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10 Must Visit Events in July and August

Graham Hadaway - Monday, June 29, 2015

As Spring turns to Summer, the Lake District really comes to life with all kinds of fun and adventures on offer around the area.

 

Below we’ve collected 10 of the biggest and best events for our guests to enjoy. Which will you be visiting when you come to stay at one of our three luxurious locations?

 

Skelton Agricultural Show – 4th July

Based at Hutton-in-the-Forest, Skelton Show is one of the largest country village shows in the area, regularly pulling in crowds of 10,000 people annually.

 

The show has a large selection of events and over 100 trade stands.

www.skeltonshow.com

 


A Day with Wordsworth’s Manuscripts – 11th July

One for the scholarly among you, this unique workshop opportunity at Grasmere’s famous Wordsworth Museum gives you privileged access to 200 year old manuscripts and first editions.

http://www.wordsworth.org.uk/attend-events/2015/07/11/a-day-with-wordsworth-039-s-manuscripts.html

 


King Pocky's Derwentwater Regatta – 11-12th July

Returning for its third year of mayhem, this extraordinary event draws thousands of visitors down onto the shores of Derwentwater to get wet and wild.

 

The event offers a wide range of activities from larking around on the lake in a bathtub to kayak and rowing taster sessions plus traditional summer fair rides, stalls and competitions.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/borrowdale/visitor-information/article-1355835657851/

 


Summer Beer Festival – 16-19th July

One of the things the Lake District has become famous for over recent years is its craft breweries.

 

With over 70 beers being exhibited, all from independent innovative breweries, come and see what the fuss is about.

https://www.hawksheadbrewery.co.uk/

 


Lakes Chilli Festival – 18-19th July

For the hot-heads among you, the Lakes Chilli Festival offers the tastiest and spiciest chilli products from around the globe going hand in hand with a huge selection of ales and cocktails.

http://www.thelakeschillifest.co.uk/


Coniston Country Fair – 19th July

Set on the stunning shores of Coniston Water, this traditional Lakeland show offers an insight into traditional Cumbrian life and entertainment.

 

Whether it’s fell-racing up Coniston Old Man, falconry displays, terrier racing, or Westmorland wrestling there’s something to entertain everyone.

http://www.conistoncountryfair.co.uk/

 

 

Potfest in the Park – 24-26th July

If you’re looking for some unique gifts to take home after your stay with us, this is a great event to visit as it brings together some of the most creative clay makers from all over the UK and Europe.

http://www.potfest.co.uk/potfestpark.htm

 

Cumbria Steam Gathering – 25-26th July

Entering its 43rd year, this annual event brings together the country’s most spectacular steam engines, vintage commercial vehicles, classic cars, and motorcycles.

http://www.steamgathering.org.uk/

 

 

Kendal Calling – 30th July-2nd August

One of the biggest independent festivals in the UK, Kendal Calling has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2006.

 

This years festival is headlined by James, Elbow, and Snoop Dog.

http://www.kendalcalling.co.uk/

 

 

Living History Week – 23-31st August

Set in the stunning grounds of Muncaster Castle, this event lets you live, eat and even fight in the past – from Vikings to War of the Roses, some of England’s most important events are brought to life for your entertainment.

http://www.muncaster.co.uk/special-events/summer-fun


Top 10 Gastro Pubs/ Restaurants in the Lake District: Part 2

Graham Hadaway - Monday, June 22, 2015
                 

Over the past few years the food in Cumbria has come on leaps and bounds. In fact, today, it could be argued that the Lake District is home to some of the best eateries in the country. Fine dining is no longer offered only at the secluded, upmarket country hotels and professional city restaurants.

 

Local produce is hugely important and therefore features heavily on the menus of the smallest cafés and the most renowned restaurants alike.

 

Following on from our previous post, we’re delighted to bring you the second half of our top ten gastro pubs and restaurants from all over the Lakes.

 

The Jumble Room

 

If something a little quirky is right up your street then Grasmere’s The Jungle Room is, not only the place to be, the best foody offering by a country mile. This place is full of heart and soul, you can expect a warm welcome from husband and wife team and an eclectic mix of styles, with bright colours, amazing prints, homely jazz and blues and food served on plates that rarely match. The menu is just as wild and varied as the décor, so you can expect everything from crab crostini and lamb bibotie, to the classic fish and chips.

