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The Waterhead, Ambleside, Lake District
In an ideal position on Lake Windermere, this townhouse hotel will suit those looking for a place with a crisp, city style right in the heart of the Lake District. It's a solid-looking traditional slate Lakeland building from the outside, but the interiors are all cool, airy spaces with clean lines, hardwood floors and striking modern lighting. Bedrooms are spacious, the best with lake views, while the stylish restaurant serves grills and Modern European dishes or pizzas from its wood-fired oven. In summer, you can dine outside on the terrace next to the large bar. Dog and family-friendly, the hotel is geared to outdoors-lovers - with good information on walks and cycle routes - as well as those looking for a relaxing break in stylish surrounds.
Watching the sunset over the lake was a highlight of our stay.
The Waterhead is a 10-minute walk from the chic shops and restaurants of Ambleside, and looks out over Lake Windermere's northern shores.
By car: The hotel is 1 hour 40 mins from Manchester, around 3 hours from Edinburgh and 5 hours from London. There is on-site parking which costs £12 per day.
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 45-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
People who like a fuss-free style and intend to spend their days outside - there's only a tiny lounge - will feel at home here. We found the bright, light rooms, and the feeling of space very relaxing.
Service & Facilities
We liked having a choice of walks we could do from the hotel, plus the useful local knowledge - and weather forecast! Dogs are welcome and receive their own bed and bowls, plus a bag of treats, and are allowed everywhere in the hotel, including the bar, except the restaurant.
- Free Wi-Fi
- 24-hour front desk
- Room service
The slice of Grasmere gingerbread is a nice change from biscuits while top-tier rooms spoil with a small bottle of Lakes Distillery gin. It's worth paying extra for a lake-view room - the scenes are endlessly changing.
House Room, Classic Lake View Room, Luxury Lake View Room
Facilities include: king size double or twin beds, ensuite bathroom, The White Company toiletries, TV, DVD Player and DVDs, Ringtons tea, coffee, Grasmere Gingerbread, iron, hairdryer, phone
Food & Drink
Breakfast has a good range of cooked-to-order hot dishes, from Eggs Benedict to pancakes and the full grill. The bar stocks around 65 gins - enough to keep any gin-lover happy for a few days!
Bar & Grill Restaurant: light bites, sandwiches, flatbreads, sharing platters, wood-fired pizzas, modern European dishes. Open daily for dinner 6.30-8.30pm. Mains from £16.
Lounge & Bar: casual dining, sandwiches, flatbreads, British favourites. Open daily for lunch 12-6pm. Small plates from £7.