Dive into the ribbon-shaped Ullswater lake and explore the Far Eastern Fells from this luxurious Cumbrian hotel in the Lake District
I stood on the edge of a limestone rock face as the voices below me called, “Three… two… one…Go!” Legs shaking, I leapt into the air, weightless for two stomach-churning seconds, before plunging into the ink-black water. “Yes, Nina!” hollered Colin Hill, our open-water swim coach, as I emerged on the surface. It wasn’t even 10am on a Saturday morning and I was already squeezed into a wetsuit and jumping into frigid water. It was all part of a wild swimming adventure on the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District. As we zipped back across the lake in a high-speed boat, watching the morning mist rise over the sun-dappled water, I couldn’t think of a better way to start a weekend.
Wild swimming adventures are one of the main reasons you should visit Another Place, The Lake, an upscale boutique hotel on Ullswater. For the past year, the hotel has drawn in swimmers of all abilities, thanks to an enormous range of activities on offer – from full moon dips to cross-lake excursions. Many of them are run by Colin Hill, renowned swim coach and first UK Male Ice Mile swimmer. The newly renovated Sheep Shed, a lakeside cabin with hot showers and wetsuit drying racks, is a welcome perk.
While Another Place is lauded for its swim-friendly facilities, the hotel itself is anything but basic. 40 distinctive rooms, ranging from simple standard to spacious family suites, are tucked inside the original Georgian building. Each one is decked out in contemporary style with original features; think corniced ceilings and antique furniture, paired with Scandi-style fabrics and Ruark speakers.
For a glamping-style experience, book one of six luxury shepherd’s huts. We stayed in a couples’ hut, complete with a double bed, log-burning stove and freestanding tub. Thoughtful touches included a Stanley flask for day trips, as well as marshmallows ready for toasting on the fire pit. However, the real highlight was the enormous skylight over the bed, revealing a sea of glittering constellations at night, backed by the sound of hooting owls.
If you really want to treat yourself, book the Treehouse, a two-bedroom apartment, nestled among oak trees. The view across Ullswater is best enjoyed from the outdoor copper tub. Don’t forget to bring your dog; many rooms are pooch-friendly.
Sustainability is a key focus for the hotel. They are working hard to become a B Corp, a certification that the hotel has met the highest environmental and social standards. 100 percent renewable electricity is used across the property. Each shepherd’s hut features reclaimed flooring and tiles, plus every room is cleaned using biodegradable products and heated by a biomass boiler. Seasonal, local ingredients are a core part of the hotel’s kitchens.
Speaking of food, you won’t need to venture far as there are three restaurants on-site. Stop by The Living Space terrace for pre-dinner cocktails (try the elderflower-honey gin and tonic from local distiller, Tirill) and stay on for a hearty dinner. Think juicy cheeseburgers, king prawn spaghetti, as well as traditional fish and chips.
Alternatively, for a more formal affair, book the Rampsbeck Restaurant. Tuck into three decadent courses, focused on local Cumbrian produce, including smoked duck terrine, pan-seared trout on a chilli-crab beignet and dark chocolate passion fruit mousse. Come morning, the restaurant is transformed into the hotel breakfast buffet, complete with a Full English, hot-from-the-oven pastries and fresh mango smoothies. Finally, don’t miss lunch at The Glasshouse; their wood-fired pizzas come topped with seasonal vegetables from the hotel garden.
If you can tear yourself away from the hotel, there’s plenty to explore nearby that doesn’t involve swimming. Hike up Arthur’s Pike, a mellow two hour round-trip with sensational views over Ullswater (just ask at reception for the mapped route). Alternatively, join a guided stand-up paddleboard tour, learn to sail or go on a horse riding adventure, right from the shores of the hotel. Finish back at the Swim Club spa, where you can lap the 20m pool, unwind in the sauna and glimpse the surrounding fells from the outdoor hot tub. Make sure you indulge in a muscle-melting massage, ideal for sore shoulders and aching legs.
For active couples looking for a wholesome weekend away, you can’t really do better than Another Place, The Lake. After a few days spent breathing in fresh mountain air, hiking up mountains and sipping hot toddies around the campfire, you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated and eager to return – and maybe feel inspired to add a few more open-water swimming goals to your bucket list.
Double rooms at Another Place, The Lake start from £210 per night, whilst couples shepherd’s huts start from £390 per night, both including breakfast.
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