2 nights at The Waterhead Hotel in the Lake District



(Updated October 2020)

A warm and familiar tingle rushes up your spine as you step inside The Waterhead Hotel in Ambleside. This boutique hotel is where you can stay in the Lake District, but the views here are unbeatable.


The townhouse overlooks the hauntingly beautiful Lake Windermere and it’s also close to local attractions, like Grasmere and Rydal Water.

If you’re currently searching for a boutique hotel in the Lake District, continue reading. The Waterhead Hotel combines a lakeland setting with modern luxuries. It’s charming, located in an idyllic location and meets all your travel accommodation needs.

5 reasons to stay at The Waterhead Hotel —​ where to stay in the Lake District

1. Rooms at The Waterhead Hotel

There are 41 rooms in total at The Waterhead Hotel, with 3 grades of accommodation to choose from. These are:

  • House rooms;
  • Classic rooms; and
  • Luxury lake view rooms.

House rooms are en-suite double or twin rooms, which provide a comfortable and relaxing stay in Ambleside. They’re the smallest in size of the 3 room types, but this takes nothing away from its comfort factor.

You’ll find the usual amenities here, like TV, hair dryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Rooms also come with locally-produced tea and gingerbread cookies made in the nearby town of Grasmere.

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The lakeview bedroom at The Waterhead Hotel – where to stay in the Lake District


Classic rooms are the grade to go for if you’re looking for accommodation with a lakeside view. These medium-sized en-suite rooms come with king or twin beds depending on your preference, along with the facilities listed above.

Luxury lake view rooms at The Waterhead Hotel

Luxury lake view rooms are the best of the best — and largest in size — at The Waterhead Hotel. We spent 2 nights in this room, and had a relaxing stay, admiring the views of the Lake District from our terrace.

There are more noticeable additions in the Luxury lake view rooms over the other 2 grades. These include luxury bath robes, slippers and toiletries from the White Company, and complimentary Bedrock Gins (and tonic waters).


Where to stay in the Lake District - Waterhead bathroom and bedroom

The bathroom and bedroom at The Waterhead Hotel


I should also mention that, when booking your room, there’s the option to include dinner in The Waterhead Hotel restaurant. Breakfast is already included in your booking, but this rate also adds up to 3 courses off the dinner menu. Please note, that some dishes may have an extra charge.

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Wake up to a view like this: the terrace overlooking the lake at The Waterhead Hotel ©English Lakes


 “The Waterhead Hotel combines a lakeland setting with modern luxuries.”

A map of Ambleside and the nearby activities in this post

2. Gin & Tonic afternoon tea at the Waterhead Hotel

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British, and downright delicious, way to spend your afternoon. However, at The Waterhead Hotel, they’ve added a unique twist that’s sure to peak your curiosity.

Its Gin & Tonic Afternoon Tea is a selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones. Everything’s made with a Gin and Tonic infused twist. Served on a 3-tier stand, it’s one afternoon tea experience with a little kick!


Coffee art at The Waterhead - where to stay at the Lake District

Too good to drink? The fun coffee art at The Waterhead Hotel


Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Lakes Windermere, while indulging in some of the items on the menu. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are some items from the Gin & Tonic Afternoon Tea.

  • The Lakes Gin cured salmon and cream cheese bagel
  • Free-range egg mayonnaise and cracked black pepper on brown bloomer
  • Thyme and rosemary sausage roll
  • Homemade fruit scone with strawberry jam (infused with Brockmans Gin) and clotted cream
  • Lemon drizzle cake with Sipsmith Gin & Fever-Tree Tonic frosting
  • Chocolate dipped lavender shortbread swan

The afternoon tea comes with a choice of one of their signature gins with Fever-Tree Tonic, and either tea or coffee. It costs £24.50 (€27 / $30) per person*. Don’t forget to mention any food allergies or intolerances to staff before ordering.

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G&T afternoon tea at The Waterhead – chocolate-dipped lavender shortbread swan ©English Lakes


3. Where to stay in the Lake District — The Waterhead Bar & Grill Restaurant

A sign of a good dinner for me is walking at a snail’s pace when leaving a restaurant. It’s the best way I can describe our meal experience at The Waterhead Bar & Grill Restaurant.

After a long day walking, or hiking, around the Lake District, the restaurant’s an ideal way to unwind. Its menu is the perfect balance of classic and international meals, using only the finest local ingredients.

How does braised blade of beef sound? Or maybe you’d prefer a Thai green vegetable curry? The choices are varied and appetizing at The Waterhead Bar & Grill Restaurant.


