The Lake District is England’s largest national park and is found in Cumbria in the North West. Also known as ‘The Lakes’ and ‘Lakeland,’ it is made up of a series of over eighty glacial lakes of which sixteen are common. Technically the Lake District only has one lake which is Bassenthwaite Lake, the others all have their names ending in either ‘water’ or ‘mere’ such as Windermere, which is both the longest and widest (10.5 x 1 miles); Wastwater is the deepest at 250 feet. This region is also mountainous and has the highest land in the country (3,000 feet above sea level) which includes the highest mountain Scafell Pike. Despite being the wettest part of the country, it is a very popular holiday destination as it has so much to offer from lakes and mountains (fells), to pretty villages and towns.
Inspired by the unique lush and rugged landscapes, the Lakes has been a favourite location for many famous poets and writers notably William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter who have made this region extremely popular. William Wordsworth resided at Dove Cottage in Grasmere and composed poetry in his garden. Beatrix Potter bought a traditional Lakeland farm in Sawrey, Windermere called Hill Top which is now a gallery. Both properties are owned by the national trust and open to the public.
The Lakeside Hotel is an exclusive four star hotel located on the shores of Lake Windermere, the largest lake in the Lake District. Originally a 17th century coaching inn, this venue has developed over time as one of the largest hotels in the area and has become a distinct destination in its own right.
Independently owned, the hotel offers a warm, relaxed, professional service. A home away from home, the wood panelled rooms have soft lighting, comfy sofas, antiques doted around and interesting paintings adorn the walls. Notice the quirky light fixtures and the huge Peter Rabbit in the lobby.
The mega conservatory brings a lot of light into the hotel and offers guests a spectacular view of the fells and Gummers How, the hill opposite.
Every need is attended too, especially the ‘elevenses’ where a fine selection of cakes are displayed on the grand piano leading to the conservatory. At this time the ducks and birds are also fed on the lakeshore adjacent to the garden, guests are welcome to participate in the feeding time. The Lakes are renowned for wet weather and a very apt and helpful quirk provided by the hotel is a mini weather forecast card which is placed on the guest’s pillow at night to help them plan their next day
The Lake District is approximately 250 miles from London. Taking a direct train from Euston station, London to Oxenholme the journey time to the Lakes is just under three hours.
The hotel offers a chauffeur service, which picks you from directly from the platform when you arrive, takes you on a scenic route to the hotel which is twenty minutes away. A drop off service is also provided back to station when you leave.
So no need to worry about driving the distance to the Lakes, which could take up to six hours! This service is perfect and convenient and is one of the quirks the hotel offers which sets itself apart from its competitors.
Located on the southern tip of the Lake there is more than plenty to do in and around the Lakeside hotel which does not warrant a car.
As you read the lakeside adventure Anomalous London had, this is the perfect break from city life which includes lake cruises and walks, excursions to the aquarium and museums, relaxation time in the spa, afternoon tea and fine dining. To enjoy a break at the Lakeside Hotel a recommended minimum of two nights is required.
There are seventy five bedrooms at the Lakeside Hotel and all have a view of either the lake or garden and some rooms even have their own private garden. Coming from London, Anomalous preferred a lake view room, especially to watch the sunrise and enjoy the spectacular views whilst having morning tea in the room.
Despite being a classic country house style hotel, the rooms are individually decorated in a contemporary design with designer fabrics and warm colours to blend in with the lakeside scenery. Fresh, Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy feather pillows and Hungarian goose down duvets are guaranteed to give anyone a good night’s sleep. With breakfast served till 11am there is no rush to wake up early!
The Lakeside offers special family suites which have a unique internal second bedroom for children and still offers privacy for parents. There is a 'Baby listening service' too which gives parents the freedom to be downstair and leave the child in the room.
The fine dining restaurant is a lovely wood panelled room with low lighting and floor to ceiling windows looking out to the conservatory and lake beyond. A live pianist playing sets the ambiance for a wonderful dining experience.
The five course menu is fabulously created by the head chef and includes a tasty appetiser and a pre-dessert! Cumbria’s fresh seasonal ingredients are used to create flavoursome dishes. Even the bread is cut fresh at the table.
