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Hotel Highlights

  • Ideally placed for countryside rambles
  • 17th-century inn on the banks of the Leven
  • Family-friendly touches, such as milk and cookies at bedtime

Overview

Set in a beautiful hamlet near Windermere The Swan Hotel & Spa is welcome sight after a day of hiking around the Lake District. With fires roaring, local ales pouring, good hearty food being served and comfy bedrooms, this friendly 17th-century inn takes good care of everyone who passes through its doors.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Swan Hotel & Spa with us:

An Espa gift set

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Swan Hotel & Spa

Sunday and Thursday spa and stay offer

Facilities

View Gallery
The Swan Hotel & Spa – Lake District – UK

Need To Know

Rooms

52, including seven suites.

Check–out

11am, but flexible for £50. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $180.45 (£112), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include full English breakfast.

Also

The Vu Spa has a selection of Espa treatments, starting at £30.

At the hotel

Espa spa and Leighton Denny nail bar, free WiFi throughout, DVD library, sheltered moorings and a gym. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock and Penhaligon’s products.

Our favourite rooms

We’d go for one of the three cheerful Junior Suites on the corner (Ruskin, Coleridge or Lonsdale). Each is bright and airy, with its own floral-based colour scheme, and view of the river. Families can’t go wrong with the Potter Suite, which has an extra bedroom, a supply of toys and a PlayStation 2.

Poolside

The beamed pool room has a Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and colourful deck chairs dotted around the heated pool.

Packing tips

A compass, windbreaker and woolly hat, and some Romantic verse to recite on cloud-lonely wanderings.

Also

There are two ground-floor disabled-access bedrooms.

Children

Cribs for babies cost £10; extra beds are £30. The restaurant has a children’s menu.

Read more

Food & Drink

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The Swan Hotel & Spa – Lake District – UK

Hotel Restaurant

There are two options: the River Room and the Swan Inn. The former is in the old coach house. It’s spacious, with contemporary country styling, flagstone flooring and exposed beams. Breakfast is served upstairs, in the bright red, high-ceilinged former stable. The menu is varied: you can order excellent pizzas, Fell-bred rack of lamb or butter-poached chicken. The young head chef is fresh from Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saison, and cooking for Jane Seymour before that. The inn plays host to pubby lunches and informal dining.

Hotel Bar

The Swan Inn is just the kind of pub you'll be looking for after a day out on the Fells: rustic and cosy in equal measures, with a requisite roaring fire and a hearty, British menu. The bar has padded stools and leather armchairs. Other seating options include painted prayer seats at scrubbed wooden tables, or snug nooks and crannies lined with floral wallpaper. Settle in for a Cumbrian-bred burger and a pint of Dickie Doodle.

Last orders

Breakfast is 7am until 10am during the week, 8am until 11am at weekends. In the Swan Inn, food is served 12 noon to 9.30pm every day. Lunch is served on Sundays only in the River Room, from 12pm until 3pm. Dinner is 6pm–9pm.

Room service

Selected food and drinks can be ordered 24 hours a day.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Weathered and waterproof for post-hike lunches in the Swan Inn; slightly more scrubbed-up in the River Room.

Top table

Fireplaces win hands down in both dining areas. Bag a booth in the River Room.

Local Guide

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The Swan Hotel & Spa – Lake District – UK
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Artistic types will enjoy a visit to Brantwood, John Ruskin’s former residence, Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s one-time pad, or Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s estate. The Lakes are also a place for the active: start with some cycling, walking and fishing, then take to water on the old steam boat regularly crossing Coniston (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gondola).

Local restaurants

The Punch Bowl (+44 (0)1539 568237; www.punchbowlinns.co.uk) in Crosthwaite serves up great British grub from in and around Cumbria; try the pigeon and roast lakeland beef. L’Enclume (+44 (0)1539 536362; www.lenclume.co.uk) on Cavendish Street in Cartmel is one of the best restaurants around so book a table as soon as you can. The Michelin-starred Simon Rogan champions organic produce and high-quality local ingredients in his extensive tasting menus, such as Muncaster crab, wild sea-bass and suckling pig with wormwood.

