We all still love Beatrix Potter and the Lake District being her home and inspiration for her books is the place to find out more about this author.
Starting with her home, Hill Top. The house, gardens and shop are a great place to start. The house itself and the Surrounding villages of Near and Far Sawrey are a delight in themselves. The National Trust work tirelessly to keep the gardens looking as they were when Beatrix Potter tended to them and Peter Rabbit was bouncing about. The house is just as it was and the shop a lovely place to buy mementos of the visit.
On the way over to Bowness and The World of Beatrix Potter, have a stop off at the Claife Viewing Station on Windermere’s western shore. Great views and now the added bonus a lovely new tea room, perfect for light refreshments before heading across the lake on the Windermere Ferry.
It’s not time to head across the lake and for younger children, the World of Beatrix Potter. Located in the centre of bustling Bowness the attraction is packed full of character models, information, historical pieces and fun things to do. A date for the diary on Easter holiday Friday’s, Peter Rabbit Tea Parties. From 3.30pm enjoy entrance to the attraction, a tea party with cake and drinks, story time with Peter Rabbit and a gift and balloon for the kids to take home with them.
Hill Top is another place to be this Easter with drawing events in the location just where Beatrix Potter did in her books Peter Rabbit Trails – tours of the house and garden from this very special animals perspective.
Accommodation just 5 minutes away from the start of this Beatrix Potter extravaganza day can be found at the Cuckoo Brow Lake District Inn at Far Sawrey. Family rooms available and delicious food for both adults, animals and little people.
This Autumn is most definitely the time to visit the Lake District with many hotels offering tempting room rates before Christmas.
The Langdale Hotel is one such hotel in the heart of the Lake District National Park. This Autumn look at late availability offers in each of this 4 star hotel’s room types from Signature bedrooms to Ultimate Rooms and even the fabulous Waterside Feature Rooms. All guests can enjoy free use of the luxury Spa facilities including 21 metre pool, gym, steam room and spa bath and breakfast in Stove Restaurant. All this for just £125 per room based on 2 people sharing. Look out for the best room rates Sunday to Thursday making this the perfect chance to stay in one of the finest 4 star hotels in the Lake District this Autumn.
The Lake District is just starting to see leaves on the trees turning from green to the stunning burnt oranges, reds and yellows of Autumn. It is a particularly beautiful time to visit this region and this change in the colour of the leaves impacts immensely on the look of the landscape.
The Langdale Hotel website has some excellent walking guides so guests can plan their itinerary before arrival. These guides can be printed off and used in conjunction with an OS map and compass. Whatever the weather, the free use of the spa facilities is always welcomed and a great way to revive aching muscles after walking! Now guests can also book the brand new Brimstone Spa for exclusive spa therapies only available there dor a special treat or extra pamper.
New for 2017 an exciting series of printed trails around the historic market town of Kendal. The trail can be printed off from the https://visit-kendal.co.uk website or found in over 20 locations around the town.
Visitors to Kendal are of all ages and the various trails have been thought out so as there’s something for everyone. Starting off with the children’s trails of which there are four of. Look out for the bright and beautiful umbrella displays and installations and the Trail Treat signs for places to picnic eat and drink. Children will love ticking off the points of interest along the way.
Being a town steeped in history there’s a trail taking visitors around all the historic points of interest, many being the unique and plentiful yards found all along Highgate and Stricklandgate. These yards are full of intrigue and are the oldest parts of Kendal each having a very different story. Trail Treat signs can also be found on this trail.
Then onto the final topic, the Kendal Boozy Beer and Wine Time Trail. Kendal has a huge choice of pubs and inns and the trail takes visitors on a tour around the traditional and oldest inns through to the new, modern wine bars and restaurants as well as the local breweries. Again there’s Trail Treats along the way, Kendal is fast becoming a foodie town too.
Looking for accommodation whether you’re into history, visiting with the family or looking to enjoy the Boozy Beer & Wine Time Trail? The Riverside Hotel is located beside the River Kent and offers great value accommodation with a choice of twin, double or family rooms. Family rooms on the special Two Night Summer Sizzler Break is just £310 for 2 adults and 1 child which includes breakfast both morning, free use of the leisure facilities and inner on the first evening. Visit http://www.riversidekendal.co.uk for more details.
We’re just over a month away from the music extravaganza that is the Bowness Bay Blues Festival on the weekend of 7-9 April 2017.
