Overwater Hall. Set in 18 acres of some of the most peaceful formal gardens and woodland you’ll find, it’s difficult not to be blissfully mesmerized by the babbling of the stream as you ramble around the forest boardwalk or be inspired by the view of Skiddaw Fell, one of the highest peaks in England and also one of the easier to ascend. Envied for the personal service effortlessly on offer from the family owners, who are with you from start to finish, and heralded for its food, let one of the house’s eleven rooms offer the perfect place to lay your and your dog’s heads following what is sure to be a relaxing day.
A little slice of 18th century country house heaven tucked safely away from the tourist basecamps of the Lake District, but with no sacrificing of the magnificent mountains, glorious lakes and stunning views, delightfully warmed by owners who greet you personally simply because they are that friendly.
First visited by Erin & Blue in September 2011.
Why we love it. Having read great review after great review about Overwater Hall, I was keen to book a stay. So, apparently, is everyone else, and after several attempts, we finally found a weekend in August that worked for all. And what a weekend it was.
To capture why it was, and is, so great, allow me to indulge in a story. Pulling up to this 18th century country house, there was a man sitting at a table drinking tea from fine China with his dog sat by him keeping watch. Behind him lay a lush lawn and gorgeous gardens lined by thriving woodland which itself was topped by majestic peaks – the same peaks which make the Lake District one of the most popular holiday spots in the UK. The gentleman, in his mid to late fifties, was about as far from the type of man you might imagine when I speak of a man drinking tea on the lawn of an elegant country house. Clothed in a faded t-shirt with worn trousers tucked into wellies, he acknowledged our presence with a friendly nod and a tip of his tea cup. It was precisely this moment that made me know this was my kind of hotel – unpretentious luxury where discerning guests come to relax and not to be seen. (We met the man later in the lounge during canapés and aperitifs, dressed in the finest of suits.)
A split second after the initial confirmation took hold, I heard a warm voice welcoming us to Overwater Hall and asking whether we needed any help with our bags. It was Angela, one of the three owners of this glorious property, without whom the experience might be dramatically different. For whilst all of the material elements are there, it is the environment they create that really makes this place so special. Their genuine hospitality and desire for their guests, including the four legged, to be relaxed and at ease carries through to everything they do. This spirit is perhaps most obvious in the guests, who all look to be without a care in the world, greeting other diners at breakfast, sharing during a common walk down the hall tips on great walks, and swapping stories over coffee late at night in the lounge – all without being intrusive or over-bearing.
And what a place for the four-legged it is. With mountains, lakes and rivers, you and your pup will be spoilt for choice when it comes to walking. There are loads straight from the property or within an easy drive. This being the Lake District, they are all amazing. Let Angela recommend something to perfectly suit your interests or choose from Overwater Hall’s own walking guide or one of the many walking books available for borrowing. Set off with a homemade picnic lunch to be relished on an adventurously long walk over fells or to be enjoyed on the one of the many easily accessible lakesides.
Speaking of food, Overwater stays true to the Chien Bleu requirements of a restaurant worthy of a visit on its own. Winner of the Taste of Cumbria Award 2012, the food is a delight. With the head chef Adrian also being one of the owners, it is clear that Overwater Hall takes dining just as seriously as everything else, with non-residents seeking the restaurant out.
Following a divine dinner, linger over coffee petit fours, your dog curled by your side, or head off for a peaceful slumber. There are eleven delightful rooms to choose from, all individually decorated to a high and tasteful standard. From the delightful garden room boasting a private balcony leading directly onto the garden to one of the rooms in the turrets, all are lovingly brought to life with fresh fruit, flowers, fresh milk on the hot drinks tray and so much more.
One thing becomes exceedingly clear on your first visit to Overwater Hall – many of the guests, both with and without dogs, have been here before, a good number for years. It doesn’t take long to learn why.
Not to miss. The hotel’s boardwalk, which begins just after crossing a quaint stone bridge over a tranquil stream, which also serves as the guide for the beginning of a gorgeous woodland amble. Wrapping around the property’s 18 acres, this quick, twenty minute loop makes the perfect route for a gentle stroll or that first morning break.
Rooms welcoming to dogs start from. £150/night B&B.
Chien Bleu exclusive. A complimentary room upgrade on arrival, subject to availability.
Treats for the four-legged friend. Dogs welcome in one of the hotel’s lounges and bar, dog-sitting service available, walking guides available.
Treats for the two-legged. Fresh fruit and flowers, mineral water, fresh milk on the hot drinks tray, and if there is anything else you require – foam pillows instead of feather, a duvet instead of blankets – just say the word.
Driving times. Birmingham – 3 ¼ hours, Bristol – 4 ½ hours, Exeter – 5 ¾ hours, Edinburgh – 2 ½ hours, Glasgow – 2 hours, London, West (M25/M4 Intersection) – 5 hours, London, East (M25, Dartford Crossing) – 5 ½ hours, Manchester – 2 hours