The Daffodil Hotel & Spa

The 12 best hotels in the Lake District, for a breathtaking short break

These charming country houses, low-key inns and luxury hotels are some of the best hotels in the idyllic Lake District


As the UK's most visited national park, the captivating, enigmatic Lake District is just about as English as landscapes come. Forged from glaciers (remember those old geography classes, anyone?), this UNESCO site is one of the UK's most popular tourist hotspots for visitors, domestic and international. And while people flock to the Lake District because of the history, the walking, the breathtaking scenery, picturesque villages, and the, well, lakes, after all of that, you really do need a place of comfort, great food, log fires, and luxurious spas to rest your weary bones.

Long gone are the days of cobwebby, damp B&Bs – style and quality are on the up in the region, so it's worth checking out these incredible Lake District hotels right now, as this is just about the perfect time to explore this fascinating, beautiful part of the world. From remote bivouacs and remote stays to lakeside luxury and world-famous hotels that draw people from all over the world, here’s our pick of the best hotels in the Lake District to start booking now. 

February 2024 update: one of our favourite hotels is currently unavailable, so we've replaced it with an incredible new property we've found: Seatoller House. Enjoy!


Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in every hotel featured below, we've based our list on top reviews and amenities to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

Best Lake District hotels

1. The Forest Side in Grasmere

William Wordsworth came to Grasmere for the simple life, and you can still tramp into the fells from here, but the new Forest Side hotel is all about sophistication. This gothic manor has been transformed into delicately beautiful, eco-friendly lodgings conceived around all things Lake District – even the carpets woven from Herdwick wool are sourced locally. The Michelin-starred restaurant doesn’t just use Cumbrian ingredients; it grows, pickles and forages them, then confects them into unforgettable tasting menus. So when we say this place's grub tastes like no other, we really mean it. In addition to the wonderful interiors, great location and amazing food – they're dog-friendly. What more could you want?

The mood? Fairytale setting. 
Location perks? This stunningly beautiful Victorian mansion set on a wooded estate with roaming deer and squirrels is only a short walk to Grasmere Village where you can enjoy a tea room or two. 
Budget range? This extraordinary two-night stay sits in the mid-range.
Time Out tip: For the literary enthusiasts, a little trip to Wordworth's charming Dove Cottage is well in order. 

2. The Daffodil Hotel and Spa in Grasmere

Found just a short walk away from Grasmere village, on the shores of Grasmere, the Ambleside does grandeur as few others can – or any hotel can, honestly. The Daffodil is a sunning mid-nineteenth-century mansion, but don’t go thinking this is a stuffy old house that relies on its looks. In fact, the Lake District hotel is about as contemporary as they come, offering a high-end, high-spec spa, seriously swanky rooms and some of the best dining in the area. Plus, the service is nothing short of exceptional.

The mood? Contemporary luxury. 
Location perks? Enjoy the calm and quiet vistas of the lake, while indulging in a range of luxury spa treatments using Germaine de Capucci therapies. 
Budget range? Budget-friendly. 
Time Out tip: Book your spa treatments in advance to avoid disappointment. 


3. Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater

You won’t find anything flashy at this remote inn in the quiet western Lakes. Instead, you’ll be impressed by the warm hospitality, delicious food and great real ales (with many brewed in the Lakes). Oh, and there’s fantastic walking as Kirkstile Inn is between Loweswater and Crummock Water, bang up against Melbreak crag. The cosy bedrooms come beamed and decked out in classic cottage furnishings, while the traditional pub fare comes impeccably sourced and cooked, with no foam in sight. Just that proper good food! And a whole menu just for sausages – come on!

The mood? Cosy cottage-feel. 
Location perks? The scenery here is second to none. Aim for sunrise and watch the world come to life.
Budget range? A cheap and cheerful short break. 
Time Out tip: The Kirkstile serves delicious Full English and Irish Breakfasts every morning – with a vegetarian option available, too. 

4. Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa in Keswick

If quality food and a dose of relaxation sounds just as appealing as rambling through boundless countryside, then this Lodore Falls hotel is your dream spot. While the main hotel remains mostly traditional, with an elegant British-led dining room and cosy lounges warmed by open fires, Mizu, its fantastic pan-Asian restaurant, offers first-rate sushi and rice dishes in a modern setting. Then there’s the spa (plus 18 adjoining suites), so you might not make it out for a walk after all. There's also great afternoon tea, and the spot is dog-friendly, so your nan and your pooch can come along too.

The mood? Immersive, yet tranquil. 
Location perks? Sublime views of Catbells Mountain and Derwentwater can be enjoyed from the comfort of the hydro-pool. 
Budget range? An incredible deal for what's on offer.
Time Out tip: Try the King Prawn Tempura dish at Mizu – it's delightful.


5. Seatoller House

A guesthouse for over a century (with the visitors’ books to prove it), Seatoller House is a legend among walkers. It’s a combination of hostel and rural retreat, steeped in the culture of the outdoors. Meals are communal (but far from basic), and the location at the head of Borrowdale is a hiker’s dream. Rooms – everything, in fact – are less rudimentary than you might expect, with pleasing white-and-wood decor and their own bathrooms. Beautiful gardens too. They pride themselves on a really nice warm welcome, and it's been going for over a century, so they've pretty much perfected the art in that time. 

The mood? Country bumpkin vibe at its finest.
Location perks? Aside from the obvious – Lake District National Park – find immediate peace in the award-winning garden.
Budget range? Well priced for two, with a minimum two-night stay. 
Time Out tip: Like
 all good accommodation, your dogs are very much welcome to come along for walkies. 

