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Cedar Manor, Windermere, Lake District
Tucked away from the hurly-burly of Windermere and fronted by a magnificent Cedar of Lebanon in the garden, this good-looking former Victorian 'retreat house' (for the next-door church) suggests sedate tradition. But step inside, and you might blink in the bright, smart contemporary-luxury surrounds where colour, lushness and a deep sense of comfort instantly make tired shoulders relax. Owners Caroline and John Kay have an uncompromising eye for detail - from plumped-up cushions to a massed bank of orchids - mixed with a winningly down-to-earth attitude that makes everything seem easy. It's a grown-up sort of place with an elegant dining-room for cooked-to-order breakfasts and afternoon teas, plus a bar for night-caps after a day's exploring.
If you're happy with a half-hour walk, it's a pleasant stroll to Bowness and the lake, without the hassle and cost of parking.
It's a good central base with Ambleside, Grasmere and Coniston - all offering culture, shops, walks and lakes - within a 10- to 20-minute drive.
By car: 1 hour 30 minutes from Manchester, 3 hours from Edinburgh and just under 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 20-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Guests here tend to take things leisurely; more gentle strolls than earnest hiking, and evenings rounded off with books and a nightcap in the bar. The rich colours are striking plus the occasional whimsical touch - a faux wallpaper of books in one of the sitting rooms - is fun.
Service & Facilities
Coming back from a walk with wet jackets and boots is not a problem; they are simply whisked away to the drying room.
- Room service
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
Electric car charge point
The attention to comfort and detail is perfectionist, whether it's the custom-made hospitality tray or storage space in the bathroom. Both Windermere and Miller Ground rooms have window seats; a nice place to relax with a book and cuppa.
Wansfell, Crinkle Crags, Coniston, Windermere, Miller Ground, Langdale & Claife Heights rooms, Coach House, Orrest Head & Bowness Junior suites
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with shower, Egyptian cotton linen, TV, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities
Food & Drink
Breakfast is a leisurely affair with proper napkins, and nice touches such as home-made fruit compote, and homemade preserves. Afternoon tea is rather special, with fine bone china, proper clotted cream and a tempting array of cakes - gluten-free and vegetarian options available, too.
Breakfast: vegetarian and non-vegetarian grill options and a range of cereals, pastries and jams.
Afternoon tea: full tea service, using local ingredients. Served 1.30-4pm Thursday-Monday. £24.95 per person (plus a glass of Prosecco £29.95 per person).