Sitting in its own dappled forest canopy at the foot of the Lake District fells, with a fellside that is home to a herd of roe deer, red squirrels and native plant species including foxgloves and wood sorrel, located just minutes from Grasmere village, which William Wordsworth described as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found” … No, this is not a setting for BBC’s new period drama, it’s The Forest Side, now officially named the Best Country Hotel of the Year by the Good Hotels Guide 2023, with the inspectors singling out its “Michelin-starred cuisine, elegant bedrooms and red squirrels in the garden” and acknowledging chef Paul Leonard’s efforts to “source 90 per cent of produce from a ten-mile radius of Forest Side, much from the vast kitchen garden, to create his inventive dishes.”
In this Gothic mansion, housing 20 contemporary guest bedrooms and a Michelin-starred, four AA Rosette restaurant, guests can find their ultimate country retreat, strolling in the property’s lush grounds, or exploring walking routes around Grasmere, Rydal and Loughrigg, as well as the Langdales. The bedrooms, offering stunning views of the grounds through their French windows, are all tastefully decorated in a typical British country style with a modern twist.
One of The Forest Side’s most valued treasures is its extensive and original redbrick walled Victorian garden that grows a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs used to infuse locally made gin, vodkas, whiskeys and rums. It is from this garden that head chef Paul Leonard sources ingredients for hotel restaurant’s epic tasting menus that celebrate such traditional local produce as aged Cumbrian lamb.
Guests are invited to explore each aspect of the Victorian mansion, from enjoying a glass of wine in the sunshine-filled bar to treating themselves to some scrumptious snacks in the spacious drawing room, equipped with a traditional fireplace to combat the chill in the winter months. The intimate and relaxed setting of both the bar and drawing room act as a perfect base to chill out following a day of hiking the hillside woodlands or exploring the surrounding lakes, before guests prepare themselves for a feast in the hotel restaurant.
With room prices starting from £199, make sure to secure your ultimate country retreat now.