Howtown Hotel

Penrith, Cumbria

Bong, bong! More

Good Hotel Guide Review

Bong, bong! It is dinner time at this ancient farmhouse-turned-hotel in grounds bordering Lake Ullswater, where the gong still summons guests to table. ‘So retro it’s almost trendy’, it has been owned by the Baldry family for some 120 years. Log fires crackle in a parlour adorned with horse brasses, Toby jugs, long-case clock and chintz. Bedrooms have an electric blanket, no door key. Switch on the wireless and you half expect it to be tuned to the Light Programme for Mrs Dale’s Diary. There is limited Wi-Fi, a TV room with, by now, even, maybe, a colour set. It is old-fashioned, yes, but that does not mean frowsy: ‘Everything is done just so.’ It’s a perfect place for dog-owners, walkers, climbers. Scrub up with the Imperial Leather and head down to the duck-egg-blue dining room, where respected chef Colin Akrigg cooks locally sourced dishes with ‘pitch-perfect flavours’ – maybe duck pâté, liver and bacon, trifle. Off the hallway, with warming pans and umbrella stand, daylight filters through stained glass into a plush residents’ bar. Lunches, scones, cakes and coffees are served in the tea room, ales in the walkers’ bar. Your 8 am wake-up call comes with tea and biscuits. (ST)

Hotel details


CA10 2ND


017684 86514


15. 2 in annexe, plus 4 self-catering cottages.


22 Mar–3 Nov.


3 lounges, TV room, 
2 bars, dining room, tea room, Wi-Fi in cottages and tea room only, 2-acre grounds, 200 yds from lake (private foreshore, fishing), walking, sailing, climbing, riding, golf nearby, restaurant wheelchair accessible, toilet not adapted.

Background music



all ages welcomed.


allowed in some bedrooms (£4 per night charge), not in public rooms.

Credit cards

MC, Visa.


per person B&B £67–£75, D,B&B £104–£108, dinner £37.

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