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Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District
This family-owned hotel has it nailed when it comes to a modern country house hotel that combines the best of tradition with the excitement of the new. The original Edwardian villa with its gardens, smart Michelin-starred dining and super-comfortable country-style bedrooms has expanded into a swathe of chic lodges and garden suites, a separate woodland-surrounded country house a mile away and two further restaurants.
Service throughout is tip-top yet friendly and the overall feel is of indulgent privacy - though some may feel it's almost too quiet. Certainly this is the place to switch off and chill out with spa treatments, a pool, sumptuous afternoon teas, a choice of terraces and resident llamas.
If you're in Lake House, the tarn and surrounding woodland are instantly calming. But our favourite must-see is nearby Blackwell, a stunning Arts and Crafts mansion.
The Gilpin is in a secluded spot a few miles away from the shores of Lake Windermere, and a 20-minute drive from the popular market town of Kendal.
By car: The hotel is 1 hour 30 mins from Manchester, 3 hours from Edinburgh and just under 5 hours from London. Free private parking is available on-site.
By train: Trains run from Manchester Piccadilly (just over 1 hour), London Euston (3 hours) and Edinburgh (2 hours) to Oxenholme Lake District station. The Gilpin is a 20-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The Gilpin is for people - usually couples - who value privacy, interesting dining, high levels of comfort and no urgency to do anything. We love the (unspoken) command to switch-off, relax and be looked-after in a delightfully friendly but completely professional way.
Service & Facilities
An early-morning ramble through the woods when staying at Lake House; and the delivery of a spoiling cream tea to our room after a spa treatment. Two Garden Suites allow dogs but they are not allowed in any public areas.
- Two restaurants
- Wi-Fi (charges apply)
- Free parking
The Spa Suites are very private and indulgent with lashings of space, a massage room, open bathroom and views over a pond. We love the thoughtful touches - books, pot plants, reading lights, homemade biscuits - and the restful garden views.
Classic Bedrooms, Master Bedrooms, Junior Suites, Garden Suites, Spa Lodges, The Lake House (6 boutique rooms)
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with shower, luxury toiletries, seating area, TV, tea and coffee facilities, mini-bar
Food & Drink
Breakfast at Lake House with a summer breeze wafting through the sliding doors, bare feet on the carpet and freshly squeezed orange juice is wonderful. The local beef with morels and wild garlic went down well at SOURCE, though we particularly liked Gilpin Spice's Pani Puri crispy puff balls of chickpea curry.
SOURCE: Michelin-starred, focusing on locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Tasting menus from £120pp.
Gilpin Spice: informal atmosphere, 2 AA Rosette, open kitchen, pan-Asian small plates.