Another Place, Ullswater
For Outdoor Adventures
This Georgian hotel, from the same team as the popular Watergate Bay in Cornwall, is the perfect place to stay as a family. As well as three types of room, there are sharing suites and on-site cottages, all of which are warm and inviting, or the two-bed Treehouse. If you’re heading up as a two, look at staying in one of the six lovely shepherd’s huts, which are beautifully painted and come with wood-burners, a roll-top bath and Robert’s radios – plus, firepits outside. The hotel offers a range of activities for families, including kayaking, paddle boarding, archery, stargazing, sailing and pony trekking – not to mention a designated, supervised kid’s club. When it comes to downtime, guests can chill out in the aptly named Living Space, have a hot drink in the library or book in for a treatment at the spa. If you’re staying for a couple of nights, mix things up between the informal restaurant and terrace, a relaxed fine-dining spot called Rampsbeck and, in the summer months, there’s a pretty greenhouse that transforms into a pizza restaurant and cocktail bar. Try the excellent Ullswater martini in at least one of them.
What To Do
Ullswater is the second largest lake in the area, surrounded by steep mountains on one side and rolling hills on the other. Another Place has everything for guests to take to the water whatever the weather. There’s a team of friendly teachers on hand to help you safely navigate the cold water, scenic kayaking lessons are a must and there’s the year-round Sheep Dip facility, where guests can hire wetsuits and pop in to shower and change after a plunge in the lake. Along with group activities such as steamboat cruises, guided walks and pony trekking, the biggest attraction here is Aira Force, one of the most famous waterfalls in the Lake District, which is said to have inspired Wordsworth’s poetry. There’s a mile-long walking route around the waterfall, where you can expect to spot a variety of flora and fauna, including ‘wishing trees’ which, legend has it, will bring you luck. Ullswater is also home to Helvellyn, the third highest peak in England, which is a great hike for those who relish a challenge.
Rothay Manor, Ambleside
For A Stylish Weekend Away
Rothay Manor is a lovely country hotel in Ambleside. Having reopened at the end of last year after an extensive renovation, the Grade II-listed property has 19 stylish bedrooms and an award-winning fine-dining restaurant. Inside, the plush interiors feature Farrow & Ball colours, Pooky lampshades, and tweed furnishings that pay homage to the hotel’s location. For a special stay, book a room in the Fairfield Suite, complete with a double-ended cast iron bath, or look to The Pavilion, the hotel’s newly launched contemporary property which is home to eight sizeable suites. Each has been individually designed and comes with huge beds, seating areas and stylish en-suites – alongside a complimentary mini fridge and pantry filled with local treats. Good news for dog-owners – the property is dog friendly with a ‘doggy washroom’ and plenty of canine treats. Make sure your stay includes dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. In a bright, nicely designed space you’ll be treated to excellent cocktails, a great-value three-course menu and a selection of truly great puddings (if the miso sticky toffee pudding is on the menu, order it). Make sure to take up the offer of a couple of slices from the well-stocked cheese trolley too.
What To Do
The pretty town of Ambleside is bursting with National Trust properties, from Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top farmhouse to the 17th-century Bridge House and colourful Stagshaw Gardens. An Ambleside highlight is Stock Ghyll Force, a stunning 70-foot waterfall that, come springtime, is surrounded by flowers and grassland. Head to Waterhead Pier to catch a steamer ferry to one of the other lakeside villages, or hire a row boat to travel at your own pace. If you’re planning a winter weekend away, make sure to stop by the Ambleside Christmas light display, which is opened in November, when fairy lights are strung across the town and Christmas-themed cruises take place on the lake. If relaxation is high on your list of holiday priorities, a trip to Fred’s Books is an absolute must.
The Gilpin, Windermere
For A Relaxing Retreat
From the homemade biscuits left in your room to the bespoke products in the spa, The Gilpin promises an indulgent stay. Set in 21 acres, there are actually two properties. The larger of the two is a traditional countryside manor, while the smaller six-bedroom Lake House is a mile up the road and offers a special experience – complete with a chauffeur service and spa trail – within 100 acres of its own grounds. Bedrooms are all decorated in a soft colour palette, with comfy armchairs and pops of colour, while private lodges have a Scandinavian feel, with floor-to-ceiling windows and wooden walls. Guests have the use of the hotel’s hot tubs, saunas, indoor pool and a spa during their stay, but for the ultimate couples’ experience, book one of the Spa Suites, which come with a lounge and dining area, cocktail bar and wine fridge, huge circular stone bath, cedarwood double walk-in shower, private spa with a steam room, sauna, infrared lounge bed and a state-of-the-art automated massage chair. These bedrooms float over a pond and offer views across the mountains. On the food front, guests can choose from Gilpin Spice, an excellent Indian restaurant, Michelin-starred Source or Tom Westerland’s Knipe Grill at Gilpin Lake House, which opened this year and has already been added to the Michelin Guide. Don’t forget to say hello to the lovely herd of llamas before you leave.
