As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Arnside & Silverdale, here's our pick of characterful places to stay in this glorious Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in northwest England.
Considering the AONB’s compact size, there’s a remarkable choice of places to stay, and for all budgets. Arnside makes a great base from which to explore the area. It’s a 5-minute amble from the train station is to the promenade and everything you need (cafes, shops and a cracking pub) are all within arm’s reach.
A row of Victorian townhouses offers some great options (and we’ve picked out a few highlights below), but there’s also a youth hostel further up the hill if you’re on a budget. If you’re after absolute calm and expansive views of Morecambe Bay, then Silverdale and the surrounding area has plenty of homely options. The eastern fringes of the AONB are quieter still and feel thoroughly off the beaten track, while still being within reach of the area’s attractions.
Challan Hall, Arnside & Silverdale, England
A beautiful, homely haven for birdwatchers, this cosy B&B is situated on the doorstep of Silverdale and Leighton Moss Nature Reserve. Come to find glorious walks, flourishing wildlife and cooked breakfasts to rival your mother's. There aren’t many places where you can sit on a sunny terrace and watch marsh harriers cavorting in the air and see ospreys fishing, but this well-heeled B&B overlooking Hawes Water on the edge of Gait Barrows NNR is one of them. It’s an ideal base for exploring the area, situated just outside Silverdale, with plentiful walks from your doorstep and Leighton Moss just a stone’s throw away. The breakfast is a real treat (Alastair Sawday said Charlotte’s scrambled eggs were the best he’s ever tasted and it’s hard to disagree). The comfy social areas and traditional decor (packed with mementos from the owner’s travels) make it feel especially homely. challanhall.co.uk/arnside-silverdale
The Willowfield, Arnside and Silverdale, England
With uninterrupted views over the Helvellyn range, this family-run guesthouse is the perfect spot for a quiet retreat. It’s also close to Arnside Knott and the nature reserve Leighton Moss, respectively renown for having butterflies and birds galore. It’s the hosts that make the family-run Willowfield feel like home - Peter’s gentle banter over breakfast and Georgina’s home cooking. Breakfast, which is served in the conservatory to take full advantage of those misty morning views, is a real priority and features local sausages and bacon from the “good old fashioned butchers” at Silverdale. The grand Victorian townhouse sits in a peaceful spot on the Arnside promenade, just far enough from the village centre to be silent at night and to offer uninterrupted views of the Helvellyn range. The views keep guests coming back time and time again – and you’ll often find them camped out in two well-used recliners in the dining room, spotting scope at the ready. Many guests are keen walkers and wildlife enthusiasts – orchid seekers, butterfly-buffs and entomologists – so if you’re here to explore the area’s natural highlights, you’ll be in good company. thewillowfield.co.uk
No. 43, Arnside and Silverdale, England
Winner of Visit England's Best Breakfast and 2011 Best B&B in England Awards, No. 43 provides a luxurious five star service 'without the stuffiness'. With glorious surrounding views of the lake district, it's a guaranteed treat both inside and out. In an enormous Victorian townhouse overlooking the Arnside promenade, No.43 offers all the comfort you’d expect in a luxury hotel, but with those personal touches that make a stay special, such as homemade flapjacks on arrival and a decanter of sherry in every room. There are six individually-designed en-suite rooms, but if you’re after something extra special, make a beeline for suite 2 with its bay window and a bath made for two; or suite 7, which feels particularly cosy with an oak sleigh bed and real fire. Amiable host Lesley renovated the building using local products: herdwick wool carpets, Cumbrian-made beds and Stoke-on-Trent pottery. Breakfast is equally focused on local produce: artisan bread from Windermere, sausages from Silverdale, chutneys from Hawkshead, smoked fish from the Port of Lancaster and coffee ground in Skipton. no43.org.uk
Wolf House Cottages, Arnside and Silverdale, England
Rent one of two gorgeous stone cottages set within a 17th century farmstead looking out over the flourishing Morecambe Bay. These family friendly, self-catered houses offer the cosy luxury of a country retreat with a bit of added privacy. These two self-catering cottages on the fringes of Silverdale (The Coach House sleeping up to 8 and The Old Cottage sleeping up to 4 adults and 2 children) are a real find. In fact, most guests re-book as soon as they leave so it pays to book in advance. It’s hard to put your finger on what makes the cottages so special. Perhaps it’s the setting, in a quiet hamlet just 10 minutes’ walk from Silverdale, with views over Morecambe Bay. Mainly though it comes down to your inimitable host, Denise, who bought the cluster of buildings – a 17th-century cow shippen – 40 years ago and has been restoring and filling them with British arts and crafts ever since. Each cottage is furnished with one-of-a-kind artefacts: hand-bodged chairs, original John Leach’s Muchelney pottery and antique plates. Behind the cottages you’ll find a quietly bustling courtyard with a cafe and galleries.
