With striking views of Keswick, Derwent Water, Borrowdale and Newlands valley and the Northern Lakes, Highfield Hotel sits along The Heads within walking distance of the town centre. Built in 1885, the old Victorian house now showcases three floors of beautifully decorated rooms in unique finishes. There are delightful twin rooms right through to elegant king size beds and roll top baths, including second floor rooms within the West and East turrets of the building.
Our room had everything we needed, including soft towels, good quality toiletries, WiFi and a TV. Not that we even turned the TV on... we were in The Lakes on the best week of the Summer so far! The reception staff couldn't have been more helpful, providing us with ideas of walks to do as well as ferry information and relevant leaflets. Should you consider using the ferries whilst you're there, the hotel does get a discount which they are happy to share.
After a walk around Keswick, along the lakes and into the woodland, we'd soon built up an appetite for our three course meal. Planning ahead, we had notified Highfield that my friend is vegetarian and gluten free, and they were more than happy to oblige. We were seated in the entrance hall with a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio Blush and served canapes of a sticky onion tart and red pepper houmous and strawberries on rye, including a gluten free versions. I had never considered red pepper houmous going so well with strawberries, either. The wine was £15.95 for a bottle of house red, white or rose which I thought was really reasonable.
Our starters came in the form of a gluten free Halloumi Filo Tart and Pan Fried Scallops and King Prawns with Rocket. My seafood was well seasoned and enjoyably plump, whilst being well cooked and flavoursome. (Oh to live near the sea and have good seafood all the time!) Alice was very impressed with the effort gone into making a gluten free tart, with the colourful peppers and tomatoes going well with the sweet balsamic and halloumi. Before our mains we were served ice cold lemon sorbet, with the refreshing but bitter tones cleaning our palette.
For mains we opted for Mushroom Risotto and Salmon with Roasted Vegetables and Cous Cous. My dish was ideal for the hot weather and the beautifully cooked salmon was a delight to eat overlooking the lovely views. My main would have been gluten free too, with pops of colour from the tomatoes, asparagus and sugar snap peas. For a risotto the presentation was great too, with the flavours being freshened up with a peppery green salad and crunchy mange tout. The menu changes daily and the chef is happy to adjust to suit dietary requirements, if booked in advance.
Desserts saw the likes of White Chocolate and Strawberry Posset, Baked Vanilla Pod Cheesecake and a local. seasonal cheeseboard on the menu. A proud advocate of the STP, I had to go for the Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Thunder and Lightning Ice Cream and Toffee Sauce. On the other hand, Alice's gluten free options meant she could enjoy a Warm Chocolate Brownie with Chocolate Sauce and Cream.
Although more like a cake or chocolate sponge texture than a fudge brownie, the pudding went down really well. Especially since this is the sort of thing usually off limits for gluten free diets. On the other hand I have to say my sticky toffee pudding wasn't the best I'd had. Despite the moreish sauce it was rather dry and I didn't finish the plate.
Not one to end on a bad note, on the most part the food was impressive and we couldn't have asked for a better interpretation of a gluten free menu.
For breakfast there was the usual fruit, fresh juices, yoghurt, granola and pastries with hot food to order. I went for the smoked kipper and opted for runny poached eggs alongside. It was truly delicious! Sadly the vegetarian sausages weren't gluten free and the gluten free sausages were pork, so we were in a bit of a pickle. The chef had ordered some gluten free bread though so we soon had some buttery toast on the table.
Overall Highfield Hotel and Restaurant is a charming placed to stay with well-finished bedrooms. It's right near the quaint town centre with nearby picturesque walks and the Theatre by the Lake. There is free parking on the road outside, as well as their own car park round the corner should you wish to use it. I would recommend for couples or small groups of friends as a perfect based for exploring the northern Lake District. Plus, the view for our room, can you get much better than that?
Have you stayed in Keswick? What Keswick hotels, B&Bs or restaurants would you recommend? If you're looking for somewhere to stay in Windermere, you might also like the look of Beech Hill Hotel & Spa.
The Highfield Hotel,
I stayed and dined as a guest of Highfield Hotel & Restaurant. All opinions are my own and I was not expected to write a positive review.