Best hotels in Cumbria and the Lake District

Hotels, B&Bs, 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

The 'real country house atmosphere and hands-on proprietors' are regularly praised by visitors to Diana Kennedy's country B&B. It stands in 'lovely grounds' on the fells overlooking Lake

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Rothay Manor, AMBLESIDE, Cumbria

'Standards are as high as ever: immaculate, beautifully furnished bedrooms and lounges; excellent food; a warm welcome.' In large, landscaped gardens, a short walk from Lake Windermere and the town

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Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, WINDERMERE, Cumbria

'A gold standard for small luxury hotels: the type of place where you do not feel you need to wear a tie.' In extensive grounds with cultivated gardens and woodland, this 'friendly, family-run'

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Holbeck Ghyll, WINDERMERE, Cumbria

Built as a hunting lodge for Lord Lonsdale, this ivy-covered Arts and Crafts house stands in extensive grounds that slope down to Lake Windermere. It is managed by Andrew McPherson for the owners,

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Swinside Lodge, KESWICK , Cumbria

'Pastoral sounds' (birds and newborn lambs) 'greet the day' at this small Georgian house, which stands at the foot of Cat Bells, surrounded by Lake District peaks. The owners, Mike and Kath Bilton,

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Hotels in Cumbria

  • Leathes Head Hotel, BORROWDALE, Cumbria

    In a 'stunning' lakeside setting, this country hotel in an Edwardian house has good walks from the front door, and easy access to Keswick. 'Enthusiastic, helpful, caring' service is maintained by

  • Linthwaite House, BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE, Cumbria

    'Beautifully situated' high above Windermere, with 'magnificent' views across the lake, this 'very comfortable' late Victorian country hotel stands in extensive gardens with 'vast' terraces for taking

  • The Cottage in the Wood, BRAITHWAITE, Cumbria

    There are views down to the Skiddaw mountain range, and sightings of the red squirrels and roe deer that populate the woodland, from Kath and Liam Berney's restaurant-with-rooms within Whinlatter

  • Farlam Hall, BRAMPTON, Cumbria

    'Going to Farlam Hall is like stepping back into the heyday of country house hospitality.' Continuing praise this year for this traditional, ivy-covered country hotel (Relais & Châteaux),

  • The Regent, AMBLESIDE, Cumbria

    Opposite a pier on Lake Windermere ('an excellent position to explore the lakes'), this Hewitt family's hotel is 'friendly and well run', say visitors this year. 'Andrew Hewitt is very much the quiet

  • Aynsome Manor, CARTMEL, Cumbria

    In the Vale of Cartmel, this 17th-century manor house is run as a traditional hotel by the Varley family. Chris and Andrea Varley, who took over from his parents, are in charge, assisted by David

  • The Punch Bowl Inn, CROSTHWAITE, Cumbria

    Next to the parish church, this 300-year-old inn has sweeping views of the unspoilt Lyth valley. It is owned by Richard Rose. 'Comfortable' country-style bedrooms have characterful beams; the largest,

  • The Old Dungeon Ghyll, GREAT LANGDALE, Cumbria

    There are good-value, country-style bedrooms and a wide selection of Scottish malt whiskies at this comfortable, informal inn, which has welcomed fell walkers and climbers for more than 300 years. It

  • Overwater Hall, IREBY, Cumbria

    'The perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of modern life', this small country hotel has been run for more than 20 years by the owners, Stephen Bore and Angela and Adrian Hyde. In the quieter

  • New House Farm, LORTON, Cumbria

    'Beauty, peace and solitude in abundance' were enjoyed by a reader who chose Hazel Thompson's unpretentious guest house in the Lake District for her wedding this year. The 'beautifully decorated'

  • Howtown Hotel, ULLSWATER, Cumbria

    For more than a century, the Baldry family has 'shared their family home with visitors who believe in the same values and have the same passion for this unspoilt part of the Lake District'. Guide

  • Willowbeck Lodge, CARLISLE, Cumbria

    In a village near Carlisle, this architect-designed guest house is recommended by readers as 'a great place to stop on the way to or from Scotland'. The owners, Liz and John McGrillis, welcome B&B

  • Temple Sowerby House, TEMPLE SOWERBY, Cumbria

    At their small hotel, a Grade II listed red brick mansion in a conservation village in the Eden valley, Paul and Julie Evans 'could not be more helpful or hospitable'. A visitor in 2014, celebrating a

  • The Bay Horse, ULVERSTON, Cumbria

    In a 'serene setting' on the edge of the Leven estuary, Robert Lyons and Lesley Wheeler's 'excellently kept' 17th-century former coaching inn is 'always reliable and a real treat', say regular

  • Rampsbeck, WATERMILLOCK, Cumbria

    On the shores of Lake Ullswater, this whitewashed 18th-century Lakeland country house stands in 18 acres of mature grounds with stunning views over the lake and the fells. It is owned by John

  • Inn on the Lake, ULLSWATER, Cumbria

    There are 'fabulous' lake and mountain views from this 'wonderful' hotel standing in extensive grounds on the shores of Lake Ullswater. It is managed by Gary Wilson, with staff who 'could not have

  • Tebay Services Hotel, Penrith, Cumbria

    'Quiet and peaceful, with superb views of the fells', the Dunning family's modern hotel serves as an 'excellent, no-fuss stop-over' for trips to and from Scotland, or as a base for touring that side

  • Lyzzick Hall, KESWICK , Cumbria

    On the lower slopes of Skiddaw, this country hotel, run by the Fernandez and Lake families, lies amid the 'stunning' scenery of the Borrowdale valley and Catbells. Most bedrooms have views towards the

  • Dalegarth House, KESWICK , Cumbria

    Walkers can access the fells straight from the door of this spacious, traditionally furnished Edwardian house high above Derwentwater; easy-going hosts Craig and Clare Dalton provide guides and local

  • Lindeth Howe, BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE, Cumbria

    Overlooking Lake Windermere, this Victorian country house, once a summer home for a wealthy industrialist, stands in large mature gardens with sloping lawns and woodland. It was once owned by Beatrix

  • The Pheasant, BASSENTHWAITE LAKE, Cumbria

    Well placed for rural walks, this 'beautiful old pub', a 17th-century coaching inn not far from Bassenthwaite Lake, is surrounded by woodland populated by roe deer, red squirrels and natterjack toads.