Baked camembert at The Waterhead - Where to stay in the Lake District

Baked Camembert at The Waterhead Hotel — where to stay in the Lake District


What did we eat at The Waterhead Bar & Grill Restaurant?

To begin, I chose the baked whole Camembert with rosemary-infused oil and warm crusty bread. The cheesy starter was simple, yet delicious, and definitely brought out my inner glutton. There was no trace of the French-based starter once I’d finished.

After a calorific starter, I went with the healthier, and still very tasty, grilled sea bass for my main course. It came with baby leeks and a delicious sauce with fully-shelled mussels.

By the end of the meal, we were like 2 stuffed hens, happily relaxed and enjoying our wine. Not that this stopped our fabulous and attentive waiter from trying to tempt us with the dessert menu!

Even if you don’t stay at The Waterhead Hotel, do your tastebuds a favor and come here for dinner.

The Bar & Grill at Waterhead is open for dinner from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, and booking is essential.

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My main course of grilled seabass at The Waterhead Hotel


4. A hotel for gin lovers — The Waterhead Hotel in the Lake District

I’ll get straight to the point: I knew nothing about gin before staying at The Waterhead Hotel. To say that gin’s everywhere at this boutique hotel is an understatement.

Of all the alcoholic drink choices, gin’s one of the lighter options. It’s very refreshing, perfect for a summer’s day, and comes in different flavors.

It’ll come as no surprise to read then that The Waterhead Hotel has its own gin library. They can mix up a classic G&T, or as I requested, a fruity G&T cocktail. The bar’s stocked with some of the most renowned gins, both local and international.

The Lakes Gin is one of the most well-known brands, consisting of juniper, which you find across the Lake District. Its distillery also has tours where you can learn more about the process, and surely have a taste too.


Drinks before dinner at The Waterhead - Where to stay in the Lake District

Drinks outside before dinner at The Waterhead — where to stay in the Lake District


Where to enjoy G&T at The Waterhead Hotel

Imagine our surprise as we discovered 2 gins, tonic waters and glasses too in our room. On first impression, I thought it was a welcome for every guest. But, after speaking with the staff, having gin and tonics in the room is as standard as tea and coffee.

The best time and place to enjoy a G&T is before dinner, just as the sun’s about to set. Grab a table outside, enjoy the views and sip.

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Where to stay in the Lake District – a gin lovers’ paradise at The Waterhead Hotel ©English Lakes

5. Nearby activities to The Waterhead Hotel 

A boat cruise across Lake Windermere

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the hotel’s location is ideal for a number of activities. Just across the road from The Waterhead Hotel is the Ambleside port for the Lake Windermere boat cruises.

We took the ‘Freedom of the Lakes’ ticket. This enables you unlimited rides for 24 hours from the time of purchase. It’ll take you from Ambleside, and on to the neighboring towns of Bowness and Lakeside.

At the final stop of Lakeside, is an 18th century steam train that takes you to the village of Haverthwaite.

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Grab a fresh cream-filled scone on a Lake Windermere boat cruise

Exploring Grasmere and Rydal Water

With 1 lake ticked off the list, it’s a pleasant and short walk to Grasmere and Rydal Water. There are 16 lakes in total to see in the Lake District, and this trip is almost a 2-for-1.

Grasmere and Rydal Water are close to the other, set against the backdrop of the glowing green land. Make the doable climb to see Rydal Cave — which confusingly is nearer to Grasmere than its namesake. The cave’s also interesting up close, and the views from the top are worth shouting about.


View from Grasmere Lake - Lake District hotels

A trip to Grasmere is close to The Waterhead Hotel — Lake District best hotels


Visit the homes of English literary greats

When you travel around the Lake District, you instantly understand why it inspired so many artists. The region was home to English children’s author Beatrix Potter, and also to poet, William Wordsworth.

Fans of Ms Potter will have a ball in the Lake District. There’s an entire space dedicated to her at the World of Beatrix Potter. In addition, there’s also the Beatrix Potter trail, and her house at Hill Top.

Wordsworth’s last family home was at Rydal Mount. It’s about 50 minutes to an hour on foot (depending on your pace) from The Waterhead Hotel. You can buy tickets to visit his home and gardens, and be inspired by the surrounding land.

What are your thoughts on The Waterhead Hotel in the Lake District? Does it sound like a boutique hotel you’d like to check into? Leave me a comment below.

Till next time, happy boutique travels x

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. Thank you for your support.

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Lisa Rivera

Lisa Rivera



Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience, a demographic (late 20s onward) that enjoys glamping over camping and staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels. Flashpackers also like to indulge in the local food and wine, cultural activities, as well as a spot of wellness on their travels. Want to know more? Read on....



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