Local bars

Hike up Gummer’s How, stopping on the way for views out across Windermere and a well-deserved pint at The Masons Arms (+44 (0)15395 568486; www.masonsarmsstrawberrybank.co.uk).

Local cafés

In Ambleside, stock up on supplies at specialist grocers, deli and café, Lucy’s of Ambleside (+44 (0)1539 432288; www.lucysofambleside.co.uk).

+ Enlarge
The great Lakes

The Swan Hotel & Spa

Newby Bridge, Cumbria, Cumbria LA12 8NB, United Kingdom

Planes

The nearest airport is Manchester, an hour and a half away by car. Get here direct from other destinations in the UK and Europe, as well as longer-haul places such as Doha, Dubai, Chicago and Atlanta.

Trains

Oxenholme station is roughly 15 minutes from the hotel. From here, Virgin Trains (www.virgintrains.co.uk) will get you straight to London Euston in just under three hours.

Automobiles

The hotel is 20 minutes out of Kendal. From the M6, take Junction 36 and follow the A590 towards Barrow and Newby Bridge. Once you’ve entered Newby Bridge, continue across the roundabout and then take the first right over the eponymous crossing.

Other

The hotel has its own mooring for boats, as well as a helipad.

Reviews

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The Swan Hotel & Spa – Lake District – UK

Anonymous review

by Hello Von , Graphic detailer

The escape plan had been hatched. The wedding was approaching and London was becoming filled to the gills with eccentrics and Royalists. Shy of leaving the country altogether, a weekend north in the wide-open Lake District seemed the ideal rural getaway. As we descended on Newby Bridge, 17th-century Swan Inn certainly looked the part. A historical expanse gracefully overlooking the southern tip of…
Read more

The Swan Hotel & Spa

Anonymous review by Hello Von , Graphic detailer

The escape plan had been hatched. The wedding was approaching and London was becoming filled to the gills with eccentrics and Royalists. Shy of leaving the country altogether, a weekend north in the wide-open Lake District seemed the ideal rural getaway. As we descended on Newby Bridge, 17th-century Swan Inn certainly looked the part. A historical expanse gracefully overlooking the southern tip of Lake Windermere, a watery junction where ducks and swans were quietly going about their sunny business.

Fans of the Fells will be no stranger to the spectacular scenery in this corner of England, and the best of it is right on the Swan’s doorstep. The hotel has sat for four centuries years on the edge of the River Leven, which runs into England’s largest natural lake.

Warm welcomes are second nature in these parts, and if you don’t want to be far from a cosy fire or refreshing ale, this is a pole position. Skulls and Winchester rifles displayed around the front desk welcome us into a friendly hunting lodge-style lobby. In days gone by, this region’s thriving industries included the production of gunpowder – so rifles are de rigeur round here. (The other commercial success story was Backbarrow’s now-obsolete washing whitener ‘dolly blue’. So, weapons and washing enthusiasts, you know where to holiday.)

A perk of the reception area? Spotting a pool and sauna – not only a tease of the relaxation yet to come, but also useful to gauge if the pool is empty (bliss) or filled with excitable children armed with flotation devices (less soothing). Suitably impressed, we are checked in effortlessly by the cheery staff before being directed to our suite where we grab our swimwear and browse the menu of fancy Espa treatments.

Truth be told, the decor at the Swan errs on the chintzy side, but there are inspired modern touches in sturdy leather sofas, dark wooden floorboards and snakeskin-print wallpaper. Our room, the Ruskin Suite, has a huge, incredibly comfortable king-size bed, its own lounge with second TV (yup: two tellies!) and it overlooks the picture-postcard river scene. Our only gripe? The overload of pink – Pepto-Bismol tones enough to have those even with especially high oestrogen levels feeling a tad queasy. Mrs Smith is instantly assuaged by the classic-English Penhaligon bath products in the beautiful stealth-grey slate ensuite with a huge walk-in shower. And be assured, as we’d soon discover, this room is the purveyor of some seriously tranquil sleep. (So much so, this pair wakes up on the last morning feeling sad to leave such slumbering behind – fuchsia excess or otherwise.)

