Borrowdale. Hazel Bank Country House

If it's location, local knowledge and some luxurious living you're after, this is the perfect place to head for, a seven bedroom hotel in the heart of Borrowdale, operated by Donna and Gary MacRae. It’s the only one in the area with an AA five star, gold guest accommodation award. 

‘Captivating fell views, walks from the doorstep and an intimate atmosphere’ is how the Good Hotel Guide 2022 describes the country house, naming it Editor’s Choice for walking

In the 2020 edition of the same guide Hazel Bank was Editor’s Choice for rooms with a view. The hotel was also a shortlisted finalist in the Best for Romance category of the 2021 Condé Nast Johansens UK and Ireland Awards for Excellence. 

The property was built in the 1840s - author Hugh Walpole once a guest - and stands in four acres (1.6ha) of grounds, with lawns going down to a small river, a patch of woodland, red squirrels in the garden and lovely views across the valley to the fells. Derwentwater is up the road, Buttermere is the other side of Honister Pass. 

The ‘immaculate and elegant’ bedrooms are named after Lakeland fells such as Great Gable, Scafell, Helvellyn and Castle Crag. One of them is on the ground floor, most of them have those wonderful views. Bathrooms are ‘top-notch’, says the Good Hotel Guide 2022.

The MacRaes bought Hazel Bank after running the nearby Langstrath Inn for 15 years. Donna is also Borrowdale-born and bred, so between them the couple have a huge knowledge of the area. 20 excellent walks, some from the hotel’s front door, are listed on the website.

You can have afternoon tea on the lawn and then, after a drink in front of the log fire, head to the restaurant - it has two AA Rosettes - for a four course, candlelit dinner. Much use is made of ‘the very best and freshest produce Cumbria has to offer,’ says the hotel which was Guest Accommodation of the Year at the Cumbria Tourism Awards for both 2015 and 2017. 

Hazel Bank Country House, Rosthwaite, Borrowdale, Keswick CA12 5XB: 017687 77248, The restaurant is open to non-residents but please book in advance.

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