Dog-friendly Lake District – Macdonald Leeming House

As you know from our Lake District Planner, this year we planned a trip to the Lake District and it was perfect. You will read lots more about our time here over the coming weeks. Being such a popular destination, finding dog-friendly accommodation in the Lake District can be difficult – book well in advance!

This year, 2021, we decided to use the money we would usually spend on a holiday abroad on a nice hotel in the Lake District. After a stressful year we just wanted to be waited on – no washing up, no cleaning and no cooking. There are many dog-friendly lake district hotels to choose from, some nicer than others, we chose this hotel because:

  1. the pictures and reviews looked great;
  2. there was free cancellation on (important with the constantly changing government guidance); and
  3. it was on the edge of Ullswater Lake, which is reportedly the most beautiful!

I don’t usually devote a whole post to accommodation but I couldn’t leave the Macdonald Leeming House hotel without telling everyone about it! Please note that this is an honest personal opinion and the hotel are not aware of, nor have requested or paid for, this post. While I could gushingly wax lyrical about the amazing time that we’ve had at this hotel, I will instead succinctly (well I’ll try) detail the good, the bad and the ugly about this hotel.

The good

The view

My partner asked me why I keep taking the same picture of the view everyday. Honestly, it amazed me how the dramatic landscape managed to awe in all weathers from gloomy clouds to clear skies and bright sunshine. Better yet, our room window looked out on that view! I didn’t get bored of that view after staring at it for a week from our bedroom, from the hotel terrace during breakfast and dinner, while lounging in the gardens and while paddling in the lake at the secret beach.

The staff

I don’t have any pictures, as that would have been a bit strange, but the staff here are fantastic. The hotel had only recently reopened following the third England Coronavirus pandemic and so we expected some hiccups as everyone settled back in. Not here. The reception staff were all very nice, efficient and accommodating, including reissuing our room cards a few times as my partner is incapable of remembering it when we leave the room! The cleaning staff are polite and friendly, and the room was always cleaned perfectly. The Hotel Manager was also friendly and took time to speak with the guests to make sure that everything was as expected.

Special mention, however, must go to the restaurant staff who worked long shifts in the heat and still bent over backwards to offer excellent service for the guests. The Maître d’ was a large man, who I assume to be French due to his accent, who greeted us with large gin and tonics for dinner, seated us on the terrace for dinner and breakfast. Sash, our dog, favoured him as he bought sausages to all dog owners for their dogs at breakfast – he called himself ‘the sausage man’. The other staff who attended us were also fantastic, especially an extremely attentive male server and a lovely female server (who remembered my awkward order each morning).

All of the staff made our stay at this hotel a truly memorable experience – thank you to them!

The food

The hotel restaurant has a three-course dinner menu for £50 per head. The restaurant is open to everyone and so we recommend pre-booking as it gets very busy. You can eat with your dog on the terrace and in the blue room, they are unfortunately not allowed to eat in the main dining room. The food was gorgeous and there were gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. See here for more information including menus.

The room

We had a dog-friendly deluxe king room with lake views. The room and bathroom were very clean and had plenty of room for our weeks’ worth of belongings. The wardrobe and drawers had just enough space for our clothes and dog things. We did have to move the dog bed around a few times to access the different parts (e.g. wardrobe and then table and chairs) but this is the norm in UK hotels.

Our room didn’t have a balcony, instead our large windows opened onto the roof of the terrace that you could easily access. We kept Sash inside due to a missing section of railing (apparently by design). A number of other rooms had balconies and the ground floor rooms had little seating areas outside the back doors. Lots of options. We would definitely book this room again.

The grounds

The hotel has extensive grounds including lawns, hidden garden sections, a field and a secret pebble beach on Ullswater Lake. We spent many happy hours exploring, sunbathing and swimming on these grounds. Which Sash appreciated as the gravelly pathways on all the walks close to Ullswater Lake were starting to hurt her paws.

The bad

I found this section difficult as the stay was amazing – these are really minor things that could have made the stay perfect.

The taps

This is obviously an old building and so we expected some quirks. However, my partner found the cold tap particularly frustrating as the water came out very hot and needed to be left running for a while before you could brush your teeth.

Also, the tap labels (i.e. hot and cold) were removed from the bath taps. It’s more likely that these were pilfered by prior guests than the hotel removing them themselves.

The temperature

We happened to visit during a relentless heatwave that was far hotter than your average British summer. It was sweltering (once again, thank you so much to the staff who battled through in full suits!). Our lake view room was ridiculously hot, even with the windows open full and the curtains shut. We were saved by the fan that we found in the wardrobe. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that the hotel can do for unusual and abnormal heatwaves apart from installing expensive and climate-harming air conditioner units (which I personally do not advocate).

The ugly

The flies

There were lots of very annoying but completely harmless flies in our room if we left the windows open during the day. We didn’t see any on the terrace or in the restaurant where food was being served – only our room. The hotel could put up net curtains in the room to stop the flies and still allow air into the room, but this would ruin the beautiful view and they were quite easy to shoo out of the window.

As with the ‘bad’ items, this isn’t really something that is the fault of the hotel as they were everywhere that we went around the lakes. The heatwave may have also been a contributing factor.

We hope that you found this post entertaining. Have you stayed at this hotel? Can you recommend any dog-friendly hotels in the Lake District?

2 thoughts on “Dog-friendly Lake District – Macdonald Leeming House

  1. Wow! Every so often you just need to spoil yourself and think this is a great spot to do it. That view at breakfast would have me lingering for hours. Although I will say that Sash did not seem to be happy with the closed door to the balcony. And does she always sit and watch the water? That’s too cute.

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