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Luxurious home away from home

North Lakes Hotel and Spa

FOOD

After a three million pound investment the beautiful North Lakes Hotel and Spa, nestled in the Eden Valley in Cumbria,  offers up country charm, but in a clean cut and modern style. 

It boasts an indoor swimming pool, spa and fitness centre, plus a steam room and AA Rosette-winning restaurant where you can indulge in a gourmet meal after all the pampering, or perhaps a walk in the Lake District, just a short drive away. 

All of the rooms are tastefully decorated in muted tones to a high quality finish, complete with all the facilities you’d expect in a four star resort. The bed was luxurious but if you desire something truly impressive you can always upgrade to one of the four-poster bed suites for an additional charge. After depositing our bags in the room we meandered back through the reception focused around an extremely attractive fire area, before diverting to the bar and restaurant which is a destination in itself. 

Named Fyr the restaurant is open plan with chef station and an open fire grill visible, meaning diners can watch as they turn simple ingredients into tempting dishes. The theatre of it all is quite exciting and certainly gets the stomach rumbling, so we were ready to eat after enjoying a couple of cocktails. The menu is impressive and refreshingly current for a country hotel, with flavours from around the world cooked into local produce. There’s a fantastic meat section for the carnivorous with 28-day aged steaks, cut thick and seared on the flames before being served alongside goose fat chips which were crispy and fluffy all at the same time. Their selection of sauces includes the usual faves, Peppercorn and Diane but also some of their own like a Cumberland Honey Mustard Cream Sauce that set the steak alight with a wonderful tang. 

The Thermidor Lobster was admirably plump, unlike some of the skinny and disappointing ones you get in many high street chains. This was grilled to seal in that delicate shellfish flavour and topped with an oozing dollop of Gruyere and came with a side of your choice. Eyeing the dessert list was tempting but being savoury souls we settled upon sharing a selection of British and local cheeses from a well-stocked trolley. We managed to wash it all down with a sumptuous red wine suggested from the menu by the staff, who are up to scratch on their product knowledge. Emerging from the restaurant plump and posy-faced we head back to our room to relax and enjoy some weekend television over a nightcap delivered to our door.

Waking from a content slumber we headed downstairs to help ourselves to breakfast - a good spread of continental and an open station for freshly cooked full English’s. Chatting over hot buttered toast and steaming cappuccinos we came to the conclusion that this is indeed a lovely hotel. The highlights include its close proximity to the Lake District and all of its natural beauty. The hotel allows four legged friends in some of their designated dog friendly suites which means I can see us making regular excursions here with our canine, Charlie. 

"Long walks in the countryside followed by fantastic food, great wine and a comfortable sleep. What more could one want in a weekend retreat?"

North Lakes Hotel and Spa

Ullswater Road, Penrith, 

Cumbria CA11 8QT 

01768 868111

www.northlakeshotel.co.uk