Best Hotels in Cumbria and the Lake District

Boutique hotels, B&Bs, luxury country houses, inns, restaurants with rooms

With its lakes, fells and mountains, this is one of the most beautiful places in Britain. Cumbria is a mainly rural county and includes the whole of the Lake District, also known as The Lakes or Lakeland, the Eden Valley, the North Pennines, the Furness Peninsula, and part of the Yorkshire Dales.


Japanese visitors love the Lake District because of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter lived in the area) and cream teas. The main bases are Keswick in the north, Windermere and Bowness in the south. Cockermouth and Coniston are less touristy.


Hotel accommodation ranges from luxurious and expensive to simple if sometimes quite basic and there are lots of youth hostels. Much of this national park is administered by the National Trust. Visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and museum in Ambleside, and the family’s graves at St Oswald’s church in Grasmere.

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Featured hotels in Cumbria

Lindeth Fell, BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE, Cumbria

Nothing stands still,’ say the Kennedy family, who have decided to run their country house on the fells overlooking Lake Windermere as a ‘luxury B&B’ rather than a hotel. They


Rothay Manor, AMBLESIDE, Cumbria

‘Comfortable, welcoming and very professional’, this traditional hotel has new owners, James and Jenna Shail. Many staff have stayed on from the old regime. The Regency features of the


Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, WINDERMERE, Cumbria

‘A happy atmosphere: friendly staff, flowers in every room.’ Fresh praise in 2015 from returning visitors for this ‘superb’ country house hotel (Relais & Châteaux).


Holbeck Ghyll, WINDERMERE, Cumbria

‘An enjoyable experience’, Stephen and Lisa Leahy’s ivy-covered Arts and Crafts house has a ‘friendly, relaxed’ atmosphere. ‘It doesn’t feel formal or stuffy


Ees Wyke Country House, NEAR SAWREY, Cumbria

‘It is nearly as perfect a little place as I have ever lived in,’ wrote Beatrix Potter, who arrived at the village of Near Sawrey in 1896 with pony and phaeton. She spent three summers at


Hazel Bank, BORROWDALE, Cumbria

In a beautiful Lake District valley, this ‘charming’ stone house, built in 1840, returns to the Guide under the ownership of the MacRae family. ‘It is a welcoming, relaxed


Askham Hall, Penrith, Cumbria

‘A hotel of character’, this Grade I listed country house, 13th-century in origin, has been renovated by its owners, Charlie and Juno Lowther. They eschewed the formality of traditional


Hotels in Cumbria

  • Leathes Head Hotel, BORROWDALE, Cumbria

    There are spectacular views towards Skiddaw from this country hotel in secluded grounds in the Borrowdale valley. Jamie Adamson is the ‘enthusiastic’ manager; staff are ‘friendly and helpful’.

  • Linthwaite House, BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE, Cumbria

    ‘A superb setting in extensive gardens.’ High above Lake Windermere, this smart hotel wins fresh praise from a reader in 2015. Hector Degalard is the manager. Period and contemporary

  • The Cottage in the Wood, BRAITHWAITE, Cumbria

    ‘We got the warmest welcome we have ever received from any hotel.’ Praise this year for Kath and Liam Berney’s restaurant-with-rooms deep in the Whinlatter forest. In the converted

  • Farlam Hall, BRAMPTON, Cumbria

    In Hadrian’s Wall country, this traditional country house hotel (Relais & Châteaux) has been owned and managed by the Quinion family for 40 years. Guests comment on their ‘warm

  • The Regent, AMBLESIDE, Cumbria

    ‘A well-run hotel with a great atmosphere’, the Hewitt family’s white-fronted building is opposite a slipway and pier on Lake Windermere. The owning family are much in evidence: Andrew Hewitt is the

  • Aynsome Manor, CARTMEL, Cumbria

    ‘In a quiet part of the South Lakes away from the tourist crowds’, this ‘exceptionally good’ 17th-century manor house hotel has long been run by its owners, Christopher and Andrea Varley. It is