 

Punch Bowl Inn

 

With a growing reputation deeming it one of the best pubs in Windermere, the Punch Bowl Inn is a great mix of the old and the new. Serving up fresh, hearty, homely grub, you can expect a menu of beef bourgignon with mountains of creamy mash and juicy steaks with thick-cut chips, the food is perfect for conquering a cold day in the Cumbrian countryside.

 

The Pheasant Inn

 

Comfort is key at The Pheasant. Steeped in history on the edge of Bassenthwaite Lake, there really is something special about it, like a pair of your favourite old slippers. This place has something for everyone and the perfect seating spot to suit all moods; whether you’re in the mood for a formal feast in the smart dining room, or an unfussy drink at the bar with some great bar-side snacks, there’s a place with your name on it at The Pheasant Inn.

 

The Masons Arms

 

Perfect for those of you looking for a challenge, this beautiful pub is perched high on a steep hillside, slightly east of Windermere – don’t worry, you can still make it if you don’t fancy the climb – and offers stunning views for a lunch or dinnertime lookout.

 

Low ceilings, beams and secret nooks and crannies, create a cosy, period atmosphere, steeped in history and perfect for all the family. The menu is packed full of home-cooked food, using fresh, local produce to create enviably hearty dishes.

 

Gillam’s

 

If a day-time treat is what you’re in search of, Gillam’s old tea-room, established in 1892, is possibly the most charming place you will ever visit. Beautifully carved wooden tables perfectly complement the beamed ceiling and the courtyard out back is just something else, the perfect hideaway.

 

The Lake District really is beautiful, but that’s no secret, so when you come to stay, be sure to pay a visit to at least one of our top ten. You won’t regret it.


Fashion Insider: Must-Know Secret Fashion Brands

Graham Hadaway - Monday, June 15, 2015


 

Every wardrobe needs to have at least a few special pieces to highlight your own unique sense of style. However, a fabulous wardrobe should contain nothing other than a collection of statement pieces with the wow factor. If you’re sticking purely to the well-known brands you’re depriving yourself of the ocean of high-end, low profile fashion brands that are out there.


Not all fashion brands feel the need to advertise their wares, in fact some prefer to rely solely on a modest number of returning clientele, keeping their products a secret from the majority of the population. Here, we’re about to blow these secrets, so take a look at some of fashion’s best kept secrets:

 

GOAT

If your wardrobe is lacking in a high quality go-to piece then Goat is certainly a worthy option. Goat is a British brand that prides itself on crafting high quality, timeless pieces that can be worn in virtually any setting. Their impressive selection of simply cut blouses, coats and dresses are an absolute must-have in any design-savvy wardrobe.

 

DESA

Desa has been designing luxurious leather bags, totes and shoes for over 30 years. During that time they have made bags for Marc Jacobs and McQueen, as well as premium French, English and Italian houses. Today they have stores throughout London where you can select the perfect handbag to make you the envy of your mates, and spoil yourself with some timeless leather flats while you’re at it.

 

PERIDOT LONDON

Founder Rachel Wilson is known for creating versatile fashions that can serve as a fashion building block or easily stand on their own. Each of her collections is based around seasonal colours and fine fabrics rather than theme, to ensure the garments feel as lovely as they look. Her seemingly exclusive brand holds the timeless look of London that can be comfortably worn by women of any age, shape or size.

 

TIBI

If your radiant sense of style has a playful side, it’d be a crime to not check out the fun and sophisticated collections from TIBI. Brilliant fashion designer Amy Smilovic passionately transforms modern elegance with bright playful colour schemes to create a variety of sleek and lively looks that can be worn conservatively around the office or accessorised to wear out in an evening.

 

MADELEINE THOMPSON

Do you love the luxurious look and feel of fine cashmere? Of Course you do. The perfect cashmere wrap is not easy to come by unless you’ve heard of Madeleine Thompson. She designs practical, high fashion pieces from only the finest cashmere fabrics to deliver the ultimate wardrobe must haves.

 

Complete your summer getaway with some choice purchases from some of these great, hidden brands.

 


Top 10 Gastro Pubs/ Restaurants in the Lake District: Part 1

Graham Hadaway - Monday, June 08, 2015


Not only is it the home of spectacular scenery, charming towns and a wealth of adventurous pursuits, the Lake District is a great destination for foodies. Here’s Part 1 of our guide to the top 10 gastro pubs and restaurants around the Lakes.

