The Lake District isn’t all about energetic outdoorsy activities on the fells or water. It can also be a place to just kick back and let yourself be pampered in a spa. Even better, some of the area’s top hotels combine treatments and relaxation areas with stunning views, whether of lakes and hilltops or peaceful woodland. Some spas offer custom-blended products, others have well-known luxury brands; some are near popular hot-spots, such as Grasmere and Lake Windermere, others are tucked away on private estates. So, whether you want to slide into a hot tub after a long hike or simply visit for the sheer pleasure of the scenery, here's our pick of the best spa hotels in the Lake District.
How we review
Every hotel in this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, who are usually hosted on a complimentary basis. They stay for a minimum of one night, test at least one meal and trial other experiences that the hotel might have to offer.
At a glance, the best spa hotels in the Lake District
Best luxury spa hotel – The Gilpin
Best dog-friendly spa hotel – Lodore Falls
Best family-friendly spa hotel – Another Place
Best spa hotel for walkers – Brimstone
Best spa hotel with private hot tubs – The Gilpin
Not many hotels can top off a relaxing spa treatment with an hour floating in a heated rooftop pool at night surrounded by the brooding outline of fells, the calls of owls and the moon above. But Brimstone isn’t like many other hotels; this modern, luxurious and seriously impressive place forms part of the picturesque Langdale Estate. From candlelit massages and a range of body treatments to the spa’s beautifully designed network of foot baths, ice showers, steam relaxation rooms and saunas, it’s a veritable haven for those who seek escape and pampering. And nothing beats that indoor/outdoor rooftop pool in the evening, especially when there’s a fresh cocktail waiting by your robe – all making it one of the best spa hotels in the Lake District.
• A complete guide to the best hotels in the Lake District
Also part of the Langdale Estate, The Langdale Hotel shares the spa at Brimstone (see above). Owing to the hilly ground, and the way the separate, low-level, slate buildings are tucked among trees, plus a series of little streams, it feels natural rather than intrusive. By contrast, interiors are bright and snazzy – think leather banquettes and velvet-covered seating, designer lights, clubby-style bedrooms and and cool shades of teal, dove grey and mossy green. Exceptions to the latter are the top-tier rooms: either secluded, Scandi-style rooms with balconies overlooking the beck or sexy-bordering-on-blingy affairs that might include double-ended slipper baths and seven-foot-wide beds.
Armathwaite Hall, which has stood on this site in one form or another since the 11th century, is set within 400 acres of gardens, a deer park and private woodland, and enjoys a view of Bassenthwaite Lake. The spa area is excellent, featuring an indoor pool, hot tub and thermal suite, while the outdoor infinity pool overlooks manicured gardens and really accentuates the sense of extravagance: one is welcome to relax in there with a glass of champagne. Beauty treatments are divine and use bespoke, locally sourced products, and afterwards, guests are tucked under blankets in the relaxation room for as long as they wish. Outside, there are woodland walks, a croquet lawn, helipad and tennis court.
With its superb position overlooking Derwentwater and the fells of Skiddaw and Catbells, this dog-friendly landmark hotel has moved into the 21st century with a swanky spa and an Asian dining option without losing the charm of its more traditional rooms, lounges and restaurant. The slate Victorian building, with its central tower and tall gables, has been much extended, with the new spa and suites in a striking lodge-style building. It’s certainly impressive, with its thermal suite, champagne bar and outdoor hydrotherapy pool overlooking the lake, though bear in mind two hours’ access will cost you each £30 Monday-Friday (or £35 Friday-Sunday) unless you’re staying in a Spa Suite.
Another Place takes its inspiration from popular Cornish sister hotel, Watergate Bay, and its epithet, ‘a ski resort on a beach’, aimed primarily at families and younger adults. The easy-to-live-with yet stylish and appealing décor, which features good local art on the wall, plus plentiful sofas, armchairs and spacious tables for eating or board games, perfectly embodies the Georgian origins of the building while appealing to a young, sporty clientele. Facilities include a superb 20-metre glass-fronted indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, gym and couple of spa treatment rooms, while watersports on offer are stand-up paddle-boarding, sailing (from the sailing school across the lake), kayaking and wild swimming.
A Lake Windermere hotel that has now expanded into a modern resort with watersports and a spa. As a 'resort hotel', it caters for guests whether they want to be indolent, active or have some family fun. The snazzy spa, with thermal experience, overlooks the lake (though access is extra depending on which room you’ve booked, unless you're on a specific spa package) while the leisure centre (free) includes a gym, indoor and outdoor infinity pools, and an outdoor sauna. For relaxation, there are several lounge areas. Rooms are spread between the original coaching inn, a courtyard block behind, the leisure-centre complex and a swanky glass and slate building on the slopes at the rear.
After a hard day hiking on the fells, the Daffodil’s slinky, modern spa comes as a welcome treat. It's minimal in style, with lots of sleek edges, brushed concrete, abstract art and monochrome tiles, and makes maximum use of mood lighting to set the soothing tone, from candle lanterns to fibre-optics. The centrepiece is a bubbly thermal pool that’s ideal for relaxing away any aches and pains, but there's also a sauna, a steam room and a tepidarium (which is a bit like a sauna, but warm rather than hot). There are plenty of treatments on offer, including Mud Rasul – a Middle Eastern therapy that combines a mud pack, sauna and shower – and posh cleansing products courtesy of Germaine de Capuccini.
Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back – especially at the Lake House – and with private hot tubs and saunas, Michelin-starred dining and legions of staff, the property is firmly in the indulgent break category. In the Lake House’s Swedish-style Jetty Spa room, therapists offer aromatherapy treatments from a wooden cabin overlooking the water (try a hot-stone ritual in the early evening, as the mists roll in) as well as a host of massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. For something more private, the chic, stand-alone glass-and-wood spa lodges have their own spa facilities and are definitely worth plumping for. Elsewhere, fishing, horse-riding, mountain-biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can be organised.
The spa at The Swan used to be a small but lovely affair tucked away on the first floor, however, in April 2022 a new space launched on the ground floor offering so much more than its original. Treatments range from restorative rituals involving scalp massages and Gua Sha techniques to hydrating facials and volcanic-stone body scrubs. Afterwards, guests can chill-out in the super-stylish relaxation room or indulge in a thermal journey to enjoy the vitality pool, steam room, finnish sauna, experience showers, drench buckets and spa pools (two hours’ access to the thermal suite plus spa garden is £20 per guest). You could spend all day pottering about here; when you’re not enjoying the spa, there are plenty of local walks and those that want to relax while watching activity in the nearby marina can enjoy a drink on the riverside terrace which overlooks it.
This is a place that upholds old-fashioned hotel standards and is well geared towards a weekend break, especially with its leisure centre, spa and treatment rooms. At the heart of the spa is an indoor pool with glorious views over the lake, as well as a whirlpool tub, steam room and sauna. Treatments at the Aveda spa range from Swedish massages and an exfoliating ‘Aqua therapy polish’ to traditional facials and a 30-minute foot treatment designed to put the spring back in your step. There are heaps of corners in which to nod off over the papers, though most guests gravitate to the lakeside conservatory and terrace. Elsewhere, rooms are generous in size, and there’s a choice of formal or more relaxed dining.