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The best 12 places to stay in the Lake District

Until quite recently, a break in the Lake District or a weekend in Cumbria meant days out hiking or walking in Windermere, and nights in a basic B&B, huddled around a log fire to keep warm.

Fortunately for lovers of the Lake District, things have changed, and this little piece of Cumbrian paradise now boasts some of the best boutique hotels, guest houses and gourmet restaurants in Britain. Themed hotels and stylish 5 star B & B´s sit beside Michelin Starred restaurants and luxurious accommodation to suit all requirements. The top twelve  places to stay in the Lake District include:

1. Aphrodites Hotel Bowness on Windermere

If you want luxury, superb organic food and stylish and contemporary themed rooms, the Aphrodites at Bowness-on-Windermere is the place for you. Many suites include hot tubs, patios and saunas. All the rooms have their own large aqua spa massage baths and some have large separate lounges with either log burning stoves or open fires. Themed suites include the Tarzan and Jane, the Parisian, the Victoria Suite and the Cleopatra Suite with hot tub. There is an outdoor heated swimming pool (open seasonally) and food is sourced locally from organic farms, bakeries and farmer´s markets.  The hotel also boasts a unique outdoor light and music fountain. Excellent value for money and close to most Windermere attractions, including The Beatrix Potter Attraction and boat trips on Lake Windermere. Telephone: 015394 45052 or www.aphroditeslodge.co.uk

2. 21 The Lakes Boutique Hotel Bowness on Windermere

Whether you fancy a weekend break in Windermere, a romantic holiday or some family fun in the Lake District, 21, The Lakes Boutique Hotel is an elegant and stylish hotel which offers every facility. Offering great value for money, excellent food and a range of attractions and things to do nearby, this is a great base for touring the Lake District. This Lake District Hotel was originally a wealthy Edwardian gentleman's second home and still retains many attractive period features. 21 The Lakes is one of the leading contemporary boutique hotels in the Lake District, and welcomes many celebrity guests. The luxury hotel has designer and traditional suites, some with outdoor tubs and mini-suites, relaxing lounge areas and large widescreen TVs, plus luxury bathrooms, power showers and saunas. For more information call: 015394 44165 or check out www.21thelakes.co.uk. Close to all Lake District Attractions including The Beatrix Potter Attraction and Lake Windermere.

3.  The Angel Inn Bowness on Windermere

The Angel Inn at Bowness-on-Windermere is just a five minute walk from Lake Windermere, England´s biggest Lake, and is perfectly placed for a break in the lakes. Three bedrooms have been added to the hotel, all with lake views, in the adjoining gatehouse, and one has its own lounge area and corner bath.  All guests can use the Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and pool at the local leisure club, although the pub offers the utmost comfort with deep sofas and open log fires. Contact the Angel Inn on: 015394 44080 or www.the-angelinn.com.

4.  A corner of Eden Ravenstonedale

This small but perfectly formed B&B is situated just under 20 miles from Kendal, and is quite unique when it comes to Lake District accommodation. The Butler´s pantry will tempt and entertain you with its fabulous range of cheeses, home-made breads and organic chutney, and the honesty bar is a total one-off, with its wide range of beer and wine. Guests are also encouraged to go down to breakfast in their dressing gowns should the mood take them, and this really is a home from home. This Grade II listed building is a former farmhouse, and although en suite bathrooms were not an option, you will soon forget about that when you see the rest of the facilities. Fishing, riding and Kayaking is nearby, and if you feel like lording it, you can hire the whole place for the weekend. Telephone: 015396 23370 or www.acornerofeden.co.uk.

5.  Lowther House Whitehaven

Lowther House and Whitehaven are just 15 minutes from Wastwater, in the Wasdale Valley, which was voted the best view in Britain in a TV show. Lowther House dates back to 1860, and has been turned into a 3-bed B&B. The owner will happily ferry guests around to local hotspots and recommend walks and trails for the more adventurous visitors. The historic town of Whitehaven was the scene of the last invasion of the British mainland by the American, John Paul Jones, and his ship, The Ranger. Views from Lowther stretch all the way up to the southern Scottish Highlands, and this is one of the best places to stay in the region. Telephone: 01946 63169 or check out www.lowtherhouse-whitehaven.com


6.  The Cottage in the Wood Braithwaite near Keswick

In the 17th Century, The Cottage in the Wood was a drover´s inn, between the world wars it was an isolation hospital for contagious diseases, and now it has been turned into an award-winning restaurant with 9 bedrooms. Whinlatter Forest Park is England´s only mountain forest, and is home to the Bassenthwaite ospreys, a scenic mountain bike trail and an army of red squirrels. The famous Spruce Attic Suite of the hotel takes up the whole top floor, and the fabulous restaurant boasts views of the forest.  Locally sourced meats and vegetables are served in the restaurant, and the prices reflect great value for money. Telephone: 017687 78409 or www.thecottageinthewood.co.uk.

