If you’re susceptible to the natural beauty of the English wilderness, Cumbria’s Lake District in England’s northwest is undoubtedly your Kryptonite. Here’s where to stay in the Lake District where you can take it all and feel very much at home at the same time.
Sparkling ribbons of glacial lakes with quaint towns nuzzling at their shores are guarded by towering mountains – the source of inspiration for poets and novelists through the ages. The Lake District is iconic and unique in its beauty.
Lake Windermere, the easiest of the lakes to get to and possibly the most popular, is also the largest lake at over 18km long.
Its 19 islands, neo-gothic shoreside castle and sweeping views down through the valleys and fells of the national park make Windermere the premier destination of the district.
Because of its popularity, Lake Windermere has plenty of accommodation options, but here’s our top tip for where to stay in the Lake District.
Where to stay in the Lake District – Denehurst Guest House
Lake Road, which winds downhill from the town of Windermere to the shores of its lake, is lined with guesthouses and bed and breakfasts. Further down in the lakeshore village of Bowness-on-Windermere, there are even more hotels and accommodation options.
But halfway between Windermere town and Bowness’s waterfront is the Denehurst Guest House and the most homely, welcoming place to stay you’re likely to find.
Owners Ken and Cindy Ravenhall are quite possibly the most hospitable, welcoming people you’ll ever meet.
From the moment you set foot inside their Victorian lakeside home to that reluctant last step as you check out, Ken and Cindy’s attention to detail makes for a very comfortable, memorable stay at the Lakes.
The six rooms at Denehurst Guest House are all en-suite with large, comfortable beds, good wifi, complimentary toiletries, coffee and tea, and even a DVD player – though there’s so much to see outside I don’t think you’ll need a movie to entertain you.
The communal living room is replete with comfy, squashy sofas and plenty of information to help you on your time exploring this beautiful part of the country. Mind you, better than the leaflets, Ken and Cindy, who are always on hand, are an absolute mine of information.
Give them your interests, time and fitness parameters, and they’ll have the best recommendations for you.
Breakfast at Denehurst
Denehurst is much more than a bed-and-breakfast guesthouse. Having said that, these two elements are at the fore, judging by my excellent night’s sleep and how full I still was by lunchtime.
When you first check in, Ken and Cindy ask you to select a time you’ll be down for breakfast the following morning and what you’d like to eat. For us it was simple: it had to be the full Cumbrian breakfast.
While we waited for Cindy’s masterpiece, we snacked on the cereal and fruit bar in the smartly dressed dining room.
There are other options to choose from for breakfast. Cindy and Ken can knock up an eggs benedict, a plateful of smoked salmon and scramble, even homemade waffles and maple syrup.
But when Ken arrives with our dry-cured bacon, Cumberland sausage and free-range eggs (all locally sourced), sauté potatoes, fried mushrooms and grilled tomatoes, not to mention a rack of toast, we know we’re made the right decision.
A block back from the main road, Denehurst Guest House pretty much guarantees you a quiet night’s sleep. That and the polite request that guests don’t use the shower or long flush in their en-suites before 7am.
Door to lakeshore is about a 15-minute walk downhill through the bustling centre of Bowness, where you can hop on a ferry to explore Lake Windermere or find your way to the wilder western shore.
In the other direction, it’s another 15 minutes on foot to the town of Windermere, full of shops, cafés, bars and the train station.
Alternatively, you can leave your free parking spot outside the guest house and drive to either spot in a couple of minutes. Though even when it’s raining (Ken can lend you a brolly), the walk is much more pleasant.
As for your nearest pub, the Brookside Inn, which is poised over a lake-bound stream, is only a five-minute stroll away.
Denehurst Guest House
40 Queens Drive
Have you been to the Lake District? Have you ever stayed in a guest house that you never wanted to leave? Tell us in the comments!