Editor Picks: Luxury & Boutique Hotels in the Lake District

by Allie d'Almo  |  Published August 25, 2021

The Lake District may be best-known for its rugged beauty and outdoor pursuits, but it’s not all tent poles and campfires. With Michelin-star dining, boutique hotels and luxury spas, it’s an A-list holiday destination too. 

(Photo: Linwaithe House via Booking.com)

Located in the northwest of England, almost all 885-square miles of the Lake District is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. The region’s rugged beauty is well documented, from its shimmering lakes to its soaring pikes, but you’ll also find biscuit-tin villages, bustling market towns and lakeside resorts too. This is, after all, the landscape that inspired William Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter  – so it has plenty going for it. Luxury accommodation options are plentiful too, with low-key luxury boltholes, riverside retreats, manor houses and state-of-the-art spas to choose from. We’ve cherry-picked five of the best luxury and boutique hotels, based on location, facilities, amenities and design. 

Linwaithe House

Linwaithe is a mere five-minute drive from Windemere, but it couldn’t feel further away from the bustle of the Lake District’s most famous town. The grand, yet contemporary country house is set in 14 acres of manicured gardens and private woodlands, with a sprawling terrace and a conservatory overlooking the grounds. Interiors are the perfect blend of low-key luxe and old-world grandeur, with crisp linen, thick mattress and high-quality toiletries. You can also opt for one of the chalet-style suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake. Head to the hotel’s restaurant Henrock, the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan, for farm-to-fork dining and foraged treats. There’s an impressive amount of local plonk on the wine list too, sourced from small local vineyards.  From £340 per night. 

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Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa 

(Photo: Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa via Booking.com)

This former stately home is the perfect spot to live out your wildest Downton Abbey fantasies – think wood-panelled, stags’ heads, a Victorian billiards room and fine china-filled floor-to-ceiling cabinets. The premises alone is enough to impress a well-heeled clientele, but the facilities step it up even further. The standout spa features a 16-metre infinity pool, a thermal suite, treatment rooms and an outdoor hot tub. Plus, the Lake District Wildlife Park is a short stroll away and feels like an extension of the hotel’s gardens. The hotel is located in the lesser-explored northwest region of the lakes, close to Keswick and Cockermouth. Rooms from £240 per night. 

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Rothay Garden Hotel & Riverside Spa

Proving that the best things in life do often come in small packages, Rothay Garden Hotel is set in Grasmere, one of the prettiest villages in the Lake District. It’s a short stroll from Wordsworth’s home, which opened recently, as well as a plethora of galleries and boutiques. Rooms are well-appointed, ranging from comfortable doubles to lavish suites, each offering inspiring views out over the craggy fells. The Riverside Spa, which is available only for hotel guests, features a hydro spa, a herbal pine sauna, an aromatherapy room, two monsoon showers and a relaxing reflexology walk. From £181 per night. 

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The Samling 

(Photo: The Samling via Booking.com)

For a more contemporary take on a country house, hotfoot to The Samling Hotel. Sitting in 67 acres of flower-filled fields home to kestrels, deer and rabbits, this hotel offers luxury touches in spades. It’s conveniently located 350 foot above England’s longest lake, Lake Windemere, too. As you might expect, the views are impressive, particularly from the glass-walled dining room. There’s a sitting room and snug library for rainy days, as well as a restaurant serving up modern, refined fare using locally sourced produce, like venison and home-grown vegetables. Days are best finished sinking deep into bubbles and gazing up at the stars in the outdoor hot tub. From £410 per night. 

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Holbeck Ghyll

Once a hunting lodge for the Earl of Lonsdale, also known as the ‘Yellow Earl’ thanks to his penchant for the colour, Holbeck Ghyll now offers luxury country house living for all who can afford it. Each of its 32 rooms is uniquely decorated, some with spacious lounges and all with lakeside or fell views. Interiors are a blend of Arts and Crafts with Art Deco touches, William Morris wallpapers and comfy upholstered armchairs. The food is excellent, with a choice of six or eight-course tasting menus too. It’s well-positioned for exploring the best of the lakes, with several well-known walking routes on the hotels’ doorstep.  From £150 per night. 

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