Anyone who has watched Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s The Trip will know that Holbeck Ghyll is just one of the many fantastic hotels that the comedic duo stay at. For those who haven’t seen the show – firstly, you definitely should, it’s hilarious. Secondly, for a bit of background, over the course of the series, the two gifted impressionists, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon verbally spar with each other over artfully presented dinners throughout Cumbria’s dramatic landscape. On episode three of the series, the lucky pair find themselves having the same conversation over a delicious dinner of pigeon and lamb in the beautifully appointed dining room of Holbeck Ghyll. Well, we couldn’t let the boys have all the fun, so we went in search of the esteemed hotel.
Boasting one of the best views in the Lake District, Holbeck Ghyll sits comfortably atop a lush green hillside, enjoying unspoilt and dramatic views over the Central Fells and Lake Windermere. The building itself has a rich and interesting history; having first being built in the early 19th century, it was later purchased by the affluent Lord Lonsdale in 1888 as a hunting lodge. Holbeck Ghyll may have changed hands a few times over the years, however, all previous owners have thankfully managed to retain the initial understated charm of the original.
The reception staff are warm, welcoming and more than willing to give you the best tips on exploring the surrounding area and even offer weather-dependent contingency plans if conditions take a turn for the wetter. Over by the entrance you’ll find a handful of the hotel’s favourite walks, with detailed instructions and activities along the way.
After a long days hiking or boating, Holbeck Ghyll’s inimitably positioned patio is the perfect place to relax and unwind with a refreshing G&T or restorative brew to watch the afternoon sun disappear behind the mountainous backdrop and erupt into an explosion of sunset hues. In true Lake District fashion, you can expect to experience a persistent light rain throughout your stay. Although this would usually put a literal dampener on one’s holidays, somehow the mist hanging over Holbeck Ghyll only enhances its beauty and makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a Turner painting, albeit a less naval-focused one.
The hotel offers a range of different accommodations to fit every guest’s style and budget. Their premier lodging, the Miss Potter Suite, offers lakeside views and comes equipped with 325 sq feet of living space and includes a stylishly decorated bedroom, contemporary bathroom and an airy, separate lounge. For a true taste of glamour, you can step out onto the large slate terrace and take a restorative dip into the sunken hot tub whilst enjoying the stirring, panoramic scenery. Unsurprisingly, this suite is a favourite amongst both honeymooners and celebrities alike; however, if you can’t quite make the £449/night budget then the Junior and Contemporary Suites priced at £375/night offer a solid second best. If you plan on spending most of your stay exploring the Great Outdoors then you may find that the cosy bedroom lodgings for £149/night are more your speed.
All the rooms and suites contain a complimentary, homemade damson gin upon arrival and after a hearty dinner at Holbeck Ghyll’s highly-esteemed restaurant, headed up by the innovative Jake Jones and his talented team, it serves as a welcome digestif to tie off an indulgent evening. If you can, try and snag a table by the window for dinner; it offers the best view in the restaurant and, aside from the delectable dishes set in front of you, that’s really why you’re there.
Breakfast is served in the same room as dinner and is set up as a continental buffet, with freshly brewed Chemex coffee and fresh juices. If you fancy something warm in your belly, then you can do no wrong by opting for the smoked haddock with poached egg and seafoam – the smoke of the fish is subtle, and the salty foam garnish perfectly seasons the rich, gooey egg yolk. Yum.
Now, I might not be quite as good at impressions as Steve Coogan or Rob Brydon, but I’d sure love to come and “blow the bloody doors off” Holbeck Ghyll again soon.
Holbeck Ghyll, Holbeck Lane, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LU, England
Tel: +44 (0)1539 432 375
The hotel overlooks Lake Windermere and is just over a mile from Brockhole – the Lake District Visitor Centre and within 3 miles of Townend and Armitt Museum and Gallery. Lake District National Park and Dora’s Field are 6 miles away. IF driving, stay on the A591 past Windermere and continue until you reach Holbeck Lane. Turn right and follow signs to the hotel.
Type of Hotel: 4-Star Country House Hotel
Number of Rooms: 30 rooms including complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi and free parking on site for guests
Insider Tip: If you play nice, the owner might take you for a spin in his private helicopter!
Price Band: High
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Melanie Chenoweth is a London based, freelance food writer and photographer. If you can eat it, she’ll snap it. Then eat it. Then write about it.
Photographs courtesy of Holbeck Ghyll