It is now easier than ever to travel in and around the lake District thanks to a variety of methods. Some have been introduced over the last 5 to 10 years, some simply improved, some with new incentives and easier to access.
Many factors have contributed to this from programmes such as GoLakes Travel with its very well recognised “Drive Less – See More” campaign to businesses and the rise in popularity of cycling not just in the Lake District but UK wide. And now a focus on the West Coast Mainline train service with off peak and weekend reduced tickets as well as Northern Rail who operate the CumbriaCoastal line now running Sunday services.
GoLakes Travel helped to introduce new and extra services to aid car free travel in the Lake District when the initiative was in operation between 2011 and 2015. It included opening up and updating of a number of cycle ways in the National Park such as the one opened last year enabling almost a road free route from Ambleside to Langdale. They have also instigated more routes and a better timetable for the Bike Bus services.
Windermere Lake Cruises embraced the trend for cycling and going car free when they launched a new Bike Boat service 5 or so years ago. The service runs from Brockhole across Lake Windermere to either Wray Castle of the floating jetty at Bark Barn. This has proved extremely popular way of getting to the other side of Lake eliminating the need for cyclists to ride along the busy A591.
The Langdale Hotel & Spa have been firm advocates, supporters and promoters for many years now of alternative methods of travel to and from the Lake District as well as during the stay. The Langdale Hotel’s Lake District location lends itself extremely well to a car free or reduced car use holiday or short break. There are walks both high and low level and many cycle routes starting right from the hotel but there’s also the chance to hire a Renault Twizy electric car. Twizy travel provides quiet, low carbon travel around the Lake District and is an excellent way to experience the landscape and also two of England’s steepest roads, the passes Wrynose and Hardknott. The car may be small but it tackles England’s steepest road with ease! To book a stay at Langdale and to find out more about the Twizy’s visit https://www.langdale.co.uk/things-to-do.html
We love our pubs and inns in the Lake District and Cumbria and so do the visitors to the county and national park. It really is no wonder with some of the best examples within the UK and such a choice too. From a good old local like The Golden Rule in Ambleside to gastro heaven at The Punchbowl at Crosthwaite, thousands flock to sample real ale with real food in real atmospheres.
But it’s the direct link and association with walking that makes Lake District pubs and inns so special. Be it the thought of a refreshing pint at the end of a summer walk or longing for warmth from a roaring fire and a slow cooked casserole after a winter fell experience, it’s the pub that is the pinnacle of the day.
Many walks can start from the pub and of course, these are always circular meaning Cuckoo Brow is there for refreshments at the end, the most important time! Local ales rule the roost and the menu packed full of locally sourced produce including daily specials has gained this inn a foodie following. Walkers are more importantly very welcome at this inn as mentioned in a Guardian Travel article once “You know what you want from a Lake District pub: roaring fires, good beer, hearty food and a blind eye turned to muddy dogs and boots.” The 14 bedrooms round off the package. Rooms start at just £80 B&B based on 2 sharing. Book direct as always for the best rates and for more information on the food and accommodation, visit https://www.cuckoobrow.co.uk.
If you’re not familiar with the Lyth Valley, if you’ve happened to stumble on this blog from a far away land, this area is located in South Cumbria tucked away between Kendal and Windermere. South Cumbria and the Southern Lake District being one of the busiest areas of this region yet the Lyth Valley has managed to keep its unspoiltness (yes, it is actually a real word) and tranquillity.
The Lyth Valley contains rolling countryside, forests and pastoral delights and every now and again you stumble of a delightful little village. And these delightful little villages contain some of the best restaurants in Cumbria. The nature of the landscape means produce is plentiful and of such a high quality with game being exceptional good and popular. There is also the small matter of the damson. The Lyth Valley damson being one of the most famous associations with this region. The annual damson day brings visitors from far and wide in April as the distinctive white blossoms come into full view. And the trend for cooking with this tart fruit by top chefs now has made these little nuggets even more sought after. And now as Autumn approaches, damsons are ripe and September being at their best.
Regularly listed by journalists as a must visit destination in the Lake District, the Lyth Valley has also caught the eye of Lonely Planet. A special book was published “Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World” in 2013. Showcasing beautiful locations across the globe and including The Lyth Valley, “The unspoilt Lyth Valley is tucked in a hidden corner of Cumbria, where trees are laden with fruit and rolling hills are the most magnificent green.”