  • The Punch Bowl Inn, CROSTHWAITE, Cumbria

    Close to Lake Windermere, this ‘fantastic’ 300-year-old inn is liked for its ‘comfortable’ country-style bedrooms and ‘extraordinary’ cooking. It is owned by Richard Rose. Individually designed

  • The Old Dungeon Ghyll, GREAT LANGDALE, Cumbria

    At the head of the Great Langdale valley, fell walkers and climbers have been welcomed at this popular inn for more than 300 years. It is run by Jane and Neil Walmsley for the National Trust. Simple,

  • Overwater Hall, IREBY, Cumbria

    Deer and red squirrel may be seen on the approach to this ‘comfortable, friendly hotel’ in the northern Lake District. The Grade II listed Georgian mansion is run in an informal style by

  • New House Farm, LORTON, Cumbria

    In the Lorton Vale, away from Lake District tourists, Hazel Thompson’s unpretentious guest house is surrounded by the glorious landscape of the fells. She has restored and furnished the Grade II

  • Howtown Hotel, ULLSWATER, Cumbria

    ‘A place to get away from it all.’ Guide inspectors in 2015 loved this stone-built Lake District hotel, which the Baldry family has run for more than a century. ‘It unashamedly sticks to its

  • Willowbeck Lodge, CARLISLE, Cumbria

    Amid mature weeping willows, and beech and oak trees, this alpine-style guest house is run by ‘friendly’ owners Liz and John McGrillis. The ‘spacious, superbly furnished’

  • Temple Sowerby House, TEMPLE SOWERBY, Cumbria

    Run with ‘enthusiasm and professionalism’ by its owners, Paul and Julie Evans, this Grade II listed red brick mansion is in a village in the Eden valley. Standing in two acres of ‘atmospheric’ walled

  • The Bay Horse, ULVERSTON, Cumbria

    ‘Utter peace’ reigns at this 18th-century former staging post which is ‘beautifully situated’ on Morecambe Bay. Robert Lyons and Lesley Wheeler’s inn is ‘a place from a bygone age of service and

  • Rampsbeck, WATERMILLOCK, Cumbria

    ‘A classic country house’, John Brooksbank’s whitewashed hotel stands in extensive gardens with ‘spectacular’ views over Lake Ullswater. It returns to a full entry after

  • Tebay Services Hotel, Penrith, Cumbria

    ‘We really liked this out-of-the-ordinary motorway hotel.’ With ‘superb’ views of the fells, this deep-pitched building (reminiscent of mountain architecture) is just off the M6, between junctions 38

  • Lyzzick Hall, KESWICK , Cumbria

    ‘Thoroughly recommended.’ On the lower slopes of Skiddaw, the Fernandez and Lake families run their country hotel amid the ‘stunning’ scenery of Catbells and the Borrowdale

  • Dalegarth House, KESWICK , Cumbria

    In a quiet, rural setting high above Derwentwater, Craig and Clare Dalton are the attentive and easy-going hosts at this traditionally furnished Edwardian house. Bedrooms are comfortable and

  • Lindeth Howe, BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE, Cumbria

    In extensive gardens with sloping lawns, ponds and woodland, this Victorian country house overlooking Lake Windermere was once owned by Beatrix Potter. She spent family holidays and wrote some of her

  • The Pheasant, BASSENTHWAITE LAKE, Cumbria

    Guests receive a ‘friendly welcome’ at this ‘lovely’ country hotel, once a Lakeland staging post and coaching inn. It stands in ‘well-kept, peaceful’ gardens that

  • Augill Castle, KIRKBY STEPHEN, Cumbria

    ‘There is something here for everyone,’ says a visitor this year to Wendy and Simon Bennett’s turreted Gothic castle in the Eden valley. A multi-generational party (aged from three

  • Clare House, GRANGE-OVER-SANDS, Cumbria

    Returning guests appreciate the ‘great welcome’, spacious bedrooms and ‘outstanding’ dinners at the Read family’s traditional hotel, in a ‘delightful’ setting in well-maintained gardens. There are log

  • Sun Inn, KIRKBY LONSDALE, Cumbria

    Near the churchyard in this historic market town on the banks of the River Lune, this white-painted 17th-century inn is owned and run by Lucy and Mark Fuller, with ‘warm, friendly’ staff. There are

  • The Black Swan, RAVENSTONEDALE, Cumbria

    ‘Definitely off the beaten track’, Louise Dinnes’s ‘thoroughly dependable’ country-pub-with-rooms sits amid upland pastures at the foot of the Howgill fells.

