January & February are excellent times to get away for a short break or holiday before Easter where everywhere starts to get busy. And well, Cumbria and the Lake District is quite beautiful at this time of year and still an absolute pleasure to visit.
We may be finally experiencing snow and fells and lakes are looking absolutely stunning. Every view warranting an photo taken of it. Despite the stunning, openness of the Lake District, the other thing this region does so well is cosy.
From cosy cafes to country pubs, quaint B&B’s to self catering retreats with open fires and snugs, the nature of the way of life and properties in the Lake District and Cumbria is autumn and winter heaven. Better still, it’s the time to book and enjoy a great value break too.
A great location to head for, Windermere. A busy and vibrant location at time of the year, the autumn is an excellent time to visit with plenty to see and do. With everything on the doorstep from Lake Windermere just down the road, attractions and a cinema to shops and cafes galore in Windermere Village.
The newly refurbished Windermere Park Bed & Breakfast is a place to look out for to stay. A fine example of Windermere architecture both inside and out, Windermere Park is elegant, has off road parking, a lovely breakfast room and a choice of rooms including a four poster and the Oscar Wilde Suite. Rooms from £110 per room on a bed and breakfast basis. As with many establishments, booking direct ensures the best rates. Visit https://www.windermerepark.co.uk/
With so many outdoor challenge events happening in the Lake District throughout the spring and summer, post race R&R and rejuvenation is required more than ever.
There is the Great Swim weekend at Lake Windermere, Fred Whitton Cycle Challenge, Brathay Marathon and the Wasdale Full X Triathlon voted the world’s toughest ironman in 2016 to name just a few of the epic outdoor events in the Lake District.
The last five years have seen a steady increase in spa facilities in the Lake District either refurbishment of existing sites or brand new additions, namely at hotels. This world class destination known for its fells and lakes is becoming equally as famous for it’s luxury spas.
Spas are now far more than treatments rooms, a hot tub and sauna. Now expect various therapies and experiences taking inspiration from spas around the world. The Brimstone Spa on the Langdale Estate is the newest spa facility in the Lake District National Park. Located on the Langdale Estate, this spa has both indoor and outdoor experiences, has specialised treatments rooms, show stopping pool and rejuvenating therapies for both men and women.
Leisure, health and fitness go hand in hand and the Lake District also offers a choice of gyms, pools, Yoga and Pilates teachers and events. With pushing the body so much, thankfully there’s also some superb athlete specialist bodyworkers on hand too.
And where to find all of these? The new AllofTheLakeDistrict.co.uk website. It’s an all round resource for visitors as well as those living and working in the Lake District. Find the best spas in the Lake District whether for a spa/pamper day or for post challenge warm down. Visit https://www.allofthelakedistrict.co.uk/lake-district-spa-days-breaks/
It was thought the all new Brimstone Hotel on the Langdale Estate couldn’t get any more special. From the build to the fixtures, fittings and service all of which are different, unique, modern and of the highest quality.
The team at Brimstone have now take things one step further with a new and exciting partnership with Arc’teryx, the Canadian high performance outdoor equipment company. The Arc’teryx Bootroom is the new facility within this hotel in the Lake District. The Bootroom is exclusively available for guests staying at the Brimstone Hotel and it is packed full of Arc’teryx high performance outerwear and equipment to use during the stay so nothing gets in the way of adventure.
The Arc’teryx Bootroom has everything from GORE-TEX jackets and trousers to boots, hats, gloves, rucksacks even walking routes, snacks and drinks. The Lake District is unpredictable and as it says on the Brimstone website “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!”.
This new outdoor gear partnership fully confirms the attention to detail and the service that goes that extra mile from the Brimstone Hotel. This new gear range is super innovative and stylish which is the perfect addition to super innovative and stylish Brimstone. Located where it is in the heart of the Lake District, in the heart of some of the best walking routes, paths and fells in the UK, the Bootroom facility confirms the Brimstone teams’ understanding of the area and their guests needs.
