Stylish sophistication at The Belsfield Hotel.
We took a winter weekend trip to Laura Ashley’s luxurious retreat in the Lakes.
Directly overlooking Bowness’ ‘Belle Isle’, the impressive hotel boasts views of a shimmering Lake Windermere, wild-grass moors and six acres of landscaped gardens. It’s noticeable, imposing and is definitely a talking point throughout Windermere.
Inside, the decor is typically Laura Ashley, with neutral and pastel tones, classic furniture pieces and the brand’s famous wallpaper prints. We stayed in a spectacular suite, which was beautiful, peaceful and offered the tranquillity of Lake Windermere from the comfort of the room. The bed? Well, that was like sleeping on a cloud. And if you love a nice bath, you can enjoy a bubbly soak whilst looking out of the window onto the vast views of the lake.
Guests are greeted by a little ‘Ashley’ bunny, which they are encouraged to take home and on all their adventures, a sweet thought, especially if travelling with children. There’s also free Wi-Fi, so you can log on (if necessary) in front of uninterrupted picturesque views from the desk or window seat.
The Belsfield’s rooms offer luxurious sophistication and style to the most discerning of hotel guests.
On our first night, we dined in The Brasserie, which serves classic British dishes and has a more relaxed feel than the Belsfield Restaurant, which we thought we’d save for our last night. It’s spacious, well-decorated and the food isn’t half bad either. We started with a creamy mushroom soup of the day, and roast pork belly, perfect winter warmers, followed by harissa lamb rump served perfectly pink, and juicy garlic and tarragon chicken breast paired well with wild mushrooms and dauphinoise potato.
The Belsfield Restaurant gives diners the ultimate fine dining experience with AA Rosette-awarded cuisine. The menu has been carefully curated and offers a fusion of British and continental fare using local Cumbrian produce wherever possible. We tucked into an amuse-bouche of mushroom velouté (not too dissimilar to the mushroom soup from night one, but we enjoyed it, so couldn’t complain!) and starters of succulent smoked chicken breast with avocado mousse, fig and asparagus. The cod with smoked bacon, broccoli, potatoes and chicken reduction was to die for – fresh and flavoursome, as was the duo of beef. We finished with a sweet and savoury offering; a cheese board complemented by runny truffle honey, grapes, quince and sourdough crispbreads, and to satisfy our sweet tooth, a peanut butter parfait with brittle and malted banana ice-cream.
Breakfast each morning is held in The Belsfield and gave us a clear view of the crisp winter morning’s dewy grass and sparkling lake. The food was served buffet style, with cold and hot options, but there’s a menu too for table service. Hats off to the chef for the fabulously fried bread, which managed to be light and airy whilst remaining moreish.
It’s safe to say you can happily escape the hustle and bustle of city life with a trip to the Lake District. The clean country air hits you with abundance and instantly transports you away from your daily routine. Windermere is home to England’s largest lake – it’s a whopping 10.5 miles long – and is separate from Bowness-on-Windermere, which is a tourist honeypot along the shoreline of the lake and where The Belsfield Hotel is located. Here, you can find and the main jetties for cruise boats, water sports and walking trails.
In Windermere, there are cute cake and confectionary shops, tiny tasteful tea rooms and roads leading to country walks galore. Take a trip to nearby Ambleside for a bustling town full of outdoor equipment shops, bookshops, gift shops, cafes, restaurants and a cinema. Nestled in the valley between various fells, it’s the start and end point for many classic walks.
Windermere and the surrounding areas are arguably the most famous and popular areas in the whole of the Lake District. There are a range of activities, attractions, places of interest and things to do around the lake… and on it!
- Windermere Lake Cruises
We decided to head out on one of the Lake District’s most popular attractions (they sail every day except Christmas Day!) – the Windermere Lake Cruise and, handily for us, the starting point could be found right at the foot of The Belsfield. The Islands Cruise is a 45-minute circular cruise and allows tourists to truly take in the islands of Windermere. Sights include boats, wildlife, islands, historical buildings and, of course, a look at Millionaire’s Row, a collection of dream houses that can only be seen from the lake.
· World of Beatrix Potter
A short walk away from The Belsfield is the World of Beatrix Potter, where the famous tales are brought to life in three dimensions. An indoor recreation of the Lakeland countryside, complete with sights, sounds and even smells.
· Lakes Aquarium
This award-winning attraction has the UK’s largest collection of freshwater fish.
So, would we recommend? The Belsfield has clearly considered all the finer details and elegant finishing touches, and it’s fair to say this one of the best Lake District hotels we’ve ever stayed in.
Cumbria LA23 3EL
0153 944 2448