“Enjoy the watery beauty of England’s Lake District from the comfort of a bijou hotel with a truly personal touch”
This Edwardian house was a family residence until 1969, and it still feels like a home-without-the-hassle, thanks to attentive but discreet service and the distinctive decorative style. Unlike many of its neighbours, chintz and florals have been confidently replaced by contemporary chic. The house's lakeside conservatory, with its comfy sofas, antique curios and homely fires, must be one of the most relaxing places on Earth. After a day on the crags of the Old Man of Coniston, you’ll doze off before you can say "gin and tonic" to a passing waiter.
- The views don’t come better than this; for an ensuite panorama, book one of the lake-view rooms well in advance
- Comfortable, stylish rooms and delightful communal areas, from the summer lounge to the winter lobby's roaring fires
- The gastronomic restaurant serves sublime food - and there's a mouth-watering array of other choices within half an hour’s drive
- The walking: wander off on lakeside strolls from the front door, or embark on classic ascents like the Old Man (a short drive away)
- The private tarn and summerhouse, which has prompted many a bridegroom to pop the question
- It's being refurbished until spring 2018, so interiors may differ from those shown in our photos
- Some rooms are on the small side; it’s worth paying the extra for the bigger ones if you can afford it
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
When Linthwaite was converted from a family home in 1969 it had just 5 rooms, since then it's grown to 30. The luxurious but subdued décor was designed with the help of Amanda Rosa, the style guru behind the Malmaison hotels. Fabrics and textures are plush, with contemporary silk cushions, leather lamps, marble-topped tables and sleek wooden bedheads.
The ones to snap up if you can afford it are those with views of Lake Windermere, or the-top-of-the-pile Linthwaite Suite Loft, which is aimed squarely at honeymooners, with its enormous bath, large open-plan sitting area and telescope for gazing at the stars (though sadly no lake view).
We also loved the Delxue Rooms, each with a picture window offering one of the finest panoramas of Windermere, plus a huge bathroom with a stylish egg-shaped tub. Similarly impressive is the Linthwaite Suite Hot Tub, which has a bright garden-view bay window and a private veranda with outdoor Jacuzzi.
Most bathrooms have baths - just the thing after a stomp on the fells - and some have TVs so you can watch while you soak. Molton Brown toiletries and waffle robes complete the luxury.
- CD player
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
- Mineral water
- Satellite TV
Hotel restaurants often disappoint. This one delights, not only with its top-notch food but with its décor. The formal eating area has tables dressed in crisp white linen and walls hung with abstract photographs of the Lakes; smaller rooms lead off it, offering a bistro feel.
Much of the produce is locally sourced, including Cartmel Valley smoked salmon and corn-fed chicken from Goosnargh in Lancashire. Presentation is precise - verging on the fussy, perhaps, but the quality justifies it.
Breakfast goodies include homemade muesli, freshly squeezed juice and cooked options such as Cumberland sausage, local free-range eggs and French toast with oak-smoked bacon and organic maple syrup. We tried the Scottish kippers, not so local but equally nice, followed by superb homemade croissants.
Lunch is available, either as a bar snack, a 3-course meal or a picnic to take on walks, as is a sumptuous afternoon tea. But the highlight is the 4-course dinner - as it should be at these. Waiters take your order as you sample canapés by the fire in the lounge. We chose sesame- and coriander-crusted tuna and lightly poached salmon with pickled beetroot, followed by pork tenderloin with swede fondant and slow-braised beef with a red wine sauce. All were mouth-wateringly good. Desserts are a little unusual, with plenty of tempting fruit and chocolate options, but we plumped for the selection of excellent Cumbrian cheeses.
If you’re here for a few nights and want to try other places, you're spoiled for choice, just ask the team for the favourite local recommendations.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- With some of England's finest mountain scenery on your doorstep, you'll want to don boots and explore: choose between gentle lakeside strolls from the door, easy hikes round Tarn Hows or Grizedale sculture park, or ascents of the Old Man of Coniston, Helvellyn or Scafell Pike. The hotel has route-finding sheets and a local guide can be arranged. It’s also worth checking out the Mountain Goat bus services to get to the start of your walk
- Within the hotel's gorgeous grounds, you can chill out by the tarn or try your hand at fly-fishing (bring your rod licence, or download it at reception for a small charge)
- Bowness, on the lake below the hotel, offers lake cruises, windsurfing, sailing and swimming; nearby, you can hire bicycles or catch a ferry across the lake to Hawkshead
- Hotel guests have use of a nearby spa, including a pool, a sauna, a steam room and a gym; you can also order in-room beauty treatments, massages, manicures and reflexology
- If you're in the mood for golf in beautiful surroundings, Windermere Golf Club is a few yards up the road; a guest pass for the day can be arranged by the hotel
- Shopping and the Lake District may not seem obvious bed partners, but it’s a good place to stock up on outdoor clothing, kitchenware (try Lakeland in Windermere) and plants and garden gear (head to Hayes near Ambleside)
- Literature buffs will enjoy visiting Beatrix Potter’s home in Far Sawrey, just across the lake, and Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in Grasmere
- Blackwell, a beautiful arts and crafts house and garden with great views across Windermere, is also nearby (1.5 miles south of Bowness)
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
Children of all ages are welcome, and there's lots to keep them amused locally (see below). Extra beds, cots and children's menus are available at the hotel, but under 7s aren't allowed in the restaurant at dinner (after 7pm).
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Junior (Garden) Suite has a sofabed, as does View Room 8, which is a designated family room.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Children's menus are available from 5pm - 7pm.
Kids Activities nearby:
- Go Ape high-wire adventure in Grizedale forest
- Child-friendly pony trekking at Parkfoot and Stockbridge
- Ostrich and alpaca farms and an outward bound centre near Ullswater
- Beatrix Potter's house in Far Sawrey and recreations of her stories at the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness
- Motor Museum (including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Batmobile) in Keswick
- Giant cinema screening family movies at the Rheged Centre (near Penrith)
- Wet thrills and spills at Centre Parcs' World of Water (also near Penrith), and all manner of creative classes (drawing, bread making, jewellery making, pottery, wooden toy exhibitions)
Families Should Know:
Keep a close eye on children in the grounds, which have stone steps and a tarn (small lake).