My first experience of staying with the Inn Collection dates back some five years or so when the Travellowdown team explored Northumberland. Back then, the company comprised of inns largely in the northeast. But soon after, an expansion programme saw them venture west to the Lake District where they quickly added a handful of inns to their portfolio.

Fast-forward a few years and today The Inn Collection Group is a major player in Lakeland. So, when I decided to head to Cumbria to climb a few fells, the company’s inns seemed the perfect choice for accommodation.

Here are my opinions on the four inns I experienced during my week’s adventure.


Bassenthwaite Lake, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 9YE; tel: 01768 612227

This 17th century coaching inn’s location means it exudes a feeling of peace and isolation, yet it’s only minutes from the edge of Bassenthwaite Lake and just a few miles from Cockermouth and Keswick.

Its recent restoration has not only brought it in line with the Inn Collection’s distinctive style but has injected new life without affecting the site’s heritage.

With ample parking, attractive gardens and an intimate, cosy atmosphere, it’s the perfect inn for exploring the northern and western fells.

Suggested walk from the inn:

I arrived before the 3pm check-in time so walked up the road and bagged Sale Fell. An easy walk, make your way to the only bench on the fell which affords you a fine view down to Bassenthwaite Lake.


Keswick Road, Grasmere, Cumbria LA22 9RF; tel: 0191 580 3610

Situated alongside the busy A591 but, to be honest, I didn’t hear any excessive traffic noise either while eating in the inn or after retiring to my room.

Like many of the company’s inns, location plays a key role. Cross the main road and wander for a few minutes and you reach the heart of Grasmere, a popular village. Yes, it’s a honeypot site but I like Grasmere, partly for its many cafés and other eateries.

The Swan’s claim to fame is that it’s mentioned by Wordsworth in his poem, The Waggoner; in fact, the poet lived nearby and this was his local. Apparently, he brought his literary friends, including Coleridge, here – the great man even had his own chair which can be seen inside the inn.

Tucked beneath some dramatic Lakeland fells, The Swan – built in 1650, making it, reportedly, the oldest coaching inn within the Lake District – has an adequate-sized car park, attractive garden and lots of nooks and crannies in which to sit and while away an hour or two.

Suggested walk from the inn:

I stayed a couple of nights and managed two walks without having to move my car. First, I walked up to Easedale Tarn, on to Codale Tarn, situated on Grasmere Common, and up over to Stickle Tarn before dropping down to Elterwater. From there, I returned to Grasmere on the bus via Ambleside. My second walk, and much shorter, took me to the top of nearby Helm Crag.


Lake Road, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0ER; tel: 01539 962214

It’s not long since the inn re-opened after an extensive refurbishment and the results are, as expected from The Inn Collection, of a high standard.

Although parking spaces are limited and finding your bedroom can be rather challenging – it’s a bit like a maze upstairs but, thankfully, more signs are on order – these are the only negatives for what is a worthy recent entry to the Inn Collection stable.

In addition to the bedrooms at the inn, there are rooms at the Lake House situated across the road. These bedrooms are based within a magnificent building overlooking Lake Windermere.

The inn’s location is among its plus points, being within a short walk from bustling Ambleside with its shops, restaurants and cafés. It’s also handily opposite Waterhead Pier which means you can jump aboard one of the many ferries and enjoy a cruise around Lake Windermere.

Suggested walk from the inn:

Head towards Ambleside and if you’re looking for a real trek, consider the Fairfield Horseshoe, which is about 12 miles and challenging. A shorter, lower-level option – but equally attractive – is to wander up onto Loughrigg Fell.


Hawkshead Road, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AJ; tel: 01539 963238

Located on the shores of Coniston Water with wonderful lake and fell views, this is one of my favourite inns within the area. Again, this classic Lakeland slate building has undergone a full restoration in recent years and the results are great.

With its extensive grounds, idyllic setting and large car park, I enjoyed just simply spending time at the inn, partly because of the extremely relaxing atmosphere.

Formerly known as The Waterhead Hotel, the inn boasts 42 ensuite bedrooms and provides the perfect base for exploring the Lake District’s southern portion. Of all the hotels I stayed in during my week’s adventure – and they were all comfortable and fine inns in their own right – it was the Coniston which I enjoyed the most.

Suggested walk from the inn:

It’s a long, challenging walk but head for the Old Man of Coniston. At 2,633 feet, it’s among the Lake District’s highest fells. There are well-walked routes to the top where you’ll enjoy superb views. Copper and slate mining used to occur here and remains of abandoned mines and spoil tips are a feature of the fell’s northeast slopes.


First the positives based on the four hotels in which I stayed.

  • The company has done a grand job refurbishing the inns, stamping their unique style in terms of dé
  • Staff members I encountered were always friendly, helpful and genuinely pleased to see their guests.
  • You soon get to know what to expect if staying at an Inn Collection property. Although some hotels have slightly unique features, such as The Water’s Edge Inn, just across the road from The Waterhead Inn, offers pizzas on their menu, guests can feel confident the menus are largely the same.
  • Parking is available at the lion’s share of inns.
  • Bedrooms are comfortable, many with fine views, and contain all the equipment needed for your stay, such as hairdryer, chairs and toiletries, including conditioner and body lotion.
  • Chefs are flexible and will try and accommodate everyone’s taste with regards to adapting meals, where possible.

When it comes to negatives, only one springs to mind:

  • Being vegan, the choice on the menu is extremely limited – in fact, there isn’t a dessert currently which is suitable for vegans. Luckily, chefs were adaptable and made meals for me but I recommend that the company revamps its menu to include more dishes suitable for plant-based diets.

More Information:

In addition to the aforementioned inns, the company owns other properties in the Lake District. To book a room at any of their inns, visit or call 0191 580 3610.

[Visited in September 2023]