Lake District’s perfect little piece of paradise

Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel, Lake District.

Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel, Lake District.

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Sailing out to the middle of the beautiful, tranquil lake in our little wooden boat, suddenly the engine cuts out.

We are stranded.

Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel, Lake District.

Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel, Lake District.

‘Shall we turn it on and off again?’, my partner asks.

Luckily this method pays off temporarily, but the problem keeps occurring.

After a mild panic and nervous giggles, we limp back to the boathouse to pick up a more reliable vessel.

To be honest, if we had been stranded on Lake Windermere, it wouldn’t have been the worst thing.

The calm waters, tree-lined shores and picture-perfect hills are like something from a fairytale.

The boat – despite some teething problems – is one of the best ways to explore the lake, and although it’s daunting going out on your own, it brings out a childlike sense of adventure in both of us.

Our hotel – The Laura Ashley Belsfield Hotel – is visible for most of our hour-long boat trip, perched on the shoreline with its impressive Victorian Italiante architecture and white walls standing out against the green hills and perfectly-sculpted lawn stretched out in front.

Originally built in 1845 as a private residence for the Baroness Von Sternberg, the building was later converted into a hotel in 1892.

More recently the boutique hotel had a complete makeover courtesy of the Laura Ashley brand, which has seen the understated elegance of the historic building reflected in the classy, modern decor.

The Belsfield occupies a prime spot in Bowness on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere and is a stone’s throw from local pubs, shops and restaurants.

Set within six beautiful acres of landscaped gardens, it’s the perfect spot from which to explore, with attractions ranging from the World of Beatrix Potter to the Hardknott Roman Fort.

Luckily for us, it’s barely a minute’s walk from the dock to the hotel.

And once we arrive at our room after the boat trip, we were completely blown away.

There’s no denying this hotel has the wow factor.

With a lounge and adjoining bedroom offering incredible views over the lake, we are stunned into silence.

Apparently 25 of the 62 designer bedrooms have these amazing views, as well as the drawing room and library, which comes complete with cosy fireplace, and the grand Belsfield restaurant downstairs, which is worth a visit for the stunning food that almost rivals the views (almost).

It may be a boutique hotel but it’s certainly not a case of style over substance.

The food and service are as faultless as its surroundings, and although everything in the hotel is from the luxury Laura Ashley brand – from the pale blue, flowered wallpaper to the delicate glass tissue boxes – it only serves to enhance the elegance of the building rather than distract from it.

You’ll also find yourself making mental notes of items you want to buy for your home – after all, the hotel is like a life-size advert.

After a peaceful weekend of feeding the ducks, lakeside walks and afternoon ambles, it’s difficult to tear us away from The Belsfield.

It was a perfect piece of paradise that offered a slice of inner calm away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

And despite starting out with a mini lake-based mishap, the holiday really did float our boat after all.