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The Forest Side, Grasmere, Lake District
A stately Victorian mansion from the outside, and a sleek and quietly luxurious retreat inside, this restaurant-with-rooms on the outskirts of pretty Grasmere is all about indulgence - not least in the Michelin-starred food. With a vast kitchen garden, dishes here are very much about local produce. Interiors have a low-key luxury - soft shades, soft velvet, plenty of space - that create a very grown-up and calm atmosphere, without being stuffy or formal. Surrounded by gardens and woodland it feels private but is only a five-minute walk from Grasmere. Foodies and outdoors-lovers will feel equally at home.
We love pulling on our walking boots and, within 90 minutes, being on the top of Helm Crag with its far-reaching views.
The hotel is just a few minutes' walk from the famous gingerbread shops of Grasmere.
By car: 1 hour 40 minutes from Manchester, 3 hours from Edinburgh and just over 5 hours from London. There is free parking 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 hotel is a 40-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
We love the dining room, almost austere with its stripped wood floor and unadorned recycled-timber tables, but beautifully light with vast windows overlooking the garden. This hotel will suit anyone who takes a serious interest in food and wine, but prefers to enjoy them in peaceful surrounds - and with the option of some hiking on the doorstep.
Service & Facilities
We love the perfect lemon drizzle 'mini-cake' sitting under a little glass dome in the room to welcome you to the hotel. Dogs are welcome in six of the rooms and receive a bed, bowls and treats, while staff can advise on tried-and-tested walks.
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
- Facilities for disabled guests
All rooms have garden or kitchen garden views but those at the rear overlooking woodland as well have the best. The sleek pots of ferns and other houseplants instantly make the rooms homely without being fussy.
Cosy, Superb, Master, Accessible & Dog Friendly Rooms
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with bath and shower, Bramley toiletries, Harrison Spinks beds
Food & Drink
For interest and value-for money the wine flight is a great option. If you can bag a window table for breakfast - try the salmon pastrami with scrambled eggs - you've a good chance of spotting red squirrels.
Forest Side: one Michelin star, four AA Rosettes. Inventive fine dining, very local ingredients (often foraged or grown on-site). Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Four or eight course tasting menus.