Windermere’s finest lakeside hideaway sits at the southern end of England’s largest lake, a highly polished, family-owned affair to which people return year after year. And who can blame them? This is a very special hotel, and not just because of its spankingly good location. There’s an old-world elegance to the place throughout, from the traditionally furnished rooms to the lovely lake-view conservatory and the very well-tended gardens (of which you can have a guided tour during the summer months). But you get all the contemporary style you need too, including a very glamorous spa and indoor pool set beneath a roof garden.
The rooms range from ordinary doubles with woodland views to – our favourites – so-called 'Ultimate Lakeview' rooms, which have patio doors opening onto terraces or small gardens overlooking the water. There are also large suites with lake views, and spacious family rooms that can accommodate 2 adults and up to 3 children, and a series of 'Country House' rooms in a separate wing which look away from the lake to the fells and woodland behind and have the feel of a Lakeland country house.
Dining is in the John Ruskin brasserie and bar or the more formal Lakeview restaurant, and both are pretty good value for the location, serving fabulous local beef and Herdwick lamb cooked on a charcoal barbecue. A few steps away you can feed the Windermere ducks, pop into the excellent Lakes Aquarium or jump on a ferry up to Bowness and Ambleside. It's also a pretty classy wedding venue, specialising in small and intimate weddings right on the water, so bear that in mind if you're planning to pop the question any time soon!
PriceDouble rooms from around £200 a night, including breakfast.
Opening TimesOpen all year except for 2 weeks in January.
75 bedrooms, ranging from great-value standard doubles to lovely 'Ultimate Lakeview' and 'Country House' rooms and suites.
Lakeside Hotel, Lakeside Newby Bridge Cumbria LA12 8AT
The Lakeside is 15 minutes from junction 36 of the M6 motorway; follow the brown direction signs for 'Windermere Cruises' from the M6 – they lead to the front door! Or take the train to Oxenholme Station, from where it's a 20-minute journey by taxi (20% discount on taxis pre-booked through the hotel).
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