Dining at the Swan is a split-personalitied beast: there’s a family-orientated rustic pub and the River Room restaurant, with its loftier ambitions. The restaurant is in the old coach house, which has been passed through by many a travelling gentleman and his horse. (These days, it’s all about the families – although the gastropub prices are still pretty grown-up. Kids are welcomed with a toy or magazine, and can look forward to milk and cookies at bedtime.)

Seated in the Scullery, a little room off the main restaurant which Mrs Smith declares a windowless experiment in flock wallpaper. In spite of admiring the whimsical teapot lampshades, we’re redeployed to the main restaurant, and soon lavished here with the Swan’s signature service over our Mod Brit meets Med tucker. Some of the wines are even nationwide exclusives. 1976 Kesterner Paulinshofberg Beerenauslese, anyone? Local brews from Cumbria Legendary Ales such as Loweswater Gold and Dickie Doodle also fluttered their eyelashes at us. What ends up planting one of Cupid’s finest arrow aims in us is dessert. I could happily have made their honeycomb cheesecake my new Mrs Smith. Romancing a pud may sound unconventional, but you’d understand if you knew how delicious it was.

Thanks to glorious spring weather for our Cumbrian adventure, we spent most of our time ambling across rolling green, up bracken-wigged hills, down through oak-crowded woodlands, as far as our legs could carry us. We kept our eyes peeled for the land’s few red squirrels, and carnivorous plants – sundew and butterwort are two of the few animal-eating homegrown equivalents of Venus fly traps. When our footsteps became ponderous, we padded over to the steam-train stop, five minutes’ stroll away at Newby Bridge Station.

Novelty and nostalgia of the little train ride along Windermere to the boats and launches on the lake makes me regress to overexcited-child status. So much so I leave our bags – with all our valuables – on the train. It’s not back for an hour, so a swift call to the hotel has a porter dispatched quicker than you can say ‘all aboard’; soon enough, the day is saved.

We are ‘luckywiththeweather’, to wheel out that saying reliably prominent during any clement British celebrations. But had it rained, our affections for the Swan wouldn’t have been dampened, thanks to cosy corners and open log fires to curl up in front of. And despite my resistance of all things regal – what was initially a swerve from the madness of Will and Kate’s nuptials becomes the perfect setting in which to immerse ourselves in the patriotic mood. Cue Mrs Smith’s call to reception and a delayed check-out. Nope, never thought I’d say it, but yes, put your ear to our door, and you’d hear cooing over that dress from the comfort of very own sitting room. Well, at least from Mrs Smith – the colour scheme hasn’t totally addled this illustrator’s mind.

Meandering, as the Swan does, between tasteful and the twee, this boutique hotel is a sweet mixture of Cath Kidston cutesiness and macho cool, care of Chesterfields, taxidermy and shot guns. A high-end family-friendly establishment that has turned the volume up on its quintessential British charm, this is one hotel where guests are guaranteed to get a right royal cosseting.

The Guestbook

Reviews of The Swan Hotel & Spa from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We particularly liked the location at Newby Bridge.

Don’t expect

A strange comment but we think it would have been nice to have had more presence of experineced adult staff! The hotel seemed to be run by students and they lacked some experienced decisions in the restaurant and bar area.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We thought the hotel was beautiful, the food was scrumptious and the setting was exquisite! We also loved the pool and the use of Espa products by the spa!

Don’t expect

We'd love it if there were better deals so you could go more frequently.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the very friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and wonderful and helpful staff. Each room was decorated differently but it all blended together beautifully. The hotel felt comfortable and cosy, and not too big despite there being 51 rooms. I loved the attention to detail for children. Even the warm milk and swan-shaped biscuit before bed was a treat for our nine year old.

