Couples' retreat in a charming location

Up in the area locals call "Back o' Skiddaw" – literally, around behind the 3000-foot heights of Skiddaw mountain – is a series of hideaway villages and hamlets that really do deserve the much-used 'off-the-beaten-track' tag. Amid all this rustic beauty, the Old Rectory at Boltongate is a perfect gem, ideal for couples looking to get away from it all. It's a handsome house set in mature gardens, with a very grown-up feel all round. David and Gill Taylor are unobtrusive hosts, keeping you supplied with morning tea, afternoon cakes and a sundowner glass of wine on the lawn, but otherwise leaving you to get on with it – 'it' being pondering the views of Skiddaw from the gardens or enjoying the peace and quiet of a house that dates back centuries. Three spacious, comfortable rooms have plenty of light (and no TVs, in keeping with the general air); furnishings are antiquey and Victorian, while crisp linen, classy bathrooms and handmade chocolates all add to the impression of a place in good hands. Breakfast in the stone-and-oak sixteenth-century dining room is a rather grand affair, with the table laid under a lit candelabra. Gill's also an excellent chef and many choose to have a supper platter here, or a full dinner, rather than drive to the local pubs (Caldbeck is ten minutes' drive away, Keswick or Cockermouth twenty). It's a five-star B&B experience all round, giving many smaller hotels and boutique places a real run for their money.

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★★★★★

Outstanding in every way

Our stay at Boltongate in May was faultless. The house is beautifully finished with excellent attention to every detail, it has a wonderful relaxing atmosphere our bedroom was lovely with an exceptionally comfortable bed. Gill and David are wonderful hosts who made us feel so welcome. The food is the best we have had anywhere in the world, if it was a restaurant Gill would have at least one Michellin star. We like it so much we have already booked to return in Sepember - We can recommend it without hesitation.

by Paul M

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