A Corner of Eden, Kirkby Stephen
We get the ball rolling with a bit of a cheat, really. (Alright, a lot of a cheat ) Ordinarily, to be classed as one of the best places to stay in the Lake District, youd actually have to be in the Lake District. But, just outside the national park in an equally wild and woolly part of western Cumbria, we love A Corner of Eden so much that we simply couldnt leave it out.
There are just four rooms at this lovely Grade II-listed Georgian farmhouse, each decked out with an inviting assortment of burnished floorboards, cast-iron or wooden bedsteads and log-filled fireplaces. But the best bit of all? The Butlers Pantry where you can help yourself to some cheese, bread, home-made cake and a glass of sloe gin and settle in by the fire to listen to the wind howl away on the fells outside. So romantic.
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Linthwaite House, Lake Windermere
A half-timbered building opening out across croquet lawns onto one of the most magnificent views in the area, Linthwaite House is quite the looker. Inside, the rooms are an opulent take on contemporary country chic, with plenty of indulgent trimmings like TVs in some of the bathrooms. Downstairs, the food's superb and after a long lunch, you could sit by the fire in the drawing room and gaze out at the scenery all day long.
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Randy Pike, Ambleside
From grand country house hotels to tiny boutique B&Bs And Randy Pike is tiny, but the three rooms it does have are stylish, luxe-y little affairs. Being so small, theres not a great deal else in the way of facilities, but the friendly owners, Andy and Chrissy, will be more than happy to run you down to their restaurant, the Jumble Room in Grasmere, for dinner.
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Holbeck Ghyll, Lake Windermere
Holbeck Ghyll makes the list for a couple of very sound reasons: firstly, its had a Michelin star for well over a decade; secondly, because its got a location thats pretty exceptional even by the standards of some of these places to stay in the Lakes. Every inch the former shooting lodge (right down to the Labrador who greets you on arrival), its old-fashioned charms tempted Renee Zellwegger to base herself here during the shooting of Miss Potter.
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The Samling, Lake Windermere
For a small country house hotel in the depths of the Lake District, the guest list at The Samling has got some serious pedigree to it. At one time or another, the hotel has put up the A-list likes of David and Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney and Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise.
Why would they come? The setting is obviously fabulous surrounded by 70 acres of grounds, rolling bracken and heather-covered hills and extensive stretches of mature woodland but the rooms are also suitably cosy but chic, and absolutely perfect for that special romantic weekend away in the country. Our pick? Manmire for its mezzanine-level bed, and a comfy sofa flanked by an open fire on one side and views across the lake on the other. Stunning.
Read our full review of The Samling