OK can reply to my own post now having stayed at Longlands - just outside Cartmel - beautiful medieval village with priory and home of sticky toffee pudding shop. Longlands is set in its own grounds and comprises 9 holiday cottages surrounding the main house will wonderful walks from the door. The cottage are ETB 4 star and equipped to a very high standard - ours had king size bed with Laura Ashley bed linen, living flame fire and all have internet connection which we needed for business and they accept dogs. Highly recommended being so close to lovely Cartmel with The Royal Oak pub with a roaring log fire and fireside chairs to sit around in after a long walk, dogs are welcome too.
The Cartmel valley is well away from the main tourist spots of the Lakes (which in my opinion is an advantage!). It's a beautiful, tranquil valley with plenty of local walks and views of the fells. However in 10 minutes (by car) you can be at the southern end of Lake Windermere where you can catch a ferry up to the busy spots of Bowness and Ambleside. The Northern Lakes ie Derwent Water and Ullswater are further away but still reachable in an hour or so via scenic drives.
It's a good compromise if you want peace and quiet but still want access to the main lakes.
Thanks for responding, very useful - much appreciated!
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