The Forest Side restaurant and rooms in Grasmere, in the Lake District, has been made the AA’s ‘Hotel of the Year England’ in the 2023 awards.

The highly prestigious award, one of the biggest in the hospitality industry, was handed to General Manager Alasdair Elwick, Head Chef Paul Leonard and Owner Andrew Wildsmith at a ceremony held last night (25th September) at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, London.

Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Media said: “Every year we present awards to the very best AA-rated hotels, restaurants, spas and their teams across the UK. We introduced the renowned star rating scheme for quality in 1908 and are honoured to shine a well-deserved spotlight on individuals and establishments who consistently deliver excellence to their guests.”

Alasdair Elwick of Forest Side said: “I’m not going to lie – we’re absolutely buzzing to win the AA Hotel of the Year for England, it’s an absolutely mega-achievement for us all at The Forest Side. We work so hard doing our thing, in our way and how we want to do it, our guests love it, and our honest and genuine approach clearly has been recognised. We’re going to have one awesome party!”

With exclusive grounds to discover and a unique food offering, The Forest Side is in a world of its own making at the heart of the Lake District. It is a magical retreat surrounded by the stunning countryside of Wordsworth’s beloved Grasmere. Set in a gothic mansion, with a charming team to provide every comfort and service, there are 20 beautiful bedrooms, welcoming lounges and a highly creative bar team. This is the home to a Michelin-starred restaurant, led by Head Chef Paul Leonard designed to be a reflection of the very landscape in which it sits.

To help achieve this, the kitchen selects only the freshest locally sourced seasonal produce, which is then paired with an exclusive wine list featuring small organic and bio-dynamic wine producers. Many of the ingredients are homegrown in The Forest Side gardens and kitchen garden providing about 60% of the fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables needed, as well as an array of flowering plants and herbs.


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