After a string of very successful previous festivals, this blues festival in various atmospheric venues around Lake Windermere, is being held for the 6th year running. Social media buzz and increased ticket sales suggest the 2014 festival.
The headliners this year are Geoff Achison, LaVendore Rogue, The Revolutionaires and The Stumble with a further 18 other bands. Choose to attend and purchase tickets for either of the 3 nights/days or for the whole weekend as well as separate cruise options.
Not only is this a celebration of blues music but being organised by the Rotary Club of Windermere raises money for extremely worthwhile organisations. This year’s proceeds will go to will support two local charities – Ambleside and Langdale Mountain Rescue and Blood Bikes Lancashire and North West Blood Bikes Lancashire and Lakes.
Friday night is particularly exciting for the festival as both Geoff Achison and The Stumble will be headlining at the Wheelhouse Venue. Geoff Achison will be playing with the Souldiggers, a ripping live band with an infectious sound combining elements of blues, funk and soul is building for such a prestigious act performing in Bowness.
There are many places to stay in and around Bowness from B&B’s to hotels and self catering but why not have the best of both worlds and avoid the hustle and bustle by staying somewhere a little quieter and enjoy some R&R too. The Damson Dene Hotel is a short drive or taxi from Bowness located in the Lyth Valley. Easy to access from the A590 yet tucked away and secluded to have a break from all the music.
The train station at Windermere played a huge part in making this beautiful Lakeland town so popular. Having opened in the mid 1800’s, it enabled visitors from across the country to travel by train due to the direct link to Oxenholme which was on the Lancaster – Carlisle line which is now the West Coast Mainline. With travel times at their lowest, it is now possible to travel by rail from London to Windermere in little over 3 hours with just one change at Oxenholme.
Encouraging visitors to travel by rail is one thing, to enable them to get around whilst staying in Windermere or Bowness is the other half of the transportation process. With projects such as GoLakes Travel and other low carbon initiatives such as Co Wheels, a variety of transport options are now readily available to thoroughly encourage and make leaving the car at home as easy as possible.
Yes, not everywhere in the Lake District and Cumbria lends itself to a car free holiday, some places are just too remote. But use Windermere or Bowness as a base with the hubs of the bus and train stations, bike and boat hire and lake cruises and it’s quite amazing where you can get to including being able to travel from Windermere to Whinlatter Forest near Keswick with your bike.
This year there is the return of the bike bus. Bus number 800 is Stagecoach’s specially converted Bike Bus service to carry up to 12 bikes and handily links up with Windermere Lake Cruises’ ‘Bike Boat’ over the school holiday times commencing weekends 27 May to 16 July and daily from 22 July to 3 September. . Whether for use by cycling pros in order to cover an even greater area or for families to help younger children see further afield or break up a bike journey, the Bike Bus is a very handy service.
Family and cyclist friendly accommodation close to Windermere can be found at the Newby Bridge Hotel at the southern end of Lake Winderemere. Choose to cycle to Ferry Nab for a quick hop across the lake to Bowness to pick the bus up or cruise from Lakeside to Bowness. For information on the hotel and to book visit http://www.newbybridgehotel.co.uk/.
Grange over Sands is often referred to for its climate, the choice of places to eat and drink in and around it and the views of Morecambe Bay.
But arts are very much the order too in this Edwardian resort located between the Lake District and Morecambe Bay. The Grange and District Art Society is very well represented and supported, in fact throughout the county but it’s the music and drama arm of the arts we’re focusing on here and especially in February and March.
Before the Easter holidays begin and two months further when the racing starts at Cartmel races, what a great time to not only visit Grange and the surrounding region but to also enjoy some very fine performances.
Firstly on Friday 10th Feb 2017 live music by Dave & John from 8.30pm at The Pig & Whistle in nearby Cartmel. Look out for their year round live music events, in the cosy bar in the winter and outside in the summer. Another live music venue is the Keg & Kitchen in Grange. Look out for regular bands, duo’s and solo singers and performers.
The second half of March is all about the drama kicking off with the Cumbria Drama Festival at Victoria Hall. This is a preliminary round of the All England Theatre Festival, the only countrywide competition for one-act plays in performance. The date Saturday March 25th with an afternoon and evening session to enjoy.
Accommodation is required can be found at the equally as artistic Bay Villa Bed & Breakfast in Main Street, a converted private residence with features galore. Call 015395 36793 to book.