Half term is nearly here and being one of the winter holidays it’s not always that easy to think of how to entertain the kids. The weather is a big factor, bank accounts are still feeling the effects of Christmas and it has been a busy start to the year it seems for the majority of the UK.
But the February half term is definitely the time to forget the cinema. Start 2017 as you mean to go on and get outdoors and get active and what better place to enjoy the great outdoors than the Lake District. And for outdoor adventures then arguably, “West is best”.
The Western Lake District is one of the greatest natural playgrounds in the UK, open 365 days a year offering a multitude of activities. It is ready and raring to go to welcome guests and visitors at half term and there are plenty of activities and things to do to satisfy big and little kids alike.
The area attracts outdoor enthusiasts young and old but why not give it a try if you’ve never taken part in any outdoor activities before? Why not make this half term the holiday to try out something different, to be adventurous and to see one of the most beautiful parts of the country from a different angle?
West Lakes Adventure are the people to go to. A Lake District activity provider offering everything from canoeing to mountain biking, archery to stand up paddle boarding and even navigational skills.
They have a new booking calendar enabling visitors to book online to any of the open enrolment activities available during all school holidays. Easy to use, simply choose the activity and the available dates will be highlighted. Bespoke activity days are also offered, call 019467 23753 for more details on these or visit http://www.westlakesadventure.co.uk/. Looking for somewhere to stay? West Lakes Adventure can take care of that too thanks to their self catering cottage in the Eskdale Valley. Rowan Bank Cottage sleeps up to 8 people and is at the foot of Hardknott and within touching distance of the Woolpack Inn. A short break at Rowan Bank is still available starting February 20th for 4 nights. Call 019467 23753 or visit http://www.stayineskdale.co.uk/.
Tip for travelling to the Western Lake District
Take the A66 and then onto the A595. A good route even when travelling up the M6 from the south.
Call us what you will but when we happened to stumble upon a list on BuzzFeed.com of the “28 Incredibly Beautiful Places In The U.K. To Visit” as compiled by a member of the BuzzFeed Staff, we weren’t shocked to see a Lake District location in top spot.
The location in question is Whiteless Pike near Crummock Water in the North Western Lake District. But of course our main focus is on a location closer to the theme of this blog and resource, Windermere, in at number 5 (pardon the pun). The other locations in the top 28 are made up of exceptionally stunning places such as The Isle of Skye, Scottish Highlands, Monmouthshire in Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight to name but a few.
As England’s largest natural lake, Lake Windermere along with its beauty is justifiably in the top 5. With three varied settlements of Lakeside, Bowness and Waterhead from south to north, Lake Windermere is an increasingly popular destination. But its beauty is also down to the miles of beautiful landscape surrounding it making up the whole of the Lake District.
Cumbria juts out of the UK mainland with the Lake District national Park making up a huge chunk of this county. The almost circular boundary of the park is unlike any other and with a low population means the region exudes such plentiful and varied landscapes.
Looking at a map of the Lake District and Windermere acts as the welcome host to this National Park. Being the most southern of all the bodies of water making up the Lake District, Windermere is the most visited and offering the most mount of activities for visitors to do both on and offer the Lake. A trip from Lakeside to Waterhead on one of the Windermere Lake Cruises boats is a necessity surely. Not the fastest mode of transport but what a view from the Lake and a completely different perspective to that on land.
Accommodation around Lake Windermere:
Newby Bridge Hotel is located at the southern tip of Lake Windermere within walking distance of Lakeside Pier. Enjoy peace and tranquillity as well as views down the lake and great value accommodation. Look out for the special dinner, bed and breakfast offers during the year. Visit https://www.newbybridgehotel.co.uk for more details.
What better way to mark the 103rd edition of the Tour de France than taking a trip over to Elterwater in the Langdale Valley and do the Tour de Langdale or Langdale Cycle trail.
