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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 sprawling lounges, smart Michelin-starred dining and super-comfortable bedrooms - has expanded into a swathe of chic lodges and garden suites, plus a vibrant, pan-Asian second restaurant. And if you want the cosier charm of - almost - a private house, there's Lake House, a mile down the road and wrapped in 100 acres of woodland. 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, too, if you're in Lake House or a spa lodge.
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
We love an early-morning ramble through the woods when staying at Lake House; and the delivery of a spoiling cream tea to our room when staying in a Spa Lodge.
- Two restaurants
- Wi-Fi (charges apply)
- Free parking
The Spa Lodges are very private and ridiculously spoiling with lashings of space, huge bathrooms 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 perfect freshly squeezed orange juice is wonderful. The salt-marsh lamb with spicy mini Shepherd's Pie went down well at HRiSHi, and we particularly like Gilpin Spice's Pani Puri crispy puff balls of chickpea curry.
HRiSHi: Michelin-starred, four AA Rosette dining, Cumbrian produce, inventive modern British dishes.
Gilpin Spice: informal atmosphere, 2 AA Rosette, open kitchen, pan-Asian small plates.