Wow, by far the best breakfast ever had! The old adage ‘to eat breakfast like a king,’ can really be fulfilled here with ease. It does help that it is served late till 11am on weekdays and even later, till 11.30am on weekends.
The continental buffet displayed in brightly painted crockery around a round table in the centre of the room is a welcome change from the norm. Freshly baked pastries and croissants are always a favourite. However the highlight here is something totally unique, a crème fraiche homemade crumble cake which was delightful, so much so, two pieces were ravished (daily!).
The cooked breakfast served here is really out of this world. A favourite was the cumberland sausage tower, which had the sausage coiled up at the base, with a hashbrown, black pudding and finally a poached egg placed on top. An amazing clean breakfast, free of any oils, worthy of 7 stars!
Being in the heart of Lakeland, afternoon tea is no ordinary affair. Prepare to be amazed with the six course version offered here. First course is a soup, which at this time was butternut squash served in the most spectacular bowl, second comes the sandwiches using the freshest bread possible, next up, fresh and crispy sultana scones with classic clotted cream and jam and then comes in the classic three tier stand of just Cakes! A total of nine varieties of sweet treats all which have to be mentioned; mango & passion mille-feuille, banana & coconut torte, blueberry & lemon macaroon, lemon meringue, orange chocolate cake, apricot & ginger Florentine, apple & calvados choux bun, raspberry & chocolate truffle and yorkshire fruit cake! Not to worry, as expected, not many can finish so rest assured it can be packed for you!
Now for the actual tea, Lakeside will not fail to amaze you. They like you to smell the tea leaves before deciding which tea to try. The various twelve teas on offer have been placed in individual test tubes which are numbered to correlate against the tea menu, which provides guests with a full description of the tea, including the recommended brewing time. Selections can then be made based on the smell! How wonderful as guests can experiment and become a master of their own tea! A black tea is usually recommended with sandwiches, such as Darjeeling, the champagne of teas, and a lighter, gentler tea such as Rooibos or Silver Needles with the sweet treats. If the weather is nice definitely sit out in the garden, otherwise the conservatory is an idyllic spot to admire the lake and the boats that pass by.
For the exclusive use of hotel residents the spa at Lakeside overlooks Lake Windermere, with floor to ceiling windows providing the most amazing views and plenty of natural light. The lovely Oval lounge overlooks the poolside which has etched glass panels of the mountains and fells of the Lakeland landscape. This has a dramatic affect when swimming in the 17m pool as it feels like you are swimming in the centre of the lake!
Relaxing by the pool soaking in the views is the perfect way to end a day in Lakeland. Whilst looking up you will notice pipes hidden under fabric coverings, this is the special drainage system employed for the rooftop garden above the spa! Yes a garden just above the pool, which has only 15cms of soil and grows fresh herbs for the hotel. There is a secondary pool adjoining the main pool which is shallow water for kids or leisure activities.
The spa at Lakeside is a designated Aveda destination spa and the only one in the country. Treat yourself to one of their facial or body treatments using natural botanical products which will purify, nourish and revitalise. The treatments rooms are a haven. All treatments start with a foot ritual to help relax and unwind. Best to have a treatment after your Lakeland adventures.
The train journey from London Euston to Oxenholme with Virgin Trains is just under three hours. Advance ticket purchase is always the best option and check sometimes two singles work out better than a return.
Hotel chauffeur service pick up from the platform at Oxneholme. Before reaching the hotel, stop at Gummers How, which is the view point directly opposite the hotel, on the eastern shore of Windermere. Despite being a small fell (hill), it has great views of the Lakeside Hotel, Windermere and Morecambe Bay.
Arriving at the hotel and in awe with the majesic natural beauty of the lake and its environs, it was only apt to relax outside in the garden with a cup of tea and soak it all in. Dinner was booked in the fine dining restaurant that evening, so the afternoon was spent just relaxing in the very rare sunshine at the Lakeside.
The Lake cruise is the best way to enjoy Lakeland and the Lakeside pier is just outside the hotel. It is Cumbria's most popular tourist attraction. Look out for the 'Freedom of the Lake' tickets which gives you access to all the cruises, valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase.