Looking for somewhere to stay then the aptly named Damson Dene Lake District Hotel is just the place. Newly refurbished bedrooms, family rooms and annexe suites, dog friendly (this area is full to the brim with glorious dog walking routes, great food and leisure facilities including a pool. If you’re looking for a wedding venue then Damson Dene Hotel is ideal. Room start from a great value £80 bed & breakfast for a double room sleeping 2 and look out for the seasonal offers too. Visit https://www.damsondene.co.uk/ for all the information.
For the perfect combination of peace and tranquillity with plenty to see and do and places to stay, Coniston really has it all and is a super choice for a summer getaway or holiday.
For walkers then Coniston Old Man is a must. The views from the summit are some of the best and biggest n the whole of the Lake District National Park. From looking down to Morecambe Bay to behind and the Scafell range and even Blackpool Tower is a possibility on the good day.
Coniston is the gateway to the Western Lake District too. Coniston Old Man can be started from the pretty village of Torver going up Walna Scar. Walna Scar then can be continued on down towards Seathwaite and the Western Lakes open up.
Taking advantage of stunning Coniston Water, a cruise down Coniston Water on the steam yacht gondola, the rebuilt Victoria vessel that is a must to go on when visiting this area. Stepping onto the gondola is like stepping back in time and is an excellent way to view the scenery surrounding the lake, hopefully catch a sigh of Coniston Old Man and view Brantwood, the once home of John Ruskin. Choose to board from Coniston Pier, Lake Bank or Parkamoor. Hop and off and enjoy some of the leisurely lower level walks. There’s also a jetty at Brandwood.
Onto adventure and Coniston has it all. Hire a boat, go pony trekking, climbing in the old quarries and look our for the power boat records week held every year in the Autumn. Quite a sight to behold and continuing the legacy of the great Donald Campbell.
Coniston is definitely an excellent choice for a short break or holiday at this time of year and with the fair weather continuing, it has never been a better year. Self catering short breaks and holidays in various locations around Coniston can be found on the new AllofTheLakeDistrict.co.uk website. Find a guide to Coniston as well as accommodation, restaurants and activity providers. Visit https://www.allofthelakedistrict.co.uk/coniston/ for more information.
The Two Together Railcard has been a fantastic addition to the fleet of discounted railcards offered by National Rail.
This railcard means the person who purchases the card, along with the person they travel with the most, receive a 1/3 off journeys with the cost of the card being just £30 a year. In one lengthy journey alone the card will pay for itself but those who commute with a friend or colleague, well it equates to quite some savings during the year.
With better, faster train services to Oxenholme – The Lake District, visitors from as far as London can travel by train to the Lake District far quicker than driving. Not only quicker but far more relaxed!
This new Two Together railcard is surely going to aid the amount of people travelling by train to Windermere. Windermere has excellent transport links in various forms to so much of South Cumbria especially in these summer months. Just picture this, a relaxed journey from the moment the train is embarked. Eat and drink when you wish, chat amongst yourselves or read a book or newspaper. The holiday or short break starts as soon as the train departs from the station. For more information on the railcard visit https://www.twotogether-railcard.co.uk/
And onto where to stay? Well it has to be Windermere. Step right off the train or bus and you’re right there and have a choice of hotels and B&B’s. Applegarth Villa Hotel & Restaurant in Windermere offers the height of luxury and romance yet right in the centre of Windermere. A one minute walk from the station and this hidden gem of a hotel has rooms to suit all budgets but the luxury hot tub suites are what to look out for. Not seen from the road, these suites have views across the lovely park and to the fells beyond. Visit https://www.lakesapplgearth.co.uk to view the rooms and book.
15 minutes from Windermere is Bowness and Lake Windemere. There why not choose to travel by boat to Waterhead for Ambleside or up to Lakeside and Newby Bridge on one of the Windermere Lake Cruises ferries. Looking to do some fell walking? Then from Waterhead there is the fabulous Loughrigg walk or lots from Windermere itself.
The bright, easy to navigate and engaging Langdale 4 Star Hotel & Spa website to the place to find their best deals. Enjoy luxury for less in the Lake District when booking direct.
Firstly, a simply sign up to the Fan Club not only keeps subscribers in the know with every item of news coming from the hotel, the estate, restaurants and spa but it also grants members 15% off all room rates (subject to availability with bookings made 30 days or more in advance).
