Windermere Manor Hotel is a beautiful Victorian Manor House located close to the shores of Windermere, England's longest lake, has a prominent, sunny position and is only a short walk to the villages of Bowness and Windermere.
In the 1850, 'Hammarbank' was built as a holiday home for the Coutts banking family and occupied a much larger site than the hotel does today. Set high above Lake Windermere, there were large grounds, a coach house, stables, orchards and vegetable gardens. Following the Victorian trend, the grounds were extensively planted with exotic conifers, cedars and redwoods, some of which still stand today.
Access was via a sweeping gravel drive through the grounds lined with yew and beech trees, and a stream and a tarn added to the landscaping which made the best of the views of the village, lake and mountains.
Local historians believe the house originally had six bedrooms, all accessed by the pitch pine panelled stairway, with the servants accommodation in the attic. In 1897, an extra wing was added to the building which became the family chapel. Although this is now the dining room, there are still reminders of what the room was originally used for, with two pews beneath some small stained glass windows, a further pew at the back and a timbered ceiling complete with vaults and arches.
After the Second World War, Hammarbank was sold for development. The main house passed into the ownership of Bolton Council who ran it as a nursing home, then a borstal and for a considerable period of time, as an outdoor centre.
In the early 1990s it became a private nursing home and was then bought by Guide Dogs for the Blind after it had stood empty for some time. Given the number of changes of ownership and uses the property has endured, it is heartening that some features of the original Victorian house have survived, including the extensive panelling in the hallway and dining room, the large stained glass window above the stairs, and the moulded plasterwork of flowers and cherubs throughout.
In 1996, after extensive renovations of the house and grounds, expanding the number of bedrooms to eighteen, it was opened as their second hotel for Guide Dog owners. An adjoining house, Low Brandle Howe, was purchased along with its grounds, to add space for dog runs, and the hotel and grounds now cover three and a half acres.
In 2001, the management of the hotel was given to Action for Blind People who expanded the number of bedrooms to 28 and added the conservatory.
Windermere Manor has a wide range of facilities and services to help make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.