Well-lived country life courses through the hallways and across the lawns at Rothay Manor, where a fuss-free taste for the finer things make it a serious contender for larks around the Lakes. And while all the fun of Ambleside and Windermere are mere steps away, days might just as easily be spent curled up on your room’s window seat leafing through the book of the moment and taking in lungfuls of the Lakes’ famous breeze (and that stunning view). After a breakfast of eggs Florentine powered by locally produced artisan coffee, head out with dog in tow (they’re very welcome), safe in the knowledge that there’s a dedicated pooch washroom for your return.
Get this when you book through us:
A glass of English sparkling wine and box of chocolates
Double rooms from £210.00, including tax at 20 per cent.
A leisurely breakfast is included and served in the dining room with any dietary needs catered for – whether that be a dairy-intolerance or an inherent desire for a full English with extra bacon.
Rothay Manor’s restaurant has been awarded three AA rosettes for culinary excellence, and a Michelin Plate. The adjacent Brathay Room is a dog-friendly dining area, where you can enjoy breakfast and dinner together.
Like many of us, Rothay Manor dedicates the first few weeks of January to resetting, but welcomes guests with open arms over the Christmas period, with special offers on breaks from 24 to 27 December.
The hotel closes for the first few weeks of January every year.
At the hotel
Free parking, board games, free WiFi. In rooms: Bramley bath products, bathrobes, desk, tea- and coffee-making kit, locally made coffee pods by Farrer’s, drinks and light bites on arrival, Sky TV, laundry service, fridge, safe, bathrobes, hairdryer and fresh milk.
Our favourite rooms
The peachy-pink Colwith room, adorned with a turquoise framed fireplace and walls wrapped in the whimsical Folk Tales wallpaper by Melissa White. Mornings, evenings, and anything in between could easily be whiled away on the garden-facing balcony, or in the roll-top bath tub. There's also a fully accessible bedroom on the ground floor of the Pavilion building.
A fuss-free attitude, weathered walking boots, and fully-working taste buds to give chef Dan’s creations the credit they deserve.
Welcome; there's a children’s menu for dining and one extra bed can be to certain rooms for £50 a night (please contact the hotel prior to booking if you require an extra bed).
Rothay Manor work with Green Small Business certifiers to ensure the hotel’s energy-saving efforts are up to scratch. Staff use LED light bulbs, careful cleaning products and work alongside local partners to have the kitchen food waste churned into all-important energy.
Table five affords bay-window garden views and hidden-alcove ambience; ideal for honeymooners, couples, or those who prefer privacy when eating their pudding.
Appetite-appeasing outfits that allow for all-in enjoyment of chef Dan’s tasting menus. Anything floral and flowing will work; you are in the Lakes, after all.
It’s fair to say that the beating heart of Rothay Manor is its main restaurant; a tranquil space that reflects the manor’s heritage through hardwood floors, wood panelling and grandiose floor-to-ceiling curtains. The menu is dedicated to locally sourced seasonal produce where possible – meat comes from Cumbria, fish from the north east coastline, scallops from Scotland. Dishes draw on Scandi and Japanese influences, so don’t be surprised to see miso, beetroot and coriander on the menu. And when the head chef – Dan McGeorge – brings such gravitas, having been named the Champion of Champions on the 2021 series of BBC Two’s Great British Menu, you can expect the very best of wining and dining, particularly if you opt for Dan’s unmissable tasting menu. If you've got an accompanying pup, head to the dog-friendly Brathay Room for dinner from the à la carte menu.
The hotel’s brown leather bar lounge is lined with spirits and award-winning bottles; including delicate English sparkling wines from Sussex’s South Downs Wiston Estate winery.
Breakfast is served 8–10am, and dinner is from 6.30pm to 9pm in the main restaurant; finishing earlier in the Brathay Room at 8.30pm. Sunday lunch is 12pm–2pm; afternoon tea is between 1pm and 3.30pm, Thursday–Saturday (booking required 48 hours before).
Breakfast and snacks can be delivered to your door until 5pm, should you be too fresh-air-and-fell-walked out to manage the stairs.
Rothay Manor’s two-acre plot, set among rolling pastures, is both an easy amble into Ambleside and just upstream of Lake Windermere.
The closest airports are Manchester and Liverpool; both around a two-hour drive from the hotel.
For a hassle-free arrival, jump aboard a train to Windermere followed by a 15-minute taxi journey to Rothay Manor. Our in-house travel team will be happy to help you with transfers.
Set off on a Great British road trip and navigate the Lakes’ sweeping roads yourself, making use of the free on-site parking at the hotel. One of the best ways to explore the area is by car, and a vehicle will give you extra freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time here.
Worth getting out of bed for
Getting up-and-at-’em is notably easier when you’re in the Lake District: whether your day is action-packed with hikes or bikes; water-based with wild swimming or sailing; or luxury-lounging with an Ambleside wander and afternoon tea. Having strong connections to local partners, Rothay Manor can arrange a day that’s exactly your cup of tea, with nearby activities including horse-riding, paddle boarding, sailing, off-road driving and cycling. Those with an appetite for adventure might choose to don their best boots and tackle the Fairfield horseshoe; others might don their turtleneck to tackle the hotel’s best Pinot Noir.