  • Broadgate House, MILLOM, Cumbria

    Within the Lake District national park, Diana Lewthwaite’s peaceful guest house is surrounded by colourful gardens; there are panoramic views across the Duddon estuary. The fine Georgian house,

  • Cedar Manor, WINDERMERE, Cumbria

    Named after the 200-year-old cedar tree in the walled gardens, Caroline and Jonathan Kaye’s handsomely appointed 19th-century house is within easy reach of the lake and village. ‘Warm and sincere’,

  • Oak Bank, GRASMERE, Cumbria

    ‘Friendly hospitality and fine food.’ More praise this year for Glynis and Simon Wood’s small hotel, a rough-hewn vernacular building, a short walk from William Wordsworth’s

  • Broadoaks, TROUTBECK, Cumbria

    In extensive landscaped grounds with views towards Windermere, Tracey Robinson and Joanna Harbottle’s ‘beautiful, very welcoming’ hotel is in a ‘stunning’ 19th-century

  • Number 43, ARNSIDE, Cumbria

    Lesley Hornsby’s modern B&B is in a peaceful row of Victorian hillside villas on the seafront promenade. Overlooking the Kent estuary, it has exceptional views of the surrounding fells; trains can be

  • The Swan Hotel & Spa, NEWBY BRIDGE, Cumbria

    On the banks of the River Leven, at the southern tip of Lake Windermere, this family-friendly 17th-century coaching inn has pretty, modern bedrooms, elegant lounges and a popular local pub. It is

  • Willowford Farm, GILSLAND, Cumbria

    In the Irthing valley, Liam McNulty and Lauren Harrison’s 100-acre organic farm is right on one of the longest, best preserved stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, running along the National Trail

  • The Plough, LUPTON, Cumbria

    In a tiny hamlet close to Kirkby Lonsdale, this smartly refurbished 18th-century coaching inn is ‘an attractive place to eat and stay’. It is owned by Paul Spencer; Susannah Harris and

  • Nanny Brow, AMBLESIDE, Cumbria

    Surrounded by landscaped gardens and private woodlands, this Arts and Crafts home has views of the River Brathay below and the fells beyond. It has been ‘extensively and sympathetically’

  • Brownber Hall, NEWBIGGIN-ON-LUNE, Cumbria

    Owners Hilary and Andrew Woodward run their peaceful B&B in this 19th-century country house. Standing in extensive mature gardens, it has views across open farmland to the Howgill Fells and the

  • The Grasmere Hotel, GRASMERE, Cumbria

    ‘It would be hard to beat such excellence in a small hotel,’ said trusted correspondents in 2015 visiting Rob van der Palen and Anton Renac’s renovated Victorian hotel. Although in

  • The Hill on the Wall, GILSLAND, Cumbria

    In an outstanding hilltop location, Elaine Packer’s ‘magnificent’ Grade II listed home, a fortified ‘bastle’ farmhouse built in 1595, overlooks Hadrian’s Wall near Birdoswald. B&B guests receive an

  • The Eltermere Inn, ELTERWATER, Cumbria

    Guests are offered tea and cake on arrival at Mark and Ruth Jones’s country hotel in a small Lakeland village overlooking Elter Water. Cosy and welcoming, it is run as a family affair: daughter Aimee

  • Borrowdale Gates, Grange-in-Borrowdale, Cumbria

    At the head of Derwentwater, the Harrison family’s Lakeland hotel is an extended country house standing in peaceful wooded grounds. Most of the comfortable bedrooms have a balcony or window seat