 

The George & Dragon in Clifton, close to Penrith was named Cumbria Life Magazine’s Dining Pub of the Year 2014, and rightly so. Offering period surroundings reflecting close links to the Lowther Estate, enjoy the blackboard of daily specials majoring on locally sourced ingredients prepared with a European twist. Best to reserve a table so you don’t miss delights such as Lowther venison liver with truffle potatoes or Askham pork with cabbage, pancetta and spring onions.

 

You’ll need to forward plan to eat at the Drunken Duck Inn – billed as the Lakes’ original gastro pub - either to make sure you beat the lunchtime queues or book way in advance to bag a highly-prized table for dinner. Located high up between Coniston and Hawkshead, this gorgeously rustic dining spot offers restaurant standard food, washed down with ales from the in-house Barngates Brewery.

 

Michelin stars and mountains

 

Fans of experimental cuisine will revel in the spectacle – and the food – on offer at L’Enclume , Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred palace of modern British cuisine in Cartmel. Dishes here are based on seasonal ingredients, often foraged locally, and while presentation may bring Heston Blumenthal to mind (comparisons are often drawn), you’ll find a traditional dish behind the creation on your plate.

 

Michelin stars and stunning fell views combine with fine dining at Holbeck Ghyll, Windermere, one of the most sought after dinner venues in the Lakes. The popularity of this restaurant has increased since it featured on BBC2’s The Trip, but the reputation is well-deserved. The food here has a definite French influence, which you’ll enjoy in the civilised surroundings of the oak panelled, bay windowed dining room overlooking our own Lake Windermere.

 

Fish for the fifth!

 

Fifth on our list of top 10 Gastro pubs and restaurants in the Lakes is Hooked, in Windermere Town, which offers diners first-class fish and seafood on its seasonally sensitive menu. Treats include hake with puy lentils and salsa verde, black bream with tomato risotto, lemon sole with caper butter, and local specialities such as Morecambe Bay shrimps and local rainbow trout.

 

Tune in next week for our part two of the must visit gastro pubs and restaurants in the Lakes.


The Best Walks in the Lake District

Graham Hadaway - Monday, June 01, 2015

 

Going to the Lake District and not heading out on the fells is almost a cardinal sin. The Lake District is known for its amazing peaks and walks the provide those willing to tackle them, with some amazing views in return.

 

Here, we’ve come up with some of our favourite routes, for you to try out during your visit:

 

Blencathra 

With Blencathra you get plenty more than you bargained for because it’s several mountains in one. The fan of ridges that Blencathra has on offer mean that you can create a walk to suit you. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you can tailor your walk to the experience you desire.

 

Grasmere 

If rugged crags are your thing, then Grasmere will provide the perfect walking location, because they really are endless. Each time you think you’ve reached the end of a huge stretch, you’ll see another peeping through the corner of your eye. What makes this place even better is the impressive views you get from the top of a very steep descent into Easedale.

 

Red Screes 

If you want to be able to see the tops of the hills and mountains you could have climbed, then Red Screes is an enviable vantage point. The views you’ll get from here are not to be sniffed at – you certainly won’t be disappointed.

 

Bleaberry Fell 

On a fine day, particularly in the summer, Bleaberry Fell is the place to be. This is a great walk if all you’re looking for is a steady plod to the top, with a panoramic thrill after your hard work. At the top of this steady climb, surrounding mountains and lakes will be there to greet you, and you’ll be faced with a clear track and the sight of your next challenge, High Seat. This is a great path to take, with heather and grass covering the track on your journey to the magnificent viewpoint on offer at the High Seat summit.


Most wanted compact cameras this year

Graham Hadaway - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wherever you decide to go away this year, a camera is an essential companion. Whether you’re a pro photographer or a beginner merely looking to capture some great holiday memories, no one wants to take a bulky DSLR away with them, it’s just not practical. So, we’re here to give you the low down on the best compact cameras this summer, and don’t worry, we’ll be covering all budgets.

 

A ‘compact’ camera, to most people, is one that fits nicely into their pocket or bag. It doesn’t weigh too much, take up too much room, or need an entire kit of tripods and lenses to be carried about with it. Technically though, a compact camera is one with a non-removable lens. When you’ve got luggage restrictions to worry about though, we know you’re unlikely to want to carry a DSLR-style bridge camera around with you, which is why we’ve limited this list to the real compact cameras.

