We were invited to review the Lakeside Hotel in Newby Bridge, and went for a long weekend in March with our 20 month-old daughter.
The setting is stunning. Lakeside has occupied a prime spot next to Lake Windermere since the 17th century, and a huge conservatory across the breadth of the hotel means that guests can enjoy the gorgeous views throughout the day.
We stayed in the Gummers How suite, which has a beautifully decorated bedroom, separate living room and bathroom. The set-up worked well for us, as our daughter could sleep in the cot supplied by the hotel in the bedroom, and we could enjoy our evening in the living room without having to creep around in the dark to avoid waking her.
The hotel offers a warm welcome to families, and whilst it's high-end in both price and quality, it has an informal feel which is pretty vital when you have an energetic toddler in tow.
The food was delicious. Breakfast is 8am-11am (quite late for most toddlers/babies) but is worth the wait, with a huge range of tasty hot and cold options. Dinner was exceptional - their chef is doing some great work. The price list is not for the faint-hearted, but the three-course dinner from the Lakeview restaurant included a fantastic chateaubriand and a stunning panna cotta. The children's menu was disappointingly limited compared to the rest of the food on offer, but the staff were very helpful, so requests like a beaker full of milk for our daughter were met without question.
The staff were friendly, attentive, and always on hand to help. Our car was whisked away and parked for us, the luggage taken to our room, and our daughter was kindly given colouring pencils and colouring in sheets to occupy her at mealtimes. Jonathan, the manager, has been at Lakeside for 25 years, and there are lots of other longstanding staff members, which I always think reflects brilliantly on a hotel.
We had one glitch over the course of the stay; the baby listening service offered by the hotel didn't work on the first night, and various staff members worked hard to remedy this, but technology was against them. We ended up having our evening meal in our room rather than the restaurant. The team did their very best to make the service work the second night, and we made it downstairs to dine whilst our daughter slept in our room.
The swimming pool is attractive, shallow and spacious, and my husband had an excellent massage with Aveda products in the spa. There are also local attractions for families right on the doorstep; we went on a lovely boat trip which departs opposite the hotel and takes you across Windermere to Bowness, where we went to The World of Beatrix Potter for a fun morning. The daily feeding of the ducks at 11am on the hotel's lawn was sweet tradition too.
Overall, we had a lovely time. The Lakeside Hotel offers high-end family accommodation, quality service, delicious food and a family friendly outlook, which - if you're not on a budget - I would recommend for a luxury trip to the beautiful lakes.