Langdale cycle trail as published by the National Trust is a just over 9 miles in length starting at Skelwith Bridge just outside of Ambleside and finishing in the heart of the Great Langdale Valley in Stickle Ghyll car park passing alongside beautiful Elterwater. This route is either on tracks or cycle trails and a very limited amount on quiet roads making it excellent for families and cycling novices. The trail is suitable for mountain bikes or road bikes with hybrid tyres. The full route including a map can be found here
For the mountain biker then the Tour de Langdale is a fantastic route. 9.3 miles of up, down and off road starting with a climb to the ultra scenic Blea Tarn. The route and description can be found here
If your cycling is more advanced then here’s an idea. Why not tackle one (or more!) of the spectacular mountain passes within touching distance of Langdale? These passes include Blea Tarn, Wrynose and the not for the faint hearted (or incapable), Hardknott Pass. Hardknott Pass if the steepest road in England with the gradient at its steepest (worst) of 30%. But despite the gruelling terrain, the views combined with the feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top and the thrill of the descent, makes it all worth it.
Where to stay:
The award winning Langdale Estate home to the Langdale 4 star hotel as well as the choice of hiring one of the self catering lodges. On site there’s full leisure facilities including pool and a fabulous new restaurant for refuelling. 2 minutes up the road and also owned by the Langdale Estate is Wainwright’s Inn for a slice of traditional Lake District pub action with around 5 local real ales on daily.
If you’re looking for peace and quiet but within touching distance of the major locations in the Lake District and Cumbria such as Windermere and Kendal then Crosthwaite is a delight.
Located between Kendal and Lake Windermere along country lanes, Crosthwaite is just 15 minutes from the M6 junction 36. Low level walks are plentiful thanks to rolling countryside and the ultra pretty Lyth Valley. Whitbarrow Nature Reserve in on the doorstep and both Bowness and Lakeside with piers for ferries up and down the lake by Windermere Lake Cruises, only minutes away.
A great activity day for the whole family can be found just 5 miles towards Lake Windermere at Fell Foot Park, a National Trust lakeside park with mountain views. At the park hire kayaks, take gentle strolls, have picnics and for little ones, a safe outdoor play area with scramble nets, paddling and even an indoor play area (it can at times rain in the Lake District!).
For the best views then it’s really worthwhile if possible to venture up one the many fells and hills. There are many walks, including the ever popular Gummers How on the Eastern side of Lake Windermere providing views down the lake as well as across to the Langdale Pikes and beyond. Head to Bowness for ferry connections to Waterhead for Ambleside and a walk up Loughrigg or hire one of the rowing boats.
Family friendly accommodation in Crosthwaite can be found at the Damson Dene Hotel. Set in acres of grounds with views, the hotel has special family annexe suites and a restaurant and a bar for eating and drinking. The leisure centre on site is a real bonus for all with pool, spa pool, sauna, steam room and gym and ideal for entertaining kids on a rainy day. Family rooms from £172, for booking and more info visit http://www.damsondene.co.uk/
Imagine this, you’ve been lucky enough to stay in one of the stand out, luxury boutique hotels in the Lake District this month, what a thought, an envy of friends, family and work colleagues. Imagine if your luck could continue further and another stay could be on the cards and free of charge?
Well for guests staying at Brimstone Hotel at Langdale this March, 1. They will be experiencing luxury beyond anything else in the Lake District in the heart of the Langdale Valley and 2. Each set of guests will be entered into a prize draw to be in with a chance of winning a £500 Brimstone & Langdale monetary vouchers*.
Although it will be hard for the winner to resist booking a Brimstone Hotel suite again, the voucher is valid for use anywhere on the Langdale Estate from the Langdale 4 Star Hotel, luxury self catering lodges, at the spa along with food and beverages.
Come back and do all the things you didn’t have time for during the first visit. Relax and unwind further and explore the area. Have spa treatments you wouldn’t normally have been able to afford. Also, visit the brand new Stove Restaurant which will be open from April 2016 onwards.