From a one day event held to Windermere Rugby Club for the past two years to a three day rock and music extravaganza in 2016, it’s the year to Rock on Windermere.
Formally called Windermere Rocks, the event attracted a huge amount of support from musicians and visitors alike with tickets demand high. In light of the horrific floods experienced by so much of Cumbria in December 2015 Rock on Windermere was born, a music event organised by Windermere Rotary Club raising money for the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal. There are still people who aren’t back in their homes, businesses till shut and environmental damage across the county, events such as this raise finds, give cheer and laughter and bring visitors to the area as well as the local community.
The location – The Glebe in Bowness, an outdoor stage with views down Lake Windermere. The dates, Friday 17th, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June 2016. Now the most exciting part, the acts, well they’re pretty special and only just recently announced. Saturday headliners none other than rock legends Status Quo with Toploader proceeding them and Sunday, 10CC. These three bands will be complimented by local, tribute and past performers at Windermere Rocks.
Tickets are available via the Brewery Arts Centre and Ticket Line and can be bought for individual days or the full weekend. Prices start from £15 and provide excellent value for money with hours of live music each of the nights/afternoons.
Limited, last minute accommodation can be found at Applegarth Villa Hotel & Restaurant in Windermere on College Road. Enjoy a pre-gig drink in the bar or on the terrace before strolling down to Bowness. Wake up to a full Lakeland breakfast before heading out on a cruise on Lake Windermere, take a scenic hike up Orrest Head or blow the cobwebs away by hiring a bike from Windermere Station just 1 minute walk from the hotel.
Ambleside is gaining popularity year on year. Of course it is obvious that it’s a popular destination. Ambleside has restaurants, bar and pubs, more outdoor shops than you can shake a stick at and lots of lovely gift shops, it even has a cinema. Great for families, great for couples, for outdoor enthusiasts and groups with all the facilities yet with the chance to get away from it all never too far away.
Surrounding Ambleside there are some very quaint, very peaceful villages that will fulfil any real getaway from it all requirement particularly the area to the west of Ambleside. To the west you will find villages such as Hawkshead, Near and Far Sawrey. These areas have all you require for a great Lake District holiday or weekend break with a wide choice of high quality bed and breakfasts, hotels and guest houses as well as super country pubs and restaurants. All this but at a much slower, quieter pace than Ambleside.
Far Sawrey and Hawkshead are delightful villages. Faw Sawrey is the home of the National Trust Hill Top property, the once home of Beatrix Potter. Hawkshead just down the road is home to the her gallery, also owned and run by the National Trust. Then what brings most visitors and guests to the Lake, District, the wonderful lakes and mountains.
If staying in a bed and breakfast in Ambleside, you can take advantage of the nearby pier for cruises up and down Lake Windermere and even an effective way to travel in the busy summer months. Hire bikes and take the bike boat one day, cycle along off road routes or even tackle some of the famous mountain passes such as Wrynose and Hardknott, eek!
In fact, Grasmere isn’t just the place to be during Christmas but even a month before. Grasmere Welcomes Christmas is an event in the Lake District village of Grasmere where the festivities begin.
This 2 day weekend event starts on Saturday November 28th with the whole village supporting it including residents, shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodation. They’ll be fun for the whole family with Santa’s and a fairy grotto and treasure trail for the little ones along with storytelling by Taffy Tomas. Then choir, brass band, clogg dancing and late night shopping for the adults.
Combine what’s on with the setting and what a start this could be to the 2015 Christmas celebrations, a getaway as well as entertainment and the chance to do some gift shopping.
Where to shop:
Grasmere has the world famous Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, gift and galleries including the Heaton Cooper Studio, National Trust and Herdy shops, and plenty of outdoor shops including Cunningham’s. Food and beverages are never far away to keep visitors sustained for the whole weekend.
Where to stay: The Oak Bank Hotel in Grasmere has availability for that weekend with prices starting at £212 for 2 nights, 2 people including breakfast. A top tip is to in there too in the hotels 2 AA rosette restaurant, The Dining Room. Visit http://www.lakedistricthotel.co.uk for more information.
One of the leading 4 star hotels in the Lake District for luxury, facilities, ecotourism an innovation, the Langdale Hotel & Spa have launched a super summer offer.
This family, friend and couple friendly destination and resort in the heart of the Lake District in the Langdale Valley is set amongst picnic heaven, has cycle routes and walks from the hotel door and stay on a Thursday and enjoy the ultimate in summer dining with the famous Terrace BBQ. Every Thursday during he summer holidays select any 5 of Lake District BBQ goodies and to give you a taster, things like Cumberland and Damson sausages, local lamb cutlets and rump steal burgers. Sides include salads, artisan bread and jacket potatoes all for just £18 per person.
