The Growing Appeal of the Lake District

grasmere hotel restaurant

Yet another year of very successful Easter and Whitsun holiday periods, the English Lake District has further broadened its appeal. With the fells to bursting point with seasoned walkers and newbie’s alike, the beauty of this region is truly being appreciated. To compliment the free fresh air are a multitude of festivals and events on this year too.

It’s the little things that are contributing to the Lake District appeal. For food lovers then the local produce in Cumbria the Lake District is hard to beat. Cumberland sausage gaining its protected status has further cemented this region on the culinary map. Then the now ultra famous and in demand Herdwick lamb hoggat and mutton, Cumbrian produce is highly sort after in London such as at Borough Market. Then sweet treats and condiments like Grasmere Gingerbread, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding and Hawkshead Relish now international brands. Chefs in many of the hotels in the Lake District have been resurrecting traditional Lakeland dishes and using as much local produce as possible on their menus. The for real ale fans, Cumbria and the Lake District has the highest concentration of micro breweries in the country. All in all, a foodie paradise.

The outdoors and walking is paradise for dog owners. The Lake District is geared up for dogs with the endless walking routes but also many pubs and other establishments being dog and pet friendly. There is now a very good choice of dog friendly hotels in the Lake District. Not every dog owner likes self catering holidays or like having to put their dog into a kennel. Dog friendly hotels suit both the dog and its owner.

So, Cumbria and the Lake District is really leading the way in tourism in this country. It is moving with the times, enabling visitors to try out diverse activities and experiences and caters for adventurists, romantic weekend break seekers and now more than ever, foodies. Grasmere is definitely #theplacetobe for foodies. Check out Oak Bank Hotel in Grasmere village with their award winning 2 AA Rosette The Dining Room Restaurant. Exciting food in relaxed surroundings. Visit http://www.lakedistricthotel.co.uk.

Recharge and rejuvenate after the Brathay Marathon in Ambleside

ambleside b&b with pool

Brathay Windermere marathon and half marathon is taking place on Sunday May 22nd 2016. After the previous 9 year success of the full 26.2 mile Brathay Marathon, the organisers have added a half marathon, a brand new event for 2016. This marks the 10th anniversary of arguably the most beautiful UK race of this length and the reason why it is referred to as “The Beautiful Marathon”.

The half marathon will surely not disappoint, a 13.1 mile route through the beautiful village of Hawkshead, onto Esthwaite Water, returning with views of the iconic Langdales and the surrounding fells. The closing date for entering either event is Friday May 20th 2016.

Whether its pre or post race, either full or half marathon, some rejuvenation to the legs is a must and why its worth choosing accommodation with a pool and even better the healing properties of hot bubbling water and saunas.

In the heart of Ambleside in a peaceful location is The Old Vicarage Bed & Breakfast. Hidden away under the garden terrace is a 9 metre heated indoor swimming pool, hot tub and sauna, the only one of its kind in the area within a B&B. The leisure facilities are ideal for relaxing and gathering thoughts pre and post race.

Unlimited, free use of the pool, sauna and hot tub is available to all guests at The Old Vicarage. For more information and to book online visit http://oldvicarageambleside.co.uk/

Bridging The Gap on A591 Grasmere Friday May 13

grasmere lake district
What to expect in glorious Grasmere right now

After a period of no luck for the glorious village of Grasmere since the floods back in December, Friday May 13th is set to be far from unlucky with no resident, business or visitor giving a second thought to the usual superstition.

Since early December, the main A591 road has been closed just north of Grasmere due to the road subsiding stopping all traffic from travelling to or from Grasmere. A temporary road was constructed and a special bus service was put into operation allowing visitors and residents to get to not just Keswick but many other destinations north.

But Friday May 13th 2016 is the date, the date the road reopens and it definitely going to be well attended with much excitement on social media and in the news. Grasmere is lovely whatever time of the year but it’s now looking the greenest of green with the brand new shoots on the trees and new lambs bouncing around and the real May treat, bluebells galore. The village is fast becoming the go to destination for food with new restaurants opening along with artisan cafes and producers. Enjoy all this and with the fells, waters and lake on Grasmere’s doorstep.

Its perfect timing for the Spring Bank Holiday and half term so if it’s not possible to attend the opening on Friday, get a weekend or holiday booked later in the month to drive or cycle along this now famous stretch of road. Raise View House in Grasmere is a luxury B&B with rooms from £120. Welcoming walkers and cyclists, enjoy peace and quiet with all the restaurants in Grasmere on the doorstep to sample.

Delightful Damson Day in the Lyth Valley

lyth valley damson day

On Saturday April 16 a very special and fruitful festival will be taking place, the much loved and now very famous annual Damson Day, a celebration to herald the arrival of the damson blossom – and spring in Westmorland.

