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Hotel Review: Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa, Keswick in Cumbria

Amy Ockelford enjoys a luxury stay at this country hotel in the heart of the Lake District.

By Amy Ockelford  |  May 2, 2022
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Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa
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There was still a light dusting of snow on the highest peaks as we drove into the Lake District National Park. No matter the season, this stunning landscape always takes the breath away. Despite the remnants of winter, much of the undulating backdrop was bursting with life, ready for spring. Adorable lambs frolicked around the fields and bright yellow flowers lined the roadside.

Armathwaite Hall stands just inside the boundaries of the park, a short drive from Keswick. There’s tonnes to do nearby with endless footpaths and trails to follow through the hills and valleys. Armathwaite Hall is perfectly positioned to explore the national park and all it has to offer.

Hotel

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Armathwaite Hall is one of England’s original stately homes

There has been a house on this site since the 11th century, but records, going back as far as 1548, describe it as one of England’s original stately homes. It was owned, through the ages, by many prestigious families – even hosting royalty. The building was extended in 1880 by one of its owners, also an MP, and upon his death the estate was split and put up for auction. It looked doomed for demolition in 1930 until it was saved and transformed it into a hotel.

During World War Two it was home to a girls’ school which was evacuated to safety and then, in 1976, it was bought by the current owners who launched a major renovation project to bring the historic but dated building into the modern age. They added heating, ensuite bathrooms and phones. The spa, a new brasserie and event spaces were unveiled in 2009, and today it is a proud four-star hotel that attracts families, couples, weddings and conferences.

Room

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Accommodation ranges from family rooms to studio suites

Our room was on the first-floor in the main part of the centuries-old house; a large, cosy space with high ceilings, pretty plasterwork and cornicing, delicate decorative chandelier and plenty of original features such as oak panelling.

The vast bed and huge wardrobes means there’s plenty of space to relax and unpack, and the comfy seating area provides the perfect area to enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine. The room is decorated with light green fabrics – patterned with leaves and flowers to bring the beautiful outside landscape in.

The bathroom is small and awkwardly shaped but has everything you need, including a TV! The bath transforms into a shower with a rather odd folding glass screen contraption (leaving you little space to shower). Luxurious Temple Spa toiletries leave the ensuite filled with rich and relaxing aromas.

But this deluxe double room is all about the view; huge stone arched windows offer a magnificent vista across the lawn and over the lake. Stand in the window and imagine all of the aristocrats and dignitaries who have stood in the same spot over the years.

Food and drink

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Lake View Restaurant offers fine dining with stunning views

A hotel can stand or fall in the dining room, and Armathwaite Hall is lucky to have Lake View; a restaurant where the food lives up to the beautiful surroundings and the breathtaking view.

Breakfast and formal dinner are served in the main restaurant while guests can also grab lunch and light bites in the Brasserie, in the new wing of the hotel. Hot drinks can be served alongside a game of cards in front of the open fire in the plush lounge, or local spirits and cocktails can be enjoyed in the swanky and stylishly-decorated bar.

We headed to the grand restaurant, Lake View, for dinner. We sat at a small and intimate table for two, smartly laid up with a crisp white table cloth and gleaming silver cutlery. The waiters brought us a mini loaf of white bread dusted with flour to enjoy with soft butter before choosing our starters. I went for the raviolo of crab mousse with avocado foam and parmesan crisps; it was beautifully and delicately presented, and tasted delicious but was a little small.

For my main, I chose the pan-friend sea bream with kale, Israeli couscous and brown butter, with a side of chargrilled tenderstem broccoli. The vegetables had a nice fresh crunch, the fish had crispy skin but juicy flesh, and the couscous was light but buttery and packed full of fresh flavour and sweetness. For dessert, I was delighted to try the bitter chocolate parfait which was coated in glossy ganache with chocolate nibs, yoghurt espuma, mint granita. It was a bit too cold when it first came out but I left it to thaw and then it was perfect!

Spa

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Spa facilities include a 16m-long indoor infinity edge pool

After an afternoon stroll we headed to the spa for some rest and relaxation. The spa offers a lovely space to unwind and enjoy some pampering, with beautiful views up the fells. There’s a 16m-long indoor infinity-edge pool and children’s pool as well as a quiet glass-fronted area with cosy rattan loungers and soft cushions where you can really kick back and relax.

In the summer the large bi-fold windows peel open onto a sunny outdoor terrace where there’s a large open-air hot tub with jets and bubbles. Sit back in the whirling water, breathe in the crisp Cumbrian air, and watch the steam rise above the horizon. Treat yourself to a glass of fizz, brought to you as you relax, or head off to make the most of the wide array of treatments on offer.

Back inside – when the pool isn’t full of screaming children (top tip: check the adult-only swimming times) – you can take a dip or head into the Thermosuite where there’s a sauna (with views over the mountains) as well as a steam room, aroma room, experience showers and a hydropool.

To do

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Guests can enjoy afternoon tea with a backdrop of panoramic views

Armathwaite Hall is nestled in 400 acres of spectacular parkland and woods, bordering the tranquil Bassenthwaite Lake. The grand hotel offers guests panoramic views of the dramatic Lake District fells and stunning Skiddaw Mountain.

Next door is Lake District Wildlife Park – a former farm bought by the hotel’s owners and transformed into a wildlife park that is now home to many rare and wonderful creatures – which has become a fabulous family day out (hotel guests can enjoy two for one and kids go free). For adults staying at the Hall, Lakes Distillery is just down the road, and offers tastings and tours.

Maps of walking trails through the Hall’s grounds can be collected from reception so we pulled on our boots and followed the paths that meander through the trees and across the lawn. There’s an easy amble down to the lakeside. Bassenthwaite Lake is the most northerly lake in the Lake District and, at four miles long and 0.75 miles wide, is one of the largest.

Although with a depth of just 70ft it is also very shallow, Bassenthwaite, known until recently as Broad Water, is idyllic and serene. It is one of the quietest lakes in the park with no major settlements along its shoreline. The tranquil water lapped gently against the shore and the breeze rustled through the reeds as we wandered along the craggy beach and basked in the peace and quiet.

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Walking trails through the Hall’s grounds include an easy amble down to the lakeside

There are lots of activities on offer at Armanthwaite including croquet, tennis, archery, clay pigeon shooting and even alpaca walking! Boardgames are available to borrow and there’s a snooker table for late-night antics.

The hotel also offers four-legged visitors with the same northern hospitality. Rooms in the new wing are perfect for our pooch pals with doors opening onto small private walled patios and direct access to the car park. Dogs are welcome to run and play in the grounds and there are endless adventures to be had around the lake and in the surrounding parkland.

In a nutshell

Armathwaite Hall is a beautiful and grand hotel standing in a stunning location and steeped in fascinating history. Enjoy exploring the Lake District, relax in the spa, rejuvenate with great food, and leave feeling well rested and well taken care of.

Factbox

Amy was hosted by Armathwaite Hall and Spa, a member of Pride of Britain Hotels, a very fine collection of hotels dotted around the British Isles. The carefully-curated collection includes privately-owned properties, each one unique and characterful. Contact Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 or visit prideofbritainhotels.com.

An overnight stay at Armathwaite Hall starts from £285 per room (based on two sharing) including breakfast and spa access (from 3pm on day of arrival to 11am on day of check-out).

Address: Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa, Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick CA12 4RE
Phone: 01768 776551
Website: armathwaite-hall.com

Photography courtesy of Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa

Check Availability

And Book Online

Hotel
Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa
LLM may receive some revenue if you click BOOK NOW & book a stay via Booking.com. See terms of use.

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