With the festive season fast approaching, it’s not just families who are thinking about the possibility of going away over Christmas. Whether it be during Christmas or perhaps a break after to recharge batteries (Twixmas) or even for a New year knees up.
The number of couples choosing to spend Christmas away is increasing each year. With less and less annual leave for many and the stress of an extending family and large Christmas lunches to cater for, the Christmas break is ever important.
An excellent destination for festive escapism is the English Lake District. It is a Christmas destination for all, pre the big day and between. There is a fantastic choice of Lake District hotels to stay at to take away all the stress and hassle of Christmas shopping combining it with a short break away. A particularly good location is Windermere and the hotels in the Lake District really go to town during the festive period. Windermere and the surrounding area is one to visit no matter what time of the year but around and during Christmas, the streets are lined with decorations. The village itself, close to Lake Windermere and the surrounding fells, but also to Ambleside, Grasmere and Coniston.
Cruises along lake Windermere can be taken and even private charters can be booked for an extra special Christmas treat. The difference in scenery is evident whilst cruising the lake from the pretty countryside of Newby Bridge to the rugged fells when approaching Waterhead. A short stroll down to the lake or for those serious walkers, a hike up Fairfield to blow the cobwebs away.
Carol concerts are held in both locations and if a spot of last minute shopping is required, Windermere and Bowness have a plethora of gift shops and markets. Operating every day except for Christmas Day are Windermere Lake Cruises. From Windermere, a short walk takes you to Bowness Pier for sailings down to the southern end of Lake Windermere, Lakeside or up to Waterhead Pier and Ambleside. The difference in scenery is evident whilst cruising the lake from the pretty countryside of Newby Bridge to the rugged fells when approaching Waterhead.
Applegarth Villa Hotel still has a small amount of availability for their 2 or 3 night New Year breaks and selected days between 27th and 30th (Twixmas!). They will look after everything for you whilst giving everyone the opportunity to explore and unwind in complete relaxation. Visit https://www.lakesapplegarth.co.uk to view all Applegarth Villa has to offer this Festive and New Year period.
The Lake District is going as many areas have gone before with last minute breaks and holidays trending.
This year it appears more than ever with uncertainty with the dreaded word “Brexit” and general uncertainty around the world so affecting not just travellers from the UK but international visitors too. Christmas looming with it’s cost as well as time taken by many organising, it’s no wonder everyone is either looking for a bargain or simply hasn’t had time to book a break until the last minute.
Last minute holiday booking all started with holidays abroad. The cheapest prices could be had and many people liked the sense on the unknown, what would they get and even, where would they end up. So it’s no surprise it has filtered into the UK holiday market and even down to individual b&b and hotel rooms. Every guest wants a bargain and possibly needs a bargain as the only chance to get away, everyone is feeling the pinch of the recession in one way or another.
Despite operators in the Lake District having to offer lower prices or giving added value at present, there is one advantage of the modern day that is helping. Twitter and Facebook can really help tourism operators get a message out of a last minute deal, a room left, a table free in a restaurant, a cancellation. Social media can be used to its optimum effect here.
But it is also great now that destination specific portals and guides are being launched. One such is AllofTheLakeDistrict.co.uk and is growing in content week by week. They do not take commission, they purely list the very best Lake District hotels, self catering cottages, B&B’s even restaurants, shops and spa this, the newest UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer.
The Brimstone Hotel at Langdale may be a place to experience ultimate luxury, gadgetry and pure unadulterated relaxation but the hotel realises where it is based so adventure is never far away.
Take the level of outdoor activities and adventure to what ever degree knowing the Brimstone Hotel is there for route ideas, kit and gear and most importantly, post adventure recuperation!
Langdale has been the home of running for many years thanks to the organisation of events by Great Langdale Road Races. The events have now been taken over by Brathay Challenges who organise the Brathay 10 in 10 event, 10 26 mile circuits of Lake Windermere. The views are simply stunning in the Langdale Valley with the next events being the mighty half and full Langdale Marathons in October which attracts local fell runners and visitors alike. More information including entry details and forms can be found here, https://www.brathaychallenges.com/
Looking for something a little less challenging as a half or full marathon? The Langdale Active website is the place to find running routes for all abilities and requirements as well as on the water adventure and cycling routes. https://www.langdaleactive.co.uk/run.html
Brimstone are committed to the outdoors 365 days a year in the form of the Arc’teryx Bootroom. Guests of the hotel can borrow any of the vast range of the latest and super high performance Arc’teryx walking gear for use during their stay. If you’ve forgotten some kit when packing or the weather turned out to be finer than forecast (or more lightly a little damper and cooler in the Lake District!), there’s no need to miss out on enjoying the fells. Brimstone also have snacks and drinks sorted for guests too both for when out and about and also post run/walk/cycle in The Reading Room.
