Holbeck Ghyll

Windemere, Cumbria

An iconic Lake District country house hotel that serves ambitious dishes based on local ingredients

£££££

It’s easy to see why this 19th century country house hotel is regularly referenced as one of the best places to stay in the country. Roaring fires, luxurious lounges and ravishing views of Lake Windermere and the Cumbrian Fells are all part of its charm, as is the grand dining room, which has become a destination in its own right.

Eschewing the steaks and burgers of many hotel restaurants, the four- and seven-course menu reads like an ode to the North written in fresh produce. Ingredients such as Whitby crab, Yorkshire rhubarb, Cumbrian smoked cheese and heritage beetroots are given space to shine in dishes that are built on solid technique.

Start with heirloom tomatoes in a whey and smoked butter emulsion, followed by fillet of salt aged beef, served with asparagus and quail egg, and given umami depths with a lick of miso. A white chocolate mousse with wild strawberries and tarragon provides a sweet, aromatic finish.

Afternoon tea and Sunday roasts are hugely popular, while there’s also a barbecue and fire pit in the beautiful grounds, which can be hired for private events. Guests who want to get up close and personal to the action can opt for the Chef’s Table, which is in the heart of the busy kitchen, but it’s hard to resist the genteel dining room, which combines oak panels and William Morris-style patterned wallpaper.

The charming staff glide discreetly among the solid oak tables, but you’ll hardly notice them – it’s hard to tear your eyes away from the views.

Holbeck Ln, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LU

015394 32375

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