Best Places to Stay in Cumbria

With around 47 million visitors every year, the tourism industry is hugely important to the way of life in Cumbria. That’s a lot of people descending on the county! Thankfully, Cumbria is well-equipped with a sizeable selection of accommodation options, restaurants, shops, and attractions.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful countryside retreat or an adventurous getaway, Cumbria really has it all. From quaint cottages with blooming gardens, cosy bed and breakfasts, elegant country manors with grand amenities luxurious Lake District spa hotels to unique glamping sites, there’s a wide range of options for accommodation in Cumbria to suit every taste and budget.

We’ve put together a guide to the best places to stay in Cumbria as well as some of the types of holiday homes in Cumbria so you can easily find accommodation that suits you best.

Where is the Best Place to Stay in Cumbria?

The Lake District National Park is one of the best places to stay in Cumbria and with its’ majestic mountains and picturesque lakes, this place is a nature lovers paradise. What truly sets it apart is its’ peaceful atmosphere and stunning natural beauty, making it the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From hiking and biking to boating and shopping, the Lake District offers endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

When it comes to where to stay in the Lake District, you can find just about everything here from budget-friendly hostels and campsites, welcoming cottages, and characterful lodges to luxurious boutique hotels. So, whether you’re on a tight budget or are looking to splurge on a luxury staycation, there’s something for everyone. What’s more, this fabulous holiday destination is easily accessible with good transport links.

Where to Stay in the Lake District?


Ambleside is a popular market town situated at the northern end of England’s largest lake, Windermere. The town is around 30 minutes by car from Junction 36 of the M6 on the A591, making it relatively straightforward to get there from most major UK cities. The road passes right through Ambleside so you can’t miss it. Ambleside does not have its own train station, but Windermere station is around 4 miles away which is served by trains running to and from Oxenholme Lake District, from where it is possible to connect to Glasgow, London, and many points in between.

When it comes to amenities, Ambleside has everything you need for a comfortable stay in the Lake District. There are a variety of accommodation options ranging from cosy bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels, catering to different budgets and preferences. The town also boasts a wide range of restaurants, cafes and pubs offering delicious food including Michelin starred restaurant The Old Stamp House which features in our blog post on fine dining restaurants in Cumbria.


Keswick is a market town situated in the northern part of the Lake District, surrounded by breathtaking mountains and the stunning Derwentwater. Right in the heart of the Lake District, Keswick is still only a 20-minute drive from the M6 on the A66. Alternatively, the nearest train station to Keswick is Penrith (17 miles) with frequent X4 and X5 Stagecoach Bus services from Penrith to Keswick town centre taking approximately 40 minutes.

As for amenities, Keswick has a range of options to cater to your needs. You’ll find a variety of accommodation choices from charming guest houses to rustic glamping sites, ensuring a magical stay in Cumbria. The town centre also has plenty of local shops, cafes and restaurants to explore such as Merinda and Lingholm Kitchen, two delightful cafés that feature on our ‘Top 10 Cafes in Cumbria’ blog, offering the perfect setting to relax and enjoy fantastic food made from fresh local ingredients.


Located on the eastern shore of England’s largest lake, Windermere, Bowness-on-Windermere is a charming town known for its stunning lake views and picturesque surroundings. Bowness is about 13 miles from Junction 36 of the M6, making it easily accessible from all major UK cities. Once you’ve left the motorway, take the A590 and then the A591. Alternatively, just up the road, Windermere has its own railway station with trains running from here to Oxenholme Lake District.

In Bowness you’ll find a wide range of accommodation options, making it an excellent base to explore the Lake District National Park. Whether you’re looking for a welcoming guesthouse, luxurious boutique hotel or self-catering Cumbrian holiday lets, Bowness has you covered. You can stroll along the charming streets, indulge in some retail therapy and savour delicious food. The town also has a vibrant nightlife scene with plenty of pubs and bars offering live music over the weekend.


Located on the southern edge of the Lake District National Park, the village of Cartmel is a hidden gem of fine dining, retail therapy, gorgeous scenery and a wonderful place to stay in Cumbria. The village comes alive over four weekends each year with race events taking place at its racecourse throughout the summer months. Coming from the north or the south, Cartmel can be reached by leaving the M6 at Junction 36 and heading along the A590 in the direction of Barrow in Furness.

Cartmel offers a variety of different accommodation options including bed and breakfasts, cottages, and cosy inns. Despite being a small village, Cartmel boasts a surprising number of fantastic restaurants and pubs. One of the highlights is the two Michelin starred restaurants L’Enclume and Rogan & Co, which are famous for their innovative and delicious food. You can also explore the pretty shops, offering unique gifts and local products including the famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding!

Pooley Bridge

If you’re looking for a place to stay near Penrith on the north-eastern edge of the Lake District National Park, the charming village of Pooley Bridge situated at the tip of Ullswater is a popular choice for visitors due to its easy access, stunning lake views, surrounding picturesque scenery and the ample opportunities for adventuring in the outdoors. Pooley Bridge is reached most easily from Penrith via the A66 west until your reach Rheged, then the A592, following signs to Pooley Bridge.

The peaceful village of Pooley Bridge is a fantastic place to stay in the Lake District with plenty of accommodation options including some truly stunning self-catering Cumbrian holiday lets, friendly bed and breakfasts and cosy inns. There is lots to do here including taking a boat trip on the famous Ullswater Steamers, climbing some of the most inspiring fells in the Lake District like Helvellyn and dine in some of the areas homely restaurants and cafes such as Granny Dowbekins which is included in our blog on the best cafes in Cumbria.

Lake District Accommodation

When choosing a place to stay in the Lake District, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, location is key. Think about what you want to do during your stay. Do you want to be near popular attractions, or would you prefer a more secluded spot? Secondly, consider your budget. The Lake District offers a wealth of accommodation options, so determine what you’re willing to spend. Then consider the amenities you desire. Are you looking for a hotel with a spa or a self-catering cottage with a kitchen? Lastly, read reviews online to get an idea of the quality and service provided.

Below is a list of the types of accommodation you can expect to find in the Lake District:

  • Lodges – often situated in scenic locations surrounded by nature, a lodge in the Lake District is an ideal accommodation for couples or families looking for a secluded and self-catered option which can range from basic to luxurious.
  • Hotels – hotels in the Lake District cater to various budgets and preferences. You can find everything from boutique hotels to luxurious spa hotels in the Lake District offering comfortable rooms, on-site restaurants and they are great if you prefer the finer things.
  • Bed and Breakfasts – there are plenty of B&Bs in the Lake District offering a more personal and intimate stay with comfortable rooms and a delicious breakfast in the morning.
  • Cottages – Cumbria holiday cottages are self-catering options that provide a home away from home experience, offering amenities such as a fully equipped kitchen, living area and private garden allowing you to enjoy an independent stay.
  • Campsites – there a numerous campsites scattered throughout the Lake District offering space for tents, caravans or motorhomes. Some sit at the foot of popular Lake District fells and others allow you direct access to the shores of the region’s most stunning lakes.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, the Lake District in Cumbria truly offers something for everyone and no matter where you choose to stay, the beauty of the Lake District will certainly leave you wanting to return. Happy staycation-ing!

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