Whether it’s been a long day on the fells, taking a Renault Twizy electric car for a spin over Wrynose and Hardknott or cycling to Ambleside on the new cycle way, some good food and a comfy bed will be definitely be required.
The summer spectacular offers means guests can stay in one of the hotels Lakeland Signature rooms from just £140 per room including a lavish breakfast the following morning and the rate also includes full use of the leisure facilities and pool at the Langdale 4 Star Lake District hotel. Call 015394 38014 or book online via http://www.langdale.co.uk.
My fondest holiday memories as a child were from North Devon. Coming from the land locked East Midlands, this place littered with coves and beaches, craggy in some places, vast in others was a world away from home and school. I remember always feeling like there was space to explore and this created dreams and extra excitement with a feeling like I was part of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five despite there only being my Mum, Dad and I.
Camping was exciting, the beach was exciting, rock pooling was exciting, Clovelly was mesmerising, I’d never walked down such steep steps and although I didn’t realise at the time the harbour dates back to the 14 century, I knew even then it was pretty special. I even never tired from walking around Ilfracombe Harbour and Lundy, well I didn’t even want to leave. It is a must day out when staying anywhere along that North Devon coast. The boat trip is amazing on its own but, Lundy, this lump of rock sticking out of the Bristol Channel, is something else and the first time I’d ever seen puffins. Sailing operate from Ilfracombe daily between March and October.
As everything in life, camping and caravanning facilities have moved on since the 80’s when my parents and I made the annual trip to North Devon. Back then I remember sites with little more than a swing, a shop selling out of date, extortionately priced goods and a shower block you would feel cleaner by not washing. Now sites such as Stowford Farm Meadows at Combe Martin are actually, holiday resorts. There is a pub, restaurant, large shop (not a Frey Bentos pie in sight thank goodness), swimming pool, crazy golf, tennis/football and basketball courts, woodland walks, and even better, lots of other families and a great chance to meet up with fellow little people. This North Devon campsite is beautifully landscaped and the bathroom and shower blocks are bright and clean.
Read more about Stowford’s caravan and campsite here, http://stowford.co.uk
If you’re in the Ambleside area already or looking for a pre Bank Holiday weekend break then there’s an even bigger reason to visit.
Starting on Thursday August 20th and running until Sunday 23rd is the 4 day Ambleside Festival organised by the Market Square Group. This is the first year of this 4 day event being held on Rothay Park and featuring family fun, music, entertainment and freshly cooked hot and cold food stalls, others traders, groceries, crafts and a beer festival. The event will be open 10am until 6pm daily (Saturday you get an extra hour, closing at 7pm).
Accomodation can be found just across from the park at the Rothay Garth B&B in Ambleside. A few rooms remain during the 4 days from £51 per person per night. Dog friendly bedrooms may be available. Call 015394 32217 for more details or visit http://www.rothay-garth.co.uk/
Brimstone Hotel on the Langdale Estate is offering just the tonic for shorter days and cooler temperatures this autumn.
Brimstone suites can keep you warm and cosy without being shut in and enclosed thanks to the large balconies. The high tech temperature systems in the suites work with the temperature outside and the wood burning stoves are just the added cosy touch.
Every guests in every suite has the 24/7 Reading Room to hand where reading can of course be enjoyed but also complimentary beer, wine soft drinks, teas and coffees as well as nibbles, snacks of the sweet and savoury kind. This is of course a very popular room and completely unique to the Lake District.
Brimstone have even thought about keeping warm when guests leave the hotel on days out and have joined forces with Berghaus. The Bootroom is stocked full of waterproofs and other outdoor gear as well as rucksacks and boots for use during guests stays. Such a facility if proving popular with the guests who travel to Brimstone by train, no big bags full of walking gear to travel with. And on the note of trains, one of the very nice hosts will collect guests from Windermere Train Station in Brimstone’s own Land Rover Defender, built for travelling whatever the weather.
