People who enjoy travel often forget that there are some beautiful locations to visit here in the UK.
The Lake District, England’s largest national park, is one of England’s most popular tourist destinations. With its glorious scenery, it offers walking and climbing of all degrees of difficulty, sailing, boating, bathing and fishing.
Scafell Pike is England’s tallest mountain, Wastwater its deepest lake. Tourists of a literary bent can pay homage to William Wordsworth at Grasmere, and to Beatrix Potter, at Hill Top Farm near Windermere (the Japanese are very fond of Peter Rabbit).
The Lake District has excellent hotels of all style and price. Here are ten of the Good Hotel Guide’s most popular ones.
All are personally run, most by the family owners, and many are winners of the Guide’s Cesar award.
In large, landscaped gardens a short walk from Lake Windermere and the town centre, the Nixon family’s ‘comfortable, welcoming’, traditional hotel has been in every edition of the Good Hotel Guide. ‘Standards are high; immaculate, beautifully furnished bedrooms and lounges; excellent food; a warm welcome.’ The best bedrooms have a balcony with views towards Wansfell Pike. Local ingredients predominate in the restaurant which faces the gardens.
Run by its owners the Cunliffe family, this luxury country house hotel stands in 22-acre grounds with terrace, pond, waterfall, croquet lawn and woodland. Well-furnished, well-equipped bedrooms are distributed between an orchard wing and the waterside Lake House. The spa has a swimming pool, sauna and hot tub. A golf course is opposite. ‘Casual but smart’ dress is required in the restaurant where menus are based on local produce and West Coast seafood.
On the fells above Lake Windermere, this former Edwardian gentleman’s residence is now a good-value country hotel which has been owned for 27 years by the ‘hands-on’ Kennedy family. Loved for its ‘personal touch’, it stands in seven-acre grounds with lovely gardens, croquet, putting, bowls, a tarn, and ‘fantastic’ views. The restaurant is known for its good cooking of local ingredient.
High above Windermere, with ‘magnificent’ lake views, Mike Bevans’s ‘very comfortable’ late Victorian country hotel combines contemporary fittings with period features. It has a ‘stunning’ setting in extensive gardens. ‘Service is impeccable’; the atmosphere is ‘relaxed but also elegant’. Spacious public rooms include a restaurant where smart dress is required of diners.
Looking down to the Skiddaw mountain range, and with sightings of red squirrels and roe deer, Kath and Liam Berney’s restaurant-with-rooms is within Whinlatter forest. The 17th-century coaching inn is liked for the ‘excellent’ service and the modern menus showcasing regional, local and foraged produce. The bedrooms vary in size and decor: small cottage-style rooms are simply furnished; larger rooms with views of the mountains have a seating area.
Near Keswick, this small Georgian house stands at the foot of Cat Bells, surrounded by Lake District peaks. The owners, Mike and Kath Bilton, have ‘the personal touch’. The sitting rooms have fresh flowers, books, local maps. The cooking of the long-serving chef, Clive Imber, attracts non-residents to the candlelit dining room. Best bedrooms have ‘thrilling’ mountain views.
Well placed for rural walks, this 17th-century coaching inn, near Bassenthwaite Lake, is surrounded by woodland populated by roe deer, red squirrels and natterjack toads. Matthew Wylie is the long-serving manager. Each of the traditionally decorated rooms has views of the gardens or woods; superior rooms also have a sitting area. In the wood-panelled restaurant, chef Alan O’Kane’s dishes are praised. The informal bistro provides ‘ample and tasty’ meals.
Hands-on owners Glynis and Simon Wood run their reasonably priced, unpretentious small hotel on a quiet road on the outskirts of the village ‘with passion and flair’. The bedrooms are well equipped; lighting is ‘excellent’. The cooking of chef Darren Comish is widely praised. Staff are ‘unobtrusive, but always on hand’.
‘Beauty, peace and solitude in abundance’ are enjoyed at Hazel Thompson’s unpretentious guest house nr Cockermouth. Her Grade II listed 17th-cenury farmhouse stands in ‘wonderful’ gardens which lead to woods, streams and open fields surrounded by fells. It is well placed for touring the northern lakes. Dinners consist of traditional English fare. Lunches and teas are served in an adjacent converted byre
Set back from the eastern shore of Lake Ullswater, the Baldry family’s simple guest house is much loved by walkers. No mobile phone signal, no Wi-Fi; bookings must be made by telephone and confirmed in writing. A gong announces dinner at 7 pm and breakfast at 9. Most rooms have a lake view; four have a private bathroom across the corridor. A four-course dinner of traditional dishes is served six nights a week.