Whether it’s the booking portals or the hotel comparison sites they appear on, us UK travellers can’t help but be addicted to shopping around for the best price for our leisure and business travel accommodation.
In a competitive market and with budgets not being as vast and as flexible as they used to be, whether it’s an overnight stay, short break or holiday, we’ll all hunting for a deal and the “best rate”. But is the best rate with a booking engine really the best rate?
Booking direct should be the future and many travellers are realising the benefits but there’s still along way to go. It naturally makes sense with the hotel having no commission to pay for a direct booking and with the help of social media, hopefully even though booking engines are a handy service for both guests and businesses, they needn’t be solely relied upon.
Why book direct? Get the perfect room for you. Speak to a member of the hotel staff to discuss this or email. Get the best price for that room. Often booking direct means allocation to parking or perks and extras in rooms.
The 4 Star Langdale Hotel & Spa have realised this faster than any. This started out when launched their “Fan Club” in Autumn 2014. Join the fan club for exclusive, early bird rates and offers for members so even those benefits are worth it. And further save 15% off Langdale Hotel rooms and Brimstone Spa Therapies booked 30 days or more in advance. The fan club is free to join and really is worth it. Simply https://www.langdale.co.uk/langdale-hotel.html and enter your email address.
For more information on the Langdale Hotel including all its facilities at this award winning resort in the Lake District which encompasses Stove Restaurant, Wainwright’s Inn, Brimstone Spa, Leisure Club, Walks etc visit https://www.langdale.co.uk
Served 12pm until 2pm the Sunday carvery at the Newby Bridge Hotel brings people back time after time and a is a firm favourite with families and groups of all ages. Get the family together and enjoy a delicious Sunday lunch without the hassle of the preparing, cooking or doing the dreaded washing up! The carvery on Sunday 18th of June is a little bit more special though, Father’s Day.
The hotel is located at the southern end of Lake Windermere meaning the whole family can make a day of it out and about in the Lake District whether you live locally or are visiting from away. Choose to walk to the Lakeside Pier and have a cruise on Lake Windermere before or after lunch. Have a trip on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway (the gift shop there has some great Father’s Day gifts), a walk around the Lakeland Motor Museum or the Lakes Aquarium, all of which are just a short distance from the Newby Bridge Hotel.
Booking is advisable especially for Father’s Day Sunday June 18th. The Huntsman’s Inn at Newby Bridge Hotel is a lovely place for a pre dinner drink whilst looking down Lake Windermere and Dad’s first pint will be free of charge! If you’re lucky then there are some tables outside too if the weather is nice. The Garden View Restaurant is bright and airy, perfect for lunch dining and looks out onto the landscaped gardens that surround the hotel.
Prices are extremely reasonable at 1 course £10.95, 2 course £13.95 and 3 course £16.95 (children’s portions £5.95, £7.95 and £9.95 respectively). There is a choice of starters, a wide selection of locally sourced meats and fresh vegetables at the carvery station and delicious homemade deserts too.
Kendal, with two stunning courses and more on the doorstep, make 2017 the year to visit this market town and experience what the gateway to the Lake District has to offer golfers.
With two very different courses to play/tackle/enjoy are Carus Green and Kendal. Carus Green is a parkland course that has undergone a near complete transformation in recent years both on and off the course. It is now one of the leading courses in the county with a state of the art driving range, pro shop and golf academy. The course has plenty of water including the rivers Kent, Mint and Sprint and new two tier greens to further challenge members and visitors.