More enticing offers and rates are on during late Winter and into early Spring with rooms with breakfast, starting from under £140. Couple this with Stove, the restaurant and bar with lovely places to sip cocktails, enjoy daytime coffee or why not cosy up outside beside one of the woodburners wrapped in one of Stove’s soft blankets. The cold weather need not put anyone off, it’s a great time for a short break, holiday or just a sneaky night away.
With walks, cycle routes, Twizy electric cars to hire, the all new and luxurious Brimstone spa with treatment rooms and swimming pool, the Langdale Hotel is the ideal pre summer getaway destination.
For affordable luxury in the heart of the Lake District, visit the Langdale 4 Star Lake District Hotel & Spa website for more details and to join the Fan Club, https://www.langdale.co.uk
To stay in style with luxurious fixtures, fittings and extras isn’t just the domain of hotels now in the tourism accommodation sector in Cumbria. Bed and breakfasts are now stepping up to the luxury mark offering guests 5 star quality accommodation just on a smaller scale to hotels.
Yes, bed and breakfasts and guest houses aren’t for everyone with many people being put off by B&B’s of years ago where it felt like staying in someone’s spare room. How things have changed in recent years and although most do not have a bar or a restaurant, this gives guests the chance to explore the area. In Cumbria and especially in strong foodie areas such as Cartmel and Grange over Sands, there is a staggering amount of restaurants, cafes and gastro pubs.
In Grange over Sands, Bay Villa has taken this approach from the moment it opened its doors in April 2014. It’s hard to believe from the size and standard of the rooms, the location, the view and the breakfast that this bed and breakfast has just 3 rooms. But as with so much in the world, it’s all about quality not quantity. Having 3 rooms means individual attention can be given to all guests, the owners put in little extras such as sherry and chocolates into the rooms and breakfast is served in there too enabling the guests to fully relax. Prices start from a very reasonable £125 per room per night and can be booked online via http://www.bayvilla.net or by telephone on 015395 36793
It’s the magnificent Westmorland County Show taking place Thursday 14th September. Together with The Cumberland Show they are the 2 main agricultural shows in Cumbria.
This show is the 218th and there is a huge amount of events, classes, activities and produce to look around and enter. With the heritage firmly in agriculture, livestock is the main event from dairy and beef cattle, to light and heavy horses, sheep, pigs, goats, alpacas, poultry, terriers and hounds.
The second most popular and growing year on year is the Westmorland Food Hall & Food Theatre where there’s food to eat on the day and produce to take home. Then onto the Cumberland & Westmorland wrestling, a firm favourite in the region, crafts and shopping, music and on the back of being at other Cumbrian agricultural shows this year The Sheep Show (like a Miss Word show for sheep!). Highly entertaining and sure to draw a big crowd.
Not every person due to attend this large annual event next live close enough to drive or visit for the day. Being such a popular show, it attracts visitors from far and wide and rightly so, Cumbria is farming and agriculture personified.
It’s not too late to book accommodation with Kendal being the ideal choice. The Riverside Hotel in the centre of Kendal still has some availability. The hotel has a restaurant bar for post show refuelling and a handy car park for leaving the day during the day. Simply then pick up the special County Show bus from Kendal Bus Station in the morning which is operating a half hourly service with the last bus from the show field being 6.05pm. Riverside Hotel is dog friendly too as the show is always popular with dog owners or those wishing to enter their pooches into the various classes. Visit http://www.riversidekendal.co.uk/ for more details and to book.
It is sure to be a great day out and as always appeals to everyone whether you’re a foodie or a farmer, a hound or horse lover. Tickets can be purchased in advance and at a discounted rate too through their website http://westmorlandshow.co.uk/county-show/
The first power boat racing events of 2017 will be taking place on Lake Windermere on July 8th.
This will be the fourth year in succession powerboating has returned to Lake Windermere since the 10 knot per hour speed limit was introduced in 2005. It is one of the two chances to witness power boats in full stride in 2017, the other date being in September. Organised by Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club, it attracts power boat owners and racers throughout the UK.
And with the hopefully stunning weather, Windermere and Bowness will be buzzing with activity both on and off shore. Watch the racing from Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club, Ghyll Head, Bowness on Windermere from 12 noon until 5pm.
