BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
The Lake District National Park in Cumbria encompasses breathtaking mountains, peaceful lakes and tiny towns that attract cyclists, walkers and anyone craving peace and tranquillity among some of the UK’s most picturesque landscapes.
The largest of the lakes (and in fact, the largest lake in England) is Lake Windermere which is more than ten miles long and has the towns of Bowness, Ambleside and of course Windermere dotted around its shores. Overlooking the lake with picture-postcard views across to the Old Man of Coniston is Linthwaite House, one of Chic Retreats recommended boutique hotels in the Lake District. Set on 14 acres of private estate with 30 rooms and suites and an award-winning British restaurant, Linthwaite House is a truly unstuffy, stylish hotel unlike some others on Lake Windermere. It also has its own tarn (a small lake) up on the hill where guests can take a lesson in fly-fishing.
Whether you’re planning on hiking the hills or pottering around the villages, start the day with a full-English (sweet-cured smoke bacon, Cumberland sausages, local black pudding) or continental breakfast and end it with a four-course, modern British, fine dining feast (if you’re feeling really hungry you can opt for the seven-course tasting menu) in one of Linthwaite House’s three dining rooms.
If you’re looking for boutique hotels in the Lake District, another Chic Retreats recommendation is the Boathouse at Knotts End, on the second largest lake, Lake Ullswater. A luxury natural stone boathouse for two people backed by woodland and with its own private lake and jetty, the Boathouse at Knott’s End is a romantic hideaway that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere (it’s actually a handy 15-minute drive from the town of Penrith). Doors from the bedroom open onto a balcony with sweeping views of the fells, there’s a kitchen with all the kit you need to rustle up a candlelit dinner for two and it even comes with its own rowing boat that you can take out for a gentle putter on the water.
If you can drag yourself away from your own private idyll, Lake Ullswater is the perfect place for outdoorsy types: try sailing, cycling or pony trekking. Glenridding is a popular starting point for walkers and climbers wanting to tackle Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain. Or for something a little easier, why not walk to Howtown, named by famous fell walker Alfred Wainwright as one of the most beautiful lake walks in the national park.
Whichever of these boutique hotels in the Lake District you choose to stay at, there are several must-visit places that shouldn’t be missed. Grasmere village on Grasmere lake is home to Wordsworth’s grave and Dove Cottage (his first home in the Lake District), plus the legendary Grasmere gingerbread; there’s Beatrix Potter’s 17th-century farmhouse Hill Top and Blackwell, an Arts and Crafts house, both on lake Windermere; and the market town of Keswick on gorgeous Derwentwater, which was apparently Beatrix Potter’s favourite lake.