Howtown Hotel

Ullswater, 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.

Other reviews

The Hotel Guru

Comments about Howtown Hotel

Although it is delightfully old-fashioned in most respects, Mrs Baldry's philosophy is to maintain traditional high standards of hospitality with a personal touch, assisted by her son David. The hotel is beautifully kept with comfortable rooms, friendly and well-trained staff and excellent food. There is sometimes a feeble mobile signal, no WiFi in the main hotel but it is available in the adjacent tea-room for those who must stay connected! A perfect base for a hiking weekend, with great fell walks right from the door and a snug base to return to. - Martin Bailey - July 2019
Wonderfully old-fashioned. No TV in rooms, no door keys. The food is excellent but never fancy; - Stephanie Thompson - April 2018

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Last updated: October, 2019. Information from the 2020 Good Hotel Guide