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Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa, Bassenthwaite, Lake District
It's impossible not to be impressed by your first sight of Armathwaite Hall, a flamboyant sprawl of towers, tall chimneys and vast windows, every inch a Victorian stately home (but with an even earlier core). Wrapped in 400 acres of parkland and with stunning views over Bassenthwaite Lake, it certainly has one of the best Lake District locations. Inside, rooms are as grand as you'd expect, with big fireplaces, carved woodwork and heavily furnished. Bedrooms are divided between the main hall and a later spa extension; less exciting than the public areas but most with views either of the gardens or lake. Almost a mini-resort - spa, pool, wildlife park - and with heaps of space to while away the time over newspapers or afternoon tea, it's great for a family holiday or lazy getaway.
A woodland path takes you straight to the shores of Bassenthwaite which, in season (and at the far end) is the fishing ground for a pair of ospreys.
Armathwaite Hall is surrounded by 400 acres of deer park and woodland, with plenty of scenic walks on your doorstep.
By car: The hotel is just under 2 hours from Newcastle, 2 hours 20 mins from Manchester, 2 hours 10 mins from Glasgow and just under 5 hours 30 mins from London. Free private parking is available on-site.
By train: Trains run from Manchester Piccadilly (2 hours), London Euston (around 4 hours) and Edinburgh (1 hour 20 mins) to Carlisle station. The hotel is a 40-minute taxi ride from there. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Multi-generation families will find plenty to entertain themselves, and plenty of space, while couples will enjoy spa breaks here. Bag a window seat in the Lake View Lounge for mesmerising views over Bassenthwaite Lake and Borrowdale beyond.
Service & Facilities
The indoor infinity pool, at 16 metres, is a decent size for a hotel pool - plenty of space to do lengths!
- Three restaurants
- Swimming pool
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free Parking
The spa-wing rooms are handy if you intend to use the spa and pool a lot; otherwise it's quite a hike from the main hall bedrooms. Any of the lake view rooms are a joy to wake up in, with dreamy views down to Bassenthwaite.
Club Rooms, Family Rooms, Superior Rooms, Deluxe Rooms, Spa Feature Rooms, Deluxe Lake View Rooms, Studio Suites
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with bath and shower, luxury toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, hairdryer, double bed with mattress topper, TV, tea and coffee facilities
Food & Drink
The best place for breakfast is the narrow, light-filled conservatory overlooking the grounds and lake. Make sure you save room for pudding here - the traditional fruit crumble and custard is particularly good.
Lake View Restaurant: 2 AA Rosettes, classical French cuisine, Cumbrian produce, seasonal menus, Sunday roasts. Open daily for dinner 6.30-9.30pm and Sunday lunch. Mains from £17.
The Lounge & Conservatory: classic British dishes, light bites, small plates, wide range of sandwiches. Served daily 12.30-1.45pm, sandwiches available 9am-5pm. Mains from £11.50.
The Courtyard Bar and Brasserie: Hearty meals, pizzas, baked potatoes, sandwiches, kids' menu. Open daily 12-4pm. Mains from £15.
Afternoon tea: wide range of teas and coffees, homemade biscuits, cakes and pastries, cream teas and full afternoon tea service. Available 12.30-5pm. From £26.50 per person.