The Lake District has been stirring imaginations of its visitors for hundreds of years. In a landscape so vast (885 square miles to be exact), it’s important to find your bearings. Luckily, we’ve figured out exactly where to begin.
Linthwaite House is a half hour walk from the shores of Windermere (arguably the most famous of them all) lake, close to Bowness Bay and the tourist honeypot town of Bowness-on-Windermere. In fact, most of your ‘textbook’ Windermere attractions are less than a half hour drive away – Beatrix Potter’s House, Grizedale Forest, Grasmere, Dove Cottage to name a few. That said, Linthwaite House is a retreat in itself – a 14 acre estate far from the hustle and bustle of the towns below… the perfect place to explore the scenic surroundings.
The hotel was originally built as a private house in 1900 by the Pattinson family as a modest five bedroom home overlooking the lake. Ten years later, the house was expanded and became useful as a small guest house with the ever growing popularity of the lakes to visitors. In the 1990s, the house became a hotel and started to look a little more like what we see there today.
Although the house has had a few facelifts in its time, each and every past proprietor has spoken fondly of the house and its longstanding tradition of warm hospitality. Staff are keen to help guests enjoy their stay and know everything there is to know about the hotel, the grounds and everything to do nearby.
If you’re an adventure seeking type, you probably already know that the lakes are full of outdoor pursuits to enjoy. If you’re a little more subdued, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t even have to leave the grounds to keep yourself entertained. There are croquet ptiches, rowing boats and art installations right here.
So, back to the house. From the outside, an Edwardian black and white timber clad mansion like something from a storybook, but inside, effortless modern style exhumes. It’s hard not to be distracted by the picture perfect views out onto the lakes from the windows (10 rooms have lake views, the others look into the lush gardens), but the rooms are masterpieces in themselves.
One of the most striking decor touches are the pieces of modern artwork. Linthwaite House is owned and operated by the Leeu Collection which has a portfolio of other grand properties in South Africa. The Leeu Collection takes art as seriously as they do their food… and their wine. At Linthwaite House where once hung 19th Century portraits of beautiful maidens, hang some of the hotel’s private collection of art from around the world, and splashes of tribal prints break up that quintessential British gold and cream palette. Outside, the art continues onto the lawns and into the woods, where you could even come face to face with a lion (statue, of course).
Remember when we said that the Leeu Collection take their art as seriously as their food? Well, we can’t decide which we like better.
Henrock, named after Hen Holme – a rocky outcrop protruding from Windermere, is Michelin starred chef, Simon Rogan’s latest restaurant. For those who don’t know, Rogan is the mastermind behind two Michelin-star L’Enclume in nearby Cartmel, which was named the number one restaurant in the UK by Good Food Guide 2020.
Rogan has become synonymous with farm-to-fork menus, and every ingredient used within his restaurants has been farmed or foraged from ‘Our Farm’ in Cartmel. Rogan’s farm is to him what the Bat-cave was to Batman. It’s even described as an extension to the kitchens, and farmers and chefs work together to really understand these ingredients.
But what does all of that mean when it comes down to what we eat? Well, on any normal day you might be given a starter of cured mackerel with apple and kohlrabi, or venison carpaccio with egg yolk jam and aged cheddar, followed by something like dry aged lamb with beetroot and pickled berries, or a dish to share like Goosnargh duck.
As a nod to the Leeu Collection’s South African roots, some of the wine has been chosen especially, including wines from their very own Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, which is quickly becoming one of the best wineries in the world.