Old Hotels of Windermere, Lake District

The Lake District in Northern England is a very popular destination for English, European and other tourists. There's beautiful scenery, lakes to walk around or simply admire, and more than several grand old hotels with fantastic restaurants. Drive or walk, it's your choice. To avoid crowds, you might want to avoid the summertime, and visit out of season. It may be somewhat cooler, but the crush of people will be considerably less.

Here's the top three out of a long list of the more charming old hotels in the Lake District. None of them are what you would call modern, but all are comfortable and a relaxing place to take a break.

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The Applegarth Hotel is in the town of Windermere, tucked away in a wonderful part of the town. It offers luxury accommodations that would satisfy the highest standards. The restaurant has won several awards, and serves regional produce from the local region; it is a most enjoyable place to end a full day of hiking around the lakes. Nestle in a cozy chair by a roaring fire or sip whiskey in the oak-paneled bar. In the summer, dine on the outdoor terrace and enjoy the splendid views. Luxury spa and sauna facilities, a gymnasium, a swimming pool and nearby floodlit secure parking are only part of the hotel's offerings. All rooms are coordinated with carefully chosen soft furnishing and fabrics; standard in each room are power showers and robes, wall-mounted flat-screen televisions, clock-radio with iPod dock, and a refreshment tray with bottled Lakeland water. Wi-fi is also available. Regrettably, no children are allowed to stay as guests.

The Bridge Inn started life as a stop for coaches in 1735. Located in the fells between Crummock Water and the village of Buttermere, this hotel is perfect for families. Rooms in the hotel retain the ambience of the era of old, but do not skimp on modern conveniences. Several self-catering apartments have been added to the Bridge Inn that can sleep from four to six people; the kitchens of each apartment are completely modern. Food at the Bridge Inn is wonderful, with locals coming from all around to partake. Visit the nearby Buttermere pubs for a night out. Ask for a lunch to be packed for your noontime hike around the nearby lake.

The Wordsworth Hotel and Spa in Grasmere is one of the luxurious of the historic hotels in the Lake District. Both royalty and US Presidents have stayed there over the last century. The current owners, the Garside family, have been running hotels in the Lake District since the 1980s. Standing in its own riverside landscape in the middle of Grasmere village, the Wordsworth was recently refurbished. Enjoy the heated indoor swimming pool, stroll the old-fashioned conservatory, and have a drink out on the fabulous terrace. The acclaimed award-winning Signature Restaurant serves five course dinners to please any palate. There's no need for a car while you're staying at the Wordsworth -- every attraction is within walking distance.

Disclaimer: All information was correct at the time of writing. No liability can be accepted for errors or omissions.

Copyright Ian Hart 2010