Windermere Village is getting quite a name for itself for food. In the last couple of years various cafes, restaurants and bars have opened each offering something different to the next but what they all have in common is taste and quality. Look to the Crafty Baa for craft beer fans, Homeground Coffee for breakfast and branch and Windermere Pig for quirky yet traditional British pub fayre.
Where to stay? Well Windermere again has a lot to offer whilst getting away from the hustle and bustle of Bowness and the lake. Windermere village just off the A591 road, has a train station with links to the West Coast Mainline and is just a 15 stroll down to the lake and Bowness. Applegarth Villa offers luxury accommodation perfect for post race relaxation. A hotel with rooms and suites with hot tubs, a restaurant and a bar. Visit http://www.lakesapplegarth.co.uk for more information.
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 the Lake District appearing twice in the top 5.
At number one is Whiteless Pike near Crummock Water in the North Western Lake District and at number 5, the stunning Lake Windermere. 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 & Newby Bridge, 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.
View of Lake Windermere from Newby Bridge Hotel
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 an absolute necessity. If lucky enough to own a boat then sailing on the Lake is surely an even bigger joy. As we approach summer, the lake comes alive with the lake users.
A top tip for accommodation – stay in the quieter area of Newby Bridge and the Newby Bridge Hotel overlooking Lake Windermere. More peaceful than Bowness but still with lake views, easy access to the pier at Lakeside and just 15 minutes from junction 36 of the M6.
It doesn’t matter what time of the year or what the weather throws at visitors, Ambleside is the place to be. This all in one destination in the heart of the Lake District is popular with families, couples on romantics breaks as well as walkers, climbers and cyclists (in fact any outdoor enthusiasts) but also lovers of the arts with museums, galleries and Zeffirellis Cinema.
For activities then of course walking comes in at number 1 with many route right from the centre of the village, no need for a car. There’s also the short walk to Waterhead Pier to take the ferry to Bowness or down to Lakeside at the southern end of Lake Windermere. There’s also the Armitt Museum, art galleries as well as pitch &putt at White Platts Recreation Ground by St Marys Church.
A short break or holiday in the Lake District isn’t complete with some good food and Ambleside has no shortage from proper pub favourites using the local produce available within the region to bistros, cafes and international offerings such as Italian and Thai origin food.
Between local and some larger retailers, Ambleside is the must go place for any outdoor or walking kit and supplies. The outdoor are always busy thanks to extensive and well priced stock combined with some of the best advice you’ll find from the staff who have the knowledge of the area, terrain and the gear visitors will need giving invaluable advice and tips.
Visitors are often spoilt for choice for somewhere to stay but for high quality yet affordable accommodation, right in the centre of the village and with free parking then The Gables Bed & Breakfast in Ambleside is hard to beat. Family and dog friendly, rates start from and guests receive VIP discounts at their restaurant Sheilas Cottage just a minute walk from the B&B.
April 4th 2016 is the date for the opening of the Stove, the exciting new restaurant & bar on the Langdale Estate. Purdey’s and Hobson’s Bar on the estate adjacent to the 4 star hotel have closed and the whole area redeveloped creating a space completely different to any other in the Lake District.
The early images released show an interior many have come to expect from the team at Langdale, an extremely strong essence of nature, the extensive use of natural materials, style and elegance with functionality.
Images of Stove, the brand new restaurant & bar at the Langdale Hotel & Estate
This for everyone space will be the main dining establishment on the estate along with Wainwright’s Inn, a welcoming relaxing location whether dining post hike, with the family, as a couple, for a celebratory meal or just for a drink. Stove will be open all day with the chefs preparing delicious and healthy breakfast’s right through to high quality evening dining with a chance to experience the chef’s table and the quiet oasis of The Wine Room. The restaurant revolves around the open kitchen as well as the interactive bar with a variety of seating options. The exterior full of tables is set to equally be the place to be to dine and drink whatever the season.
For more information visit http://www.langdale.co.uk.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Here is our handy guide to spending Valentine’s weekend in one of the most romantic locations in the UK, Windermere.
Wordsworth and the many other poets that made up the romantic movement undeniably knew their stuff when it came to telling the world in their prose about the Lake District. That was over 200 years ago and the Lake District, and especially Windermere, is still synonymous with romance now. Thousands of couples each year choose the Lake District to propose, for the big day itself, subsequent anniversaries and romantic weekend breaks.