Three orginial steamers and launchers are still in service, the MV Tern of 1891, the MV Teal of 1936 and the MV Swan of 1938. Service run the whole length of the lake, from Lakeside to Waterhead Bay near Ambleside.
Admire the lovely houses along the Lake as you head towards Bowness, which is half way down the lake and takes forty minutes. This is the only town directly on the lakeshore and is the tourist hub of the area. To visit the Beatrix Potter museum, get off at Bowness pier and it takes ten minutes to walk to the museum.
BEATRIX POTTER MUSEUM
This quirky museum is a hidden gem in the heart of the Lakes. A lot of thought and effort has been put into this magical world. Beatrix Potter, whose love for the wildlife and coutryside inspired her writing twenty three books, which are brought to life here with imaginative displays of each of the characters and scenes from the stories. Touchscreens at every point give you insights into the story lines and more.
There is a Peter Rabbit garden, a virtual world of Beatrix Potter which has interactive timelines showcasing archives and photographs from her life. The gift shop has the largest range of Peter Rabbit gifts. There is plenty here for both adults and children to enjoy.
From Bowness to Waterhead, near Ambleside at the north end of Windermere it’s a thirty minute journey. It is from here that a smaller boat is taken across the short distance to Wray Castle. This is where the Lakeshore walk starts to Ferry house. It’s a four mile walk on the quieter west shore and it takes a leisurely two hours as you stop along the way admiring the scenery. From Ferry house another small boat takes you back to Bowness where the Steamer is caught to go back to Lakeside.
Visited the Aquarium of the Lakes next door which has an underwater tunnel to explore beneath the Lakes and the world’s first virtual dive bell which brings you up close to sharks without getting wet! Various displays showcase wildlife such as Otters and Tortoises and freshwater creatures like the Piranha from the Amazon, with their blade like triangular teeth, this is the world's most ferocious freshwater fish. Lots of talks and activities to keep the kids and adults amused.
Hopped on the boat to Fell Foot Park which is a few minutes boat ride away from Lakeside pier. A National Trust lakeside garden with spectacular mountain views and easy access for family boating, walks and picnics.
Back to Lakeside to take the Steam train ride to Haverthwaite. This is a heritage railway, three and a half miles long via Newby Bridge and it takes fifteen minutes. Enjoy the nostalgic journey by sitting in the carriage right behind the steam engine to admire the steam against the fells.
From the station it’s a fifteen minute walk to the Lakeland Motor museum. En route you will pass Newby Bridge which is very unique in that on one side is Lake Windermere and on the otherside the River Leven, which flows out of Lake Windermere at this point to the estuary at Haverthwaite. It is an interesting sight as you can vividly see the how the calm lake and gushing river meet.
LAKELAND MOTOR MUSEUM
The Lakeland motor museum is on two floors and has a vast display of classic cars, motorbikes, scooters, cycles and even pedal cars! It probably has the largest collection of automobilia on display, from badges, advertising signs to petrol pumps. There is no bare wall in this place.
Displays of authentic shop windows of ‘how it used to be’ and historic female clothing from the late 1800s are also on show. Unique real life mannequin displays showcase army scenes from the wars. Arrows on the floor guide you through the various rooms of the museum. For the children there is a special quiz where on completion a free museum medallion is given.
In a separate unit there is Campbell Bluebird exhibition which has a display of full sized replicas of cars and boats used by the father and son team who between them held twenty one world land and water speed records for Great Britain. The museum provides a complimentary bus service back to Lakeside.
Checkout day. The hotel allows guests to use all the facilties even after checkout. So the whole day was spent in the hotel spa, experienced some much needed spa treatments and then indulged in the spectacular afternoon tea on the hotel lawn before being chauffer driven back to the station.
Anomalous London's adventure at the Lakes was for three nights and four days which was just perfect. There was no rushing around and enough time was spent at each attraction. The weather was beautiful and sunny, however in the liklihood of rain, there is enough to do in and around the Lakeside Hotel to keep you occupied. Whatever you plan to do, just be weary of the timings of the cruises, boats and trains as they are all punctual and you do not want to miss an onward connection.
Hope you enjoy the Lakes!
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