Lake District

The most charming B&Bs in the Lake District and Cumbria

By , 4th September 2018

Hidden away in a snug B&B in the Lake District and Cumbria, you’ll be surrounded by the striking fells, rolling countryside and lush watersides that inspired Beatrix Potter. Wake to mesmerising views of glittering lakes from the comfort of your bed and breakfast, then tuck into a hearty English breakfast – many of our hotel picks offer artisan fare produced with ingredients grown in the area.

The 16 lakes and 53 tarns that comprise the impressive Lake District National Park offer ample opportunities to take to the water. Plump for a stay at these warm and friendly B&Bs that reflect the region’s rich history and character and explore to your heart’s content.


An Arts and Crafts-era B&B in the Lake District

Nanny Brow | Ambleside

A period house from the Arts and Crafts movement, Nanny Brow was built in 1904 from Lakeland stone and happily maintains the whimsical charm of that era. Recline on antique beds in individually designed rooms – ideal after a day exploring the surrounding area’s natural highlights. Each one also has an en-suite bathroom with a walk-in power shower for freshening up. Choose the Loweswater for your own private balcony, along with a spacious mezzanine-style bedroom.

An award-winning breakfast is served at this hotel, whipped up with ingredients gathered mostly from within 20 miles of Ambleside. Savour home-made drop scones and seasonal jams in the exquisitely restored dining room, with its traditional Shapland & Petter fireplace and oak floor.

The B&B’s private woodlands stretch on for 6 acres and are frequented by red squirrels, deer and owls. You can also wander the many paths on the property’s doorstep with direct fell-side access to the grassy Langdale Valley. In the evening, relax in the guest lounge with its original oak panelling, Arts and Crafts plasterwork carved with flower and animal designs and eye-catching views of River Brathay in the distance.

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A bijou B&B in a calm corner of Cumbria

The Ullswater View | Ullswater

Tucked into the lesser-visited northeastern section of the Lake District, this B&B has captivating views of Lake Ullswater and the Eastern Fells. It lies in a tranquil rural setting in the hamlet of Watermillock, close to the Cumbrian market town of Penrith and the grey-stone houses and teashops of Pooley Bridge. The location lets you sail the lake on the iconic Ullswater ‘Steamers’, trek up to the National Trust-owned waterfall Aira Force, or play a round of golf at the scenic Keswick Golf Club.

Make your plans for the day over a long, indulgent Cumbrian breakfast. The menu at The Ullswater View offers locally sourced products such as home-made bread, yoghurt and granola with a selection of fresh fruit and juice, followed by your choice from the kitchen’s repertoire of hot classics.

Pull on your hiking boots and make the most of the area’s natural beauty, starting 5 miles away in the village of Glenridding. For those with a head for heights, England’s third-largest mountain, Helvellyn, can be summited from here. Afterwards, you can rest in the B&B’s lounge, with its chic marble-style flooring, or head up to your plush room. Classic touches like floral wallpaper and curtains give yours a homely feel, updated by contemporary amenities such as a 32-inch LCD TV and an iPod docking station. The Loughrigg room comes with its own private whirlpool bath, which is wonderful for soaking in after a hike.

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A characterful Victorian B&B in Windermere

Chestnuts Guest House | Windermere

Dating back to 1829, this guesthouse has retained a selection of its original features, not to mention its Victorian character. The diversely furnished rooms, each named after some of the region’s most renowned lakes, contain details such as gilded mirrors, silken bedding and private bath or shower en-suites. Indulge yourself with one of the grand four-poster bedrooms – a real treat if you’re on a romantic trip away.

A short walk from both Windermere town centre and England’s largest lake, there are plenty of opportunities for jaunts across the countryside from this B&B. Relax in the secluded seasonal garden or head out to explore the undulating hills of the Lake District. With kayaks and rowing boats available to hire at the Windermere’s shoreline, a tranquil afternoon is to be had out on the water. If you’re travelling further afield by public transport, a bus stop sits directly outside the guesthouse.

Sample quality local produce thanks to Chestnuts‘ farm-to-fork philosophy. It supports local suppliers by using sustainable ingredients sourced from the nearby area wherever possible. Tuck into a quintessential full English breakfast – with Cumberland or vegetarian sausages, as well as eggs fried, scrambled or poached – or opt for a lighter choice with the delectable baked bread from the buffet.

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A Lake District B&B with access to spa facilities

St John’s Lodge | Windermere

Set between Windermere Village, Bowness Village and Windermere Lake, this award-winning B&B has a privileged location. During your trip, membership at Choices Health Club – a 5-minute drive away – is included. Warm yourself up after a breezy fell walk in the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, or take a dip in the heated indoor swimming pool. When you’re not out exploring or unwinding in the spa, spread out in a room decorated in a blend of berry tones for a sumptuous feel. Bed sizes go up to super king and all rooms come with bathrooms featuring power showers and atmospheric alcove lighting.

