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.
- 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
Our top tips
- Boutique Cottage
- 1 bedroom
- Self-catering (restaurants nearby)
- Over 16s only
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car essential
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- 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.
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.
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Food blender
- Full kitchen
- Hob or stove
- Restaurants nearby
- Shopping service
- 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:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
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.
Newcastle and Manchester are the closest airports.
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.
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 i-escape.com.
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