A Storybook Staycation at Beech Hill Hotel, Windermere

Welcome to the enchanting Beech Hill Hotel, where old time whimsy and modern luxury embrace upon the eastern shores of Lake Windermere.

Writer Debby Donnelly-Addison embarks upon on a staycation immersed in the scenic grandeur and spellbinding charm in the home of rambling walks, Beatrix Potter, and sticky toffee pudding

Nestled amidst the picturesque hills of Cumbria, Beech Hill Hotel offers an enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Perched upon the shores of Lake Windermere, the 55-room hotel is surrounded by dramatic landscapes, offering guests an opportunity to explore the Lake District National Park (or you could just admire it from the open-air hot tub, but more about that later). 

From the moment I set my case down on the thick welcome mat, I felt captivated by the hotel’s charm, warmth, and breathtaking surroundings.  Dating back to the early 1900’s, the hotel’s interior boasts an eclectic mix of modern amenities and classic Cumbrian charm.

Dazzling features such as bespoke light installations and waterfall showers commingle with crackling log fires and statuesque bronze object d’art. This no-expense spared marriage of old and new will undoubtedly be a lengthy one, with a mixture of sturdy antique furnishings and contemporary spa fittings creating a pairing as classic as strawberries and cream.

The tranquil atmosphere, with its idyllic gardens and mesmerizing views of the lake and rolling hills, provides a serene backdrop for an unforgettable stay. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely stroll around the meticulously maintained grounds or sipping a refreshing drink on the terrace, the hotel’s surroundings effortlessly instil a sense of peace and rejuvenation.

The Room

Boasting a wide range of rooms, from the cosy “Select”, featuring a king-sized bed, spa bath, and lake views, all the way up to the Windermere Suite, complete with private terrace and sprawling vista views from both bed and bath, each accommodation has been considerately decorated to reflect the natural landscape beyond.

If you really fancy splashing the cash, Beech Hill also offers High Biggin; a 5* Gold Award winning cottage complete with luxurious bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a private chef and waiter service.  I stayed in the recently refurbished Windermere Suite; a decadently spacious room with amenities so high-end that it took me a good few hours to realise that the beautiful painting of Lake Windermere facing my bed was actually the television.

With bi-fold doors leading out onto a private deck complete with 5-person hot tub and outdoor lounge area, this suite is a real treat. The buttery soft bed, sumptuous chaise longue, and double-ended, freestanding bathtub make this bolthole the perfect couple’s retreat. Ambient lighting, ample storage, and a generous seating area allow for a romantic stay without tripping over suitcases or squabbling over who gets the last coat hanger in the wardrobe.

Up the romance by ordering a chilled bottle of wine to your room after dinner; the Lake District boasts some of the darkest skies in the country, meaning you can spend your night stargazing whilst sipping a glass of Chenin Blanc in your private hot tub together, soft music playing through the Bluetooth speakers dotted around your suite. Major brownie points on the romance front. 

The Food & Drink

Headed up by chef Lukasz Zebryk, the award-winning Burlington’s Restaurant is a destination in its own right. Serving up a fusion of English and French cuisine using locally sourced produce, guests and non-residents alike can enjoy a hearty breakfast, delicious lunch, delightful afternoon tea, or indulgent evening meal with a view. With a wide selection of wines and highly knowledgeable staff, drinks pairings are no issue here, just kick back, enjoy your meal at a leisurely pace, and let the attentive wait staff keep you well fed and watered.

Starters include Ham Hock & Pheasant Terrine with black garlic ketchup, Chestnut Mushroom & Truffle Oil Risotto, and my personal favourite, Peppered Venison Carpaccio with a Pedro Ximenex balsamic reduction and dark chocolate. Championing local suppliers and all that Cumbria has to offer, mains include Confit Duck Leg with sweet potato mash & poached pear, Cod Loin with creamed leeks & pancetta crisp, and Poach-roasted Chicken Supreme on a bed of honey roasted parsnips and cauliflower cream.

As for desserts, please be willing to throwing your good intentions out of the window; with offerings such as Pistachio Crème Brulee, Beech Hill’s Signature Sticky Toffee Pudding, and a generous cheeseboard abundant with local fayre, this is no time for restriction. Finish with a strong coffee and truffles as a final hurrah worthy of the spectacular views beyond your table. 

Things To Try:

  • If you’re an outdoorsy type or want to slip out early for a peaceful picnic on the lake, ask for a ground floor room with patio access to the garden. Whilst the upper floors have incredible views, these rooms offer the convenience of direct access to the dock below.
  • Book a slot at the spa upon check-in. Windermere is a walker’s paradise, and with many picturesque routes nearby, a long stroll followed by a soothing massage is a must. 
  • Rent a boat from Windermere Boat Hire, located less than 6 minutes’ drive from the hotel. Costing £35 for an hour, this was money well spent and allowed us to see the lake from a different perspective. If you’ve left your captain’s hat at home, they also provide group boat tours from £12 per person.

The Wordrobe Verdict

As cliché as this may sound, the only downside to my staycation was that I did not stay longer. Just as my favourite storybooks tell of enchanting heather filled hills, sprawling lakes, and gingerbread houses, Beech Hill uses the iconic Lake Windermere, crisp white linens, and bowls of comforting sticky toffee pudding to cast you under its spell. Be sure to book a minimum of two nights lest you regret it all the way home. 

Make it happen
Where: Beech Hill Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3LR
How: The hotel is located a short drive from junction 36 on the M6.If travelling by train, Oxenholme station is on the main Glasgow to Euston line. From here connections can be made to Windermere station (which is then 15 minutes to the hotel by taxi). 
Parking: There is generous parking available in the car park to the rear of the hotel. 
Wallet: Prices from £99 per night, based on two people sharing. Find out more and make a booking via beechhillhotel.co.uk

Words by Debby Donnelly-Addison

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