The Highfield Hotel and Restaurant is an award-winning hotel and restaurant in the delightful market town of Keswick, located in the northwest of England’s Lake District National Park. The property was built in 1885 in the grand Victorian style of the day; originally as two separate houses for sisters, they have since been combined and now stand as The Highfield. We love the Lake District and take any opportunity to visit; it’s such a beautiful part of England – rain or shine. Unfortunately, for us, our visits usually coincide with torrential downpours and the weekend before last was no different when we had the pleasure of staying at The Highfield.
Mr ESLT and I packed our bags, hit the road from East Yorkshire and made the three hour journey across the country to the Lake District. We found The Highfield easily. Even though it is surrounded by other hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses, it’s grand and welcoming double fronted exterior stands out from the rest. We parked out the front of the hotel, which has no parking restrictions, although it does have a free large car park around the back of the hotel for use by residents and patrons of the restaurant which we could have moved it to.
Check in & Bedroom
Walking through the door, felt like we were walking into a friend’s house. We love cosy hotels which are full of character rather than big faceless chain hotels where you are just another person checking in and checking out. Here we were made to feel at home instantly. Even though it was dark and miserable outside, it was warm and welcoming inside especially as the fire was burning, perfect for a cold November evening. Check in was a quick and easy process and within a couple of minutes we were being shown to our room (Room 4), located on the first floor.
The Highfield has 18 bedrooms and if they are all as thoughtfully decorated to the standard Room 4 was, then it would have been a pleasure to stay in any of them. It was light, airy and decorated with a modern twist yet retained a number of traditional features, with plenty of room. The first thing that jumped out at me was the big bed, which was just waiting to be relaxed on. Other features in the room included, flat screen TV with built in DVD (which we were pleased about as we had packed a boxset – we always travel with one) tea and coffee-making facilities, including Galaxy hot chocolate (big thumbs up), radio alarm clock, telephone and ensuite shower room complete with miniature toiletries.
It wasn’t until we woke the next morning and opened the curtains that we realised we had a balcony with table and chairs, which would have been great to use if the weather had been more favourable, especially because of the panoramic views it offered. From that vantage point, we could see right over to the lake with the beautiful backdrop of the snow topped mountains – simply gorgeous.
Pre Dinner Drinks & Restaurant
Showered and changed, after a short nap, we headed down for an aperitif before dinner. With a choice of which of the two guest lounges we wanted to sit in, we chose the one near reception and grabbed a table. We were swiftly presented with a drinks menu. We chose a bottle of Pinot Grico priced at £16, which for a hotel, I personally think is great value. When our wine was delivered so were some yummy canapés to enjoy whilst we perused the mouth watering dinner menu.
Once our order had been taken we were shown into the dining room which was nicely lit and had background music playing which created a lovely laidback, yet intimate, dining experience. The Highfield Restaurant is award winning and they pride themselves on supporting local farmers and food producers with all the beef and lamb used sourced locally from within Cumbria.
- Oven Baked Goats Cheese set on a Lime Road Beetroot Salad
- Smoked Haddock and Spring Onion Fishcake with Mayonnaise Garlic and Red Chilli Jam
- Cumbrian Lamb Two Ways – Herb crusted lamb and pan fried cutlet of Cumbrian lamb set on a seed mustard mash and a minted port wine sauce
- Duck Breast – Oven roast brest of Gressingham duck with butter fondant potato and seasonal vegetables, finished with wild mushroom cream sauce
- Homemade Baked Vanilla Pod Cheesecake – with cappuccino and white chocolate ice cream and dark chocolate sauce
- Homemade Sticky Toffee Pudding – served with toffee sauce and thunder and lightening ice cream
Every mouthful was delicious and I think it was evident that we enjoyed everything as we left clean plates at every course. I initially thought the duck was far too pink for me to eat (I have a tendency to cremate meat when cooking it myself), however it was actually cooked to perfection, it was so juicy and succulent – yum! I was a tad disappointed to not find a chocolate option on the desert menu but was more than happy with my choice of sticky toffee pudding. The deserts are massive (I am not complaining), as Mr ESLT doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth I was lucky enough to have half of his cheesecake too – amazing! The restaurant is also open to non-residents so if you are ever in the area and fancy a slap up meal – The Highfield is the place to go.
After a great night’s sleep and the realisation that we had the most amazing view from our room we headed down to the restaurant for breakfast. We grabbed a table and were quickly brought tea and toast whilst we glanced at the menu. Once we had ordered two full English breakfasts, I headed to the breakfast buffet table to have a nosey at what was on offer. The offering included cereals and fruit, perfect for those not wanting a cooked breakfast. I also took the opportunity to grab a couple of glasses of orange juice for Mr ESLT and I.
The full English was delicious even for fussy pants me who normally only eats bacon if I have cooked it (weird I know). Fortunately for Mr ESLT he loves black pudding and I don’t, so he got to indulge in two thick slices of the stuff. I know it may be considered common to have baked beans on a cooked breakfast, but for me they are a must and I really did miss them (sorry!)
Location and things to do
The Highfield is perfectly located in Keswick. A five minutes walk one way will find yourself in the town centre of Keswick which is a market town. Here you will find the market square and plenty of shops for you to have a wander around and numerous cafes for you to grab a coffee at. Five minutes the other way you will find the beautiful Derwent Water and the fantastic scenery around it. With plenty of walking trails in the area, this is the perfect place for those who love to get outside and experience the great British countryside and everything it has to offer. Other activities in the local area include:-
- Theatre by The Lake, Keswick – Keswick Mining Museum
- Honister Slate Mine – Award winning slate mine tour
- Trotters World of Animals, Bassenthwaite – hundreds of friendly animals
We really enjoyed our stay at The Highfield, I just wish that we’d had more time to explore the surrounding area. Due to the bad weather we only got the opportunity to explore for around an hour. We found The Highfield to be the right mix of formal hotel setting and a friend’s home. With cosy soft furnishings coupled with award-winning food, it was the perfect place to spend a very relaxed evening with Mr ESLT – we ate, we drank and we slept like babies which is just what we needed. However, it is also a great base for the more adventurous amongst us, those who want to hike or climb knowing that they have somewhere inviting waiting for them to come back to.
- We were hosted by The Highfield Hotel & Restaurant on a DBB basis in exchange for honest review.