Gilpin Lake House

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Ian Jones

2024 update: Holidaymakers heading to the Lake District this summer can now enjoy a slice of the finer side of life as Gilpin Hotel & Lake House has opened its spa doors to non-resident guests, creating a number of new spa experiences with all-new food concepts. Check the website link below for more details, but first enjoy our full review of one of the very best UK travel experiences available today.

Holiday stay review: The word ‘idyllic’ was created for places like Kendal’s Gilpin Lake House. This stunning Lake District getaway is one of the most prized destinations in the North, consisting of 100 acres of private grounds, with just six bedrooms sharing every possible luxury you can think of (spa treatments, hot tubs, saunas, swimming pool, nature trails, and so on).

The Lake House is a short taxi ride from the main Gilpin Hotel site, which plays home to both Source, the revered Michelin-star restaurant, and Spice, the excellent Asian-styled dining space.

Our tip? Stay over for a few days and try everything on offer, from massages to saunas. The site is dotted with high-end Japanese-style hot tubs and multiple places to kick back and relax, including recliners on a sunkissed jetty. Not many things in life come close to sipping Champagne while watching the sun dance across the surface of a private lake.

Most areas, such as the swimming pool, can be booked out for a private session, so you’ll never feel rushed or interrupted. But that doesn’t mean you feel isolated – with only sixteen guests max at a time, it’s remarkably easy to strike up a conversation over breakfast if you feel like it, or make new friends during an evening nightcap in the ornate library.

Speaking of breakfast, it doesn’t get better than this. The entire range is covered, from bright, fresh fruit and yoghurt, to a stylish take on the traditional English breakfast, or a creamy rarebit, all made with the very best ingredients, in a glorious open-air space.

In the evening, this transforms into Knipe Grill, headed up by the hugely accomplished Welsh chef Tom Westerland – who you may know from Great British Menu 2023. The food options at all Gilpin locations have as much care and attention put into them as the hotel – five stars all round – and it’s worth sampling the lot.

The entire destination is a family-run enterprise and it shows. The staff are relaxed, happy and cheerful and speak fondly of the owners, the Cunliffe family – it’s the kind of place that puts the priority on happiness, for everyone from guests to staff. The Cunliffes aren’t afraid to get involved in local causes too, supporting the recent protest against the pollution of Lake Windermere by privatised water companies, alongside comedy legends Steve Coogan, Paul Whitehouse, Lee Mack and more.

There’s a timeless quality to the Lake House, yet it never feels stuffy or elitist. You can even book out the entire site for a special occasion such as a wedding, plus guests return year after year, booking well in advance to bag their favourite room – each named after the aunts who used to live here. (We stopped in Ethel, which gave jaw-dropping views over the lake, plus contains a bathroom bigger than most people’s gardens.)

The Lake District is blessed with some of the UK’s most charming and scenic areas, but Gilpin’s Lake House takes it to a whole new level. Take the most beautiful part of the UK, add a wonderfully friendly welcome, plus some of the best food and most relaxing activities imaginable, and you’re still only halfway there.

Knipe TarnKendal LA8 8LN View map
Telephone: 015394 88818 Visit Now

What's on near Gilpin Lake House

Two men stand at railings with blue sky behind. Both are wearing sunglasses and one is leaning forward with his head under the top railing and laughing.
Morecambe Poetry Festival 2024 at various venues

Our Tourist Telescope is set on the coast – more specifically, Morecambe Poetry Festival, back for a third year with an impressive line-up now spread over two venues: the wonderful Winter Gardens and upstairs at The King’s Arms.

from £65.00
Kendal Calling Festival 2024

Featuring over 200 artists and performers, immersive arts experiences and kids activities, Kendal Calling is a great, family-friendly festival set in the stunning Lake District.

from £199.00

Where to go near Gilpin Lake House

Bar or Pub

Baha is a stylish upmarket restaurant with a Pacific Rim-inspired menu, based in Bowness-In-Windermere in the Lake District.

The World of Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter™ is a vibrant family Attraction bringing to life Beatrix Potter’s enchanting stories in a magical recreation of the beautiful Lake District countryside.

Tourist Attraction

Perhaps no water in England is more storied than Windermere, where swimmers who enjoy a challenge have naturally flocked here for centuries.

Culture Guides

Rebecca Watson author photo
Literature Events in Manchester and the North

In between working out, then working through, your holiday reading pile this summer, find inspiration for your next bookish acquisitions from our selection of live events and exhibitions.