It’s one of the most scenic hiking spots in the country, so it’s just as well that there are some indulgent spa hotels in the Lake District waiting for you afterwards, should your limbs need it.
In this glorious national park, you can hike Scafell Pike – the highest peak in England – visit Wordsworth’s house in Grasmere or look for Mister McGregor in Beatrix Potter’s garden at Hill Top, the cherished children’s author’s former farm. Visitors can also set sail on the waters of Windermere after a trip to a tea room; holidays don’t get more British than this.
Go hungry to Ambleside to enjoy some incredible gastronomy, at Lake Road Kitchen and the Old Stamp House in Wordsworth’s old office. The Lake District is also home to Simon Rogan's acclaimed L'Enclume restaurant, which has three Michelin stars. It's in the village of Cartmel, which has a 12th-century priory.
And over at Gilpin in Bowness-on-Windermere, another Michelin-star restaurant awaits in the form of Source by Ollie Bridgwater. The hotel is not just a sanctuary for gourmands – there are entire suites dedicated to rest and relaxation, with floor-to-ceiling windows for you to take in the fells and woodland views, a hot tub and a steam room, sauna, infrared lounge bed and massage chair so you don't have to share your spa space with other guests.
Luckily for anyone coming to this outdoorsy adventure playground to exert some effort, there are lots of spa hotels ready to soothe sore limbs post-hike. Take the waters with a tour of the thermal circuits at Lodore Falls, Low Wood Bay or Langdale, all top-notch hotels to escape to for their serene spa offerings.
Read on for the Bazaar edit of the ultimate spa hotels in the Lake District…
Langdale Hotel & Spa
At the 35-acre Langdale Estate, guests can choose from rooms and suites in the main hotel, and self-catering cottages with up to three bedrooms in the grounds. You won't have to leave the expansive grounds to enjoy walking trails, cycling and wild swimming.
The Brimstone Spa is one of the best in the Lakes, mostly thanks to its indoor-outdoor pool, gym, sauna, hot tub, array of thermal experiences and selection of Elemis and Pure Alchemy treatments. Couples can book the Bubble, a private spa just for two. After enjoying a swim out in the fresh air, warm up by the fire or in the Finnish sauna. There’s a deli at the spa for wholesome meals, light lunches and healthy sweet treats, or you can indulge in something a little harder after a stroll up to the traditional pub, Wainwrights’ Inn in the village of Chapel Stile.
Low Wood Bay
This spa hotel on Windermere is a mile from Ambleside and perfectly placed for exploring the Lakes. As well as the health club, which has a sauna, steam-room, indoor pool and Jacuzzi, Low Wood Bay has a terrace for fizz on arrival and panoramic windows to showcase the surrounding countryside in the bar and breakfast-room.
Spa packages include three-hour "thermal journeys", which dip in and out of various pools, some out in the bracing fresh air. Or book an Espa facial and manicure, sit and read in the Snug, and then head for lunch or afternoon tea at the Blue Smoke restaurant, which has a three-metre-long wood-fired grill and serves dishes such as aubergine bruschetta with basil and burnt lemon, satay steaks with candied cashews and coriander, and huge surf 'n' turf sharing platters – all flame-grilled, naturally.
Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa
In the Borrowdale Valley, close to both Derwentwater and the namesake waterfall, Lodore Falls may be in a 200-year-old building, but it’s the much more modern spa that gets most of the attention these days. It has a rasul chamber, a champagne bar and a thermal suite with a laconium, herbal sauna, salt-room, heated loungers, an ice fountain and an aroma steam-room.
It’s one for true spa enthusiasts, since there are bedrooms within the spa building. Derwentwater and the Catbells are visible from the 16-metre pool, and treatments are by beloved British brands Elemis and Ishga. Try a superfood facial designed to boost radiance, a seaweed and sea salt body scrub or a hot-poultice massage. If you can bear to leave the spa, make the pan-Asian restaurant Mizu your first port of call.
Lakes Hotel & Spa
Another hotel in the Lake District for the most ardent spa enthusiasts, Lakes Hotel has suites set within the spa building itself, which means you can spend the entire time in your robe and slippers. Some of the suites have two bedrooms that are ideal for groups of four. The rooms in the chalet-style structure have a hot tub on every balcony, which are most striking when they’re lit up at night.
The dimly lit pool area ensures maximum relaxation, as do the two main hot tubs, the poolside bar facilitating free-flowing prosecco (arguably a spa day essential) and the Elemis treatments. The latter range from regular deep-tissue or Indian head massages to pregnancy rituals and slightly more unusual massages performed using heated lava shells from the Philippines.
Lakeside Hotel & Spa
On the southern shores of Windermere and accessible by boat, this country-house hotel has landscaped gardens, a lake-facing terrace for cocktails with a view and a conservatory restaurant that serves British favourites such as afternoon tea and fish and chips.
Steamers call in to take guests across to Bowness-on-Windermere or up to Ambleside, but the Aveda spa at the Lakeside Hotel has plenty to keep you (serenely) busy first, including an indoor pool and an outdoor sitting area with a fire-pit. Spa days start with coffee or juice out by the lake and a stroll through the gardens, followed by your choice of treatment.
If you're struggling to choose between a massage or facial, simply book the Aveda Aroma Combination, a relaxing 60-minute ritual that features a back, neck and shoulder massage, followed by a restorative face routine.
Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa
Hidden in 400 acres of woodland and deer park, Armathwaite Hall is close to Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw Mountain. Helpful for anyone here to explore the great outdoors, staff can arrange activities for guests that include everything from fell walking to forest bathing.
Along with its four resident alpacas, the stately home is the proud owner of an impressive spa. It’s set over two floors, with an infinity pool, an outdoor hot tub that overlooks the surrounding forest, 10 treatment rooms and a mani, pedi and make-up area. Post-treatment relaxation areas include chairs circled around a fireplace and the aptly named Tranquillity Terrace, which has a covered section, but also leads out to the rockery, with a view of the spa gardens.
Once you're ready to contemplate changing out of your robe, head over to the Courtyard Bar and Brasserie for a bite to eat, or dine overlooking the lake at the more formal restaurant.
The Swan Hotel & Spa
The Swan is near Windermere, one of the Lake District's most popular hubs. At the spa, Comfort Zone treatments on offer include entire rituals dedicated to healing upper-body tension, restorative facials and, perfect for the location, foot treatments designed especially for walkers. There's also an outdoor Finnish sauna, perfect for warming up away from the cold.
The guest rooms are adorned with prettily patterned headboards with matching cushions, floral wallpaper and colourfully upholstered sofas and armchairs. The loft suites have marble bathrooms, roll-top bath tubs in the bedroom, super-king-size beds with magically appearing televisions and electric log burners. For couples, the ultimate room choice is the Love Nest, a studio cottage in the grounds designed for two, with a fireplace on the terrace and double walk-in rain showers.
Set on 67 acres of glorious fells, The Samling has views out across Windermere and the Old Man of Coniston. While the hotel doesn't have a full-blown spa, it has one magnificent spa feature: guests can book in for soaks with a view at its perfectly positioned hot tub in the woods throughout the day, but the best slot has to be dusk, with some accompanying champagne.
The estate also includes ornamental water gardens, a wildflower meadow, woodland trails and a Georgian arbour. Book in for some glamping in the grounds to continue to enjoy the seclusion and don’t miss dinner with your choice from one of the best wine lists in the Lakes. The hotel's restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star, making it a stop on many gourmet pilgrimages to this part of the country.
Daffodil Hotel & Spa
On the shores of Grasmere and named after the Lake District’s favourite flower (thanks to one of Wordsworth's most quoted poems), the Daffodil Hotel & Spa has a spectacularly scenic backdrop. It's surrounded by gorgeous greenery and gloriously secluded. Unsurprisingly, the views keep coming, especially at the lake-edge restaurant, where the chef creates dishes that look almost too good to eat.
At the spa, guests can book in for facials with products by European skincare brand Germaine de Capuccini, OPI manicures or Delilah Cosmetics makeovers. Other treatments include vitamin C body wraps and couples’ mud therapy where the mud gets festively flavoured with ginger and chocolate orange at certain times of the year.
You're never far from a classic afternoon tea in the Lake District and the one at Daffodil Hotel is worth making space in your spa day for.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
One of the Lake District’s finest luxury hotels, Gilpin also takes the art of the spa very seriously. Its Spa Suites are set between silent fells and woodland. Each has floor-to-ceiling windows, a garden with decking and a hot tub, a fireplace, cocktail bar and circular stone bath tub. They also all have a steam room, sauna, infrared lounge bed and massage chair.
You’ll be perfectly happy staying within your suite, but you must venture out to experience the rest of the facilities, which include the Spa Space, with its nature-inspired treatment rooms and a calming relaxation room.
As with many luxury Lake District hotels, the food is one of the star attractions at Gilpin – it's home to a Michelin-star restaurant by chef Ollie Bridgwater, who learnt his trade in the kitchens of Heston Blumenthal's legendary restaurant the Fat Duck.
With a backdrop as beautiful as the Lake District, there are lots of places in the area with amazing views – but few can beat the pool at Another Place, where the surrounding countryside is showcased through floor-to-ceiling windows. The Swim Club spa, on the shores of Ullswater, includes the show-stealing 20-metre pool, an outdoor hot tub, a sauna and several treatment rooms.
Visitors can borrow wetsuits to go out swimming in the lake – and anyone wary of the water’s temperature can venture out by paddle-board instead. For lucky guests staying overnight, accommodation options include cosy shepherd’s huts with roofs that facilitate stargazing and a contemporary two-bedroom treehouse, shrouded by oak-trees and with a freestanding bath tub out on the deck.
This Great Langdale spa hotel, on the same estate as the Langdale Hotel & Spa, is perfectly placed for anyone hoping to book in for some pampering once they’ve scaled nearby Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England – and they can expect equally spectacular scenery here within the grounds, only this time from the comfort of the hot tub or indoor-outdoor pool. A log fire warms up the outdoor relaxation area so you can enjoy it regardless of the weather; indoors, there’s a Himalayan-salt steam-room and Roman laconium.
Couples will love a stay in Brimstone’s Duet Suites, which have a double shower, two freestanding slipper bath tubs, twin sinks and even (for extra equilibrium) two televisions. Or keep the spa theme going by booking a Spa Suite, each of which has a lounge with a wood-burning stove, a huge bath tub and an emperor-size bed.
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