The Wordrobe’s Sophie Ritchie enjoys a scenic stay at Armathwaite Hall, a luxury hotel nestled in the heart of Cumbria
With sprawling forest and gleaming lakes for neighbours, you’d think it would be tough to compete with the Cumbrian landscape when it comes to making a striking first impression. But Armathwaite Hall, with its gorgeous grandiose building, gated entrance and avid attention to detail holds its own rather well indeed.
A property that dates as far back as the 11th century, this stone-clad former stately home is set within 400 acres of splendid grounds. Guests can roam through gardens, private woodland and enjoy beautiful views of the nearby Bassenthwaite Lake, which is especially picturesque once the sun show up.
The building has passed through the hands of many, acting as everything from a country gentlemen’s residence to a refuge for school girls during World War Two.
Nowadays, it’s a luxury country hotel found tucked away at the end of a winding drive. You’ll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle upon arrival – although the nearby town of Keswick is only ten minutes away by car.
Staff are welcoming, polite and only eager to assist – which makes all the difference (especially if it’s taken a long motorway-ridden drive to reach your destination).
Interiors are grand but not overly extravagant, retaining a sense of classical British elegance and character. Think dark wood panelling, archaic oil paintings and opulent open fireplaces. Despite its grand appearance, Armathwaite Hall only has a petite 46 rooms.
Choose from a wide tier of choices that vary according to views and amenities. If you prefer a hotel room with space, you’re in luck – the suites here are vast, especially the Spa Feature Rooms.
Decor is simple but carefully chosen, complete with luxurious details in the form of Egyptian cotton linen, coffee facilities, comfy furniture and bathrooms complete with everything from Temple Spa toiletries to waterproof TVs. Let the bubble baths commence.
The Lake View restaurant (no prizes for guessing what you can see from the window) is a fairly formal affair, with a smart dress code and elegant seating arrangements. The fine dining dinner experience (at £47 a head) offers seasonal dishes that vary from Herwick lamb to smoked salmon.
For the vegan crowd, fear not – the staff here are excellent at preparing tailored menus to fit special dietary requirements. Dishes are pretty and poised, adding to the overall old school glamour feel of Armathwaite Hall. For something more relaxed, there’s also the Courtyard Brasserie.
Breakfast meanwhile is served in the same restaurant, but buffet style. Dig into platters of fresh meat and cheeses, a range of cereals and bowls of fresh fruit. There’s also an added option of hot extras for those with a Full English or naughty Eggs Benedict in mind. Pull up a pew in the conservatory for the best view of the mountain-peppered landscape to start the day.
What to do
When not feasting, the spa at Armathwaite Hall is a must-try. This is by far the most contemporary area of the hotel, boasting everything from a 16m infinity pool overlooking the gorgeously landscaped grounds to a hydrotherapy pool complete with essential jets, neck shower and ambient mood lighting.
Don’t miss out on a visit to the steam room to help sweat out toxins or a simple al fresco rest in the spa’s Tranquility Terrace.
Treatments here (using Temple Spa products) are fantastic, varying from massages and mud wraps to facials and pedicures. For those feeling stressed out or drained, book a Signature Full Body Massage (£80). 60 minutes of utmost skin rejuvenation involving aromatherapy oils and head-to-toe massage – your body will thank you for it.
With so much scenery around you, a few hikes in the Lake District surrounds are a must. The avid adventurers can take on Skiddaw for a scenic mountain experience whilst those with something slower paced in mind can walk around the nearby Derwentwater, Queen of the Lakes.
Classic and full of character. If it’s scenery and serenity you’re after, Armathwaite Hall is certainly the place to seek it.
Make it happen
Wallet: Rooms from £210 per night. Click here to book
Where: Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4RE, England.