Pulling into the car park for Storrs Hall on the beautiful shores of Lake Windermere I knew I was in for something special. I hadn’t quite expected what I found in the building or on the 17-acre grounds, however.
Here was a genius combination of historic elegance along with modern conveniences that made my stay feel more than a touch luxurious.
The hotel manages to satisfy one’s urge for a regal, timeless environment as well as a desire to commune with nature. It offers top notch service and the ability to lose one’s self in the breathtaking surroundings of the Lake District.
Storrs Hall is situated in an enviable position in Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria. It’s approximately 30 minutes drive from the M6, or a 10-minute car ride from Windermere Train Station.
The hotel’s main building is a Grade II listed Georgian era mansion dating back to the 1790s. The beautifully landscaped grounds beckon you round every corner.
The property also boasts a boathouse and the iconic Temple of Heroes, dedicated by the home’s original owner, Sir John Legard, to the British naval heroes of the late 18th century.
Legard sold the home to David Pike Watts, uncle of the painter John Constable, before it passed on to John Bolton. Next to Legard, it could be argued that Bolton made Storrs Hall a magnet for socialites.
Bolton was well connected and organised opportunities for entertainment that drew the likes of Walter Scott and William Wordsworth.
Later, after Bolton’s passing, the home continued to entertain Lake District royalty, including the family of Beatrix Potter, and the author herself.
The home remained in the Bolton family until 1889, when ownership passed to Benjamin Townson of Barrow-in-Furness. He ordered new additions and major alterations, transforming the estate into a first class hotel where guests were invited to stay by invitation only.
The hotel’s popularity grew, and throughout the 1920s and 1930s Storrs became known as a place of privilege. First class passengers from the nearby steam trains and American tourists became more frequent visitors.
In 1997 the Hindle family purchased the hotel and its latest era began. The family furnished the bedrooms with more modern comforts while maintaining their historic grandeur, leading to the magnificent accommodations visitors experience today.
Storrs Hall offers 28 bedrooms in the main house, each maintaining its own unique, original architecture. Due to its Grade II listing there is no lift available, but the helpful staff are more than happy to assist with bringing guests’ belongings to their rooms.
There are also 6 contemporary lakeside suites available for guests on the property, and the Hall’s original boathouse now serves as a private and rather indulgent getaway.
I had the opportunity to stay in one of the bedrooms in the main house and was rather besotted by its offerings. The bed was large and cosy, and the furniture and decor was in keeping with the Hall’s historic background.
The bathroom, however, was not only divine but modern and (dare I say it) may have been the nicest one I’ve ever seen.
A massive bathtub with a built-in television, radiant floor heating, heated towel bars, dual sinks with touch button mirrors and the shower…oh, the shower.
Outfitted with a waterfall shower head, side jets and lovely water pressure in an alcove of its own, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I didn’t want to get out, but was coaxed by the fluffy robes and slippers the hotel had kindly left in my wardrobe.
I was able to enjoy the incredible view I had of the back garden and lake while sipping a delicious coffee and enjoying a complimentary biscuit they’d left for me to enjoy.
These little details made an already lovely room that much more delightful and helped me relax before taking in the delicious offerings at the hotel’s Lake Edge restaurant.
The Lake Edge Restaurant at Storrs Hall offers an elegant dining experience without being overly stuffy. The chef sources local ingredients for an A la Carte menu that he updates seasonally.
I enjoyed a delicious veloute of wild mushrooms which was served with the lightest, shortest chive scone with truffle butter as my starter. (I had to refrain from asking for more scones as, honestly, they were so good I would have gladly eaten a basket of them for my main!)
For my main meal, however, I enjoyed a delicious portion of venison with a bit of beetroot, black pudding, and a dash of venison jus.
It was cooked to perfection and the flavours complimented one another in a way that made this traditional dish a bit more lively.
Dessert was a decadent chocolate mousse featuring a peanut butter ice cream that perfectly cut any lingering sweetness. My palate was most delighted by this combination and it was a brilliant way to finish off my evening meal.
It’s worth noting that I found the portions to be just the right size. I wasn’t left feeling overly full and, though I may have wished for another bite or two, that to me is perfection: leaving me longing for just that little bit more.
The restaurant is open from 6:00pm to 9:00pm each evening for dinner, and a lunchtime lounge menu is available between 1:30pm and 4:00pm. A traditional afternoon tea is available during this time, as well.
Breakfast is also available each morning from 8:00am to 10:00am and you can book in when you arrive at the hotel. The menu is thoughtfully traditional, and their Full English featured perhaps the tastiest black pudding I’ve ever enjoyed.
The Tower Bar, which got its name because it came to Storrs Hall from the Blackpool Tower, is also available for drinks and dining if you prefer something a little more casual. It’s worth checking out this beautiful space with its elaborately stocked bar even if you aren’t planning to have a meal. It’s quite the sight to behold!
Featuring ornate Victorian wood carvings and beautiful stained glass, it feels like a cosy pub with a wood burning fire and comfortable seating area.
The menu features upscale pub offerings such as cheese souffle and pork belly, along with more traditional offerings such as fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding.
The Tower Bar menu is available from 1:30pm to 9:00pm each day.
Grounds and Walks
Upon arrival at the hotel, you’ll find friendly staff who are happy to assist with your every need. They’re rightfully proud of their award winning property and are eager to arrange for you to take tea in their beautifully outfitted drawing room or study, or provide you with suggestions for walks around the grounds and beyond.
If it’s a stroll you’re looking for, there are a number of walks that begin right from Storrs Hall. If it’s something more grand you’re after, the staff are happy to make recommendations further afield, with a keen focus on walks in the southern hills.
Their aim is to avoid the more crowded areas so you can enjoy a bit of wildlife and nature in a more peaceful setting. This technique works especially well in conjunction with their other personalised hotel offerings.
Walking itineraries are available for Ghyll Head, Gummer’s How, Whitbarrow Scar, and more. Depending upon how far you want to travel to begin your walking adventure, there are numerous possibilities, and many take advantage of the amazing views offered by the property’s unique lakeside location.
Of course, being near Windermere you have the Orrest Head walk to bigger views nearby too.
I enjoyed every moment of my stay at Storrs Hall and highly recommend it for those looking for an historic hotel with a modern twist.
The attention to detail in everything from the furnishings to the dining service and suggested walks were something I genuinely appreciated.
The stay is an experience in and of itself, but Storrs Hall also serves as a lovely jumping off point for adventures, historic and otherwise, around England’s largest lake.