Where to stay in 2021: hotels, pubs, B&Bs and self-catering

Askham near Ullswater. Askham Hall

Askham near Ullswater. Askham Hall

‘If you fancy living like a lord,’ said the Good Food Guide 2020, Askham Hall ‘may just fit the bill’. Dating back to medieval times, the Grade I listed property has 19 individually styled bedrooms and a Michelin starred and three AA rosetted restaurant called Allium. There's a refreshing breeze of informality about the place, the Good Hotel Guide 2021 referring to its ‘unpretentious, relaxed atmosphere’. An outdoor pool, billiard room and Grade II listed gardens all add to the attraction while guests can also make use of the nearby Health Barn. www.askhamhall.co.uk

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Ambleside. Ambleside Manor

Ambleside. Ambleside Manor

Thanks to the Hook family, countless people over the years have enjoyed films, music and vegetarian food at Zeffirellis and Fellini’s in Ambleside. Now they can also enjoy the family’s hospitality at this vegetarian B&B on the edge of Ambleside. Five of its 16 bedrooms are on the ground floor, those rooms and the lounge and dining room (both with log fires) all very comfortably furnished. The B&B stands in two acres of grounds and is sister to Yewfield Country Guest House near Hawkshead. That is vegetarian too. www.ambleside-manor.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

The Coppermines and Lakes Cottages

The Coppermines and Lakes Cottages

Offering more than 80 properties ‘within the UNESCO World Heritage boundary’, the firm has been a finalist in two categories at the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2017, one of them Wedding Venue of the Year for the Coppermines Mountain Cottages. These five cottages in the fells are an unusual place for a wedding but they’re certainly a great marriage of privacy and scenery. Check out the website for other categories such as pet-friendly and pet-free cottages, hot tub cottages, luxury cottages, ones near a pub and more. www.coppermines.co.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Kirkby Lonsdale. The Sun Inn

Kirkby Lonsdale. The Sun Inn

‘Warm welcome, amazing food,’ quotes the Good Hotel Guide 2021 of this 17th century country inn, close to what John Ruskin once described as one of the loveliest views in England. Downstairs, the beams, flagstones, oak floors, oak wall panelling and open fires are immediately welcoming. Upstairs and over two floors, the beams and exposed stone of the 11 bedrooms give guests a sense of history while the furnishings, bathrooms and luxurious little touches offer a real sense of comfort. The dog-friendly inn is also in the Good Pub Guide 2021. www.sun-inn.info

Eden Valley and the East

Borrowdale. Hazel Bank Country House

Borrowdale. Hazel Bank Country House

If it's location, local knowledge and great walking you're after this is the perfect place to head for, ‘a classic country house on an intimate scale,’ says the Good Hotel Guide 2021. Hazel Bank was Editor’s Choice for Rooms with a View in the guide’s 2020 edition and was a shortlisted finalist in the Best for Romance category of the 2021 Condé Nast Johansens UK and Ireland Awards for Excellence. Owned by Donna and Gary MacRae (Donna is Borrowdale born), the seven bedroom hotel stands in four acres of grounds and has an AA rosetted restaurant. www.hazelbankhotel.co.uk

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Near Ambleside. The Juniper House

Near Ambleside. The Juniper House

Take yourself off to The Juniper House at Randy Pike and you’ll discover how a labour of love turned into a lap of luxury. ‘The most beautiful suite we’ve ever stayed in,’ said one guest of Andy and Chrissy Hill’s creation. ‘A perfect mix of eclectic luxury,’ said another. The hexagonal-shaped suite is separate from the main building (Randy Pike) and is spacious, lavish, colourful and full of invention. Feast on the amazing breakfasts at this B&B and the views of Windermere in the distance. The Hills also own The Jumble Room restaurant in Grasmere. www.randypike.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Howtown, Ullswater. Waternook

Howtown, Ullswater. Waternook

In a land of superlatives - deepest lake, highest mountain, greatest view - Waternook adds another: a sublime waterside setting with ‘designer homes decorated to five star hotel standards’. Such was the view of judges as Waternook was named Best Serviced Accommodation in the UK and Ireland at the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2019. Set in 26 acres, with half a mile of lakeshore, Waternook comprises two luxurious properties, one sleeping 12 people, the other eight. The owners also offer a concierge service. www.waternookonullswater.com