Leisurely lounge, leisurely graze and leisurely enjoy the Lake District this autumn. Brimstone luxury hotel rooms start from just £240 per night (if booked 30 days or more in advance) including lavish breakfast which can be served in the room (access to the Reading Room, Defender transport ad Berghaus Bootroom access – all included). Don’t forget the Langdale spa is free to use for Brimstone guests too. Visit http://brimstonehotel.co.uk to book or call 015394 38062
Have a break from the norm of staying at and visiting the South Lakes and venture slightly west this August and to the Edwardian town of Grange over Sands.
Grange is easily accessed by car or rail and there is plenty to see and do this August with a distinctive artists theme.
Art is very popular in the region with events, exhibitions and notable art societies such as the Grange and District Art Society and just up the road in the village of Cartmel is also one. August 11 until 15 is when the Cartmel Art Society will be holding their annual exhibitions, 10am until 6pm daily at the Village Hall in Cartmel. This a great chance to see and meet local artists and purchase very reasonably priced, original works of art. The works for sale will be in a variety of media and subjects although the landscapes are always the first sales due to the plethora of subject matter and inspiration found in this region for the artists.
Onto the arts of a different type and at Grange’s Victoria Hall one of the Lake District Summer Music International Festival events is being held on Wednesday 12 August. This Grade II listed building is set to be an awe inspiring backdrop for Ursula Smith (cello) Emiko Tadenuma (piano).The full programme starting with Beethoven Twelve Variations in F major on Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen, Op.66 can be found here http://www.ldsm.org.uk/international-festival/2015-08-12-ursula-smith-cello-emiko-tadenuma-piano.
In general, Grange is a delightful holiday or short break destination having a lovely town to walk around and excellent cafes and places to stay to the best of both worlds with Morecambe Bay and the fells. Accommodation is reasonably priced for the quality such as Bay Villa Bed & Breakfast on Grange over Sands Main Street from £110 per room per night with lots of goodies and extras and large rooms with views.
Anyone walking along College Road in Windermere will not have failed to see something quite extensive happening next door to the Applegarth Villa Hotel & Restaurant. Alan & Suzanne Mumford owners are currently converting this building, The Coach House, into 7 luxury hotel suites to complement the 15 rooms in the main hotel.
The new suites have been designed to offer the very best in luxury hotel accommodation in the area. There will be three different suites types, AV Suites, Garden Suites and one Duplex each with stunning fells views and complete peace and tranquillity despite being in the centre of Windermere Village. Order drinks to be delivered to the room by the butler or perhaps choose to dine on the terrace or balcony for either breakfast or dinner and there is still the chance to dine in the Applegarth Restaurant next door too.
Most suites will have a private hot tub and all either a terrace and/or balcony. Each will have luxurious bathrooms with walk in drench showers and most with spa baths, mood lighting throughout, king sized beds and gadgets enabling guests own music to be played throughout via any device.
The Garden Suites are particularly exciting offering accessible accommodation and/or dog friendly. After doing extensive research, Alan & Suzanne noticed there was a lack of luxury accessible accommodation in the Southern Lakes and so the Garden Suites were born.
And dog friendly doesn’t get much more luxurious either. Four legged friends can pre-order food and treats for the stay and the private entrances enable easy, direct access to each suite.
Additional luxuries will include coffee machines, fresh flowers, AV chocolates, summer/winter bathrobes, fresh fruit baskets and luxury toiletries.
Booking are now being taken for the suites which will be launched on December 1st 2015 and they can be booked by calling 015394 43206 or online via http://www.lakesapplegarth.co.uk/
Despite the Lake District and Cumbria not having a 5 Star graded hotel. it probably won’t be long before one either arrives or a 4 Star increases its grading.
But the lack of an official 5 Star hotel is more than made up for in the choice of extremely high quality 4 Star hotels, 5 Star guest accommodation such as B&B’s, inns and smaller hotel style venues and one of the largest concentration of 5 Star self catering properties in the whole of the UK.
The Lake District National Park has been home to some internationally award winning hotels for some years now but as the world food revolution continues to rise, so has the need for this stunning venues to bring the food offerings in line with the accommodation. This is what so many of the hotels, inns and guest accommodation operators have been up to the past few years and with amazing effect.
The Lake District and Cumbria can most definitely offer 5 Star food starting of course with the amount of produce available on its doorstep. This is produce that is so good is is revered in the capital of food London and around the world. The regeneration of the food industry in Cumbria has meant high profile chefs coming back to their roots, relocating, really wanting to cook in this county and visitors can’t get enough of it.
So keep posted on this blog for all the latest regarding luxury travel, accommodation and food in the Lake District and Cumbria right here on Distinction Travel.