Damson Day is held at Low Farm, Crosthwaite from 10.30am until 4.00pm organised by the Westmorland Damson Association. The association was set up to preserve this historic fruit that has been grown in Westmorland (now collectively named Cumbria) since the 1700’s. Enjoy food and craft stalls and demos, a children’s fair & activities, archery, a dog show, music and dancing and full refreshments naturally. The annual damson day brings visitors from far and wide and the trend for cooking with this tart fruit by top chefs now has made these little nuggets even more sough after. For more information on Damson Day visit, http://www.lythdamson.org.uk

The Lyth Valley contains rolling countryside, forests and pastoral delights and every now and again you stumble of a delightful little village. The Valley isn’t just famous for Damson’s, it is also a must go destination for foodies with some excellent places to eat and drink. Between Crosthwaite, Brigsteer and nearby Cartmel Fell are some of the best dining pubs in the north of England and all regular award winners, Punchbowl Inn at Crosthwaite, Mason’s Arms at Strawberry Bank and The Wheatsheaf at Brigsteer. All firm advocates of the bountiful local, seasonal produce available in the area.

Accommodation for festival day can be found at The Lakeland Cottage Company who have a selection of luxury holiday cottages in the Lyth Valley including Crosthwaite, Cartmel Fell and at nearby Newby Bridge.

Cumbria’s coastline – yet another reason to visit the county

bay villa luxury grange b&b
Cumbria’s coast at Grange over Sands overlooking Morecambe Bay and the very same view to experience from a lux bath tub at Bay Villa Bed & Breakfast

When Cumbria and the Lake District are mentioned, it’s the fells and lakes that people associate most with the area which typify and set this region and National Park apart from the rest. It is one of the most sparsely inhabited counties in the UK yet at the same time one of the busiest in terms of visitors. Compact yet bountiful with such a varied landscape on offer.

But another landscape aspect is a jewel of Cumbria and the Lake District is the coastline. Surrounding almost 50% of the county, the coast stretches from Silverdale in the south to Bowness-on-Solway in the north (with the official Cumbria Coastal Way route going beyond to Gretna). This vast and varied coastline has heritage, history and multiple Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Just recently Allonby in the north of the county has been included in the top 30 best places to live by the sea according to The Times. Out of the enormous coastline in Britain, this inclusion just goes to show the quality of this unspoilt and relatively unknown coastline.

But it all starts in the south and vastness of Morecambe Bay and this area is a pleasure to walk on its own. A great segment is to begin at the official Cumbrian Coastal Way start of Silverdale walk onto Arnside (fish & chips on Arnside Prom an absolute must!), onto Milnthorpe before heading into the Lake District National Park past Meathop and dropping down in Grange-over-Sands. Silverdale to Milnthorpe is 9.5 miles and Milnthorpe to Grange 12 miles. Grange-over-Sands is a stunning place to make a base. Choose to carry on up the coast and do a couple ore segments or simply enjoy the views over the bay with the fells behind the town. There is a good choice of places to stay in Grange-over-Sands like Bay Villa Bed & Breakfast with large rooms from £110 per night B&B.

Grange is within touching distance of the Lake District fells and just 7 miles from the southern tip of Lake Windermere at Lakeside and Newby Bridge. Bring a bike as well legs and open up the varied county of Cumbria from the base at Grange-over-Sands.

Be Adventurous in the Lake District

langdale hotel lake district

The Lake District, a haven full of peace and tranquillity. This is very true and why it is one of the reasons so many visit this National Park every year. But not everyone wants a slow pace of life on a holiday in the Lake District and that what makes it such a special destination, it caters for everyone. Thrill seekers and those loving action packed holidays are well and truly catered for in England’s largest and most dramatic National Park.

The Lake District is officially the “Adventure Capital of the UK”. There are just so many activities for all ages and all abilities to enjoy.

Langdale being at adventure epicentre of the Lake District is surrounded by opportunities to enjoy the more adventurous and more active holiday. Mountain biking and walking are particularly popular obviously in the Lake District but there’s also horse riding, the via ferrata at Honister, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, kayaking and canoeing to name but a few. All these activities more than burn off the great food you can also find in the Lake District! A win win situation we say!

Where to stay on the adventure then the Langdale 4 Star Hotel & Spa are strong advocates of adrenaline fuelled activities. A spot of luxury along with great food is the perfect way to refuel before another day on the fells, off road tracks and paths that can be enjoyed directly from the hotel door. Rooms start from £120 including breakfast. Visit the Langdale Active website for adventurous ideas and http://www.langdale.co.uk for accommodation details and to book a room.

Experience an electric summer in the Lake District

luxury lake district breakMake this the summer to combine adventure with a spot of luxury and low carbon travel in the Lake District, a recipe for a perfect weekend break.

