Travelling from London to the Lake District is no mean feat. It's after four hours of barrelling along the tarmac that my good girlfriend begins to search flight routes - something she promises is down to the distance, rather than my driving skills. An hour later, we find ourselves navigating narrow country lanes, skirting the gin-clear waters of Ullswater lake. In the next instance, a single turn reveals a cluster of mystical mountains, heather-blanketed trails and stretches of fiery-hued trees. We've arrived at Another Place.
Sister property to Cornwall's popular Watergate Bay Hotel, the Georgian majesty sits on the banks of the sail-flecked Ullswater lake, amid some seven hectares of the Lake District National Park. Spread across two adjoining buildings, 47 bedrooms, three dining spaces and a super-slinky spa make for a nurturing, nature-rich retreat. A recent renovation is set to take guests a little closer to the wilds, with the "Outside" project adding six rustic huts, a treehouse suite and a greenhouse dining space. The refurb, brought to life by the talented craftsmen behind Blackdown Shepherd Huts, features the same high-end comforts that the hotel is known for, allowing guests to properly unplug.
Ullswater lake, left, and the cosy library space. | Photo credit: Luke Hayes
En route to our shepherd hut, we spot a group of individuals axe-throwing, another group kayaking, and then a chalkboard sign emerges, etched with more activities than we could ever have dreamed of. It hits us that Another Place could easily pass as an adventure camp for outdoor enthusiasts - a thought we can only welcome. Despite this, there is a laid-back vibe across the board, from the porch lined with muddy wellies to a lounge space serving complimentary hot beverages.
We're staying in one of the couple shepherd huts - two shepherd huts seamlessly connected by a glass walkway. One room houses a double bed and an enormous freestanding copper bathtub; the other, a log burner, well-stocked pantry and a cosy sofa set-up. Every angle of the cabin offers sweeping views across the surrounding landscape, with - added bonus - a retractable stargazing roof perfectly positioned above the bed. There's also a spacious bathroom that comes complete with a walk-in shower, vanity space and shelves stocked with organic toiletries. Outside, a private manicured garden is decorated with fairy lights, ready-to-snuggle-under blankets, deck chairs and an enormous fire pit. S'mores session, incoming.
A shepherd hut bedroom, left, and a snug living space. | Photo credit: Jeremy Phillips
What's for breakfast?
Breakfast takes place in the Rampsbeck Restaurant, where bowls of fresh fruit salads, flaky pastries, fist-sized muffins and baskets of bread are on standby for a healthy kick-start to your day. If, like us, you prefer to treat yourself to an indulgent breakfast when holidaying, there's a waffle iron and daily-changing hot dish menu, too. During our visit, we feasted on sizzling sausages, perfectly poached eggs and slices of crispy bacon - between scoffing syrup-drenched waffles, obvs. Fresh-pressed juices and artisan-style coffees are also available.
How about lunch and dinner?
Lunch, for us, was enjoyed in the newly opened Glasshouse restaurant. Enveloped by a vegetable and herb garden, from which many of the ingredients are harvested, the space flaunts rattan chairs, net lanterns and windows lined with potted plants. The menu, which is short but deliciously sweet, showcases a selection of pizzas and light bites.
For dinner, guests have two choices: the Rampsbeck Restaurant and The Living Space. The Living Space is a more casual affair, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a chevron-tiled floor providing the backdrop to a happy mishmash of sofa-style seating and old-school bistro. Starters include chilli-laced squid, tortilla chips and battered king prawns, while the mains menu features a selection of fish cakes, roast half-chicken, and Cumbrian beef burgers. Across the hall, the Ramsbeck Restaurant carries a more sophisticated vibe, with candle-strewn tabletops, leather club chairs and half-panelled walls. The menu draws on local fare, given a contemporary spin. Our starter consisted of citrus vodka-macerated watermelon with whipped feta, kalamata olives and pickled rind - an unusual but exquisite concoction. We then got to work on the baked sea bass, which was served on a bed of crushed garden peas and parmentier potatoes. Dessert? Easily the best sticky toffee pudding to have ever passed our lips.
Is there a bar?
There's no dedicated bar, as such, but there are plenty of places to enjoy a glass of red. We picked up a bottle and enjoyed it from the comfort of our own private courtyard.
Put it this way, you won't be scratching your head for things to do during your stay. The Swim Club spa complex houses an enormous 20m pool, treatment rooms, sauna and an outdoor heated plunge tub, which changes temperature seasonally. Then, there's the lake, where kayaking, moonlit dips and stand-up paddleboard yoga take place. There's also a library area stocked with books and board games for when the weather decides not to play ball. Adventurer types should keep their eyes peeled for Another Place's active break packages, which cover Pilates workshops, wild swim camps and yoga retreats. Guided walks are available on request.
How about their eco-credentials?
Trophy-worthy. From sustainable menus to planet-friendly energy policies, strict waste-management systems and a recognised responsibility for protecting the surrounding landscape, Another Place is a champion of eco-friendly practices.
What about accessibility?
Two of the ground-floor rooms are suitable for those with mobility issues. Outdoor rooms don't have step-free access.
A thrill-seeker, left, and a paddleboarding session on the lake. | Photo credit: Michael Lazenby
What's the crowd like?
Dogs, and lots of them. The rest of the crowd looked like staycationing couples escaping the city for a long, lazy weekend in the countryside. Kids are welcome.
Things I should know
The grounds can get extremely waterlogged, so we suggest packing some footwear that you wouldn't mind jumping into muddy puddles in. The huts have a great heating system, which means things can get toastie pretty fast: you won't need to pack any heat supplies or sleepwear woollies.
Within a short walk I can find…
The attentive team is on hand to keep you up to date with what's happening in the local area, with information relayed through a mobile app or at the reception desk. From festivals to swim challenges, theatre shows and art installations, there are plenty of cultural events to check out.