Minutes away from Grasmere in the Lake District, “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”, according to Wordsworth, Forest Side will open after a yearlong £4million renovation, in a spot ideal for food lovers, literary history buffs or walkers keen to explore the stunning scenery. It is the third hotel from Wildsmith Hotels, who own small and charming properties in the south Lake District.
Owner Andrew Wildsmith and his operations director, Tom Lewis, are recycling as many of the old materials from the original 19th-century building as possible, with restaurant tables made from recycled old floorboards and plans for a bandstand from the nearby Abbot Hall in Kendal to be restored and used for weddings and events.
The 46 acres of grounds and a new walled Victorian kitchen garden will be the source of freshly grown food for Kevin Tickle, former chef and head forager at L’Enclume for almost eight years.
Home-grown produce including beetroots, carrots, leeks, lovage mint, oyster leaf and oxalis will appear in seasonal dishes that, close to the launch date in November, may include starters such as mushroom broth with roast ox tongue, smoked bone marrow and winter chanterelles and puddings such as spiced pumpkin cake with sweet cheese ice cream, pecans and birch sap.
The gardens will also make their way into the handmade and locally sourced toiletries, which will take their inspiration from plants and herbs grown within the grounds. A gardening scheme also aims to provide fragrant plants that will scent the air in and around the hotel throughout the year.
Dinner, bed and breakfast will be priced from £275 based on two people sharing and, in a very British touch, rooms will be rated “Cosy”, “Jolly Good” and “Superb”, instead of the traditional standard, superior and so on. In keeping with the importance of the garden, rooms will be named after trees and plants within the grounds, such as Damson, Elder, Juniper, Mulberry, Pine, Rowan and Silver Birch. As a lover of the great outdoors, Wordsworth would approve.