But it also has a dash of boutique hotel about it. The bedrooms - 10 of them - come with vivid designer wallpapers, Egyptian cotton sheets, waffle robes, perhaps a canopied (or four-poster) kingsize bed: not your average B&B. The building, a handsome 1850s greystone house with big arched windows and neatly striped lawns, can fairly be called a manor. Certainly, relaxing by the ancient cedar tree and pink rhododendrons, with a classy cream tea and glass of fizz, you feel like the lords of one. Indoors are 2 guest lounges, a well-stocked bar and delicious snacks (brought to your room if you prefer). The result of all this is a truly spoiling Lake-District hideaway with an intimate and attentive atmosphere; a place where discerning guests mingle happily, and return year after year.
- An excellent location: 5 mins' walk from the town centre and 5 mins' drive from the lakeside (cruises, watersports)
- Beautiful leafy gardens make it feel very secluded and special
- Truly warm welcome and firsthand advice from Jonathan, Caroline and staff, including great hiking and restaurant tips
- Everything is spotlessly clean, and nothing is too much trouble for the staff
- If you want more privacy, there's a smart little 1-bedroom cottage with its own living-dining space (and a very snazzy bathroom!)
- No children under 10: this is a tranquil place
- Not pet-friendly
- Bedrooms vary: some have better views, others bigger bathrooms (but all have their own character)
- Windermere is one of the Lake District's more touristy towns
Best time to go
Our top tips
We were impressed how hard Jonathan and Caroline have worked to promote local craftspeople, and to be as sustainable as possible. The custom-made chandelier in reception has blue teardrops from recycled Bombay Sapphire gin bottles, while the bookshelf wallpaper (designed by Ally Tordoff) has jokey book titles which play on owners' and friends' names.
- Boutique Hotel
- 10 rooms
- Breakfast (& other meals on request)
- Over 10s only
- Closed: Mid-Dec to mid-Jan
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Electric car charger
The main house has 9 bedrooms, some with views over the gardens or across to distant summits after which they take their name. Local designer Alison Tordoff has used striking wallpapers, fun fabrics and a touch of bling lighting to give the rooms plenty of pizzazz. Jonathan and Caroline, meanwhile, made sure of the creature comforts, including superb mattresses (many of them kingsize), Egyptian cotton linens, Herdwick-wool carpets, REN toiletries and waffle robes in the bathrooms. Everything is spotlessly maintained, too.
Rooms vary in size and layout - a couple are cosy (but others are huge), some have a walk-in closet or dressing room, and bathrooms range from shower cubicles to whirlpool tubs. We loved our stay in Windermere, with its Balinese-style four-poster and exotic-bird wallpaper giving pops of orange on a pale grey-white palette. There's also a cool TV hidden as a mirror. Orrest Head is a proper suite, with a separate sitting room where you can relax beneath branch- and bird stencils in front of a vast mirror-TV. Its bedroom has what may well be the biggest headboard in Cumbria (it had to be reassembled in situ). Langdale is one of the smaller rooms, but comes with a canopied kingsize bed and a big Gothic-arched window. You'll see these pointed arches reflected in furnishings throughout the hotel, many of them custom-made in Cumbria.
There's also a separate little Coach House - the 10th 'room' - for those wanting more privacy. Downstairs is a boudoirish, romantic double bedroom and a blingtastic bathroom (think LED mood lighting, silver-sheened spa bath). Its living-dining area is upstairs, with a faux-croc sofa and sparkling Love Frankie chandelier, alongside a kitchenette (equipped only for reheating and simple prepping, not full cooking) plus a dinner table which extends to seat 10, in case you suddenly make lots of friends.
- Safe box
Breakfast is a feast, as you'd want before heading out into the hills (or not). Choose a 'full Cumbrian' with Cumberland sausages or Lancashire black pudding, or something lighter such as smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, or Eggs Royale. There's plenty of staples - cereal, toast, fruit - and delicious homemade jams including damson and orange marmalade.
Cedar Manor does not have a full restaurant, but if you don't fancy wandering into town (6 minutes) you can order snacks from the lounge menu, such as a local cheese or meat platter. There's also a very well stocked bar for pre- or post-prandials; a good place to chat to other guests.
Do keep one free afternoon for a lovely lazy cream tea at home (or in the garden): it comes with a glass of fizz and extras like strawberry posset, as well as the usual scones and pastries. You might not need dinner after that.
- Restaurants nearby
- Follow wooded footpaths down to Lake Windermere and along its coast; or up to one of the many summits (Jonathan, a keen Wainwrighter and runner, can advise)
- Book a lake cruise - deservedly popular - or escape the crowds on a SUP or kayak; staff can recommend and pre-book
- Visit Beatrix Potter's house at Hill Top Farm, a total time capsule and a must for fans of her books (but go early to avoid having to wait)
- Don't miss the Arts & Crafts Blackwell House just along the road, with its stunning period details: wooden panels, hessian wall-hangings, stained glass, vast hearths
- Over on Coniston Water, Ruskin's former home Brantwood House offers an insight into this brilliant but troubled Victorian mind, as well as lovely gardens and light meals
Cedar Manor welcomes children over 10.
Three rooms (Bowness, Orrest Head and the separate Coach House) can accommodate an extra bed for an older child. The atmosphere is generally quite tranquil, so if that's a concern we'd recommend the Coach House for added privacy, and the benefit of being on 2 levels.
Cedar Manor is in the town of Windermere, overlooking Lake Windermere in Cumbria, northwest England.
The nearest major airport is Manchester (150km / 95 miles away), and smaller airports at Blackpool (100km / 60 miles) and Leeds Bradford (115km / 70 miles). The hotel can arrange taxi transfers if required.
Windermere is 15 mins' drive off the M6, about 1hr 30 mins' drive from Manchester and 4hr 45 mins from London. If you need to hire a car, see our rental recommendations.
This is a good option for a car-free holiday. Windermere station is a 2-min drive (or 8-min walk) away. The journey from London Euston typically takes 3-4 hours, and from Manchester nearly 2 hours.
Detailed directions will be provided when you book through i-escape.
- Manchester 150.0 km MAN
- Manchester 115.0 km LBA
- Beach 55.0 km
- Shops 0.7 km
- Restaurant 0.7 km