6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Short Break - Lodore Falls Hotel, Keswick

00:43 23 February 2014

Lodore Falls Hotel, Keswick

Lodore Falls Hotel, Keswick

not Archant

The Lodore Falls has to be in one of England’s finest hotel locations, writes Roger Borrell

Lodore Falls Hotel, KeswickLodore Falls Hotel, Keswick

As a young married man, I stood at the bar of what was then called the Lodore Swiss Hotel, chatting to a chap who seemed vaguely familiar.

When I returned to our table, my wide-eyed daughter gasped: ‘Dad, do you know Brendan Foster?’ A year earlier he’d run the 10,000 metre final of the 1980 Olympics – his last major race – and was in the process of setting up the Great North Run.

‘Like a brother,’ I replied, basking in a rare shaft of familial glory, albeit one based on an outrageous lie.

Like Foster, this hotel has a fine track record. How could it not? It’s an extraordinarily imposing building – Lakeland slate meets Victorian Gothic. It rises up to greet Borrowdale’s cathedral-like hilltops with the Lodore Falls to the left and the spectacular tail end of Derwent Water directly ahead. It has to be one of England’s finest hotel locations.

Lodore Falls Hotel, KeswickLodore Falls Hotel, Keswick

For years it has attracted the well-known and the well-heeled. Earliest among them was the Prince of Wales, affectionately known as Bertie and destined to become King Edward VII, and his brother Arthur, who was to become a Kleeneze Brush salesman in Warrington. William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody also stabled his horses there in 1888 while touring his Wild West Show.

It was in the vanguard of modern communications, too, having one of the first telephones. The number was Keswick 2 which probably limited the local calls you could make.

But it was really put on the map just after World War II when it was bought by a man called Robert England and his wife, a wonderfully-named Swiss lady called Merthie Muggler (I haven’t made that up, unlike the career path of dear Prince Arthur).

She was a human dynamo who, helped by her family, turned the hotel into a landmark destination and renamed it the Lodore Swiss Hotel. After many successful years they sold it in the late 1980s to a multinational chain. Happily, it is now in local hands as part of the Lake District Hotels group run by the Graves family.

They have introduced improvements and upgrades but the core of the hotel remains true to the original style. I returned after 30 years to find some of the public areas reassuringly 80s in style with colourful carpets and soft velvet sofas. It’s not a place that latches onto fads – you won’t find stripped floors or the merest whiff of walls painted in Elephant’s Breath. With its roaring fires, it’s unashamedly homely and it has three great virtues.

The staff are friendly, the welcome is warm and they are eager to please in a way that isn’t over-familiar or obtrusive. The young man who carried our bags upstairs was an energetic Hungarian with a manner that made you glad to be there.

Secondly, our bedroom was terrific. Modern, well-furnished with a comfortable settee, large bed and a luxurious bathroom. Picture windows gave grand, mesmerising views of the lake.

Finally, came the food. Executive head chef Mike Ward has been there for 25 years and clearly knows his stuff. He and head chef Loredan Gargalac picked up an AA Rosette last year.

Dinner is beautifully presented and locally sourced, big on flavours but low on fripperies. Lakeland lamb cooked three ways made you wish there were four or, maybe, five ways.

If Brenda Foster, Edward VII and Buffalo Bill were to meet in the bar today I suspect all three would have a good time. And Prince Arthur could clean up after them.

Falls facts

The Lodore Falls Hotel stands in 40 acres with an Elemis beauty salon, swimming pools, hot tub, gym, tennis and squash courts. There are great walks all around and they even have their own walks book and can arrange free boot hire. Keswick is a couple of miles away up the Borrowdale Road so the Pencil Museum is never far away. For more information, go to www.lakedistricthotels.net/lodorefalls or call 0800 840 1246.

0 comments

More from Out & About

Wed, 00:00

Our walking guide John Lenehan devises a route that takes in two famous Lancashire rivers – the Hodder and the Ribble.

Read more
Bowland Walks Mitton
Tue, 17:00

This atmospheric coastal community is steeped in history but has a growing reputation for the food it creates. Roger Borrell and photographer Glynn Ward called in.

Read more
Mon, 00:00

Think of Wigan in culinary terms and what springs to mind? Probably the pies that mythically dominate the local diet. The truth, Martin Pilkington discovers, is very different.

Read more
Wigan

Visitors are attracted to the Promenade but this lovely old coastal resort also has a less well-known but equally beautiful nature reserve.

Read more
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Whether you’re horse crazy or just along for the ride, equine related events are an important part of the social calendar

Read more
Equestrian
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

There are plenty of events for countryside lovers to visit this year

Read more
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mairead Mahon meets some of the creative people of the Ribble Valley town. Photography by Kirsty Thompson.

Read more
Clitheroe
Monday, January 9, 2017

The South Pennines are enjoyed by residents on both sides of the Lancashire/Yorkshire border.

Read more
Thursday, January 5, 2017

A mum from St Annes who hadn’t been in a swimming pool for 35 years is now a world champion triathlete.

Read more
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Two birdwatchers with a shared passion for Lancashire’s wild landscape have produced a guide to help walkers enjoy its natural charms.

Read more
Bowland Walks
Monday, December 19, 2016

It has won a host of awards as the perfect village and has some of the most expensive property in Lancashire. But is Wrea Green in danger of being ruined? Roger Borrell reports Photography: Glynn Ward & Sean Donahue.

Read more
Friday, December 16, 2016

There is plenty going on in Lytham but it takes teams of dedicated people to keep this much visited town ticking over. Martin Pilkington reports.

Read more
Lytham
Thursday, December 15, 2016

One of Britain’s most haunted houses stages a series of tours showing how Christmas was celebrated centuries ago

Read more
Christmas

The people in this northerly outpost of old Lancashire are used to a fight - and this time the area’s natural beauty is at stake.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:



Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search