There’s no need to sit at a computer planning it for hours and hours, Brimstone Hotel on the Langdale Estate have taken care of that for you. With their unrivalled Lake District location in the Langdale Valley and a doorstep leading to some of the best walking routes in the National Park, Brimstone Hotel has it all to offer.

Guests can complement the luxury with sustainability in the form of travelling by train to the Lake District and then hiring one of the fleet of low carbon cars from Co-Wheels either from Windermere or Oxenholme train stations. Choose from standard, hybrid or electric cars or which The Langdale Estate has its own charging facility. Hiring is now even easier and with more perks such as new for 2016 all Co-Wheels vehicles come with a roof mounted cycle rack for two bikes. Choose to bring your own bikes or hire one from Windermere Station.

Whether exploring by car or cycle, enjoy the very best of the Lake District from the base at Brimstone. The Berghaus Bootroom at Brimstone also supplies guests with bulky walking gear for use during the stay. No need to carry these items on the train, more room for cycling kit (or dresses and heels!).

To top it all off, exclusive to Brimstone guests Reading Room is stocked full of beers, wines and other beverages as well as snack, all complimentary and to ease any aching muscles, use of the Langdale luxury spa.

Visit http://www.co-wheels.org.uk/lakes_locations for all the hire locations and http://www.brimstonehotel.co.uk to book a luxury break.

Being a responsible tourist in the Lake District

responsible hotels lake cumbria

local cumbrian food

What is responsible tourism? Responsible tourism for today’s travellers and operators goes much further than carbon footprint reduction.

A responsible tourism operator is now looking at ways in which to support the local environment, local suppliers and their immediate environment and even respecting neighbours in the form of low noise production.
I know for one, responsible tourism is something that should be followed by the hotel and leisure industry as well as the tourist. It is by these two parties working together that areas such as the Lake District will be preserved for years to come as well as being at its most enjoyable right now for tourist’s right here and now to benefit from. And it is this point that fully confirms the need for tourists when visiting to buy local and for the operators to use local produce and suppliers. By using local business services, a town or village stays alive, popular and has reasons to be visited and brings much needed money into the local economy. Any business or inhabitant in the towns and villages in the Lake District know this is hugely, highly important.

Fixing and Nurturing the Lake District fells.
Cumbria, the Lake District is definitely on the foodie map, there are just so many amazing producers. It baffles me beyond belief when for example lamb, beef, sausage and cheese have been sourced out of the county when there is some of the best quality of each right on our doorstep. When is highly exciting now and what appears to be growing in popularity is the growing of produce and breeding of animals for meat by individual operators. Not only does it reduce food miles immensely but the idea of from field to plate and knowing exactly where the meat has come from and how it has been reared is not only exciting for chefs but also for the guests. The Tebay Services Hotel between Kendal and Penrith on the M6 is one such champion of responsible tourism rearing their own meat, supporting local suppliers and producers and being involved with The Tourism & Conservation Partnership.

Cumbrian and Lake District Produce
Responsible tourism incorporates many components and different people have different views as to what is more important to them and to the environment. If everyone who visited Cumbria and the Lake District looked to do one responsible tourism act of looked to specifically select somewhere to stay, eat or drink that carried out responsible tourism practices, it is surely going to help this beautiful part of the United Kingdom.

The Hidden Gem of Far Sawrey in the Lake District

far sawrey b&b lake district

People may have heard of the location Far Sawrey in connection with it’s most famous past inhabitant, Beatrix Potter. Despite thousands visiting Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter, each year, this area of the Lake District remains tranquil and unspoilt. It is sneakily located sandwiched between the western side of Lake Windermere and Esthwaite Water, just a handful of miles from the larger village of Hawkshead.

A little extra bonus when travelling to Far Sawrey is being able to go on the Hawkshead Ferry across Lake Windermere. When visiting from the south of east this is by the far the quickest way to reach it. Of course, it isn’t too far away from Ambleside either so every facility is close by whilst peacefulness is retained.

If you stay in this little village and you’re into walking, you could stay a week and never have to use a car there if you wanted, there are just so many different walks to do from the village.From walking up fells to around tarns and lakes to circular walks incorporating woodlands, none of the scenery will disappoint.

For anglers there’s Esthwaite Water, home to trout, pike, coarse and roach fishing. A short drive away there is Grizedale Forest which is an excellent place for families with adventure trails and the Go Ape experience but so too mountain biking enthusiasts with trails to suit all abilities.

Accommodation varies from bed and breakfasts to self catering and inns such as The Cuckoo Brow Inn. The Cuckoo Brow is family and dog friendly, has contemporary bedrooms with local produce featuring throughout the menu and local real ales so very well suited to a holiday or short break in the area. Visit http://www.cuckoobrow.co.uk for more details and to book online.

So by choosing Far Sawrey for your next Lake District holiday gives you the best of both worlds. Great and handy location with peace and tranquillity.