Pye Hall Cottage, Arnside and Silverdale, England
With stunning walks available straight from the door, this charming cottage with it's cosy interior and spacious private garden is a island of tranquillity. Don your walking boots to lose yourself in the nearby Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This charming semi-detached self-catering cottage on the outskirts of Silverdale has been beautifully converted and decorated in fresh, country tones, while retaining many of the original features, such as beautiful wooden doors and beamed ceilings. A gas stove in the lounge will keep you cosy in the evenings, and there’s a selection of board games, books and DVDs. Outside, there’s a spacious garden and a tempting array of walks right from the doorstep. The cottage sleeps up to four in two double rooms and one single. All the amenities of Silverdale, including a couple of traditional country pubs, are within a pleasant 15-minute walk. sykescottages.co.uk
Culdene, Arnside and Silverdale, England
With the Warton Crag nature reserve quite literally on the doorstep, this cosy, one-bedroom apartment is the perfect setting for a quiet country getaway. Set within an organic smallholding (complete with sheep and chickens) it's also dog friendly! A one-bedroom, self-catering apartment in Warton, on the southern edge of the AONB. It's traditional and caters mostly for retired guests who have come to love the area. Outside there’s a pretty courtyard, which is ideal for sunny evenings, and a giant chess board. The house is set within an organic smallholding with chickens, sheep and an allotment and you can walk straight through the grounds and up on to Warton Crag - or even stretch your legs further by continuing over to Leighton Moss. Walkers welcome and it is dog-friendly. culdene.co.uk/
Lake Cottage, Arnside and Silverdale, England
Set within gorgeous surroundings, this 200-year-old stone cottage boasts a private lake side hide, ideal for watching nesting marsh harriers. It's also the perfect place to indulge your imagination, reportedly being the old haunt of a Cold War spy. A two-bedroom old gamekeeper’s cottage at the end of a drover’s road, at the heart of Gait Barrows NNR. Apparently, the previous lady owner was a spy in the 1960s. This was her bolt hole, where she came to make jam and pootle about on her bike, which owner Andrew discovered in the shed when he took over the building three years ago. Since then, Andrew has been sensitively renovating the building, peeling back the layers of this 200-year-old cottage and discovering original Victorian tiles and an old inglenook fireplace along the way. He’s also added thoughtful pieces such as church pew seats and a quirky wooden kitchen and built a boardwalk through the reeds to a private jetty overlooking Hawes Water. silverdale-cottage.co.uk
Beetham Holiday Homes, Cumbria, England
This static caravan park (for live-in holiday homes) offers something rather unique. Owner Craig Russell was brought up with a deep appreciation of nature and runs the park with a real commitment to conservation. This static caravan park (for live-in holiday homes) offers something rather unique. Owner Craig Russell was brought up with a deep appreciation of nature and runs the park with a real commitment to conservation. Half of the land – a mixture of wild flower meadows, wet meadows, coppiced woodland and ancient woodland on the north eastern side of the AONB – is managed with wildlife in mind and over the years it has become rich with orchids, hedgerow birds and rare moths and butterflies. Each holiday home is surrounded by hedges (several kilometres in total), which provide a refuge for birdlife and hedge-loving plants such as lily of the valley, bluebells, primroses and cowslips.
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