7.  The Crown and Mitre Penrith the Lake District

The Crown and Mitre at Penrith is close to Shap and Bampton, where much of the classic 1987 film, Withnail and I, was shot. This cosy inn with eight rooms is tastefully furnished and offers guests beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Situated at the heart of the community, locals and visitors enjoy the comfortable and relaxing surroundings and you can find a range of real ales in the bar. Whilst situated in a quiet corner of the Lake District National Park, you are never more than a few minutes from the rest of Lakeland, giving you the benefit of easy access to Lake District attractions with a quiet haven to come back to. A wide range of delicious dishes are served, using local and seasonal produce. Every room at the Crown & Mitre Inn is en-suite and is tastefully furnished. Telephone: 01931 713225 or www.crown-and-mitre.co.uk.

8.  The George and Dragon Clifton Penrith Lake District

A traditional feel has been maintained despite modernisation of the George and Dragon at Clifton, near Penrith. This 18th Century coaching inn belongs to the Lowther family, who are the largest landowners in the Lake District, and who have been resident in Cumbria since 1283. All the food served at the George and Dragon is sourced from the family estate, and local game is regularly seen on the specials board. The ten bedrooms offer guests elegance and stylish accommodation with en suite bathrooms, quality linens and custom-made beds. Each room has been individually designed with paintings and furniture specially chosen from the Lowther family´s own collection. Telephone: 01768 865381 or www.georgeanddragonclifton.co.uk.

9.  Willowford Farm Gilsland the Lake District

Willowford is a 100-acre organic farm, which sits right on the site of Hadrian´s Wall. Situated just above the Lake District, near Carlisle, this region offers visitors some of the most historic attractions in Britain. Willowford Farm B&B offers quality Lake District accommodation and home-cooked food on a working farm.  Offering a range of single, twin, double and family rooms which combine comfort and character, Willowford Farm offers guests a real insight into how the farm is run. The farm´s land contains one of the longest unbroken stretches of Hadrian's Wall along the Trail, including 2 turrets and the remains of a Roman bridge. The farm is ideally located for walkers and cyclists following Hadrian's Wall National Trail or the Pennine Way, and a perfect base for those visiting the natural and cultural riches of the region. Telephone: 016977 47962 or www.willowford.co.uk.

10. The Sun Inn at Kirkby Lonsdale

Situated on the edge of Cumbria and just as close to the Yorkshire Dales, the Sun Inn at Kirkby Lonsdale is an excellent place to stop off before you discover the rest of the region. The current owners have spent three years upgrading this beautiful 17th Century building, and every inch of it has been lovingly restored. Eleven superb bedrooms have WiFi, and hand-made bed-heads and furniture. The bed and breakfast rooms are all en suite with modern new bath and shower rooms with luxury toiletries and huge fluffy towels to give your Lake District bed and breakfast break that something extra. The Sun Inn bed and breakfast accommodation is also dog friendly and accommodates dogs in the rooms and the bar area. Telephone: 015242 71965 or www.sun-inn.info.

11.  No.43 Arnside

Situated in the village of Arnside, this boutique guesthouse, has incredible views over the Kent estuary to the Lakeland Fells. Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this Victorian town house offers guests 5 comfortable rooms, with double ended baths and large feature windows so guests can make the most of the views. A nice touch is the midnight-feast tray, left in your room for when you return from a night out. All bedrooms are individually designed to very high standards and the bathrooms all have under floor heating. Telephone: 01524 762761 or www.no43.org.uk

12.  The Punchbowl at Crosthwaite

Awarded ´Pub of the Year´ in the Michelin Pub Guide 2009, The Punchbowl has an award winning restaurant, serving local produce. But this is much more than a pub. You can now enjoy overnight stays at The Punchbowl, and even take advantage of the in-room massage, facial, pedicure and manicure treatments. Special touches include heated floors in the bathrooms, and free-standing roll-top baths. This is a great base if you want to explore the Lakes, and the accomodation, food and pub comes very highly recommended. Telephone: 015395 68237 or www.the-punchbowl.co.uk.

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