But don’t forget that the grounds of the manor make for an agreeably mellow minibreak in themselves. Outdoor seating nestled among the landscaped gardens; creamy coffee out on the terrace; a G&T on a balmy summer evening – make use of the hotel grounds that are as much part of your trip as the famed Lakes themselves.
While we would strongly suggest capitalising on the manor’s dining options, Ambleside’s food scene is also known to appease most appetites. Try kee mao seafood noodles or king prawn blankets at Thai restaurant Doi Intanon in a low-key setting; get to know your surroundings at Michelin-starred Old Stamp House with a menu inspired by the people and landscapes of Cumbria; or head to Lake Road Kitchenfor an intimate, innovative and indulgent evening with an eight- or twelve- course dinner.
Ambleside’s cafes are more about country character and laid-back charm than artisan latte-art. Homemade is the herald here; visitCopper Pot for generous breakfasts, brunches, cakes and locally roasted coffee, or Mr H’s which is something of an institution – a dog-friendly tearoom crammed with the classics – selling scones, lemon drizzle and rocky road.
The Golden Rulehas never bowed to pressures to change with the times; this traditional pub serves locally brewed ales to locals, and is tucked away from the more tourist-track taverns. The pub sticks to what it knows and only serves drinks – it doesn’t complicate matters with food – and with so many brilliant eateries nearby, there’s really no need.
Many picturesque towns in the Lake District attract tourists, and Ambleside, where Rothay Manor is located, is one of them. For those staying beyond a fleeting visit, there is more to the town than plentiful outdoors shops.
We arrived on a crisp November afternoon and walked to the hotel, following the River Rothay, dark and fast-flowing as dusk approached. As the temperature dropped with the light, we appreciated arriving to lit fires in the drawing room. We had booked dinner that evening at the hotel’s well-regarded restaurant run by Great British Menu’s ‘Champion of champions’ Daniel McGeorge. We would learn that food and drink are central to everything good about Rothay Manor.
We were staying in one of the garden pavilion suites, located in a newer outbuilding with large ensuite rooms fitted with luxurious fittings, roll-top baths and TVs that wouldn’t be out of place in the local cinema. Our attention that evening turned to dinner and the menu of the esteemed chef. Our meal began with outstanding homemade bread, cultured butter, and several amuse bouche – the star of which were pickled ceps in a truffle foam. Very autumnal and very welcome.
The food here is refined without being fussy. Nor does it feel removed from regional produce despite additions such as chawanmushi, a savoury Japanese egg-custard dish that came between starter and main. After hake, soft-shelled crab and kohlrabi, we were ready to retire but staggered on through elegant desserts of pear and chocolate.
Having undertaken pre-marathon levels of carb-loading, we felt duty-bound to attempt a long walk the next day. The friendly reception staff recommended several loops from the hotel, and we settled on one that would take in Loughrigg Fell with views of Grasmere and Rydal water.
Before setting off the following morning, we were treated to the full breakfast experience. Homemade pastries, granola and elevated staples of truffle mushrooms on toast set us up for the day. We headed back along the River Rothay before climbing up above Ambleside and on to Loughrigg Fell.
Late autumnal colours and the beginning of a deep fog made for an atmospheric walk. The route took us to Loughrigg Tarn, a small National Trust lake that felt undiscovered, sandwiched in between the more famous lakes of Windermere and Grasmere.
At the edge of the fell, the fog lifted to allow views of copper-leaved trees mirrored on the surface of Rydal Water below. We completed the loop back to the hotel, passing Rydal Cave and snooping at the large houses alongside the River Rothay’s noisy torrent.
We arrived back to cream tea and that welcome fire in the lounge. After our hike it was nice to feel that some of this indulgence had been earnt. The cosy furnishings of our room also felt welcome after a long day on the fells. We relaxed and read before heading into Ambleside, planning to hunker down for the evening in a couple of the town’s pubs.
We started at the Golden Rule and never left for another. Not because of a lock-in, but because it is the sort of local that is warm, welcoming and bubbles away with an atmosphere fostered by regulars and time well spent. It has many rooms and nooks with open fires, and the walls and shelves are filled with the portraits and ephemera of climbers. The old red carpets and upholstery give the place a warm and comfortable feel. We drank halves of local ale and wondered why it tasted so much better here than elsewhere.
The fog had thickened on our final morning, and we could barely see the old manor building from our room. The groundsmen remarked that he’d been treated to an early morning spectacle of fog banks rolling across Lake Windermere. A rare sight in all his years of living there. We had planned to take a boat out on the lake but doubted if even a lighthouse could warn of the lake’s edge. It would have been the perfect day to settle into the comfort of Rothay Manor, but unfortunately, our stay was up.