It’s easy to book a bargain bed in the Lake District – you just have to plan in advance. But even at the last minute, there’s a good mix of budget hotels, hostels, pubs with rooms (they're even better than the pubs in London) and B&Bs to be had. Steer clear of the tourist hotspots (even the lesser-known places are lovely in the Lakes) and you’ll find somewhere to lay your head. Here’s our pick of the best cheap hotels in the Lake District.
The Lake District’s best cheap hotels
Bower House Inn
Endearingly, mud is clearly not a problem here – walkers, cyclists and dogs are made very welcome at this traditional whitewashed inn. There are 20 rooms, all with TVs, free wifi and en suite bathrooms, and a large garden, all set in a quiet location in the Eskdale Valley. A cosy bar has local ales and an open fire, and big breakfasts are included in the room rate.
Days Inn Kendal
Just off the M6, this is a bargain pitstop a short drive from countless Lake District attractions and just ten miles from the edge of the National Park. Rates start at around £40, parking and wifi are free, and family rooms are available. All bedrooms have flatscreen TVs, tea- and coffee-making facilities and en suite bathrooms (with bath and shower). Dogs are welcome for a one-off £10 fee, and the location – next to Killington Lake – means it’s easy to exercise them.
Ennerdale Country House Hotel
Bargain hunters with a thing for quirky hotels will be in heaven here. On the western edge of the Lake District National Park, the Ennerdale is an old fashioned hotel in five acres of garden. The 30 en suite bedrooms include several family rooms, and one has a four-poster. There’s a bar and a formal restaurant, parking and wifi are free, and dogs are welcome too.
Fisher-Gill Camping Barn
Fisher-Gill is a small hostel with one ten-bed dormitory, plus bathroom and kitchenette. It’s a back-to-basics haven for hikers and cyclists (though there is free parking too), just five miles from Keswick and with mountain views all around. Rates are £16 per person, or you can book the whole barn for £160. The King’s Head pub is a mile away if you don’t fancy cooking dinner.
The Lodge in the Vale
This recently built B&B hotel (2010) is in a beautiful setting, with Thirlmere reservoir just ten minutes’ walk away; more adventurous walkers will appreciate that Helvellyn can be accessed on foot too. Parking and wifi are free; neat rooms are well-equipped (TVs, en suite bathrooms with showers) and the room rate includes a continental breakfast. There’s a bar, and an all-day coffee shop. Dogs are made very welcome (£10 a night, or a £15 one-off fee if staying longer).
The knockout location is what really sells this youth hostel – it’s by the lake and surrounded by mountains (the famous Haystacks walk can be done from the door), but civilisation is only a short walk away in the form of Buttermere village. There are dorms, private rooms (including family rooms) and camping pitches; a bed for the night starts at £15. You can self-cater or eat in the bar/restaurant, where a cooked breakfast is served. Wifi is free in public areas.