6. Gilpin Hotel & Lake House on Bowness-in-Windermere

This Georgian estate has defined informal Lakes luxury for three decades, a pioneering boutique with its handful of stylish rooms, hideaway location and unstinting personal service. It regularly renews its offer, most recently by adding five gorgeous ‘spa lodges’, each with a steam room, hydrotherapy tub and outdoor sauna. Three high-end restaurants, a Champagne bar, a croquet lawn and a no-weddings rule keep it exclusive. Yes, you did read that, THREE of them. The hotel also specialises in local cuisines – it's real Lake District luxury. We haven't even mentioned the private hot tubs... 

The mood? Modern chateaux vibes.
Location perks? Surrounded by 21 acres of country gardens, moors and woodland – how's that for an escape to the country?  
Budget range? A little on the pricier end for those who don't mind indulging.
Time Out tip: Be sure to visit the resident llamas, alpacas and micropigs. Yes, really.


7. Ambleside Salutation Hotel in Ambleside

Ambleside Salutation Hotel is at the heart of its hometown in more ways than one. First, location – step right out onto the main shopping street or the track up to knobbly Wansfell Pike, which is also the view from the spa. Second, it’s a local institution, well-knitted into the community all year round. This hotel offers distinctly top-end suites alongside mid-range rooms and high-standard public areas such as the restaurant. It’s also set in a gorgeous seventeenth-century building while providing all the modern amenities you could need. 

The mood? The land of hearty grills and cosy quilts.
Location perks? Just 20 minutes away, you'll find Lake Windermere. 
Budget range? An affordably-priced weekend away.
Time Out tip: Dinner is served between 5.30pm and 9pm – be sure to plan ahead.

8. The Mason's Arms in Bowland Bridge

A characterful warren of interconnecting rooms, low ceilings and fireside nooks, the Mason's Arms has been a favourite among locals for decades. A drinks menu as long as the phone book (quality and quantity though it must be said), a capacious heated terrace with heaters and a crowd-pleasing pubby menu haven’t harmed. Its charms have survived the addition of accommodation, which comprises cottages with an open fire and suites, attractively done out in contemporary country style. Convenient for Windermere, but pleasantly removed from its tourist traffic. 

The mood? Traditional meets cosy.
Location perks? Dating back to the 16th century, this rustic cottage situated on the side of a fell boasts a delightfully wintry charm owing to its roaring fires and delicious fresh-cooked pub grub.      
Budget range? A low-cost getaway. 
Time Out tip: Arrive in time for Fizzy Friday and thank us later.


9. Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel in Windermere

Holbeck Ghyll once hosted Renée Zellweger during the filming of Miss Potter (in the Beatrix Potter suite, naturally). This big name in the Lake District country house hotel scene, the former Victorian hunting lodge retains its historical charm with a panelled hall, inglenook fireplace and the odd four-poster. The decor ranges from flouncy and floral to trad and tartan, while the restaurant is known for its sophisticated modern British menu and the spa boasts wonderful rooms. But really, the selling point here is the view over Windermere to the Coniston crags. It’s a lovely spot to call home after wandering through all the hills and mountains.

The mood? Bright and homely. 
Location perks? Set on 18 acres of lush greenery, Holbeck Ghyll Country House Stuns with sweeping lake views and quaint country charm. 
Budget range? Delightfully cheap.
Time Out tip: Rest easy on the Egyptian cotton sheets – dreamy indeed.

10. The Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere

What could be more Lake District than Wordsworth? And what more could you want from a Lake District hotel than a magnificent building sitting on two acres of land in the heart of Grasmere? This elegantly restored building is a truly grand country mansion with 38 rooms and suites, a pool and a spa, plus an award-winning restaurant, marking the Wordsworth out as a perfect place for food, relaxing or getting back to nature.

The mood? The best of English heritage. 
Location perks? Most rooms offer jaw-dropping mountain and village views – but of course, the best way to explore these idyllic surroundings is on foot. 
Budget range? A budget-friendly short break. 
Time Out tip: Enjoy a glass or two at William's Bar – the wines are particularly good.


11. L’Enclume near Grange over Sands

L’Enclume is the two-Michelin-star (not one, two) home base of superchef Simon Rogan, and it has 16 rooms in its riverside premises, a stone-built smithy, which share its restrained elegance. Known for its twelfth-century priory, Cartmel has recently become a gastronomic destination, with notable cheeseries, bakeries and breweries and another Rogan restaurant. Foodies enamoured of his nature-to-table creed can arrange to tour the nearby farm. If you're more into the food than the walking, Aulis at L'Enclume is well worth the time. It seats six people, and it'll show you the highlights of the test kitchen. Real 'into food' stuff. 

The mood? Cosy, earthy and minimalistic. 
Location perks? A truly unique stay where gastronomy meets the beautiful, unbridled English countryside.  
Budget range? A modest price.
Time Out tip: Try the frozen cheese dish – you certainly won't forget it.

12. YHA Black Sail in Matlock

The address of the Lake District’s most remote lodgings might as well be 'The Middle of Nowhere' – it’s over two miles from the nearest road, and you have to walk or cycle in. The YHA Black Sail hostel is a barn-like building made of local stone, set at the head of Ennerdale, with fellsides and summits all around. Dinner, breakfast, packed lunch and a warming woodstove are provided, along with dorm beds and private rooms. If you're looking for a stone-walled barn which is serious living on the land tranquillity, then don't worry about the other pieces on the list, because this is the one. Home-cooked evening meals are just the one, aren't they? 

The mood? Rural haven. 
Location perks? Not your first hiking rodeo? This spot is truly one for those who are outdoorsy. Here, you'll get easy access to nearby peaks. Tranquil. Traffic-free. Bliss. 
Budget range? Pretty decent. 
Time Out tip: Got a large group? Hire the whole place exclusively. 

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