 

High-end – £700

 

The Panasonic LX100 is classic in looks, but has all the essential features a top of the range compact camera needs. Here are the stats:

 

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, 12.8MP

Lens: 24-75mm, f/1.7-2.8

Monitor: 3-inch, 921K dots

Viewfinder: Yes

Continuous shooting: 11fps

Movies: 4K

User level: Expert

 

For an expert photographer it’s very rare they’ll put down their DSLR. They obviously want their photos to be amazing quality regardless of whether they’re trying for a close up of a rare bird or a shot of their best mate acting the fool in a dingy. However, there are some occasions when the big camera needs to stay at home.

 

On these occasions, it usually means putting up with a smaller sensor, but Panasonic have somehow managed to cram a CSC-sized Micro Four Thirds sensor into a tiny, pocket-sized camera body. This really is a professional camera, and although it’s a lot more in terms of price, it’s unique and full of the quality you’d expect from a standard camera.

 

Mid-range - £300

 

The Fuji X30 is small, compact and packed with features, but what’s important is that budget-wise, it’s much more affordable.

 

Sensor: 2/3-inch X-Trans, 12MP

Lens: 28-112mm, f/2.0-2.8

Monitor: 3-inch tilting, 920K dots

Viewfinder: EVF

Continuous shooting: 12fps

Movies: 1080

User level: Intermediate/Expert

 

If you want a top quality camera but don’t have a fortune to spend, this is the model to go for. Although it’s by no means the priciest or the fanciest model out there, it’s a camera that’s solidly made, has an amazing electronic viewfinder and punches well above its weight when it comes to sensor size. Give it a go for yourself, you’ll certainly not be disappointed.

 

Affordable - £70

 

If cost is the biggest factor in the hunt for your new camera then you can’t go wrong with the Sony W800.

 

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.1MP

Lens: 26-130mm, f/3.2-6.4

Monitor: 2.7-inch, 230K dots

Viewfinder: No

Continuous shooting: 0.5fps

Movies: 720

User level: Basic

 

There is a very fine line between cheap, stylish and functional, and plain rubbish – not to worry, the W800 is very much on the side of cheap and stylish. With more than 20 megapixels and 5x zoom capacity, it produces images that are more than satisfactory for a holiday pocket camera. The styling and quality are a cut above when you consider the price bracket, you really won’t find a camera like this from any other manufacturer.

 

With all of this in mind, whether you opt for the high-end, professional Panasonic or the more budget and family-friendly Sony, you’ve got all you need to know about this year’s greatest pocket cameras regardless of your spend.


Must have dresses for your UK summer getaway

Graham Hadaway - Monday, May 18, 2015

 


If you’re planning a summer getaway in the UK you’ll need to plan your wardrobe carefully. Although you won’t have the tight luggage restrictions you’d suffer if you were flying abroad, you will have the issue of unpredictable British weather to contend with.

 

Packing for a British summer holiday is never easy. In fact, it’s probably more difficult than limiting your luggage to a 15kg baggage allowance. When travelling in the UK you need to be prepared for all four seasons and have the ability of fitting clothes for every season into a modestly sized bag, that won’t scare the B&B owner into questioning the length of your stay.

 

As with any holiday, when you’re packing for a staycation there are some suitcase essentials, and one thing you’ll definitely want to have packed in there is a new summer dress. The summer dress is the season staple purchase for all women. However, for a purchase that women around the world make so regularly, it’s certainly not the easiest. When it comes to dresses, it’s not just the latest fashions that you should be concentrating on, you need to consider the latest fashions that will look great on your shape.

 

Here, we’ve come up with the essential guide for anyone shopping for their perfect summer dress.

 

Apple

 

As an apple you tend to have great pins, so don’t be afraid of going for something short to show them off. An apple’s problem area is always around their middle, so stick to something that doesn’t cling to your stomach – a shift-style dress is perfect for this. This bold-print dress from ASOS will allow you to show off your arms and legs without drawing attention to your tummy; it also incorporates one of this season’s biggest trends, making it perfect for your UK getaway.

 

Column build

 

When your hips and bust are the same width and you’re lacking a defined waist, you’re a definite column. Lucky for you, columns are really easy to dress and they look great in most clothes. Block colours and panelling are huge this season and will create an illusion of curves, flattering your figure and completely transforming your shape. Try this block colour panel dress if you’re planning an evening of fine dining while you’re away.