What To Do
Windermere is a quaint town named after its ten-mile-long lake – the largest in the area. Thanks to its shoreside location, there are plenty of water-based activities to take part in, from boat cruises to paddle boarding, fishing and rowboat hire. Climbers can conquer Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England, while those with kids in tow can take the short trip to Bowness-on-Windermere to visit The World of Beatrix Potter, which transports you inside some of the author’s most loved works.
Cumbrian Farmhouse, Kirkby Stephen
For A Family Getaway
This seven-person, 17th-century farmhouse is now a design-led home-away-from-home designed by architect Georgina Rose, who cut her teeth at Snøhetta and Soho House. Overlooking the Mallerstang valley, the farmhouse features hand-picked antique furniture, a portrait of Kate Moss by Mario Testino, Assouline hardback coffee-table books, a Prada canvas as headboard and textures in the form of midnight blue linen armchairs, ikat bedspreads and Turkish-style towels. The property is light-filled, with a log-burner for colder evenings. The farmhouse also benefits from being in the middle of the North Pennines, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District – ideal if you’re looking to book a week-long getaway.
What To Do
Guests can walk up Wild Boar Fell straight from the front door and there’s a great wild swimming spot in the nearby River Eden. Smardale Nature Reserve is also close and features red squirrels and roe deer. Lowther Castle has an enormous adventure playground for children and families will also enjoy a ride the scenic Carlisle to Settle train over the viaduct across the reserve. The rest of the Lake District with its steep pikes and mountain tarns is nearby.
Last year brought with it a clutch of fantastic milestones for Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume. First, the already fabled restaurant celebrated 20 years since it first opened its doors in the ridiculously pretty Lake District village of Cartmel. Then it became the first restaurant in northern England to be awarded three Michelin stars, making Simon just the third English chef to receive the honour and adding L’Enclume to a short list of just eight UK restaurants to hold three-star status. We recommend booking one of the restaurant’s 16 bedrooms and suites, which are dotted around the village, each within a quick walk from the restaurant. When you book a bedroom, you’re guaranteed a table at L'Enclume and breakfast at Rogan & Co. Each room is individually designed and takes references from its surroundings. Every bathroom is filled with luxurious bath products and diffusers – all available to buy in the team’s Our Shop on the village square, alongside granite pepper pots, cast-iron spice mills and the restaurant’s own coal oil, seaweed salt and jams.
What To Do
Picture-postcard Cartmel is not just home to L’Enclume. You’ll also find a more casual concept, one-Michelin-starred Rogan & Co, as well as Aulis, a behind-the-scenes six-seater test kitchen next to L’Enclume that works in the same way as its sister establishment in Soho – where Simon’s team develops dishes and tests them out on eight lucky diners each night, before the top dishes make their way onto other menus in the Rogan collection. If you’re visiting the restaurant between the start of April and end of September, tours of Our Farm are available to book – there’s no better way to set the scene and whet your appetite for the incredible food that awaits.
Larch Cabin, Near Keswick
For An Off-Grid Escape
If your idea of a proper break is a cabin in the woods, Larch Cabin is a great find. In the wilderness of the Lake District, this Scandinavian-style cabin is totally off-grid and moves every 28 days, leaving no footprint behind. Cleverly designed with Siberian larch cladding, Thermafleece insulation, a Little Cod wood stove and double-glazed picture window framing the view, it’s a year-round secret retreat. The wooden interior is minimalist but has plenty of luxe touches – think a marble-clad wet room, well-equipped kitchenette, duck-feather cushions, retro brass fittings and an iPad loaded with music and films. Outside is a raised deck with fire pit, plus a wood-fired bath where you can soak in the great outdoors. You’ll be sent a What3words location prior to your visit, but it’s guaranteed to be somewhere private surrounded by miles of beautiful countryside for walks and wild swims.
What To Do
The market town of Keswick is the place to head for organic produce and handmade gifts, all of which are sold at the farmer’s market every Thursday and Saturday. Surrounded by famous natural sites such as the Cat Bells mountain, Friar’s Crag and Borrowdale Valley, Keswick’s Derwentwater lake is the ideal spot to take in the scenery. Embark on an eight-mile walk around the water or take a cruise on the town’s open-deck boat, Keswick Launch. Water sports fans can head to the marina, while those who prefer to keep their feet on dry land should visit Castlerigg Stone Circle, with its panoramic views and impressive mountain backdrop.