Mirefoot Cottages – a Luxury Dog Friendly Stay In The Lake District
When I walked into our cottage in the Lake District last week I’m not going to lie I gave myself a big pat on the back. I spend a lot of time researching when it comes to places to stay anywhere, and this was undoubtedly one of my best finds. I haven’t experienced a ‘wow’ first impression like that in a while, so as promised here’s my full review on Mirefoot Cottages in the Lake District.
Disclaimer: We paid for this week in full ourselves and I was not asked to do this review.
Despite being a very frequent visitor to the Lakes, I’d never heard of Mirefoot Cottages before and I came across them by chance. At the start of this year when we got Arthur, we decided to spend our annual weeks holiday in September in this country so we could take him. It had nothing to do with coronavirus, but it worked out to be a pretty good decision considering. It also meant we were booked ages ago which I know is proving difficult for people now.
So I was casually browsing one of those letting websites that brings up multiple holiday home options, I think it was Premier Cottages. Back then there were loads with availability, but something about this specific one caught my attention more so than the others. It was really modern on the photos, and had a pool and spa facilities. Other than that there really wasn’t a lot of information and it was difficult to figure out exactly where it was.
To get the name Mirefoot so I could google it directly I actually read the backwards logo on one of the photos that was reflected on a glass door. That’s the level of effort I went to to find more information on it, and that google search took me directly to their website.
Once there I had a full browse through, reading up on the place, the facilities and looking at the photos I was sold. I emailed it to Kieran and (keep in mind he usually needs a month to make any decision before committing) he literally replied ‘book it’ within half an hour. I didn’t need telling twice and the deposit was paid.
My parents had rented a lodge at Langdale where we all went last year for the same week, which is also beautiful but they don’t take dogs. Mirefoot is about a 25 minute drive from there and three of their cottages allow dogs so it was perfect.
The Mirefoot cottages as a complex is really small, it’s literally the five cottages, and a separate building for the pool, spa and gym. It’s on a working farm so you’re in the woodland within the gates of Mirefoot, but surrounded by the farm.
It’s very close to both Staveley and Kendal, meaning it’s just on the edge of the Lake District National Park in the South Lakes. It was a 20 minute drive to Windermere, and a half hour drive to both Ambleside and Langdale.
From Newcastle it’s about a two hour 20 min drive if you go straight there and miss out calling at Keswick or anywhere on the way. For once on this trip we totally avoided Keswick. Everyone who did go said it was absolutely heaving and we just wanted to get straight there and feel like we were in the middle of nowhere.
There are five cottages in total to choose from, and all are a bit different. Two of them sleep four people, and three sleep four. Each one has their own parking space just opposite, and there is a loading bay where you can park when you arrive or leave.
The cottages have different accessibility levels, some are all on one level, whereas others have stairs up or down to them and inside. Despite being adjoined to each other, each cottage is very private from the next. The place has been landscaped in such a way that you feel like you’re there alone when you’re sitting on your terrace, and you can’t hear between each one at all.
After a lot of deliberation, we decided to go for Shepherd’s View. The outside terrace and balcony sold it to us. Each cottage has at least one outside terrace, and some have two or a balcony. Shepherd’s View just looked fabulous to us, so that’s the one we booked.
Walking up to it for the first time I just loved it from the moment we got there. It has a little front garden and steps up to the terrace, which is quite big with a table and chairs on. There are hand sanitisers attached to the traditional Lakeland slate walls, and the terrace is lit up with spotlights too.
The front is glass sliding doors, which are fabulous to let the light in. In the entrance way there is a tray for muddy boots or wellies, a row of coat hooks, and a seating area with comfy sofa and rug looking out over the terrace and garden. On sunny mornings we sat on the terrace, but even on colder ones you could get the same effect sitting on that sofa looking out.
There is a curtain that pulls across to separate this room if you prefer some privacy inside, or for when you go out. Not that there’s anyone at all about peering in, but it was handy to have especially for Arthur when we left him so he couldn’t see anything going on outside.
The living room and kitchen are open plan, and again very modern but with hints of traditional country/Lakes too so you don’t forget where you are. There is a log burner in the corner which I loved, and the kitchen had an island with bar stools as well. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting up there and it was great when we had my family over and were making dinner in the kitchen.
The kitchen of course was fully equipped, and then some. I took a few things from the kitchen in case we needed them but I needn’t have bothered as it was all there. They provide you with some bin liners, kitchen roll, dishwasher tablets, washing tablets, cling film and toilet roll to get you started.
We also had a very thoughtful welcome pack next to the guestbook and information, which was all locally sourced products like fresh ground coffee, a bag of toffee, elderflower cordial, and some suggested local walks mapped out and laminated. The view from the kitchen window over the rooftops and hills was absolutely beautiful each morning, even when it rained.
The final room downstairs is the wet room, which again was very modern with black tiles, a glass walk in shower and quirky sink, but one wall was all brick and it felt like getting showered in a cave, albeit a luxury one. It was gorgeous and really useful if you come in wet or muddy so you didnt have to trail all the way upstairs.
Upstairs you’ll find the double room, with a big iron desk, a wardrobe with two white robes and two big blankets for wrapping up in on the balcony. There is also a bathroom with a big bath and sky view over the hills too.
