The Lake District has always captured hearts and minds. Attracting tourists from all over the world, the Lakes boast spectacular landscapes and wildlife, as well as history and culture. It’s no surprise that it’s inspired wordsmiths and artists as varied as Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth, and John Ruskin, and that so many of us head here for our holidays! The Lakes rely upon tourism as a driving factor of the economy. Because of this, there is plenty of choice when it comes to hotels, from simple and basic to the most luxurious five-star retreats. We list our personal best hotels in the Lake District below, divided into the ‘spend’ and ‘save’ categories so you can easily find the best accommodation to suit your needs, for your next Lakes trip!
There is no shortage of five-star hotels in the Lake District. Cumbria has the most Michelin-starred restaurants outside of London (see our blog on Cumbria’s Michelin-starred locales!), and many of these are located inside some of the country’s most exclusive hotels. We’ve chosen a few of our favourite ‘splurge’ hotels here, for that special occasion or once-in-a-liftetime celebration.
Linthwaite House – Best Hotels in Lake District
Owned under the LEEU banner of luxury hotels, Linthwaite is a large private house set on a hill overlooking Lake Windermere. Stylishly refurbished only a few years ago, Linthwaite House is all clean lines, artwork, and stylish finishes. It truly deserves its place s one of the best hotels in the Lake District.
As stylish outside, as it is in, beautifully manicured yet welcoming grounds give way to the privacy of treetops as you look down towards the Lake. The house even has its own private tarn, plus two rowing boats, if you want to escape it all. If the food offering is a really important part of your luxury hotel decision-making, Linthwaite is a brilliant choice. That’s because it houses Michelin-starred Henrock, a restaurant run by local Michelin-starred legend of the gastronomic scene, Simon Rogan. Modern, clean, and genre-defining tasting menus are served up in the restaurant, whilst more easy-going bar food is available all day through the bar area.
A double room, midweek in August, starts from £336.
Crook Ln, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3JA
Hidden away in the trees above Grasmere, this is a mansion in the epitome of the Lake District style, built in the local dark stone and with a Gothic look. Inside, the ambiance changes, as the traditional exterior gives way to a light and comfortable interior. Dog-friendly and accessible rooms are also available. Luxuriously appointed rooms are available in different sizes, when you want to retreat from the stunning (but sometimes cold and wet!) Lake District great outdoors! Forest Side also offers up a Michelin-starred restaurant, where a glazed wall offers views of the garden, and brings all of that natural light into the space. A huge tree from their gardens, felled by a storm, has been turned into a captivating central island for the sommelier, and the general style of both the food and the ambiance prioritises the local, the modern, and the welcoming.
A double room, midweek in August starts from £229.
The Forest Side Hotel Keswick Road, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9RN
Feel like a celeb in the opulent luxury of The Gilpin Hotel. The hotel is set away from Lake Windermere’s banks, up the fell and into the forest, where it hunkers down, only obvious to those ‘in the know’. All rooms have Lakeland views, and many allow for direct access to the gardens. For true luxury, opt for a suite. These feature their own private spa decks, with hot tubs. The lodges also include private spa facilities.
You won’t be stuck for dining options here, either. The Gilpin houses three fabulous restaurants, Gilpin Spice, SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel, and Knipe Grill at Gilpin Lake House. All three are Michelin-listed, and SOURCE is Michelin-starred. This, in particular, was an impressive feat for Head Chef Ollie Bridgwater, who retained the star previous restaurant HRISHI had gained after only a couple of months at the helm, and a completely different culinary approach. AA rosette-awarded Gilpin Spice meanwhile offers a culinary world tour, with dishes inspired by the Philippines, the Indian sub-continent, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, and China. Tom Westerland at Knipe Grill was added to ‘The Michelin Inspectors’ Favourite New Restaurants’ for June 2023. That makes the Gilpin one of only two hotels in the UK to have three Michelin guide-featured restaurants – in good company with the Savoy.
A double room, midweek in August, starts from £375.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Crook Road, Windermere, The English Lake District
Set right up at the lake of Derwentwater, Lodore Falls feels far away from everything and fully immersed in the Lake District’s wild landscapes. A real selling point for Lodore Falls is its massive and well-appointed spa. This fabulous space offers a thermal suite of different temperature spa rooms to relax in, as well as a beautiful outdoor hydrotherapy pool and spacious glazed sauna overlooking Derwentwater and its fells. Enjoy a treatment (from Elemis or Ishqa) in one of their five luxury treatment rooms, and indulge in a sip of something fizzy from their in-spa Champagne Bar. As well as this fabulous spa facility, guests enjoy eating at their award-winning pan-Asian restaurant, Mizu. Fresh sushi and sashimi alongside tempting Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai specialities keep your palate stimulated, and there’s a great cocktail menu, too.
A double room, midweek in August, starts from £245.
Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa, Derwentwater, Keswick, CA12 5UX
Sitting just a mile from the Lake, Windermere Boutique Hotel is a luxury hotel perched ideally between Windermere town and Bowness. Their contemporary suites feature hot tubs, relaxing lounge areas, comfortable kingsize beds, and luxury bathrooms. Trendy, contemporary, and with luxe, bling edges, the recent refurbishment makes this small boutique hotel a fun Windermere stopover.
Originally the second home of a wealthy Edwardian gent, the modernised property nevertheless maintains some of the original features, like open fires and ceiling beams.
A double room, midweek in August, starts from £260.
Lake Road, Windermere, LA23 2EQ, United Kingdom
This plush pied-a-terre is sited just one street back from the Lake front, and is the ultimate in bling luxe. Crushed velvets, crystals, and chenille add up to a sumptuous romantic feel to the rooms, characterised by a focus on guest enjoyment, from mood lighting to spa baths to in-bathroom TV screens, and complimentary cocktails in the fridge (in suites). Offerings start with the more simple Standard Rooms, and range all the way up to their indulgent suites, and even the luxurious offsite Hideaway villa, with its own stocked bar, living room, and luxurious small-scale cinema.
Standard rooms from £110, Suites from £205, the Hideaway from £375.
Kendal Road, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3EW, United Kingdom
You don’t have to break the piggy bank to have a luxurious and enjoyable time away in Cumbria. Some of the best hotels in the Lake District come in at this more affordable level, too! Prepare for smaller properties, and sometimes less access to super spas and facilities – but sometimes a more intimate, welcoming, and homely feel. This is our list of our best hotels in the Lake District for a smaller budget.
Location, location, location! All that springs to mind when you think of the Lake District – the awe-inspiring fells, the glass-still lakes, the wild scenery – is on your doorstep here at the Royal Oak. This former farmhouse and miners’ tavern has dwelt in this spot for almost 300 years, meaning it’s steeped in history, despite having been newly refurbished in spring 2022. Having provided accommodation to the weary traveller for over a century, the Royal Oak knows how to look after its guests. New owners have created a contemporary and stylish feel, which is nevertheless homely and comfortable.
The perfect hub for a walking adventure, return to the cosy warmth of the lounge, where they serve complimentary tea and coffee all day and provide cake in the afternoon. There is even a drying room for that soggy, dirty kit. Dogs are welcome (£30 per stay, must be notified in advance), and their breakfast and dinner menus are replete with the best, freshest, locally sourced produce.
A double room, midweek in August, starts from £169.
Borrowdale, Rosthwaite, CA12 5XB,
Old Kings Head, Broughton in Furness
The Old Kings Head in the charming market town Broughton in Furness is a welcoming country pub with rooms. This sixteenth-century inn is a ten-minute drive from the stunning Duddon Valley, and Coniston Water – but you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied in this Charter Town (an honour bestowed on Broughton by Queen Elizabeth I. A shared lounge, nice beer garden, bar, and restaurant means the Old Kings Head is a great place to put your feet up at the end of a busy day, and they offer a Full English/Irish breakfast to get you well on your way in the morning, too. The gastropub-style menu has something to keep everybody happy, with dishes such as ham hock terrine, moules mariniere, and Bang Bang cauliflower – and that’s just the starters.
A double room, midweek in August, starts from £95.
Old King’s Head, Broughton- In- Furness, Cumbria, LA20 6HJ
Aynsome Manor B&B
Superbly situated, this charming B&B is a three-star Georgian manor house in picturesque and ever-popular Cartmel. Views across woodland and meadows make for relaxing views, and period features scattered about the house such as wooden beams give a real sense of age and character. Awarded an AA red rosette and a Cesar award from the Good Hotel Guide, Aynsome Manor offers elegant lounges with log fires in the cooler months, a comfy bar area, and a warm welcome. The property has been owned and run by the Varley family for more than 40 years, and ten individually styled and designed bedrooms inject a sense of individuality and character into the accommodation offering.
A double room, midweek in August, starts from £125.
Aynsome Lane, Cartmel, LA11 6HH, United Kingdom
Set deep in the Lakes, the Old Mill Inn is a stylish converted inn and gastropub, featuring Farrow and Ball, Scandi-inspired interior design. With six beautifully restored 17th-century rooms on offer, each accommodation offering has its own charm. Fully equipped with modern amenities and luxurious touches, the rooms offer a tranquil and serene experience for guests. The restaurant meanwhile prides itself on fresh local produce and serves up modern takes on classic flavours. Enjoy dill-cured salmon with radish, creme fraiche, and watercress as a starter. As a main, choose from traditional options like slow-cooked beef and ale pie or something a little more modern, such as Red thai pak choi & vegetable curry with jasmine rice and flatbread.
A double room, midweek in August, starts from £122.
The Old Mill Inn, Row Brow, Dearham, CA15 7JP