With 16 picturesque lakes and 100 peaks reaching more than 2,000ft high, it’s little wonder that the Lake District National Park has served as inspiration for some of the nation’s most loved literary heroes; William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin and Arthur Ransome, among them. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017 in recognition of its unique hill-farming culture, the area’s craggy hilltops and moody lakes are a magnet for both British and international visitors, with more than 15 million people visiting each year. To complement the breathtaking views is a host of beautiful country estates and cottages, offering a peaceful retreat within easy reach of England’s famed national park.
Broadmea Barn and Stable
A working farm since 1950, Broadmea is located in southwest Northumberland near the Cumbrian border in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In 2005, owners Paul and Trish began the conversion of the old cow byre and hay store into two luxury cottages. Available to rent independently or together, Broadmea Barn and Stable can house up to 16 guests in total, with eight bedrooms spread across the two properties. The cottages benefit from underfloor heating, a sauna, a hot tub and private fishing in the nearby River South Tyne.
From £1,600 for a two-night stay in both cottages
Lyth Valley Country House
A former restaurant and inn, this country house in Lyth Valley is perfect for hosting larger gatherings, with space to sleep up to 18 guests in nine bedrooms, each of which benefits from its own ensuite bathroom. Boasting panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, this property is perfectly located for exploring South Lakeland and the Yorkshire Dales, as well as the nearby town of Kendal. Looking for something a bit more adventurous? The owners can arrange a number of leisure activities within the grounds, including clay pigeon shooting and archery.
From £4,201 for seven nights
Birkmere Hall Estate
Once owned by the Duke of Norfolk, Birkmere Hall Estate has been extensively restored as part of a multimillion pound investment. Comprising a Grade I-listed fortified manor house and three cottages, this lavish country estate sleeps up to 44 guests. Both Birkmere Hall and Birkmere Barn are equipped with four-oven Agas and two American-style fridge-freezers apiece, but, if you’re not a natural chef, the owners can recommend a range of local caterers to do the cooking (and the washing up) for you. Beyond the boundaries of Birkmere Hall Estate, there's plenty to keep you occupied. Fish for brown trout in the tributary in the river Petteril, take a kayak out on Ullswater, go horse riding on Barton Fell or stroll around the nearby towns of Greystoke, Pooley Bridge and Penrith.
From £4,050 for a weekend
Valley View House
Located in the charming town of Dalton-in-Furness, Valley View House is large Victorian property that has recently been converted into a contemporary holiday home. There are 10 ensuite bedrooms to choose from, three of which have the added benefit of Jazucci bathtubs, and several cosy sitting rooms in which to relax. After a day exploring the Cumbrian countryside, guests can curl up with a book in the library, or challenge one another to a game of table tennis in the games room.
From £2,938 for seven nights
A mile-long private drive gives a taste of what’s to come at Wood Hall, a beautiful country home perched on a south-facing hillside with views of Skiddaw, Grassmore and the Lorton and Buttermere valleys. This self-catering cottage sleeps 18 and has a large, fully-equipped kitchen, a games room with a pool table and beautiful landscaped gardens. Located near Cockermouth, a village most famous for being the birthplace of William Wordsworth, Wood Hall is perched on the edge of the Lake District National Park, providing a peaceful retreat following a day of exploring the great outdoors.
From £2,495 for three nights
Gatesgarth was awarded Best Residential Build at the Northern Design Awards 2020 thanks to its striking design by architecture firm Ben Cunliffe. Taking cues from the surrounding area, the property has been sensitively designed to fit in seamlessly with the local architecture, while also providing a beautiful and contemporary home. The house was built with holidaymakers in mind, and as such all four bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms of equal size. Located a short walk from the village of Coniston in the heart of the Lake District National Park, Gatesgarth is well-suited for ramblers looking for a challenge. Strap on your best walking boots and hike the nearby Old Man of Coniston, a fell that reaches more than 2,500ft and offers views over Coniston and its lake.
From £2,122 for seven nights
From this Edwardian building you can enjoy sweeping views of some of the Lake District’s most beautiful peaks. A 20-minute walk from Derwentwater and walking distance from Keswick, this 10-bedroom house is well-located for exploring the spoils of the north Lakes. With two kitchens, two large reception rooms and a spacious dining room, this property is perfect for larger groups. Be sure to bring your binoculars — there is a viewing turret at the top of the house.
From £4,841 for seven nights
No detail has been spared at Waternook, a 12-bedroom country house surrounded by 26 acres of private grounds and half a mile of private lake shoreline. Here you’ll find everything you could ever need, from a cinema room to a spa, a bar, a private jetty, a boathouse and a helicopter landing pad. There is even dedicated space for four-legged friends, with underfloor heating and views of the mountains. Bluetooth media hubs allow guests to play their own music throughout the property, with most communal rooms benefiting from iPads or iPods that can be connected to the integrated music system. On one of the three terraces, a hot tub is well-placed to give spectacular views of the landscaped gardens. Should you wish to venture beyond the boundaries, you’ll find Hallin Fell, the Aira Force waterfalls and Pooley Bridge.
From £7,520 per week