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Ravenstonedale near Kirkby Stephen. Black Swan Hotel

Ravenstonedale near Kirkby Stephen. Black Swan Hotel

‘A village inn full of country pleasures,’ says the Good Pub Guide 2021 and one of those pleasures is the ‘outstanding food’ in the two AA rosette restaurant. Located in a conservation village not far from Kirkby Stephen, the Black Swan is also a main entry in the Good Hotel Guide 2021. The two dining rooms, a small lounge and the two areas of the bar are on the ground floor, along with four of the 16 ‘spotlessly clean’ bedrooms. The Black Swan was Pub of the Year at the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2019. www.blackswanhotel.com

Eden Valley and the East

Ambleside. Rothay Manor Hotel

Ambleside. Rothay Manor Hotel

A short walk from the centre of Ambleside, this fine looking Regency building has appeared in every edition of the Good Hotel Guide since the 1970s. There are 19 individually decorated bedrooms (four of them dog friendly), with some rooms having balconies overlooking the garden. The restaurant has three AA rosettes -  its dishes a ‘class act’, says the Good Hotel Guide - while the bar lounge and drawing room are a perfect setting for pre-dinner drinks or afternoon tea. The hotel stands in an acre of gardens and grounds. www.rothaymanor.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Windermere. Cedar Manor

Windermere. Cedar Manor

‘A beautifully intimate hotel,’ quotes the Good Hotel Guide 2021 of Cedar Manor which ‘garners nothing but praise from readers for its luxurious bedrooms, thoughtful touches and spot-on service’, says the guide. Tucked into a walled garden on the edge of Windermere, Jonathan and Caroline Kaye’s hotel has ten bedrooms, all varying in size, character and outlook. Its green credentials helped it become Sustainable Hotel of the Year at the Hotel Cateys 2018. Treat yourself to a delightful afternoon tea as well. www.cedarmanor.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Crosthwaite. The Punch Bowl Inn and Restaurant

Crosthwaite. The Punch Bowl Inn and Restaurant

‘One of Cumbria’s great treasures,’ the travel section of The Times once wrote of this 300 year old inn and its two AA rosette restaurant. And says the Good Hotel Guide 2021: ‘This smart village inn has a deserved reputation for good food and cosseting bedrooms.’ There are nine of those ‘contemporary-country style' bedrooms plus a bar, the restaurant and two lounges. The Punch Bowl is also in the Good Food Guide 2020 and the Good Pub Guide 2021 in which it’s Cumbria Dining Pub of the Year. www.the-punchbowl.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Near Kendal. The Hyning Estate

Near Kendal. The Hyning Estate

‘Deserves all the praise it gets,’ said one visitor to the Hyning Estate where ‘top notch accommodation’, ‘a superb location’ and inspiring green credentials make the eight properties a rather special place to stay. All have been awarded five star gold status by VisitEngland while the estate itself was Self-catering Holiday of the Year at the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2015, and finalist for the Sustainable Tourism Award at the same time. The properties sleep between two and 12 people but ‘Exclusively Hyning’ is being launched this year for those wanting to book all properties, including a new one called The Byrewww.thehyningestate.com

Kendal and the South

Near Hawkshead. Yewfield

Near Hawkshead. Yewfield

Close to Tarn Hows, one of Lakeland’s best known beauty spots, this vegetarian guest house is in the same family ownership as Zeffirellis, Fellini’s and Ambleside Manor in Ambleside. There’s a calm and cultured air about the five star establishment, a Steinway piano in the spacious and elegant lounge (with woodburner). 13 very comfortable bedrooms have Designer’s Guild wallpaper and fabrics, lovely oak panelling and Herdwick wool carpets. There are more rooms next door and self-catering apartments too. Yoga retreats are occasionally held. www.yewfield.co.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Ambleside. Waterhead

Ambleside. Waterhead

A few steps away from the lake shore is this four star townhouse hotel where almost half of the 41 bedrooms overlook the lake. Those rooms are named after Lakeland waterfalls and split between House Rooms, Classic Rooms and Luxury Lake View Rooms. The latter come with Nespresso coffee machines, White Company toiletries, bathrobes, slippers and more. Downstairs is the Waterhead Bar and Grill and just across the road is the jetty for Windermere Lake Cruises. Waterhead is part of English Lakes Hotels. www.englishlakes.co.uk/waterhead

