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The most relaxing way to end a day of hiking in the Lake District

Published on: 24 Mar 12 by The Sheffield Star
Cranleigh

Pulling off a muddy boot and soggy walking sock to step out onto a heated bathroom floor might seem a simple pleasure - but no less indulgent for it.
And when those blistered toes - the result of a stunning yet bracing walk through one of the most beautiful spots in the country - are then submerged into a double jacuzzi bath, it becomes the most relaxing way to end a day's hiking in the Lake District.
With a flat screen TV on the wall to watch while you soak away, having your muscles massaged by the soothing bubble jets, and the 'luxury' reading goes right off the scale. But then that's what this B&B is all about.
The Cranleigh's aim is to 'exceed expectations' - and with suites like this on offer, it's a target they are more than surpassing.
With its own private entrance, and decked out in contemporary yet cosy black, gold and metallic furnishings, this is an establishment which well deserves its five stars. It is two minutes' walk from the centre of bustling Bowness on the shores of Lake Windermere - one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of the National Park.
The location makes it a great choice for those new to the area, yet offers a central location which is perfect for using as a base to explore.
You can take a boat trip around Windermere, spend hours poring over trinkets and gifts in the countless craft boutiques, or get stuck into some serious walking around the lake shores and towering fells which abound.
Having spent time in Bowness and nearby Ambleside - another picturesque town - on this trip we headed out to Ullswater for a walk which took in the Aira Force waterfalls.
The results get more impressive the more rain falls - but as this is Cumbria, rain is something you can rely on.
There's no doubt this stunning scenery looks its best in bright sunshine, but don't let adverse weather put you off as moody skies work to add drama and depth to the beautiful terrain. Be sure to leave enough time in your day to make use of The Cranleigh's links with the nearby MacDonald Old England hotel in Bowness, where you're invited to enjoy their spa facilities.
The pool is a particular highlight, offering picturesque views across the lake as you swim up and down. There's also a steam room, sauna and ice room to help you truly wind down.
There's plenty of pubs and restaurants dotted about in Bowness for you to choose from. but don't stuff yourself too full, since the full English breakfast the next morning at The Cranleigh - served in their swish dining room, located off a welcoming reception area complete with roaring log fire - is a treat.
Be sure not to stay out too late either, because back in your cosy suite you'll find a book bursting with the titles of DVDs that make up their extensive library, which you can enjoy in bed from the wall-mounted flat screen.
If you can drag yourself out of the bath that is…
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Published on 24 Mar 12 by The Sheffield Star

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