Hotels in Cumbria (county)

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Best Hotels in Cumbria (county)

Cumbria Introduction

Wispy patches of mist cling to craggy limestone fells, crumbling dry-stone walls crisscross a patchwork of green fields, and steep mountain slopes fall to shores lapped by crystal-clear lakes. This is Cumbria, home of the Lake District, and one of England’s most treasured spots. Tumbled-down forts stand in testimony to the area’s proximity to the historically contested Scottish border, but today, Cumbria is renowned for both its outdoor pursuits and its consummate Englishness.

Hotels in Cumbria

As one of England’s top destinations, Cumbria’s range of accommodation will suit most tastes and budgets. Prices are steeper inside the Lake District National Park, and in summer, many places sell out in advance. If you’re looking for a last-minute or cheap hotel in Cumbria, especially in peak season, your best bet is to head to a town like Penrith or Cockermouth or the county capital of Carlisle. Around the county, hotels vary from country house mansions offering luxury accommodation to welcoming mid-range inns and small B&Bs. For something secluded and truly Cumbrian, try a stay at a family-run farm.

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Where to stay

Inside the National Park, Windermere is a great central spot to find a hotel in Cumbria. It has a good array of amenities and is located right on the edge of the lake of the same name. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider Kendal. This market town of Mint Cake fame is at the park’s southern entrance and only a 20-minute drive from the coast. To the north lies Carlisle, the only Cumbrian city and the best option for those heading to Hadrian’s Wall or interested in exploring the past at Carlisle Castle.

Things to see

Without a doubt, the Lake District is Cumbria’s best-loved attraction. Busy year-round, this huge National Park really comes alive in the summer, when thousands of visitors flock to welcoming lakeside villages. Around Lake Windermere – whose sparkling waters served as inspiration for poet William Wordsworth – is a scattering of towns and villages, including yachting-haven Windermere and picture-perfect Ambleside. Learn more about Wordsworth and his love of the lakes at Dove Cottage, his historic home in nearby Grasmere. Rainy afternoons can be spent admiring the figurines in Beatrix Potter World, while Windermere’s shops are a great place to start your outdoor adventures, offering hiking, biking, sailing and climbing gear for sale and rent. If you fancy a real challenge, you can hike up Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. Outside of the National Park, Cumbria’s Eden Valley is an often-overlooked area of rolling sheep-filled pastures, babbling brooks and slate-topped fells.

How to get to Cumbria

Direct train services run from Manchester, Preston and Lancaster to Carlisle, Windermere and Barrow-in-Furness on the coast. Coaches arrive from various UK cities and can be a quicker alternative if travelling from London and the south. Relying on a car to travel in Cumbria can be a headache in summer, and with an incredibly well-served bus and rail network, it’s often less stressful to leave the car behind. Local buses run between towns and villages throughout the region and are a low-cost way to travel – buy a day ticket to get the best prices.

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