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Sedbergh. Black Bull Inn

Sedbergh. Black Bull Inn

‘An idyll of a place,’ said the Sunday Times Magazine in late 2020, a ‘star’ in Sedbergh’s main street. ‘Sleekly revamped’ is the phrase the Good Hotel Guide 2021 uses of one of Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs for 2020. The 18 bedrooms are all different in character, ‘influenced by Japanese design and culture’ while the food and hospitality received fulsome praise in that Sunday Times Magazine article. Sedbergh’s Three Hares deli is run by the same couple as the Black Bull, Nina Matsunaga and James Ratcliffe. www.theblackbullsedbergh.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Sally’s Cottages

Sally’s Cottages

Set up in 2003 with just one property, this holiday cottage letting agency now has over 400 cottages within the Lake District National Park. It won a silver award at the British Travel Awards 2020 in the Best UK Self Catering/Cottage Holiday Company category. Short breaks and week-long breaks are available, with the properties sleeping from two to 25 people. More than 250 of them are pet-friendly, accommodating up to four dogs. A very informative website gives lots of details about the cottages and the areas in which they’re located. www.sallyscottages.co.uk

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

near Ambleside. Randy Pike

near Ambleside. Randy Pike

Rococo meets Gothic meets luxurious living at Andy and Chrissy Hill's bijou B&B, a former hunting lodge to nearby Wray Castle, both places built in the 1840s. You'll feel a bit like royalty here, what with the three huge rooms, the large, hand carved beds, the enormous bathrooms (‘virtually the size of any of the Benelux countries’), the lavish colours, the richly textured designer fabrics, and the breakfasts. It’s all laced with a bit of eccentricity but eccentricity is what people love about the place. The Hills also own The Jumble Room restaurant in Grasmere. www.randypike.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Near Tebay. Tebay Services Hotel

Near Tebay. Tebay Services Hotel

It’s just off the motorway but when you step into this 51 bedroom hotel - a main entry in the Good Hotel Guide 2021 - all that traffic seems a long way off. Log fires, local artwork, Harris tweed fabrics and Cumbrian slate give the chalet-style building a homely touch, and there are great views over the surrounding countryside. ‘A very welcoming hotel in a wonderful setting’; ‘outstanding value for money’ are the words of two readers quoted in the Good Hotel Guide. Tebay Services are well known for their farmshops. www.tebayserviceshotel.com

Eden Valley and the East

Askham near Ullswater. The Queen’s Head

Askham near Ullswater. The Queen’s Head

‘A village pub with a difference,’ say the Lowther family owners of this 17th century inn, sister to both Michelin starred Askham Hall and the George and Dragon at nearby Clifton. There are seven bedrooms, and nine tables in the bar where ‘super posh’ food is served, made with produce reared, foraged and grown on the family farms and kitchen gardens and in the local hedgerows. ‘Think earthy truffle with creamy artichoke, deep-flavoured seasonal game and home-reared saddleback pork,’ says the pub which is open Thursday-Sunday. www.queenshead-askham.co.uk

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Portinscale, near Keswick. Derwentwater House

Portinscale, near Keswick. Derwentwater House

Overlooking Derwentwater, a hundred metres from the lake shore and close to Keswick, this magnificent Georgian property is, say the owners, ‘the ultimate in luxury self-catering accommodation’. It sleeps up to 22 guests and can be used for a special anniversary or a gathering of family and friends. There’s a main house and a separate lodge, the former accommodating 16 guests in eight stylish en-suite bedrooms. Plus a huge dining room, two comfortable lounges and a games room. The lodge comfortably sleeps six. www.derwentwaterhouse.co.uk  

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Near Bowness-on-Windermere. Linthwaite House

Near Bowness-on-Windermere. Linthwaite House

Few hotels in the Lake District command such a wonderful location as luxurious Linthwaite House, standing as it does on an elevated site, with exhilarating views across Windermere. The 36 individually designed bedrooms vary in size and outlook; six Lake Suites, with floor to ceiling windows and open-plan bedroom and living spaces, are located in the 14 acres of grounds. A drink in the elegant lounge or conservatory is the perfect precursor to dinner at Henrock, run by the Michelin starred chef Simon Rogan. www.leeucollection.com