Carus Green and Kendal Golf Courses
Onto Kendal Golf Course and the terrain couldn’t be more different. A fell course, it has a commanding view down to the market town of Kendal as well as the surrounding fells. It’s hard to argue with the title it is often described by “The most magnificent and extensive views of any course in England” with its panoramic views as far as the Yorkshire Dales and Morecambe Bay. The course is very challenging with some very different holes than many golfers will have played, short, sharp, uphill and down fell, the most famous of all the 17. At just 130 yards it sounds a doddle but the elevated tee combined with the limestone rock to get over and land on a postage stamp green, well it’s quite a penultimate hole!
Not far from Kendal there is also the Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club, two courses at Grange over Sands and also Windermere Golf Club. Windermere is a delight to play too with some of the best greens around.
There are plenty of places to stay in Kendal and it’s a great town to visit. Handy to get to from the M6 either from the north or south, there are lots of places to eat and drink even a cinema and regular live music and comedy at the Brewery Arts Centre. Located a two minute walk from the centre is the Riverside Hotel in Kendal overlooking the River Kent. Rooms are spacious and very well priced. There is a bar and restaurant also a pool and gym and free, off road parking to boot. Visit http://www.riversidekendal.co.uk/ for more details and to book.
Families of small children and especially those at pre school age, now is the time to take advantage of a bit of peace and quiet in the Lake District as well as some great offers of activities and places to stay before July and the summer holidays begin.
In the area surrounding Lake Windermere the tree shoots have given the place an overall brightness and it is a great time to dust off the bicycle or perhaps hire one from the many places in the region. But don’t forget there’s also the good old feet to get around with more walks to choose from than you will have time to do and of course, the water of Lake Windermere for yet more adventures.
If you fancy taking to the water then cruises can be taken from Bowness up and down Lake Windermere with regular sailings by Windermere Lake Cruises. Self drive and row boats can be hired for those wanting a little more adventure or to enjoy the lake at their own pace.
Brockhole has a packed programme of events and fun things to do especially good if travelling with children of all ages including a programme of canoeing taster sessions – Explore Windermere by Canoe from Brockhole. The next date is 17 June 2017 with prices at £10and sessions throughout the day at 10.30am, 11.45am, 1pm, 2.30pm and 3.45pm. Get to grips with the basics via full qualified and experienced tuition great for children of 7+ but family groups with younger children of 3+ can still take part. Also look out for the have a go at rafting day in August.
Family friendly accommodation can be found just outside of the busy Bowness area at the Damson Dene Hotel. With newly refurbished rooms, excellent food, leisure facilities including pool and vast gardens for playing, it’s a dream for families of all ages and just a short drive from Windermere and Bowness. Visit https://www.damsondene.co.uk for more information.
One of the most famous cycle routes in the UK known by the Coast to Coast, C2C or Sea to Sea is 147 miles of stunning scenic beauty.
Having opened in 1994, the route from Whitehaven to Sunderland or Tynemouth provides a fantastic array of scenery from the coastal industry of Whitehaven onto the Norther Lake District, the lush Eden Valley before going up onto the Northern Pennines, through delightful village such as the famous Nenthead before passing through Consett and heading again to finish amongst industry but this time of the North East Coast.
During the 147 miles, cyclists will experience the full and diverse landscape this section of England has to offer. The achievement of going from one side of the UK to another is fulfilling and along with the fact these parts are sparsely populated, it’s no wonder the C2C is one of the most popular, long distance cycle routes. The route is made up a very low percentage of main roads, just 4%, minor roads which include quiet, country roads 50% and the ever developing and increasing cycle paths 46%.
The route is accessible but there are still the questions of where to stay, how to transport luggage and how to get home! C2C Hassle Free has been set up to help with all that. Located at Main Farm in the Eden Valley and 63 miles from starting with dipping the cycle wheel into Whitehaven Harbour, this service sorts everything out with a choice of 1, 2 and 4 day rides. Stay at the idyllic setting of Mains Farm, C2C Hassle Free will sort out meals at one of the 2 local pubs, then drop cyclists off for the grand depart, organise accommodation and meals for the next night and finally upon arriving in Tynemouth (their chosen finish an definitely a lovely place to end an epic ride) where bike will be loaded onto the trailer for destination Mains Farm.
Really take in and enjoy this magnificent 147 mile C2C cycle route to its full potential and let C2C Hassle Free sort out the rest. For more information visit http://www.c2chasslefree.co.uk
With a healthy number and choice of pubs and bars, Windermere and Bowness are excellent places for dog friendly holidays.
