The 10 best b&bs in the Lake District, from cosy cottages to rambling country houses

These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Note that our writer visited pre-pandemic.

There are b&bs – clean, adequate – that do the job, and then there are b&bs that lift your spirits and make you feel as though you’ve discovered a gem. Not necessarily flashy with spa-baths and piles of cushions, but they have those thoughtful touches that make you feel the owner cares you have an enjoyable stay. These touches might include a cheery welcome – perhaps with tea and homemade cake – books and newspapers to browse, help with planning walks and days’ out, recommendations on great places to eat, fresh breakfast coffee, somewhere to dry wet clothes, and that magical ingredient – a relaxed atmosphere.

Raise View Grasmere

Grasmere, Cumbria, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

This slate-built Victorian cottage has been a b&b for some 50 years. Jacky Godfrey and Keith Fazey have given it a contemporary but comfortable country feel, with Farrow and Ball colours, plaids and bold florals, soft table lamps and just enough ornaments and local paintings to make it feel homely but not cluttered. Alongside a comfortable lounge with wool-upholstered armchairs, large sofas, an honesty bar (spirits, beers and wines plus smart glasses) and plenty of walking books, there’s a sun-trap garden (perfect for evening sundowners), a drying room and cycle storage.


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From


£
143

per night

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Howe Keld

Keswick, Cumbria, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

Bright, Scandi-style rooms, some with fell views, plus young and enthusiastic owners with a passion for the outdoors offer guests a fine stay at this large, Edwardian end-terrace in the heart of the Lakes. Howe Keld is situated at one end of The Heads, a curving road that overlooks the park at the northern edge of Derwentwater, and with views up Borrowdale. The interiors are light, cool and uncluttered, with a crisp monochrome of wood floors, pale grey walls and carpets forming the backdrop to pops of colour in feature walls and velvet armchairs.


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Lindeth Fell Country House

Windermere, Lake District, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

The term ‘bed and breakfast’ doesn’t do justice to this family-run luxury guest house with its Edwardian elegance, country house hotel comforts, lush gardens and relaxed personal touch. Inside, it retains a gracious period feel but with a light touch: reception is a sideboard in the oak-panelled hall; sitting rooms are comfortable with traditional sofas, pale colours and plump window seats; the dining room shines with mirrors and picture windows overlooking the gardens and fells. The 14 rooms are distinctly, and attractively, different in shape but share the same style: plain carpets, brightly patterned or shimmery wallpapers, smart armchairs and fitted furniture.


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From


£
144

per night

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Nanny Brow

Ambleside, Lake District, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

An elegant Arts and Crafts b&b in peaceful grounds outside Ambleside, full of period details and furnishings, and with lofty views up Langdale. It’s had considerable money spent on it by the current owners to restore its period features and feel: oak floors and panelling, plasterwork ceiling friezes, huge leaded windows and carved oak fireplaces. Maps and walks can be borrowed, packed lunches and flask-filling are available plus there are drying facilities and cycle storage. In the 14 rooms, carpets are thick, colours soft, and the furniture is a mix of English and French antiques.


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From


£
182

per night

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New House Farm

Yewdale, Lake District, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A working dairy farm until the present owner, Hazel Thompson, took it over in 1990 to turn it into a guesthouse, the oldest part of this b&b near Buttermere dates to the mid-17th century, to which a Georgian extension has been added. The Victorian barn has been converted into a tearoom. Most guest rooms are in the main farmhouse where Hazel has worked with original features to create a comfortable but unfussy country feel: low beamed ceilings, solid oak doors, toasty fires in big stone fireplaces and with furnishings of rich red curtains and carpets, polished wood antiques and deep sofas.


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From


£
120

per night

Number 43

Lake District, Cumbria, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

The southern area of the Lake District, on the coast of Morecambe Bay, has traditionally been overlooked for the famous fells ; but as the Lakes become full of tourists, towns like Arnside are coming into their own. The classic seaside terraced houses on the promenade all offer views over the Kent Estuary, but No.43 is probably in the best spot of all, right next to the pub, and it’s also the smartest. The timbers have recently been touched up with green paint and a seating area has been provided in the garden. Inside, the Regency furniture gives a feel of Brighton and other Georgian seaside towns, whilst black-and-white photographs and candy-striped colours add a modern feel.


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From


£
135

per night

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The Windermere Suites

Windermere, Lake District, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A bold and unashamedly sexy b&b with lashings of black and silver, and huge mood-lit bathrooms that place an emphasis on relaxation and romance. The eight vast rooms (three with patios, two with private entrances) follow the same suave, ‘night-club’ theme with statement lampshades and a ‘fifty shades of grey’ colour scheme in textured wallpapers, brocade curtains and velvet throws. Lazy breakfasts are served in-room, and includes everything from croissants, porridge and granola to eggs Benedict, cold meat platters and full-cooked. It’s at the edge of Windermere town, on the main road to the lake. A big plus is that Windermere railway station is only 10 minutes up the road.


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From


£
220

per night

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Moss Grove Organic

Lake District, Cumbria, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

Moss Grove Organic is more city boutique than country cosy – the Victorian house has been refurbished with a combination of high-class furnishings and eco-friendly materials. The 11 rooms really dazzle. Every effort has been made to ensure environmental friendliness: floors and furniture are made from reclaimed wood, walls are stuffed with sheep’s wool insulation, and even the clay paints are organic and biodegradable. The bathrooms are equally huge and gleam with sandstone tiles and spa tubs. It’s right in the middle of Grasmere, so you’re in a plum position for all the sights.


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From


£
114

per night

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The Malabar

Lake District, Cumbria, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A complimentary afternoon tea welcomes guests to this b&b where the feel is of an upmarket walking lodge, with a dash of exoticism. Wooden beams and woollen furnishings fit right in among rugged fells but are enlivened with sari-bright patterns and colours, and the hotel is decorated with Chinese and Indian furniture collected by the delightful owners. Wooden bureaus act as a tea stations outside rooms, stacked with patterned mugs and a selection of teas. Edging the wild, whiskey-coloured River Lune, the lodgings are a starting point for peaceful walks in the western Dales, past lonely viaducts, mossy walls and gently rumpled hills, streaked with waterfalls.


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From


£
205

per night

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Mr & Mrs Smith

Randy Pike

Ambleside, Lake District, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

This tiny, extravagantly decorated bed and breakfast, set in fabulous rolling countryside at the heart of Beatrix Potter country, offers three luxury suites and the best bathrooms in the Lake District. It’s a bit of an unusual set-up in as much as there’s no shared lounges or dining rooms. Suites open straight out onto the garden, where there is a small potbellied heater and barbeque for use on summer evenings — or you might prefer to hang out in the bowtop gypsy caravan. The whole place is decorated in a brilliantly lavish, humorous style – expect gilt-framed mirrors, metallic tiles, floor-length swag curtains and freestanding baths.


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From


£
200

per night

Contributions by Louise Gray, Natalie Paris & Cal Flynn