In the morning, your day at St John’s Lodge starts with a hearty cooked breakfast, bolstered by fresh fruit salads and compotes among other delights. Try the kebab skewers with bacon and halloumi for a memorable start to the day. The B&B also caters to vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free needs.

It’s the attention to detail that makes the difference here: friendly staff will loan you a Lake District guidebook or umbrella, board games wait stacked for an evening’s entertainment, and rooms come equipped with corkscrews. Exchange tips with fellow travellers in the cosy lounge, with its plump pillows, quaint fireplace and antique furnishings.

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A Windermere B&B with an indoor heated swimming pool

Southview Guest House | Windermere

Originally constructed in 1844 as a family property, Southview was transformed into a guesthouse over 100 years ago and has welcomed visitors ever since. Extra rooms were added recently, as well as a light-filled indoor swimming pool – heated to a balmy 28 or 29 degrees for a comfortable swim whatever the weather. Tucked away in a serene cul-de-sac, Southview Guest House is located in the heart of the Lake District. It’s only 3 minutes on foot from Windermere Railway Station making it easy to holiday car-free.

Peruse the extensive menu of breakfast options, from a typically Cumbrian cooked affair to the cold buffet spread. Retro British cuisine such as smoked haddock braised in milk or butter-soaked, oak-smoked kippers is available to try, along with a mouthwatering vegan full English. Follow up with a Fair Trade coffee while basking in the sun when it streams through the window of the conservatory dining area.

Rooms feature modern décor, with some offering spa baths, body-jet showers and contemporary four-poster beds. You’ll find that the south-facing patio area is a welcoming spot for relaxing outdoors, while the lounge bar feels like a friend’s living room thanks to homely touches like plush rugs and plump couches. The area around Windermere is ripe for exploration, with nearby attractions including The World of Beatrix Potter and boat excursions on the lake.

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A B&B and free-house pub in the Lake District

The Dalesman Country Inn | Sedbergh

For a homely stay in a less-discovered part of the Lake District, look to this former coaching inn set in the market town of Sedbergh. Sample a Cumbrian spin on British classics here with a focus on homegrown ingredients; the Dalesman Angus steaks are raised and grazed in the region, while the lamb hails from the nearby Howgills. Nibble on the home-made biscuits in guest bedrooms, or sample some of the inn’s own artisan ice cream, fudge and toffee – also made on site.

Rooms at The Dalesman Country Inn have a traditional feel, with some featuring pine-wood furniture, floral wallpaper and duvets in regal tones. If you’re travelling as a group, opt for extra privacy and choose the single and double rooms that feature a shared bathroom on the top floor.

As the guesthouse is situated on the Dales Way long-distance footpath, a pre-dinner amble fills a leisurely afternoon. The picturesque Howgill Fells are particularly popular, or you can head out for a gentle stroll around Sedbergh’s cobbled streets. Then, spend evenings sipping on a choice of five cask ales within the exposed stone walls of the Dalesman Bar. The ever-changing selection showcases Yorkshire Dale and Cumbrian beverages, including Timothy Taylor and Black Sheep.

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A Cumbrian hotel with an extravagant breakfast spread

The Grange Hotel | Grange-over-Sands

Dating from 1866, this elegantly furnished Victorian mansion combines a grand setting with spa facilities and sweeping views of Grange-over-Sands bay. The unspoilt coastal town is favoured for its mile-long promenade and sheltered setting, giving it a temperate climate year round. Back at the Grange Hotel itself, elegantly decorated rooms feature gilded mirrors, plush furnishings and their own en-suite facilities. Opt for extra luxury with a Boutique Suite and find a canopied four-poster bed, velvet upholstery and a freestanding bathtub for two.

Wake up to the smell of a sizzling cooked breakfast buffet. Tuck into fresh fruit or cereals from the cold selection, or choose a home-cooked option such as hot waffles, haddock and kippers. Evening meals are just as delicious – pick from popular Cumbrian dishes such as roasted pork belly or pheasant with a rich beer sauce.

Spend a leisurely afternoon on the lawn with a traditional afternoon tea composed of delicate finger sandwiches and melt-in-the-mouth baked goods. The hotel’s private, terraced gardens and mature woodlands offer plenty of serene spots to appreciate the vistas. When you’re suitably rested, continue the relaxation with a session at the spa and leisure suite. With heated facilities such as a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, de-stressing is firmly on the agenda here.

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