A dream come true for the design minded and adventurous epicures, The Forest Side hotel will convince even the most unwavering urbanites to slow down and stay a night (or three) in the Lake District. The draw? A thoughtful renovation of a gorgeous Gothic pile, during which original Victorian fireplaces were saved and once robust gardens were restored. Fluffy Herdwick sheep graze on the grounds, a former l'Enclume chef runs the kitchen, and the interiors are just right for the countryside setting—all without a spot of chintz.


  • Magical makeover

  • Top chef in house

  • Glorious grounds

Smith extra

A gift set from Bath House of Sedbergh

In the know

Also need to know:

A room designed for guests with mobility issues and their assistance dogs is available on request. Also, the restaurant, bar and guest lounge are all wheelchair accessible. In a nod to the estate’s past, the wooden dining-room floorboards were recycled as dining-room tables, Victorian fireplaces were salvaged, and many of the original garden details were uncovered and resurrected.

Packing tips:

Bring a composition notebook for writing verse as the Lake poets did.

Dress code:

Aim for a contemporary play on cashmere and tweed

Mr and Mrs Smith reviews

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Cumbria and unpacked their Hawkshead ale and Grasmere gingerbread, a full account of their countryside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Forest Side Hotel in Grasmere...

When Cambridge-biochemist-turned-hotelier Andrew Wildsmith stumbled upon this neglected slate-clad Victorian manse erected in 1853, he worked with what he had. In the no-expenses-spared efforts to revamp what is now the Forest Side Hotel, Wildsmith discovered what he had was quite a lot. Clearing of the original red-brick walled garden revealed a hidden waterfall and ornamental limestone structures. Small servant’s quarters in the attic found new life as spacious rooms with straight-on views of the fells and the dark cellar was cleared to make space for a proper wine cellar to house hundreds of bottles of biodynamic wines.


Accommodation details


Keswick Road, Grasmere, Cumbria LA22 9RN, United Kingdom
United Kingdom


0.5 mi / 0.9 km from city centre

General facilities

  • Internet services
  • On-Site parking
  • Lounges/bars
  • Restaurant

Dining information


Acclaimed chef and l'Enclume alumnus Kevin Tickle is behind the Michelin-starred restaurant’s inventive fare. Famous for his foraging, Tickle sources as many ingredients from the Victorian walled garden or gathered from the surrounding countryside as possible. The result is a creative and uniquely Cumbrian menu. Loosen belts for one of the tasting menus offered at dinner— either the six-course 'the L'al Un' and ten-course 'the Grand Un'.


Top Table:

Opt for a spot in front of the large bay windows for a front-row seat of the the forest bank, garden and surrounding hills.

Last Orders:

Breakfast is available 8am to 10am daily; lunch (noon–2pm) and dinner (7pm–9pm) are served Wednesdays to Sundays; the restaurant is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The bar is open daily until 11.30pm.

Hotel Bar:

Order a signature English martini – gin, chamomile-infused English vermouth and chartreuse – and allow yourself to be sucked into one of the deep velvet couches in front of the wood-burning stove. Afternoon tea with a selection of nibbles and almost-too-pretty-to-eat pastries is served 3pm–4:30 Wednesday to Sunday.


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