*The lucky winner will be chosen at random, vouchers will have a 12 month validity from the time of issue. Booking essential and subject to availability. Everybody staying in March 2016 will be eligible for the prize draw. One entry per booking. No cash alternative.
The first Holker Hall Plant Fair and Food Market is taking place on Sunday April 17th. This event is always the sign that spring has definitely sprung and the areas of Cartmel and Grange over Sands are in full bloom.
Bringing together some of the North of England’s specialist plant growers and nurseries, expect to find the highest quality and unusual plants and shrubs ranging from spring flowers and bulbs to autumn blooms.
On top of this there is also the food market, a great chance to stock up on local Cumbrian and Northern regional delicacies and try and taste new foods for the first time. From fresh vegetables and meat to cheeses, chutney’s and cakes, it’s all about the artisan producer at the Holker Food Market.
Cartmel and Grange over Sands are fantastic places to spend a weekend so it’s a great chance to not only visit the plant fair but also have a short break. Foodies will be in with a further treat as Friday April 15th is the monthly Cartmel food market, even more chance to sample and stock up the cupboards.
Our tip for where to stay, Bay Villa B&B in Grange over Sands. Just 4 and a half miles from Holker and in the centre of the Edwardian town of Grange over Sands, it provides luxury bed and breakfast accommodation in spacious rooms with a big emphasis on quality and service, great views o Morecambe Bay too. Visit http://www.bayvilla.net for more details.
For the second year in a row, Woolacombe, the 3 mile long beach in North Devon has been crown TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Number 1 UK beach.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting this beach, please do so at your earliest convenience. This award is more than deserved and means even more as it is actual visitors who have voted.
Woolacombe is located to the north west of the county of North Devon with uninterrupted views out into the Bristol Channel and to the National Trust owned island of Lundy. From Morte Point o Baggy Point the beach stretches in total 3 miles of golden sandy loveliness. It is renowned for being a family beach thanks to the highest level of water and beach cleanliness, its facilities and safety in the form of experienced lifeguards.
But it’s not just families that love this beach but also surfers. The area is renowed as one of the best in the UK for sufing from Woolacombe over to Croyde and Saunton.
The beach is complemented by the lively village of Woolacombe itself with plenty of places to eat and drink, surf and gift shops. Naturally this area of North Devon has a vast and varied amount of holiday accommodation from B&B’s to self catering, hotels and campsites. Camping and caravanning though is a very popular way to stay for families as well as surfers. Just a short distance from wonderful Woolacombe is Stowford Farm Meadows, an award winning caravan and campsite in North Devon offering onsite facilities galore including food, drink entertainment, sports &play areas, woodland walks in the grounds and horse riding, a complete family friendly heaven and dog friendly too. For more information visit, http://stowford.co.uk/
A Bride may beg to differ (what about the dress!) but the venue for this most special of day, a wedding, is top of the list in terms of priorities and importance.
Choosing the right venue is the key and is different for all couples depending on size, theme, price and location to name just a few considerations.
When it comes to wedding venues near larger towns and cities, the race to get the preferred date at the chosen venue is tough. Areas such as Surrey where the population is growing, especially amongst the young professional demographic, wedding venues are in hot demand.
But Surrey is also extremely practical for guests travelling from throughout the UK or from abroad. Today’s friends and family live is multiple locations, some guests attending from far flung destinations like Australia, it’s a common occurrence.
With Heathrow to the north and Gatwick to the south, the county of Surrey attracts couples from London and throughout the south east. The easy access and great transport links are ideal for guests travelling from UK and international locations. In today’s society where both friends and family live in multiple locations, it’s no wonder over 60% of marriage ceremonies are held in hotels and approved premises. No need to organise transport from church or registry office to the reception and in the case of a hotel venue, guests are accommodated there too, all under one roof.
