Tucked away among the trees in the Lake District town of Grasmere, the Forest Side Hotel is full of Victorian charm.
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa is a haven of relaxation on the shores of Lake Windermere, situated in the heart of the lively town of Bowness-on-Windermere.
The hotel’s on-site leisure club and spa includes a heated indoor pool, and the services of expert therapists. For dining, the hotel offers a formal restaurant with a seasonally rotating menu. The more relaxed Terrace Lounge & Cocktail Bar serves lighter fare, as well as afternoon tea. The lawn and terrace directly in front of the hotel look across unimpeded views of the lake, and you can dine here in summer.
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The rooms are decorated in natural tones to feel warm and elegant, with soft linen bedding. Each room provides toiletries and a bathrobe and slippers. In the suites, you’re also provided with fruit, wine and chocolates. Some rooms also feature a four-poster bed and all rooms have en suite bathrooms, TVs, tea and coffee making facilities and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa is located on the shores of Lake Windermere. Nearby attractions include the World of Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth’s former home Dove Cottage, and Leighton Moss, a nature reserve run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which is home to around 40 different bird species.
Food and drink
The hotel’s restaurant is known to locals as the ‘restaurant on the lake’, so named for its spectacular views of Lake Windermere. The chefs use only the freshest in-season ingredients. For a slightly less formal dining experience, the Terrace Lounge & Cocktail Bar offers lighter fare - a good option for lunch and afternoon tea.
Facilities and activities
The hotel’s leisure club and spa offers a range of options to relax during your stay. Treatments include deep tissue massages, ocean wraps, coconut rubs and reflexology. You also have use of the heated indoor pool and the state-of-the-art gym.
Although parts of its exterior aren’t particularly attractive, we believe the hotel offers excellent value in a central location, with fantastic views across Lake Windermere.
Places & hotels on the map
Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
The sophisticated Gilpin Hotel & Lake House offers characterful guest rooms, luxurious spa services and fine dining in the heart of the scenic Lake District.
The Macdonald Swan Hotel is a characterful pub-style property, providing comfort and warmth in in the heart of the Lake District. Its long history includes a connection with the poet William Wordsworth.
The Waterhead is a boutique hotel on the edge of Lake Windermere. Its beautiful design is complemented by the staff’s attentive service and delicious meals served either in the stylish bar or on the hotel’s stunning lakeside garden terrace.
The Wild Boar offers exceptional cuisine and service in a welcoming, characterful setting. Guests will feel right at home at this traditional inn, which boasts unique features such as its own on-site smokehouse and microbrewery.
Experiences while staying here
The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.
Your driver-guide can navigate Cumbria’s steep and winding roads while you admire the looming mountains and sweeping sea views. The tour also stops at Muncaster Castle, the Roman-era Hardknott Fort and the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, a Victorian steam train line.
Experience life on a traditional Lake District fell farm where you'll get a chance to meet the hardy Herdwick sheep, learn about farm practices and local lifestyles and get to try your hand at dry stone walling.
Your driver-guide will create a tour of the North Lakes area based around your interests. You can take your time exploring the unspoiled lakes, sheep-dotted mountains, and tiny towns at an unhurried pace, with pauses for walks in the countryside or taking photographs.
Discover the land that Beatrix Potter loved and helped to preserve on this tour of her Lake District home. Cross Lake Windermere before having a tour and tea with a Potter expert at the author’s marital house, Castle Cottage.
Explore the landscape that inspired one of Britain’s most renowned poets. Your guide will bring you to two of Wordworth’s homes, Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage, to learn about his life and family. You can also explore nearby Grasmere village.