Lake District hotels

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expert-rated hotels in Lake District
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

Very new Lakes - with some trad Lakeland touches

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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 featured, 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 there 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.

And 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 yogurt 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.
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I've been regularly reviewing places to stay in the Lake District for several years now as a full-time travel writer. I’ve stayed everywhere from a camping pod to a grand country-house estate. The ones I've picked for Simonseeks range from the swankiest luxury boltholes with Michelin-starred chefs, to homely, good-value b&bs with fewer frills but often-warmer welcomes. You'll also find suggestions for places to stay outside of the main central Lakes area. These may be a fair drive from the main visitor hub, but I’ve included them as they are well worth the extra journey – quirky, unconventional and very definitely Cumbrian.

If you would like to suggest a hotel to the community that I haven't recommended, please let me know.

Simonseeks has given star ratings out of five for all accommodation recommendations. With hotels, these will tally with the hotel's official star rating where it exists. Where a hotel has no official star rating, and in the case of b & bs and hostels, the experts have made a judgment as to how many stars the accommodation deserves, in terms of comfort, level of facilities and so forth.