Brummell recommends: Langdale Chase

After a year-long closure for a major refurbishment, this landmark Lake District hotel on the shores of Lake Windermere begins an exciting new chapter

Uncategorised 10 Jan 2024

The background

When British businessman George Howarth purchased a scenic plot of land beside Lake Windermere in the late 19th century, he had visions of building a modest summer retreat. It was only after his untimely death shortly after, when the plot fell to his widow, Edna, that those plans – at her behest – became more ambitious and grander in scale. Three years later, Langdale Chase was born. A boutique hotel since the 1930s (Edna happily lived out her days here), this attractive Victorian villa occupies one of the most prestigious spots in the Lake District, nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere (the only hotel in the area to do so) and overlooking the looming Langdale Pikes. However, by its own admission, Langdale Chase was in need of some TLC in recent years. And so the decision was made to undergo a major, top-to-bottom refurbishment of the hotel and grounds, which saw Langdale Chase close its doors for over a year, reopening once again in December 2023.   

The space

Langdale Chase manages to pull off a magic trick of appearing grand and imposing yet feeling intimate and cosy. Rolling up to the sweeping gravel driveway fills you with a sense of importance as you marvel at the Grade II-listed building, while the gorgeous main hall sets the tone. This space is newly redecorated with Arts & Crafts-inspired maximalist wallpaper and a restored oak staircase, underneath which you’ll find invitingly plush seating areas. It’s here that you’ll be welcomed with a restorative glass of fizz before being shown to your room. The 30-bedroom hotel has been tastefully redecorated in a scheme masterminded by interior architecture firm Goff Associates, which carefully balances the traditional and contemporary. Original features such as stained-glass windows, roaring fireplaces and tiled floors have been given a new lease of life, while the decor reflects the heritage of the hotel with a modern twist. The reconfigured Dining Room on the ground floor is flooded with natural light from large floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a terrace and the lake. The neighbouring bar and lounge areas, which have also been reconfigured, similarly take advantage of the spectacular views but with a more intimate atmosphere. There’s a secret cinema room accessed via a small wine cellar (which can be hired for private events), and a charming Reading Room hidden above the hotel’s main entrance.

Our stay

The hotel has 30 bedrooms, 21 of which are in the main house, eight in the adjoining Lakehouse and one superior accommodation in the Boathouse, which even features a copper bathtub on the roof. Brummell checked into the Langdale Pikes Suite, a spacious room decorated with soft New England-inspired flourishes – think tasteful checks and sailing motifs. The Italian marble bathroom is impressive with its sculptural freestanding tub and toiletries from local skincare brand Bath House. But it’s the adjoining snug, built into the turret of the building, that’s the real highlight. This delightful space is hygge personified with its comfy armchairs and Scandi blankets. Brummell can’t tell you how many hours were spent here with a book and a cup of tea, occasionally glancing up to watch the fog roll over the Pikes or a cruise ship glide past on the water.

The food

Food is taken seriously at Langdale Chase, with dining experiences open to guests and non-residents alike. The aforementioned Dining Room is two AA Rosette-awarded and led by executive chef Michael Cole, who showcases seasonal British produce such as Orkney scallops, regional cheeses, heritage beetroot and Goosnargh guineafowl. The Dining Room is open for breakfast (for hotel guests), lunch and dinner, as well as offering a traditional afternoon tea and Sunday lunch with all the trimmings. In the adjoining lounge and bar areas, you can enjoy all-day small plates and a nightcap. The crispy cauliflower bites were delicious, but make sure you try the New England lobster roll [above], served in a lightly charred brioche bun with a smattering of caviar, chipotle mayonnaise and skinny fries. Extravagant but sensational.      

The bill

Rooms start from £320 for the Fell Side rooms B&B, and from £370 for Lake View rooms B&B.

The verdict

With its dramatic and beautiful scenery, the Lake District has been a source of inspiration for poets and creative-types for centuries. Our visit, however, was the antithesis of productive in the best possible way. Langdale Chase is a warm, inviting, almost magical hotel designed to recharge exhausted batteries, where you can eat and drink like royalty and get back to nature – albeit in the lap of luxury.