REVIEW: The Waterhead, Ambleside - An oasis of calm

LEGEND has it the Victorians were so bewitched by the Lake District that they would take mirrors with them on their travels to marvel at its beauty.

Thursday, 21st July 2011, 4:00 pm

But no vanity mirror was needed for our stay in the Lakeland town of Ambleside whose captivating and unforgettable scenery spoke for itself.

And what better place to stay than the Waterhead - a delightful four-star boutique hotel on the very edge of Lake Windermere, overlooking one of the most arguably famous views in the UK.

One of six in the English Lakes Hotels group, it offers a stylish and contemporary setting against the romantic and idyllic backdrop of the Lakes and its majestic fells.

Each room promises to be more than just a number, offering guests their very own oasis of calm and sophistication - and we were not to be disappointed.

From the immaculate queen-sized bed and huge TV to the waterfall shower and stunning lake views, comfort and luxury were in abundance at every turn.

Day or night, there is plenty to do - both in Ambleside and further afield. The bustling town is just a short walk away from the hotel and offers something for everyone, from intrepid hill-walkers to those who like to take things at a slower pace in the plethora of cafés, pubs and restaurants.

If there’s one thing you can be sure of in the Lakes, it’s the inclement weather and the Waterhead provides a fantastic list of rainy day ideas at stately homes, castles and museums.

We headed for the picturesque village of Grasmere - just a short six-mile drive away and a fantastic spot where you can truly marvel at the statuesque and haunting beauty of the Lakes.

Don’t forget to stop for a bag or two of Grasmere’s famous home-made gingerbread or why not pay a visit to Dove Cottage - home to Wordsworth during his most creative period.

Lake Windermere didn’t disappoint at night either, providing the perfect romantic backdrop to our evening meal at the Waterhead.

Guests can enjoy a cocktail or sup a pint of the finest Bay bitter in the Bay Bar before retreating to the main restaurant - boasting exquisite décor and lighting to create a really relaxed and intimate environment.

The Waterhead offered attentive service and delicious fine dining at its best - a theme to be continued on our second night when we headed a mile down the road to the Low Wood Bay Hotel.

Still having sublime views of Lake Windermere, Low Wood Bay is a much more family-friendly affair - giving guests the chance chill out and relax or dive into a hive of energetic watersport activities.

The food at this stunning venue was truly magnificient and every morsel of dishes such as leek and potato stovie on a bed of quail’s egg, chargrilled Cumberland sausage with saffron mash rounded off with buttermillk pannacotta was a joy to behold.

And of course our trip to Ambleside would not be complete without a trip across Lake Windemere itself with Windermere Lake Cruises - situated just opposite the hotel.

There are a variety of exciting sailing times and packages on offer - we chose Freedom of the Lake ticket which allowed us on all sailings to Lakeside, Brockhole and Bowness - the home of The World of Beatrix Potter attraction.

The spectacular crossing was the perfect end to our short break and provided us not only with magnificent views of mountain scenery and secluded bays but also many more reasons to come back and enjoy the beauty of the Lakes once again.

Prices at the Waterhead range from £113-£308 and are inclusive of a full English breakfast as well as use of the Low Wood Leisure Club at the Low Wood Hotel.

To find out more about the Waterhead and other English Lakes hotels, visit

by Chantal Spittles