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Reviewed 24 April 2011

This was our third visit to the Cottage in the Woods for a special occasion dinner and I have to say we were very disappointed this time. The menu has changed significantly since our last visit one year ago, and, in our experience, not for the better. It was confusing, to say the least, to be faced with a menu with no indication of starters, main courses, desserts etc which simply lists ' Ham Hock, Carrot, Duck Egg, Monkfish, John Dory, Lamb, Beef, Peanut, Rum and Raisin each one accompanied by some apparently related ingredients, but with no indication as to how the dishes would be presented. Then, at the bottom of the menu, the 'helpful' suggestion: 'Select three courses for £30, four for £36, five for £42' - What, mix and match your own ingredients?

Other diners were similarly confused and it seems unnecessary if Kath, the very welcoming proprietress- has to explain each time that ' we like to offer the maximum flexibility' or 'Rupert our new chef likes to forage in the woods for local ingredients'. Perhaps if he spent less time foraging, he would have the time to put an intelligible menu together.

The food qulity nevertheless was excellent, although portions very small. And as a result, certainly if you were choosing 4 or 5 courses, overpriced. A definite case of too much style over substance.

What was most disappointing however was the restaurant service. Perhaps we were just unlucky and admittedly the retaurant was busy, but for example we waited over 45 minutes to be served between starters and main courses and 30 minutes btween main course and being able to select desserts. It is pleasant not to be rushed in restaurants, but this had too much of the opposite effect: to feel like you are being ignored. Particularly when adjacent diners who come to their table after you, and appearing to choose similar menu items, are served and, indeeed finish their courses before you are even served. For the first time in many years in a restaurant I did not feel remotely inclined to leave a tip.

All in all a disappointing experience on what was intended to be a special occasion experience for one of our party. Stunning views from the restaurant and beautifully presented miniature works of culinary art do not necessarily relieve the impression that you are being taken advantage of.

Sorry, Cottage, we've had two previous good experiences, but I think you've lost the plot. We won't be returning in a hurry.

Room Tip: Fill up beforehand!
  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled with family
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12  Thank Chester_UKCitykid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2011

Well this is now our third visit over the last 18 months or so, since that time there have been significant improvements to the fabric of the building whilst maintaining its charm. The rooms, although on the small side are thoughtfully designed to maximise space & we had far more storage than in many much larger rooms in other hotels at which we have stayed. The level of cleanliness is superb with rooms & all public areas being spotless.

Now for the real gems; Kath, Liam & their team are wonderfully friendly & efficient, you really do feel that nothing is too much trouble for them. They seem to understand how to make you feel special without ever "going over the top" their raison d'etre is clearly to ensure your stay is memorable.

The menu format had changed this visit in that although some dishes are clearly designed to be starters, any of the more substantial courses can also be served as a starter in a smaller portion size. This worked really well in our opinion allowing the maximum level of choice. The quality of the food was as we have come to expect at The Cottage, absolutely superb, and very interesting in the use of unusual ingredients forraged from local woodlands;I am already beginning to discover the delights that abound in our local hedgrows & gardens, which take far less effort than my own veg plot!

The wine list was comprehensive, of excellent quality and very reasonably priced.

Superb hospitality as ever, we've already booked our next visit!

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Creaky_Joints
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2011

Returned recently for a weekend to chill out with close friends. We were made very welcome by Kath with refreshments and a roaring log fire. A good wine led into a most exciting evening meal menu. We were spoilt with the range of courses available, ingredients carefully crafted together, locally sourced and even foraged from the wild. We were in a Mountain View room that was cosy, comfy and with good views. The bathroom would be of modest size if you are of a larger build.
The excellent breakfast was more traditional in content and served in a conservatory with stunning views over the forest across to Skiddaw, eaten watching the mists rise off the trees in the sun.
From the doorstep are hill walks either side of the valley and just up the pass the Forestry Centre with MTB bike hire and other activities.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank BubsandCo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2011

My wife and I have just spent 3 nights in the 'Cottage in the Woods' and we had a wonderful time. Kath and the staff could not be more friendly or helpful, the food was out of this world and the room (the Rowan Room) was great. A place we shall definitely visit again.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank jfowler707
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2010

Stayed at the Cottage in the Wood this weekend as a surprise getaway from my husband. Very impressed by the service and the idyllic location in the heart of the Lake District. We ate in the restaurant the first night and have to say the food was fantastic. Despite the freezing temperatures outside we were warmed by the atmosphere inside from the friendly staff and hearty log burner in the lounge. Breakfast was also very good with a chance to soak up the amazing views.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank EssexSeasider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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