Brooklands Hotel situated on the old Brooklands racing circuit and just minutes from the M25 is one of the leading wedding venues in Surrey. The hotel was a regional finalist in the 2016 Wedding Industry Awards and provides a stunning art deco inspired backdrop and location for weddings both small and large. A bespoke service is guaranteed led by a personal wedding planner for each couple. For more information visit http://www.brooklandshotelsurrey.com/weddings/plan-my-wedding
A brand new luxury development at the Applegarth Villa Hotel & Restaurant in Windermere is now fully complete. This week the images of the final two suites have been unveiled to complete this stand out build right in the centre of Windermere village.
Having launched the first five suites before Christmas, these final two have been highly anticipated being a little different to the others. Suites Potter and Harrop are both Garden Suites, have private entrances, their own garden and terrace containing a hot tub. Each suite has a lounge area looking out onto the garden, huge beds and large luxury bathrooms with feature free standing baths. Unobtrusive gadgets galore can be found from superfast broadband to mood lighting and automated curtain operation.
But what is extremely exciting and a first for Applegarth Villa is these two suites are both dog friendly as well as accessible. Both for those who love to holiday with their dog and for guests in a wheelchair or with limited mobility, these suites offer ease of access, all on one level even through to the bathroom. Early indications and enquiries suggest these suites are going to be extremely popular enabling luxury for these two distinct sectors not found anywhere else in the Lake District.
A service soon to be launched is in room dining prepared by the Applegarth chefs, a menu full of delicious local produce, which will be a great feature especially for guests staying in Harrop and Potter. No need to worry about finding a dog friendly place for dinner or leave a dog alone and those with limited mobility need not worry about steps and access.
New to walking or wanting to introduce children to the wonders of the Lake District fells but don’t want to put them off then a guided walk is just the thing to get the kick started into a love of the great outdoors.
Whether you’re a novice walker thinking the fells are a bit daunting to those looking at seeking out new routes to families wanting a safe walk for all to enjoy then the Lake District National Park Authority’s choice of guided walks in various locations of the Lake District are not just fun but also free.
There are guided walks specifically for families, some aimed at just children and others for older kids. The just turn up policy is great, no need to book and the walks are free to attend but donations are welcome that go towards caring and maintaining the routes for future generations use. Most of the walks dogs are allowed too so really a full family outing can be had.
During Easter there are some fantastic walks starting from locations such as Hawkshead and Coniston as well as mini trekkers events where walking is combined with nature themed activities along the way. For the full list of guided walking events visit, http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/events
Family friendly bed and breakfast accommodation can be found at the Cuckoo Brow Inn and B&B at Far Sawrey, close to Hawkshead and Coniston and with a family friendly menu as well as outdoor areas and within walking distance of the exciting for kids, Windermere Ferry across the lake. Family rooms include breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children. Visit http://www.cuckoobrow.co.uk for more details.
Mother’s Day 2016 is guaranteed to catch a few sons and daughters out being an incredibly early March 6th this year. Yes, not long at all to think what to treat this very special lady to and especially for the woman who has everything!
The Langdale 4 Star Hotel & Spa has Mothering Sunday completed sorted, a one stop shop so to speak. On the day book a special Mother’s Day meal in the light, bright and airy Terrace Restaurant. Tasty food cooked on the Josper Grill, a choice of wines and fizz to mark the occasion and delicious cakes and puds for desert.
A great treat if you can’t all get together is a gift voucher. The hotel’s gift voucher can be purchased in monetary values, for dining experiences at a later date, one and two night hotel breaks or luxury therapies in the spa. The spa offers a choice of therapies and treatments from Anne Semonin, Elemis and O.P.I. Choose from total relaxation packages to massages, manicures and facials.
With a location in the heart of the Langdale Valley, even the more adrenaline fueld Mum’s wil enjoy an experience at Langdale. All go for a walk, a cycle or even hire a Twizy in the morning before heading for food and drinks in the afternoon at Wainwright’s Inn, the Langdale Estate traditional Lake District pub.