  • Augill Castle, KIRKBY STEPHEN, Cumbria

    'This is no ordinary hotel,' say Simon and Wendy Bennett, who welcome guests in an 'easy-going manner' to their home, an eccentric neo-Gothic Victorian folly in the upper Eden valley. Visitors enjoy

  • Ees Wyke Country House, NEAR SAWREY, Cumbria

    'Superb, as usual,' say visitors returning in 2014 to Richard and Margaret Lee's small country hotel above the still waters of Esthwaite in the Lake District. Set in pretty gardens, the Georgian house

  • Clare House, GRANGE-OVER-SANDS, Cumbria

    'Another lovely stay.' 'The very best of the traditional', the Read family's Victorian hotel attracts many regular guests, who like its 'great welcome, comfy -- even homely -- bedrooms and the

  • Sun Inn, KIRKBY LONSDALE, Cumbria

    In a 'delightful little town with interesting shops and galleries', Lucy and Mark Fuller's 17th-century inn is 'top notch in all departments', says a regular Guide correspondent this year. 'The owners

  • The Black Swan, RAVENSTONEDALE, Cumbria

    'Unstuffy, not over-sophisticated but thoroughly dependable, it maintains its warm welcome, its feeling of cosiness and its remarkable value for money.' Praise this year from a returning guest to Alan

  • Broadgate House, MILLOM, Cumbria

    Diana Lewthwaite provides peaceful guest house accommodation in her fine Georgian house, which has been in her family for almost 200 years. It is within the Lake District national park, and has

  • Cedar Manor, WINDERMERE, Cumbria

    A 200-year-old cedar tree stands in the walled gardens of this 19th-century hotel, which is within an easy walk of the lake and village. Caroline and Jonathan Kaye are the hands-on owners. The

  • Oak Bank, GRASMERE, Cumbria

    Owners Glynis and Simon Wood are 'very hands-on and take pride in their establishment', says a visitor in 2014 to this small hotel. It stands on a quiet road on the village outskirts. The Woods run it

  • Broadoaks, TROUTBECK, Cumbria

    There is a 'lovely warm feel' at Tracey Robinson's 'stunning' 19th-century house, standing in extensive landscaped grounds with views towards Windermere. Andrea Carter is the manager. Bedrooms are

  • Number 43, ARNSIDE, Cumbria

    There are exceptional views across the Kent estuary and surrounding fells from this modern B&B, in a row of Victorian hillside villas on the promenade. Lesley Hornsby is the owner. Alfresco drinks

  • The Swan Hotel & Spa, NEWBY BRIDGE, Cumbria

    Popular with boating visitors, this whitewashed 17th-century coaching inn stands by a five-arch bridge on the banks of the River Leven, on the southern tip of Lake Windermere. It has been renovated by

  • Willowford Farm, GILSLAND, Cumbria

    On one of the longest unbroken stretches of Hadrian's Wall, with the remains of a bridge and two turrets, this B&B stands on a 100-acre organic farm along the National Trail between Gilsland

  • The Plough, LUPTON, Cumbria

    'An attractive place to eat and stay', this painstakingly refurbished 18th-century coaching inn is owned by Richard Rose, proprietor of The Punch Bowl Inn at Crosthwaite (see Shortlist above). Jon

  • Nanny Brow, AMBLESIDE, Cumbria

    Up a steep drive, Sue and Peter Robinson's white-painted guest house sits in a prominent position with a 'most attractive' view of the River Brathay below and the fells beyond. Mark Jones is manager.

  • Brownber Hall, NEWBIGGIN-ON-LUNE, Cumbria

    'Arriving on a wet and stormy winter evening', visitors this year to Hilary Reid's B&B in a mid-19th-century country house were impressed by the welcome. 'She greeted us, offered assistance with our

  • The Grasmere Hotel, GRASMERE, Cumbria

    'High standards of friendliness and helpfulness' are shown by the hosts and their staff at Rob van der Palen and Anton Renac's small hotel in the Lake District. The River Rothay borders the small

  • The Hill on the Wall, GILSLAND, Cumbria

    Elaine Packer welcomes guests to her 'elegant' B&B with tea and home-made cake in the drawing room of this Grade II listed building, a fortified 'bastle' farmhouse built in 1595. It has an

  • Askham Hall, Penrith, Cumbria

    In a village on the eastern edge of the Lake District national park, this manor house (a Grade I listed Pele Tower expanded in Elizabethan times) is the former family home of Charles Lowther and

  • The Eltermere Inn, ELTERWATER, Cumbria

    In glorious countryside in the Langdale valley, Mark and Ruth Jones's refurbished country hotel with Georgian origins is a family affair: daughter Aimee is manager; son Edward is chef. On arrival,

  • Trout Hotel, COCKERMOUTH, Cumbria

    'One of the best hotels we have stayed in.' On the banks of the River Derwent, this much-extended 17th-century home has retained many period features: original stone walls, exposed beams,