The bedroom has double doors that lead on to the upstairs balcony, again with seating and a glass front, always combining the modern with the Lake District slate feel. If there is one tiny picky fault I could find with the place is that there wasn’t a full length mirror, there are just the two bathroom mirrors and then a small face mirror on the desk, but it wasn’t really an issue. There are plugs everywhere which I always appreciate.
There is free WiFi throughout the place, and a Bluetooth music system that you can connect to in each room and also the pool/spa so you can play your own music in each area.
It was very much a luxury lodge, with all the modern touches, interesting layout and local Lakeland extras too. My parents came to visit us while we were there, and again they were both very impressed with the place, and asked for the details to remember for future.
It was so lovely waking up every morning and sitting on one of the terraces outside, with a woodland view and a cup of fresh coffee. It’s the kind of place you could go and easily never want to venture out the entire time you’re there, as long as you have plenty food in.
Every time we went out for the day or afternoon I looked forward to coming back, and I really was sad to leave after our week. It felt like home but a million miles away from reality which was exactly what we wanted.
Mirefoot Pool & Spa
Obviously through the summer we had been a bit worried that we wouldn’t be able to use the pool and spa, which would have been really disappointing as it was one of the reasons we booked Mirefoot Cottages in the first place. There isn’t much nearby, but we didn’t mind that at all as there were these fabulous facilities literally steps from our front door.
Luckily it was open, and they were running a booking system where you could put your cottage down for an hour slot anytime throughout the day. On the first visit we had to fill a form in with our details, and the site manager showed us round their routine for cleaning, how to access it, and explained we needed to come ready as the changing rooms were closed.
From that point though you can come and go on your own when it’s your time slot without needing the staff there.
The facilities are AMAZING. The 16m pool is heated and like a warm bath, and there’s a hot tub next to it as well. The sauna wasn’t in use, but is there for the future when they can be used again, and there is a gym in there as well. There are two loungers next to the pool, that look out through all the glass doors that can fold back looking out over the gardens.
We got into the habit of going early each morning, and it was so nice to have the entire place to ourselves. It has the same music system as the cottages so we would connect up, get the tunes on and have a swim and jacuzzi. It really was very special and a huge perk of staying here. I actually said to the owner they should consider keeping the spa for sole cottage use, or having times when it can be used privately once Coronavirus is over. I loved having it to ourselves.
On a couple of occasions the owner or the manager caught us as we walked over to say there was nobody booked for after us so we could feel free to stay longer than the hour slot. That was a definite perk of it being a very small, family run place. They were flexible, really friendly and were happy to accommodate all the guests.
Extra things to mention
So what else do you need to know about Mirefoot Cottages before visiting?
Well like I just said the staff are so lovely. You’ll see them about on site, and when you arrive/check out so if you do need anything you can easily find them. They aren’t intrusive but will happily discuss recommendations, suggestions for days out etc with you if you’d like them to.
It’s family run so they appreciate any feedback, and there’s a guestbook to leave a small review in afterwards. They source everything that is in the cottages so shampoo, hand sanitiser etc locally too.
Three of the five cottages accept dogs, and both the owner and manager have dogs too so it’s a very dog lovable place. For our first holiday with Arthur it couldn’t have gone better and it was nice to know he was welcome everywhere.
We took the pen we have for him and made a makeshift fence so he couldn’t get off our terrace, but we got brave enough to let him off the lead around Mirefoot as it is so quiet and safe for him.
He was met with a jar of dog treats when we first got there too which was a nice touch. There are bins on site by the car parking spaces as well.
All towels and bedding are provided, as well as separate towels and robes for use in the spa.
Chef and Spa Treatments
While you’re staying at one of the Mirefoot Cottages, you have the option to pay for an external chef to come in and cook you a meal while you’re there. You can also book spa treatments in the same way directly with a spa therapist and they will come in and do it for you. There are full details of both in the welcome pack and online.
Like I said before there is nothing else on site, and there aren’t really any restaurants or cafes nearby either. The nearest supermarkets are Morrisons and Sainsbury’s in Kendal about a 10 minute drive away, and they do deliver if you put an order in while you are there.
The nearest pub is about the same distance, and is called the Eagle & Child. You could walk to it but it would take about 40 mins. We went a couple of times for a drink and tea one night and it was a proper, traditional pub with a roaring fire, big portions and plenty tables. You can book but we didnt through the week.
From my experience though if you’re going to the Lakes and staying self catering you know you’ll need to drive, so this didn’t affect us at all. We took plenty of food with us and there is lots of storage for it on site.
We had lots of plans for meals in other parts of the Lake District, including Ambleside, Buttermere and Langdale so we got the best of both worlds.
Lasting Impressions of Mirefoot Cottages
I really can’t wait to go back, and I absolutely will be at some point. Mirefoot cottages themselves are just such a high standard, they really are a luxury stay which isn’t too common for places that allow dogs as well. The staff are excellent, and it’s exactly the sort of place to go if you want somewhere nice but secluded.
The pool and spa are a huge perk, I really miss my morning swim and time in the jacuzzi so even if you didnt want to venture out there’s really no reason to. Of course most people who go to this part of the country do want to get out, and the whole of the Lake District is right there on your doorstep to explore.
Disclaimer: We paid for the full week ourselves, and I wasn’t asked to write this blog post.
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