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Clifton near Penrith. George & Dragon

Clifton near Penrith. George & Dragon

‘Bags of heritage chic,’ said the Good Food Guide 2020 of this former coaching inn, two miles south of Penrith on the A6. Downstairs is a homely, flagstoned bar and an 80 seat restaurant, the kitchens supplied with meat and game and a lot of the vegetables by nearby Askham Hall (in the same ownership) or from the wider Lowther Estate. Upstairs are 11 bedrooms, varying in size but distinguished by individual and attractive touches. ’Stylish and comfortable’, says the Good Pub Guide 2021. www.georgeanddragonclifton.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Near Coniston Water. Howe Foot

Near Coniston Water. Howe Foot

Great care and craftsmanship, and beautiful natural materials are the hallmarks of two immaculate cottages at Low Beck Bottom. It’s a magical little spot with the conversion, building work and decoration carried out by owners Sue and Martin Hawkard. Both cottages - Otley Beck Cottage and Garden Cottage - sleep two people. The latter, a former oak swill basket maker’s workshop, has a Rayburn while Otley Beck has a lovely aqua-coloured Aga. Tilberthwaite slate is much in evidence and there is a wood-burning stove in each cottage too. www.howe-foot.co.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Crook near Windermere. The Wild Boar

Crook near Windermere. The Wild Boar

There’s an immediately welcoming feel as you step into the flagstoned bar of this AA five star inn, grill and smokehouse, a few minutes from the east side of Windermere (lake). An open fire in an old range lies to the left while a bar straight ahead serves beer from the on-site Wild Boar Brewhouse. The 34 bedrooms - divided into Classic, Feature and Luxury - include three suites with log burning stoves and seven rooms with their own patio. The inn sits in 72 acres of semi-ancient woodland with its own tarn. www.englishlakes.co.uk/the-wild-boar

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Coniston Water. Brantwood

Coniston Water. Brantwood

Take your pick from one of two self-catering places at John Ruskin’s old home of Brantwood beside Coniston Water and then soak up the wonderful views to lake and fells. The Eyrie is a second floor flat which sleeps two people, the corner window providing uninterrupted views up and down the lake and to the Old Man of Coniston. The Lodge, built by Ruskin himself, has five bedrooms, four with lake views. A number of Cumbrian artists and makers were commissioned to create artworks, furniture and other items for The Lodge. www.brantwood.org.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

near Ambleside. Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa

near Ambleside. Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa

Right beside Windermere, this 131 bedroom hotel has seen massive investment - little short of £20 million - over the last few years. The undoubted star of the investment is the Winander Club, with a bar and breakfast room for its guests, both with enormous windows looking over the lake. Other big attractions are the excellent spa and health club, an infinity pool outside with great views across Windermere, the Atrium and the Blue Smoke on the Bay restaurant. Low Wood is part of English Lakes Hotels. www.englishlakes.co.uk/low-wood-bay 

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Newbiggin-on-Lune. Brownber Hall and Brownber House

Newbiggin-on-Lune. Brownber Hall and Brownber House

‘Hackney meets the Howgills’ or ‘Homely meets hipster’ was the general consensus among travel writers when they stayed at Brownber Hall as a B&B (Good Hotel Guide 2021). Now the eight bedroom Victorian mansion is a self-catering destination, along with its neighbouring property, Brownber House. The former sleeps from six to 15 people, the latter up to eight. They’re the ‘perfect places to escape with friends and family for scenic walks and outdoor adventures,’ say owners Amanda and Peter Jaques-Walker. www.brownberhall.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Loweswater. Kirkstile Inn

Loweswater. Kirkstile Inn

‘Famous Lake District pub in stunning Loweswater,’ says the Kirkstile whose habitat is pure, unadulterated Lakeland. Mellbreak, Grasmoor and others stand like sentinels around the 16th century building while Crummock Water is a few minutes away. Loweswater and Buttermere are not far either. Downstairs there are three bar areas, serving beers from the pub’s own Cumbrian Ales brewery, and a restaurant. Eleven bedrooms have been nicely refurbished in the last three years. ‘Well run and extremely well liked,’ is the Good Pub Guide 2021’s verdict. www.kirkstile.com

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

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