini-moons: Gilpin Hotel and Lake House

The Gilpin is known for its 'mini-moon' scene

The Gilpin has a reputation as a couples and ‘mini-mooners’ hotel – little surprise when the rates are sky high. The hotel is spread across the lodge, which has 25 rooms, plus the Lake House which once belonged to the owner’s grandmother and houses the higher category rooms. A standout feature is the ‘spa trail’ – a three-hour couples-tastic experience including private use of a pool, a hot tub and time in the ‘snug’ (essentially a summer house) with afternoon tea. OB

Address: Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Crook Rd, Windermere LA23 3NE

Phone: 0203 519 1967

Price: Doubles from £295

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Best for variety: The Swan

The cheery Swan has a good mix of rooms for most budgets

Overlooking the water in the village of Newby Bridge at the south of Lake Windermere, the Swan’s rooms cater to every type of customer. The ‘cosy’ rooms are fairly affordable, but there are also luxurious loft suites, two-room family suites and even a £400-per-night studio named “The Love Nest”, complete with double walk-in rainfall shower. There’s an ESPA spa, gym, and even a marina to moor the boat that you’re obviously bringing. OB

Address: The Swan Hotel and Spa, Newby Bridge, LA12 8NB

Phone: 01539 531681

Price: Doubles from £180

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Best for privacy: The Samling

No table is a bad table at The Samling

The Samling sits on 67 acres of land – with just 11 bedrooms to share it. But for that, you get access to things like a hot tub overlooking Lake Windermere. OB

Address: The Samling Hotel, Ambleside Road, Windermere, LA23 1LR

Phone: 01539 431922

Price: Doubles from £250

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Best for budget: Hawksmoor Guest House

Hawksmoor's bright B&B rooms make it a good affordable option

A 12-room B&B that’s a 15-minute walk away from the village of Bowness, Hawksmoor is an affordable choice for the Lakes. Rooms are modern (think statement wallpaper), and perks include free fishing and use of the highly rated spa at a nearby hotel. The award-winning breakfast is not to be sniffed at. OB

Address: Hawksmoor Guest House, Lake Road, Windermere, LA23 2EQ

Phone: 01539 442110

Price: Doubles from £105

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Best for individual style: The Cranleigh

The Cranleigh's outré furnishings give a different take on the Lake District

Another Bowness hotel, the Cranleigh’s 18 rooms are all decorated individually, but overall they’re contemporary if not outré. If you're a fan of mirrored walls, peekaboo bathtubs and leopard-print, you’ll be in your element. Very un-Lakes-like, but appealing for that very reason. OB

Address: The Cranleigh, Kendal Road, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3EW

Phone: 01539 443293

Price: Doubles from £144

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Best for contemporary chic: The Langdale

The Langdale splits its accommodation between rooms and lodges

In a small village near Ambleside, the Langdale mixes up its rooms with one, two and three-bed lodges. The look is contemporary – rooms range from clean-and-simple to statement wallpaper and nickel bathtubs by the bed, while the lodges are scattered around the 35-acre estate. Facilities include a 21m pool and tennis court. OB

Address: The Langdale Chase Hotel, Windermere, LA23 1LW

Phone: 01539 432201

Price: Doubles from £240

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Best for deer-spotting: Armathwaite Hall Hotel

Armathwaite's decor fits with its country pile surroundings

A four-star hotel at the tip of Bassenthwaite, in the north of the Lake District, Armathwaite is an old country pile surrounded by 400 acres of secluded deer park. The décor’s fairly traditional, in line with the castle-like exterior, but the dark wood furniture is pepped up with patterned sofas, colourful cushions and the odd statement wallpaper. OB

Address: Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa, Bassenthwaite Lake, Bassenthwaite, CA12 4RE

Phone: 01768 776551

Price: Doubles from £320

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Best for panoramic views: Macdonald Old England Hotel

The Macdonald Old England is a relative behemoth of the Lakes, but the position is unbeatable

Sitting on the shore of Lake Windermere, the Macdonald is one of the most iconic hotels in the Lakes. It’s one of the bigger properties around, with a whopping 106 rooms, but the views make up for it – even the Lakehouse restaurant has panoramic views. OB

