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Wild Boar Inn

Crook Windermere LA23 3NF 01539 445 225

We say

Away from the lake – and thus off the radar for many – the über-rustic Wild Boar springs a surprise, especially for those expecting a traditional lakeland inn. Yes, there are stone floors, oak beams, a real-ale bar and some lovely rural surroundings, but a keen sense of style – especially in "feature" and "luxury" rooms – brings things bang up to date. Designers have gone to work on the bathrooms, so you might get a free-standing copper bath and a walk-out balcony overlooking the woods, where only the birds (and bees) could see you in the altogether – other glam rooms have bespoke wallpaper, canopy beds, cast-iron woodburners and bedside iPod docks, while outside you can work up an appetite in their 70-acre woodland, complete with "green gym" exercise trail and private tarn. And appetite you will need to tackle the excellent restaurant which makes a justifiable song-and-dance about its on-site smokehouse. Guests also get use of the leisure club at the sister hotel, Low Wood Bay, not far away near Ambleside, which is on the lake, so even out in the sticks you get the best of both worlds.

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