Back to Valentine’s, February 14th and it’s a Sunday in 2016. Windermere is gearing up for this very special weekend. Take a cruise down the lake, a leisurely stroll, a romantic fell walk, browse the luxury gift shops, enjoy a romantic afternoon tea or a drink by a real log fire in one of the country pubs. It’s not hard to understand why romantic couples find Windermere wonderful.
Lindeth Fell Country House overlooking romantic Windermere
But where to stay is the most crucial decision. Windermere is very lucky to have the widest choice of accommodation in any of the Lake District regions. Some may choose bustling Bowness but we think Valentine’s is the time for quiet, undisturbed opulence. Our tip for where to stay is the 5 star Lindeth Fell Country House. Just a mile from Bowness, a 15 minute walk, this haven and unspoilt hideaway is romance personified. Choose from 12 double rooms in a country house set in its own 7 acre landscaped garden estate with private tarn and the elevated position means Lake Windermere and the surrounding fells are in full view. They have created a special Valentine’s weekend package too, full of fizz, flowers and fabulous food with price starting from £435 per couple. Read more about spending Valentine’s at Lindeth Fell luxury bed and breakfast in Windermere here, http://www.lindethfell.co.uk/packages/valentines
Its hard to believe there are only 8 more Wednesdays until Christmas Day! We’re sure we’re not the only ones wondering where 2015 has gone but if you haven’t done so already, then it’s about time to start thinking about Christmas.
Let’s make a list:
Here’s a suggestion that will probably make sure most if not all of the above are crossed off the list and more, a pre Christmas break in Windermere. Between Windermere and nearby Bowness not only will they supply most of the above but at the same time a chance to spend a couple of days away.
Just some of the shops you’ll find for Christmas shopping in Bowness and Windermere
Where to shop:
Starting in Windermere and there’s Lakeland Limited for any gifts required for home r cooking lovers. Next door and sort out all those special foodie treats for Christmas for the main event or for gifts at Booths supermarket. Pick up some party shoes at Gini Ricci before heading down to Bowness for shops including Love the Lakes for Lake District made and themed goodies, Pandora the jewellery store and The Bath House for luxury bathing, skincare and fragrance products made on the Cumbria/Yorkshire border in Sedbergh.
Where to stay:
Applegarth Villa Hotel in Windermere is just a 2 minute walk from Lakeland and Booths (and the train station), Bowness is just a 15 minute walk away. Rooms start from £130 but look out for the special midweek hot deals for discounts up to £75 including breakfast on their Luxury Rooms. There’s also a lovely restaurant within the hotel too.
Boutique hotels in the Lake District are not just for summer, they’re for the whole year. With this, the largest and busiest of all the National Parks, the Lake District is a year round place to visit no matter what the season and now, thanks to luxury boutique hotels, can be enjoyed whatever the weather throws at you.
It’s now time to eradicate those thoughts of not being able to visit this northern destination in the winter and realise it has just as much going on, charm, beauty and intrigue as any other time in the year. In fact, it’s probably even better as you can have it more to yourselves. Out of school holiday times and as once called the off season means that little bit more tranquillity, less traffic, hustle and bustle.
Although the fells must be respected and there are various times during the year where venturing up too far is not at all advised, they are a resource, activity and adventure source open all year round. Brimstone on the Langdale Estate has it all sewn up for winter whether it’s when within the suites or in the Lake District outdoors.
Starting externally and Brimstone offer guests the chance to access the Berghaus Bootroom full of technological kit perfect for Lake District outdoor adventures for use whilst staying. They even have a little added bonus in a pimped up Land Rover Defender. Brimstone Hosts can deliver gusts to their walking start destination (handy they say if you’ve had an extra hour in bed!).
Back to Brimstone and light the woodburning stove in the suite, feel rejuvenated and thoroughly warmed in one of the luxury baths then head to The Reading Room for complimentary refreshments. If the weather is really too much, or the woodburner too enticing to leave, room service is the answer. Full meals and delicious wine and beer choices can be delivered to the suite.
So Brimstone really have got it wrapped up in every way for a wonderful winter break in the Lakes. Check availability here http://www.brimstonehotel.co.uk and for more information. Also not the book 30 days of more in advance for a saving of 20% on room rates.