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Low Wood Bay Hotel & Spa, Windermere, Lake District
Billed as Windermere's first resort hotel, it pretty much fills that brief with activities ranging from watersports to Pilates classes to a swanky spa. All this, plus a lakeside position with direct views across Windermere to the fells on the far side. There's a choice of restaurants and a wide range of bedroom styles and budgets, including a 'Club class'-style wing with the flashier top-tier rooms, plus private lounge and breakfast area. But no guest is short of finding a quiet area to sit and read, chat or enjoy the views. It's a very sociable hotel with plenty of cheery staff on hand to help, and is particularly attractive to families and groups of friends.
Cruises on England's longest lake are a must for a dreamy ride amid staggering scenery (there are piers at Bowness and Ambleside).
Low Wood Bay is on the edge of Lake Windermere, surrounded by country walks and a short drive from both Ambleside and Bowness.
By car: The hotel is 1 hour 40 mins from Manchester, around 3 hours from Edinburgh and 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 hotel is a 30-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
With its wealth of activities to suit all ages, plus all-day food and drink, it's ideal for families or groups of friends, while couples will enjoy the spa. Try and bag the window seats in the atrium to enjoy mesmerising - and what feels very private - views over the lake.
Service & Facilities
Strange as it sounds, we like the fact we can spontaneously join in one of the leisure club's regular exercise classes!
- Two restaurants
- Afternoon tea
- Swimming pool
- Family hotel
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
For views, our favourite room has to be one of the top-level suites, which benefit not only from their elevated position but from floor-to-ceiling windows too. A slice of Grasmere gingerbread is a nice change from biscuits, plus all rooms have bathrobes and locally made Pure Lakes bathroom products.
Willow, Hazel, Hazel Lake View, Lime, Lime Lake View, Oak Suite, Winander Club Hazel, Winander Club Lime, Winander Club Lime Lake View, Winander Club Oak Suite, Winander Club Oak Duplex
Facilities include: double or twin beds, bath with shower, luxury toiletries, robes and slippers, TV, Fair Trade tea and coffee
Food & Drink
At breakfast in the Windermere Restaurant we managed to get a window table, and ordered up Eggs Benedict - one of several dishes cooked to order. Blue Smoke has a good meat-free choice, with plenty of spicy dishes plus vegan cheese as an option.
The Windermere Restaurant: traditional British cuisine, seasonal menus, vegetarian dishes. Open daily for breakfast (7.30-11am) and dinner (5-8pm). Two courses £28.
The Langdale Lounge: Afternoon Tea, cocktails, Champagne, fine wines, premium spirits. Open daily 12-10pm, Afternoon Tea served 1-5pm, from £22 per person.
Blue Smoke Restaurant: wood-fired grill, open kitchen, steaks, seafood, vegetarian dishes. Mains from £17. Open daily for lunch (11am-4pm) and Tues-Sat for dinner, 4.30-8pm.
The Atrium & Norman's: café and juice bar, sandwiches, wraps, pastries and cakes. Lake views.