Whether you’re staying up in Windermere and down in Bowness, there are plenty of well signposted and accessed walks to do to that you and your dog will love. Orrest Head is a must little walk. Starting across the road from the train station, Orrest Head is only a short uphill walk but the commanding views of Lake Windermere, the Coniston and Langdale fells are stunning. From Orrest Head you can choose to walk to Troutbeck and even onto Ambleside if you’re feeling energetic.
A lovely circular walk and for near panoramic views of the Lake District is up and around Gummers How. This walk is around a 3 mile walk, well signposted and with mostly good paths. A trig point at the summit means you’ve reached it and then it’s a case of taking in the view. Being 6 or so miles from Bowness, it is advisable to drive and park in the Forestry Commission car park at Gummers How.
What could be better than a cruise with your dog? Windermere Lake Cruises allows dogs on their regular sailings from Bowness where you can cruise down the full length of the lake or choose to just head down to Lakeside or up to Waterhead for Ambleside. Both locations have great walks for dogs as well as dog friendly places to eat and drink. The Windermere Ferry also operates from Bowness from Ferry Nab which can take you across the lake where the western shores of Windermere can be explored.
Onto places to stay that really are dog friendly. The choice in and around the Windermere area for dog owners is pleasantly extensive and its not just self catering properties. Hotels are now providing excellent dog friendly accommodation and facilities. Our tip is the Damson Dene Hotel, close to Bowness yet away from the crowds, the hotel is set in acres of landscaped grounds and furry friends are allowed in the special dog friendly rooms and the bar. There are plenty of walks from the door or just a short drive to the attractions and routes mentioned above.
One piece of advice, make sure you take a camera out with you wherever you go as they’ll be so many excellent scenic dog posing shots to take!
A family friendly B&B in Ambleside is just what parents need to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere yet with a delicious breakfast cooked for you! It sets the whole family up for the day and there is always plenty to see and do in and around Ambleside.
Without even needing to head out in the car enjoy walking either up the fells or on the many lower level paths, a great way to get kids into hiking. Just a short walk away down to Waterhead and Lake Windermere and pick up the ferry for a trip to Bowness or Lakeside. The there’s pitch and putt, museums, parks and pitch and putt and even a cinema if the weather is well, shall we say, typically “Lake District”!
Treetop Trek at Brockhole and Claremont House B&B in Ambleside
Along with family friendly B&B’s are a choice of equally as accommodating restaurants and cafes for small up to the larger variety of children. A children’s menu is available on most restaurant and bar menus but a good old Cumberland sausage and mash is always a winner with kids of all ages.
Take the car out one day and head over to Ullswater over Kirkstone Pass, maybe to Brockhole – The Lake District Visitor Centre where there are signposted walks around the grounds and gardens with special things for children to spot and explore. They also have Treetop Trek there too for a bit of adventure. For older children then Ambleside is only a short drive from Grizedale Forest for a Go Ape experience as well a choice of walking and mountain biking routes.
Our tip for a centrally located yet very affordable family friendly B&B in Ambleside is Claremont House on Compston Road, The décor is light and bright, has special family rooms and the breakfast is super tasty, filling and full of local produce.
Easter is just a month away. It’s early and a packed weekend this year too with most of the UK schools breaking up for the 2 week Easter break on Thursday 24th March as well as the clocks going forward by one hour at 2am on Sunday 27th March.
With a large percentage of people able to enjoy Bank Holidays off work and there being two at Easter, it is definitely a time not to miss out a chance to getaway for a short break even if there’s not time for the full week away.
North Devon boasts everything required for a family Easter holiday. The climate being some of the warmest in the UK, the miles of sandy beaches for watersports and activities, cliff top paths, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and wildlife parks. The region is geared up to entertain and delight and why so many families visit year on year.
With the clocks going forward so longer days, it’s a great chance to dust of the tent or clean down the caravan for it first outing of 2016. Stowford Farm Meadows is an award winning caravan and camping site in North Devon close to Woolacombe and Ilfracome at Combe Martin. The site is offering a special Easter weekend break package from Thursday March 24th of just £80 for 4 nights caravan or camping pitch up where up to 6 people are included. The site is dog friendly too and has a huge range of activities an facilities to use and enjoy. Visit http://stowford.co.uk/caravanning-camping-in-devon/special-offers/ to take advantage of this great Easter offer.