Don’t expect

I would've liked a bit more of a grown-up selection on children's menu, although staff members were great and our son could have half portions of a few items from main menu. He loved the lamb and cous cous and shared pork belly with me. Delicious.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

There were great family facilities and good food.

Don’t expect

Breakfast was very crowded.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel is situated in the middle of beautiful scenery, the décor is stylish and comfortable, the staff are friendly and the food was delicious. We shall return soon.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel was amazing – I loved the clean, boutique style. The staff members were all very friendly, particularly the reception girls.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the great food, lovely rooms, excellent service and kid friendliness.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I enjoyed the really excellent customer service and good atmosphere.

Don’t expect

WiFi reception in my room could've been better.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the ambiance, decor, comfortable lounges, lively casual bar area, dining area, lamp shades, setting and bedrooms.

Don’t expect

I was a little disappointed by the food in the evening.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the ambiance, decor, comfortable lounges, lively casual bar area, dining area, lamp shades, setting, bedrooms and setting.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The Swan is a beautiful old building overlooking the river and Newby Bridge. The style is a clever mix of old and modern and the rooms were extremely comfortable. There is a lovely terrace overlooking the river for when the sun shines and a fun nature trail for the kids. The location at the very southern tip of Windermere is perfect for exploring. The front of house and housekeeping staff were exceptional and nothing was too much trouble.

Don’t expect

The food was good but not as special as anticipated, and the staff in the bar was not as welcoming as elsewhere in the hotel.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is a great hotel; the rooms were clean and nicely decorated. There are lounges to relax in and the pub serves great food. We stayed in a room with a river view, which was lovely. The seating area next to the river was very relaxing, especially when sipping a fabulously made mojito from the bar. Service was second to none, and the staff seemed friendly and the whole hotel demonstrated a happy atmosphere.

Don’t expect

The hose in the shower needed to be replaced. Also, I would prefer a door on the bathroom that closed firmly rather than a no-catch frosted glass door. Other than that, it was a great stay and I would stay again.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The food at breakfast and in the restaurant during the evening was delicious and offered a good amount of choice. I liked the excellent swimming and leisure facilities, good toiletries in room, comfortable bed, quiet room and nice location in the river.

Don’t expect

Room wasn't cleaned until late in the day on our first full day.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is a beautiful setting with an engaging nature trail for kids.

Don’t expect

I thought the service in the restaurant (cleaning tables, etc) could've been better.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel's position was perfect, right on the edge of Lake Windemere. The food and service was excellent, the room comfortable and the spa enjoyable.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the lovely area, great and friendly staff, clean room and good food.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The deluxe room was really lovely looking onto the river. We ate in the restaurant and the food was absolutely delicious. The staff was very helpful and welcoming. I'm planning my next trip there with friends.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the lovely, quiet bedroom: well presented, good decoration, in pristine condition; I also enjoyed the excellent breakfast, cooked to order, with lots of fresh fruit, delicious home-made granola and a wide range of choices.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This was our second stay at the Swan Hotel: our first trip was incredible so I had extremely high expections about returning. My husband and I were certainly not disappointed. It really is the perfect bolthole for a romantic stay. The rooms are effortlessly stylish and cosy, and the bed oh-so comfortable… we could have stayed for weeks, not just the weekend. However, personally I believe that where the Swan excels is with its restaurant and snug areas. The food really is top notch – the perfect gastropub that's surprisingly easy on the wallet. You'll have a tough choice deciding what to eat here, and it really isn't worth booking a restaurant elsewhere when you have somewhere so fabulous right on your doorstep. If you're not too full after a delicious dinner, then have a nightcap in one of the snug areas – it's cosy, relaxing and makes for the perfect end to an evening. We certainly enjoyed our stay at the Swan, and it's still retained its spot in the top three hotels in the UK as crowned by my husband and I!

Don’t expect

Nothing – it was perfect from the second we stepped through the door!

Rating: 10/10 stars