The Boathouse at Knotts End

Lake District, Northern England, United Kingdom Book from Book from £215 per night

A boathouse bolthole with private lakeshore in stunning Lake District scenery; the ultimate romantic rental (sleeps 2, self-catering)
It’s so tucked away you’ll zip past the entrance, yet it’s only 15 minutes from the M6. Perched on the western shores of Ullswater, in the northeastern Lake District, this 19th-century stone boathouse keeps the world at bay: no neighbours, no passing cars, a private stretch of waterfront and unbroken views to the fells.

On first sight, after you’ve bumped down the track between copses and fields, the boathouse, shaded by trees, looks ridiculously small. Step through the arched oak doors, however, and it does a Tardis-like transformation, helped by the open-plan style, pale rafters and walls, and the slate floor that runs throughout. To the right is a gleaming, modern bathroom, on the left a run of swish kitchen units that lead into the bijou living area with its battered leather sofa and wood-burning stove. And at the far end is the bedroom, where arched French windows open to a balcony and glorious views. Furnishings are a comfortable mix of contemporary and antique - Moroccan lamps, Indonesian chests, modern oak - with bright cushions adding shots of colour. Breakfast on the balcony, head out for hikes or boat trips on your private rowing boat, then dine cosily indoors or on the terrace under the stars.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.


  • Gloriously romantic set-up and setting - you'll never tire of the captivating views (and you get a rowing boat for exploring the lake all year round)
  • A great location for outdoor activities: hike up Helvellyn, sail on the lake, or sit and bird-watch from your balcony
  • Well-equipped for self-catering, with various areas to dine: the balcony, a picnic table under the trees, and a sunny terrace with a BBQ. Good local restaurants, too
  • Lots of nice, homely touches: a Nespresso machine, walking maps and board games
  • Friendly and helpful local caretakers in case you get in a fix/have a query


  • No WiFi or TV reception (though there is a DVD player), and you'll struggle to get a mobile signal
  • The living space is small and open-plan, and there's limited storage for clothes/shoes/stuff
  • Fairly strict cancellation policy

Best time to go

The Boathouse is open throughout the year, with each season having its attractions: it's a cosy hideaway in winter, and fabulous for autumn colours, fresh spring walking, and dreamy summer days on the lake. Being the Lake District, of course, the weather is capricious; expect rain at any time. If it’s snowy, the scenery is sensational but you might also find (unless it’s 4-wheel drive) that your car can’t cope with the track.

Our top tips

Sleep with the French windows open; the sound of the waves lapping, the trees rustling and the odd duck and bird calling as you snuggle in bed is heavenly. On a practical note, bring sensible footwear for walking in the surrounding grounds, and a pair of comfy slippers for padding about inside.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Cottage
  • 1
  • Self-catering (restaurants nearby)
  • Over 16s only
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen


The boathouse is basically one big open-plan space. Although the bedroom can be self-contained by closing folding doors to the living area, it seems pointless and would make the space feel very small. The queensize bed has super-soft white bedlinen and heaps of velvet, silk and linen cushions in bright copper, chocolate and woodland green. Silk curtains frame the French windows (we slept with them open) and there’s just enough furniture not to crowd the space: an antique armoire, a chair, wooden stools for bedside tables, and a couple of rugs.

The living area is designed for 2: a battered leather sofa, a big armchair, a chic oak table, and a wood-burning stove for cosy evenings. Bring DVDs, CDs and an iPod and there’s a system to play them. Candles and dimmable lights up the romance factor.

The bathroom squeezes in modern white units, a chrome radiator and a spacious walk-in shower. Aromatherapy Associates toiletries are a nice touch.

Throughout, electric radiators give instant heat if you want a quick blast, and Velux skylights provide additional light to the French windows. Walls are unadorned apart from a few scenic black-and-white photographs. Books of walks, an OS Map, a bird-watching book, local leaflets, a set of boules and assorted games provide activity suggestions.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Cookbooks
  • Dishwasher
  • DVD player
  • Fireplace
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries


The stylish oak kitchen is perfect for rustling up lazy breakfasts or suppers. Small but well kitted-out with a ceramic hob, oven/grill, dishwasher, Nespresso machine and a fleet of cooking utensils, including blenders, a griddle pan and a casserole pot, it has all you need.

Breakfast on the balcony is a must (bring a fleece for cooler mornings). Lunch and dinner could be at the picnic table under the trees, inside, or out on the terrace by the jetty. There’s a gas BBQ out here, too.

Basics such as coffee, tea, some herbs, oil and sugar are provided; i-escape guests will get a bottle of wine, too. You'll find kitchen essentials such as dishwasher tablets in the cupboards. Head to Penrith (20 minutes away) for supermarkets. Our choice would be Cranstons, a family butchers that’s opened a food hall stocking regional produce. Similar, but smaller, is the Taste shop at Rheged (12 minutes away); particularly good for cheese. The village store at Pooley Bridge, 5km away, is fine for staples. Cockslakes Farm Shop and Cafe is 15 mins away and has a great array of BBQ provisions.