For many it has been a bit of a grim winter. It doesn’t seem anyone has escaped either the high winds, floods or simply dull damp days. Sunlight has been in short supply and vitamin D levels are depleting amongst us all.
Vitamin supplements could be taken, you could OD on salmon but our advice on the best tonic is to get out in the fresh air and have a weekend or short break in the Lake District. Fill your lungs with fresh air whether it’s on a boat on one of the many lakes or up one of the fells. It is a fabulous time to visit the region, quiet, before the Easter rush, daylight ever increasing yet plenty of cosy real fires to sit in front of.
Walks in the area come in all shapes and sizes and to suit all abilities. Here are our top 3. Firstly keeping it flat and leisurely, the walk around Cockshott Point to Bowness. A shoreline walk and an easy 1.2 miles. Looking for more of a gradient then Gummers How will delight and reward when you reach the top with commanding views of Lake Windermere and even out to Morecambe Bay. For a different vantage point, head across the lake on the Windermere Ferry to Claife Heights with peaceful woodland and a great view across to Bowness. This is a great walk when the weather is a little inclement.
Windermere and Bowness provide excellent bases for a short break with plenty of places to eat, lots to see and do, the ferry pier for journey’s up and down the lake or even across it, walks both flat and fell as well as art galleries and museums.
Being technically the off season as they say, the winter months before Christmas, it is the time when hotels can invite journalists to stay in return for a review. We say technically as although it isn’t the summer season, the Lake District is still a busy place, everything is open, a tribute to this now 365 day a year destination.
For Brimstone Hotel at Langdale it has been another fabulous year. Now into its 3 year of operation it has attracted guests from all over the world, famous faces, much press coverage and those celebrating special moments in their lives with many on their second or even third stay.
It’s with no surprise the two reviews published this month were glowing for the hotel, one by Jenna Thompson for the Grimsby Telegraph and other by Ellie Ross of the London Evening Standard. Both discussed, mentioned and loved everything Brimstone focus on doing such as the beautiful interiors, mood lighting, bathrooms, log burning stoves and service. Then the extras such as the Berghaus Bootroom for use of the latest Berghaus gear whilst staying and The Reading Room stocked full of complimentary local drinks and snacks.
In a month where the weather finally turned wintery for the Lake District after a more than above average in temperature autumn, t’s with no surprise and especially for Ellie from London, the Berghaus Bootroom was very well received! It meant the weather didn’t stop either of them from getting out and about and it really is true, the Lake District is beautiful whatever the weather (just if its foggy you need to use more imagination of what the fells look like!). But with such stunning hotel suites to return to it doesn’t matter, as Jenna Thompson quoted from the Grimsby Telegraph “I have stayed in a lot of beautiful hotels, but none as memorable as Brimstone.
A service available on the Langdale Estate for those staying at the 4 star Langdale Hotel & Spa and the Brimstone Hotel can now make this service go miles further.
Langdale has both slow and fast charging points as well as a fleet of Renault Twizy cars guests can hire. At present, guests take the Twizy’s to local points of interest but with new rapid chargers available, guests can travel even further. They will obviously a great bonus for those with their own electric or hybrid cars.
With more and more car manufacturers entering the electric vehicle sector wither solely electric of hybrid, the need for more charging points is required.
Charging at Langdale and where yo can explore in one
But time is always the sticking point and worry when it comes to purchasing and using efficiently and practically an electric car. This is why APT Controls have been instructed by Cumbria County Council to install a new network of 10 rapid and 14 fast charge points across the county as well as maintain the existing charging points all over 15 sites. A rapid charge point can charge an electric car to 100% in around half an hour, the time it takes to have a coffee.
Having worked with councils up and down the UK and successfully installed a significant amount of charging points, it was no surprise APT Controls won the contract. Their ability and knowledge to implement and install such technologies in areas other than cities surely must have been a big pro for this company which has been proven from the network installed within the Highland Council region. Despite Cumbria not being as remote as the very north of Scotland, some locations in the county pose similar challenges yet it is these very locations that need such a service even more, for locals and tourists alike.