Address: Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa, 23 Church St, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3DF

Phone: 0344 879 9144

Price: Doubles from £209

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Best for family hospitality: Regent Hotel

The Regent's a longstanding, family-run hotel - but in this context, that's a good thing

This family-run hotel in Ambleside has been going strong for 40 years, but that’s not to say it’s old-school. Even the entry-level rooms have natty colour palettes, sharp-patterned curtains and blown-up photos of the lakes behind the beds, while the nautical-themed Sail Loft has a private terrace overlooking the village. OB

Address: Regent Hotel By The Lake, Waterhead Bay, Ambleside, LA22 0ES

Phone: 01539 432254

Price: Doubles from £141

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Best for a proper lakeside experience: Cragwood Country House

Cragwood Country House is all about comfort

If there’s one thing the Lake District does very well indeed, it’s water – and Lake Windermere is the perfect backdrop for a stay at Cragwood Country House. The rooms are so comfy that you might not find time to venture down to the water (especially if you bag yourself one of the lakeside rooms), but if you do, you can access it via your very own private jetty. With 20 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland and delicious seasonal produce in the restaurant, you need never leave the estate. HD

Address: Cragwood Country House Hotel, Ecclerigg, Ambleside Road, Windermere, LA23 1LQ

Phone: 01539 488177

Price: Doubles from £129

Book now

Best for nature: Haweswater Hotel

Haweswater Hotel is in the middle of a nature reserve

Where better to enjoy some of the country’s finest wildlife than slap-bang in the middle of a nature reserve? Haweswater Hotel is directly on Alfred Wainwright’s famous coast-to-coast path, set in beautiful gardens overlooking one of the region’s largest lakes. Though the last sighting of a golden eagle was in 2015, you’re still surrounded by myriad birdlife and there are red squirrels galore. The hotel is being refurbished to a high standard but the vibe is still a classic one, with sleigh beds, original wooden floors and Art Deco fixtures and fittings. HD

Address: Haweswater Hotel, Lakeside Road, Bampton, CA10 2RP

Phone: 01931 713673

Price: Doubles from £99

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Best for literary lovers: Lindeth Howe

Lindeth Howe was Beatrix Potter's holiday home

Beatrix Potter wrote some of her most beloved stories while staying at former mill-owner’s holiday home Lindeth Howe (it’s her writing in the logo) in Bowness-on-Windermere. Potter later bought the house for her mother after her father died. Inside, Potter’s legacy is everywhere, from the book-themed restaurant, to the heavy floral bedrooms. It’s the ideal place in which to lose yourself in your favourite book for the weekend. There are even dog-friendly rooms so you can take your four-legged friends along with you (it’s definitely what Beatrix would have wanted). HD

Address: Lindeth Howe, Longtail Hill, Lindeth Drive, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3JF

Phone: 01539 445759

Price: Doubles from £105

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Best for romance: Askham Hall

Askham Hall is a Grade I listed house

In the grounds of the Lowther Estate, you couldn’t ask for a more romantic getaway than Askham Hall, whose core dates back to the 14th century. The Grade I listed house has two churches within half a mile making it the perfect wedding venue. Make whoopee in the lavishly decorated Lonsdale Room, the former private bedroom of the Earl and Countess of Lonsdale, with its original Emperor four-poster bed and spectacular views, and lock eyes with your beloved over the Michelin-starred menu lovingly curated and cooked by head chef Richard Swale. HD

Address: Askham Hall, Askham, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2PF

Phone: 01931 712350

Price: Doubles from £150

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Best for luxury: The Forest Side Hotel

The Forest Side Hotel offers pure luxury

If you like your interiors to be painstakingly executed with a keen eye for comfort then you’ll love The Forest Side Hotel in Grasmere. Designed by James Mackie, with luxurious wall coverings and fabrics by Zoffany, the beds are specially made by luxury bedmaker Harrison Spinks and the deep-pile Herdwick carpet comes courtesy of Wools of Cumbria. Every step you take here is carefully cushioned. Max out in a master suite with a double-ended bath and a glass or two of something fizzy. HD

Address: The Forest Side Hotel, Keswick Road, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9RN

Phone: 01539 435250

Price: Doubles from £159

Book now

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