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The Lake District is renowned for its unparalleled beauty and mystique, and Armathwaite Hall epitomises both of these things. Located in the North of the district, the stately home is nestled among woodlands that circle the tip of Bassenthwaite Lake. Beyond being a magnificent manor, the residence may be the perfect base from which to venture into nearby waters and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.
Upon our arrival, we are greeted in an oak-panelled hall, painstakingly decorated with intricate mouldings, balustraded staircases, and high windows boasting views of meticulously kept lawns.
Outside, the formal garden stretches seemingly endlessly till it’s met by the shoreline of Bassenthwaite, the only “lake” in the District.
I spot colour-flecked dots bobbing across the glazed waters in the distance, which I’m told are the buoys attached to wild swimmers – an activity I have come to partake in myself.
Our guide Alice, a year-round swimmer who bathes religiously in the District, leads us to the waterfront to prepare for our excursion.
I copy her and forgo the wetsuit in hope of getting a true feel of the water and start traipsing across the stony shore, that offers easy access to the lake. Within seconds of being immersed, I feel my circulation kickstart.
It becomes overwhelmingly clear to me why the Lake District has inspired the works of countless poets and artists.
The backdrop is nothing short of spectacular; towering peaks fringed with meadows offer a true sense of scale.
We swim counter-current, far enough to look back and enjoy the view of the Hall peaking through the grassland.
The low impact of open-water swimming makes it conducive to having a mind-cleansing experience.
Though the cold temperatures may not be for the faint-hearted, the health benefits are alluring.
Some of Alice’s older clientele, she tells me, join her solely to improve their circulation and boost their immunity.
The safety risks are minimal too. Blue-green algae, a toxic plant that sometimes booms in the waters, may cause an upset stomach at worst.
For those who’d rather wallow in clear-blue waters, however, the nearby spa facilities have you covered.
The resident spa features an infinity pool overlooking the gardens, where small rabbits can be seen grazing on the lawn.
It’s a beautiful addition to the main Hall, which marries the old with the new, by retaining the quintessentially British charm of a 17th-century stately home while providing the comfort and amenities of a luxury hotel.
Upstairs, our junior suite is one of 44 rooms in the estate, each offering unique views of the surrounding grounds.
I’m pleased to discover that ours looks over the stunning deer park, which is a stone’s throw away from the award-winning Lake District, home to over 100 species of wild and domestic animals.
At dinner, the Chefs at the Lake View restaurant pay homage to the seasonal vegetables, with a beautifully poached salmon, followed by Cumbrian steak, and a selection of British cheeses.
My only disappointment is not being able to extend my stay, which has proven an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of life.
Contact Armathwaite Hall here.
Find out more about Always Swimming Wild here.
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