Restaurant-wise, the Macdonald Leeming House Hotel a 5-minute walk away. It has a lake-view terrace plus an elegant dining room serving dishes such as wild sea bass. On the road to Pooley Bridge, Brackenrigg Inn does hearty Cumbrian dishes such as rump of Lakeland lamb. In Pooley Bridge itself, the 18th-century Treetops Café and Takeaway does great fish and chips.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster


  • Walking is glorious, whether a hike up Helvellyn (there’s a starting point at Glenridding at the bottom end of the lake), a stroll along the lakeshore, or something in-between such as the woodland walk up to Aira Force waterfall (on the way to Glenridding) and then on to Gowbarrow Fell. A book of local walks is provided

  • If you’re feeling adventurous, there's a rowing boat waiting for you outside. Sailing boats, dinghies, canoes and kayaks can also be hired at Glenridding Sailing Centre

  • And there’s nothing - apart from the temperature - to stop you from taking a dip in the lake, so bring your cozzies

  • Pretty-pink Dalemain House, 9.5km (6 miles) away hides medieval, Tudor and splendid Georgian rooms. The grounds include a Tudor knot garden, a rose walk, an ancient apple orchard and riverside walks

  • A lovely way to view the lake and fells is from the deck of the Ullswater Steamers, which ply the lake year-round with stops at Pooley Bridge, Howtown and Glenridding

  • On wet days (and there are quite a few!), the Rheged Centre in Penrith is a good option. It's a rather odd but attractive mix of a 3D film cinema, craft, gift and clothes shops, a food hall, restaurants and exhibitions

  • Take the road south past lonely Brothers Water and over the heart-stopping Kirkstone Pass to busy but colourful Ambleside for pottering, cruising on Windermere, the Armitt Museum’s quirky collection of Lakeland writers' and artists’ work and memorabilia, and tearooms galore (the Apple Pie Café is recommended)

  • Sit on the balcony or terrace with a book

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Swimming


This is a rental for 2 adults only.

Kid Friendly:


The Boathouse is on the western shore of Ullswater in the northeastern Lake District. It’s an easy 15-minute drive from Junction 40 of the M6, and 5km south of Pooley Bridge, the village at the northern head of the lake, just after Watermillock.

By Air
Newcastle and Manchester are the closest airports.

By Car
A car is essential, both to get here and to get around while you're here (unless you bring all provisions and intend to just stay put). If you want to hire a car, there's private parking directly outside The Boathouse.

By Train
You can take the train to Penrith or Carlisle and pick up a hire car at the station.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through

More on getting to the UK and getting around


  • Newcastle 124.0 km NCL
  • Manchester 181.0 km MAN


  • Beach 1.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 19 independent reviews from i-escape guests


A truly magical place to be on Winter Solstice. I couldn’t have wished to be anywhere better. There is no better place to find yourself.


A perfect location with an amazing view! A warm and cosy space. Wish we could have stayed longer. Felt very alone, just how we like it! We will return.


Lovely, quiet, relaxing place - we didn't want to leave and we will be back.


Booking process was easy. We had lunch at the Leeming House Hotel and it was nice to be able to walk back. Took us a while to get the fire burning but once we’d mastered the art of chopping up some smaller kindling we were away . Location great for a lovely walk around Aira Force and Gobarrow and to be able to kayak from the boathouse. Ate at Fellbites in Glenridding which was perfect after a walk to the Red Tarn.


The view onto Ullswater lake was absolutely perfect! The boathouse is a hidden gem and a perfect off-grid night away. Could not recommend it anymore!!


Absolutely amazing! I cannot rate this highly enough. A beautiful bolt hole with breathtaking views in complete seclusion. What’s not to love?!
Loved the fact there is no TV or WiFi, but no need to worry if you need contact with the outside world as we got internet and phone signal in most of the building.
I’d recommend taking an easy burn log and firelighters for the log burner as the wood that was there was, (although well stocked) a little damp so we had trouble getting it lit. The heating is very good though so we weren’t ever cold even without the fire lit.
I will definitely be staying again, and recommend you do too!


Amazing location and views. Very peaceful place to escape from busy life.
The house was lovely and clean with everything we needed
It was nice and cosy with good heating and plenty of blankets. The bed was super comfy! We ate in some of the local hotels - Inn on the lake and Another place - both were good


The boathouse was absolutely beautiful and the views stunning. Will definitely be returning


Gorgeous secluded get away. Very tranquil and in a stunningly beautiful setting. The boathouse is elegantly decorated and very comfortable accommodation for 2 people. Really very special indeed. We had no problems with booking or payment. The owner sent excellent instructions for self check-in.


Liked the location and it was a superb bolt hole for our tenth wedding anniversary! Would have liked more tea-towels and pint glasses.


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Rates for The Boathouse at Knotts End

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