The Lake District offers a dizzying array of places to stay. There are properties to suit every possible budget, places that ooze history from every oak beam and shabby-chic new places that combine the latest mod cons with a soupcon of traditional Lakeland charm. New places come and go, or new owners take over, fairly often, while some hotels fall in and out of fashion with prevailing economic conditions. See my Lake District hotels page for the most up-to-date pick of places.
Many of the most enticing hotels and b&bs are not actually located in the centre of the villages and towns we feature. Rather they are down quiet country lanes, set back from the road in country-house estates and on the fringes of main settlements in quiet, rural villages. As such, unless you’re planning a chill-out weekend, a taxi from the train station and not straying too far from the hotel grounds, a car is pretty much essential to get around.
There are no chain hotels features, although some properties do form part of a small, local group of inns. The most enticing aspect of this is the chance to feel a connection with real, local culture. Small, family-run b&bs, of which they are many, are often a good-value option and offer a home-from-home atmosphere. The rise of the restaurant with rooms, an increasingly popular option in Cumbria, combines boutique-standard accommodation with gastropub menus. They’re pricier but an excellent option for foodies – some now even have their own microbreweries on site. We’ll drink to that.
Things to consider before booking:
- Affordable, good quality hotels and b&bs at the heart of the featured destinations are limited in number and much in demand. If you’re planning a family break during school holidays, then book well ahead – even for February half term.
- Check for special offers. The Lakes has a long season but rates can be heavily discounted in the low-season winter months, especially November to February (excluding Christmas and New Year). You can pick up a particularly good deal mid week, such as two nights for one, or a free dinner. See more about seasonal changes on my When to go to Lake District page.
- Be aware that many b&bs require a two-night booking for weekends. The best guest houses are surprisingly busy mid week with business travellers.
- The hotel rates quoted usually include breakfast unless otherwise stated; increasingly they also include free WiFi access.
- Breakfast is taken seriously in the Lakes and you can usually expect a good choice. Typically the menu includes cereal, fruit and yoghurt to start, toast, juice and coffee, and a hot course. The full fell-walker’s breakfast, a gut-busting plate of carbs, is a sight to behold. Stock up. Eat a good breakfast (it’s included!) and you can get through to dinner with just a snack.
- If you are going walking, most places will supply a packed-lunch. But this can be a bit hit and miss. Often you can pick something up on the way and save money.