The Inn Collection Group continues Lakes expansion with fourth Ambleside site 

Prime lakeside site The Waterhead Hotel in Ambleside has been bought by The Inn Collection Group bringing its portfolio to 22.

The 38-bedroom venue, which has direct shoreline access and private grounds bordering Windermere lake near Ambleside, has been purchased by the pub operator as it continues to grow its pubs with rooms brand in the north of England.

Taking the group’s Lake District estate tally to eight, the classic Lakeland venue will reopen as The Waterhead Inn on 17 May and continue trading before a planned refurbishment in 2022.

The Inn Collection Group’s managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are thrilled to have completed on The Waterhead and to be bringing another extraordinary site into the group as we prepare for the expected staycation boom amid surging consumer demand for UK leisure destinations.

“It was our strategic vision as a group to more than double our freehold estate to 22 sites in 2021 and despite the intense challenges of the global pandemic, we have had our finger on the pulse to accelerate growth and realise our ‘buy and build’ expansion strategy.

“We are continuing to expand at pace and have organised ourselves internally to deal with greater than anticipated expansion. It’s a phenomenal achievement and a real credit to our team, our investors, and our associates.”

He added: “The Waterhead has long been in our sights and we are excited to bring this remarkable venue and its team into The Inn Collection Group family.

“Our customers are looking for experience-led stays and The Waterhead delivers on everything we look for in a site – a distinctive USP and an attractive environment in a winning destination where our guests want to spend their well-earned leisure time to eat, drink and stay with us.”

The acquisition of The Waterhead Hotel was supported by Colliers International who acted on behalf of the vendors and coordinated sale negotiations leading to its successful completion.

Julian Troup, head of Hotel Agency at Colliers, said: “The sale of The Waterhead Hotel to The Inn Collection Group is one of several Lakeland hotel and hospitality business sales Colliers has agreed in recent months and vividly illustrates the intense demand for prime hotel and inn opportunities in this hugely popular staycation region.

“There is no sign of this demand abating, and on the contrary, we are anticipating it to increase given that staycation break trade is continuing to soar in popularity as holidaymakers increasingly choose to remain in the UK.”

The Waterhead Hotel acquisition, which was completed in an undisclosed deal, follows the group’s purchase of the neighbouring The Wateredge Inn at Waterhead Bay in March.

In Ambleside itself, the group is carrying out a major refurbishment of the former Churchills inn site which it plans to reopen as The Temperance Inn in August. Its 30-bedroom The Ambleside Inn, located in the centre of Ambleside – dubbed the walking capital of the Lakes – will reopen on 17 May.

Elsewhere in the Lakes, the Alchemy-backed group, which is supported with banking from OakNorth, owns The Angel Inn at Bowness on Windermere; The Coniston Inn at Coniston; The Swan at Grasmere and The Pheasant at Bassenthwaite.

Outside Cumbria it has venues in Northumberland, County Durham, Yorkshire and Lancashire while a 40-bedroom, new-build site on Sunderland’s seafront at Seaburn is set to open on 1 June.

The Inn Collection Group made its Tyneside debut last week with the purchase of the 53-bedroom The Park Hotel in Tynemouth, North Tyneside.

The Inn Collection Group’s Eat, Drink, Sleep and Explore pubs-with-rooms brand includes food and drink venues that are open daily, all year round, with serviced AA Gold three and four-star accommodation.

The Northumberland-based group were advised by Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway led by corporate partner Imogen Holland and Silverstone on pre-acquisition diligence.