We stayed at Swinside Lodge for three nights in May on a walking break. We spent our two full days walking along Derwentwater on the Catbells side and around Buttermere, both ideal going for my rather creaky back, and well chosen for us by the ever-helpful Kath, who provided both maps and man-sized packed lunches! The weather smiled on us on the whole and the waterproofs stayed in the rucksack.
Our room was lovely and quiet with a great view towards Blencathra across the garden with its big old copper beech. The abundant feeders ensured plenty of wildlife visitors and we saw a red squirrel, a hare, jays, a nuthatch, a woodpecker and a pair of yellowhammers, among all the rest. All you have to do is sit at the window and watch!
Kath and Mike are the perfect hosts. They work so hard and with great enthusiasm and are generous with their time in sharing valuable local information. The fact that the hotel is small contributes greatly to the warmth and homeliness of the atmosphere. Had we been less lucky with the weather, it would have been no tribulation at all to have spent a lot more time "indoors", definitely something to consider when you're chancing your arm with the Lakes weather!
The choice and quality of the breakfast menu was superb. Every taste is catered for. Kath served all the tables and the food always arrived in timely fashion. The evening meal starts with canapes and an aperitif in the lounge with the other guests, then we all go into the dining room together. The experience is one of true fine dining. Every single course on each of the three evenings was superbly prepared and presented - the chef is a man truly inspired! You get to choose one of two dessert options, otherwise there isn't choice, but it's hard to imagine anyone being disappointed. We both loved everything that was put in front us. There was a good old mix of guests during our stay and we greatly enjoyed the inevitable mealtime banter - we couldn't imagine it having been any other way. The dining room, by the way, with its big window looking into the garden, is a beautifully elegant place in which to relax, testament to Kath's good taste and design skills.
There's no doubt that you could stay elsewhere in the Lakes for less money than at Swinside, but, for your layout, you're getting a lovely hotel in an unbeatable setting, charming and friendly hosts and an unforgettable gastronomic experience. That adds up to top-drawer value for money in our book. Think we might be back...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small luxury hotel in the heart of the English Lake District personally owned and run by Mike and Kath Bilton. A warm welcome awaits - hospitality and food are our passions, and the hotel has recently been voted in the top three Fine Dining Restaurants in Cumbria with an AA 2 Rosette Restaurant supplemented by a 75 bin wine list. Local wildlife including red squirrels can be seen in abundance in the gardens, and spectacular walks and drives start from the hotel's door. Seven bedrooms all with beautiful mountain views. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Swinside Hotel Newlands
- Swinside Hotel Keswick
- Swinside Lodge Hotel Keswick/Newlands, Lake District