 

Hourglass

 

If you have a well-defined waist, then you’re one of the lucky ones. You’re curves sit in all the right places and you have the tiny waist that most women would kill for. Although you should never hide your curves, your waist is the thing you should be showing off, so look for a dress that will pull you in at the middle. Belted designs, like this one from Lipsy, will accentuate your curves and show off your slimmest point.

 

Pear

 

Pears carry their weight at the bottom, they have shapely shoulders and a small waist but large thighs and hips. Sleeveless, full-skirted dresses are a great choice to draw attention upwards at the same time as disguising any lumps and bumps at the bottom. Lace dresses are perfect for this and, what’s more, they’re all the rage. This lace skater dress from Lipsy will not only flatter your figure in all the right ways, it’ll make the perfect outfit for an evening on the town while you’re away.

Top 10: What to do in the Lakes (part 3)

Graham Hadaway - Monday, May 11, 2015

It’s time to round off our expert guide to the Lakes in some spectacular style, starting with a stroll around Derwentwater.

 


 

Derwentwater, near Keswick

 

Keswick is famous for its graphite and its slate mines – that’s why it’s the home of the largest colouring pencil in the world – but nowadays, visitors make their way here to visit the bustling streets of a beautiful market town.

 

Derwentwater is said to have been one of Beatrix Potter’s favourite Lake District locations, and it’s really no surprise. With handsome views and the opportunity to row the lake at your leisure, there’s really nothing to dislike.

 

The Drunken Duck, near Hawkshead

 

Nicely nestled on a hilltop between Hawkshead and Coniston, this is the gastropub you want to visit. As the years have passed the food has reached top notch restaurant standard and there’s no way you’ll be disappointed.

 

There’s nothing pretentious about this place though, you’ll enter into a rustic beamed bar, decorated with sports prints and antiques, and the menu is brimming with traditional British classics. So, if you’re looking to try something that’s a bit out there, like lamb sweetbreads and goat curd, then this is definitely the place for your feast.

 

The Church Suites, Bowness-On-Windermere

 

Finally, to finish off the creation of some amazing memories, a stay in one of The Cranleigh’s Church Suites is a must. When you’re roaming around the Lake District, taking in the fresh air and checking out some of England’s most famous and beautiful sights, you’ll need somewhere to rest your weary head at night. You don’t want just any old bed though, you need a cocoon of complete luxury, where you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that you’ll wake up feeling revived, refreshed and ready for the day ahead. The only downside is the fact that our rooms are so luxurious, you might not want to leave.

 

Sadly, we’ve reached the end of our expert ‘what to do in the Lakes’ guide, but don’t fret, we’ll be back next week with something equally as exciting and full of invaluable information if you’re planning a stay in the Lakes.


Top 10: What to do in the Lakes (part 2)

Graham Hadaway - Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Last week we thrilled you with the first edition of our expert what to do in the Lakes top ten, and as we don’t like to disappoint, here’s part two…

 


 

Buttermere, Borrowdale & Honister Slate Mine

 

Buttermere and Borrowdale are neighbouring Cumbrian valleys. Buttermere is the wilder of the two; it’s the quieter of the two areas - great if you're looking to escape the crowds - but boasts beautiful views from the dramatic fells that overlook the village and its two stretches of water, Buttermere and Crummock Water. Borrowdale, is very much the busier of the two, showing off the typical Lake District landscape of green fields, drystone walls and quaint cottages.

 

Honister Pass separates the two valleys, and is home to one of the Lake District’s only working slate mines. You can take a guided tour of the mine, or, if you’re feeling a little more daring take a trip along the Via Ferrata for some amazingly dramatic views.

 

Climb Helvellyn

 

The twin ridges of Helvellyn are famous (or infamous) for miles around. Their vast drops and exceptionally steep climbs are down to the glacial action in the area during the last ice age. Although a great challenge, this climb is completed by thousands of people every year – it’s probably not a good idea to tackle it if you suffer from vertigo because you’ll find yourself hand over hand in certain areas.

 

Beatrix Potter’s house

 

If you want to explore the place of many childhood dreams then this little farmhouse in Near Sawrey is the place to be. This is the original home of Peter Rabbit, Mr MacGregor and Mrs Tiggywinkle; in fact, fans of the series will spot many features from the author’s illustrations.

 

Newlands Valley

 

Although there are some great views and amazing things to do, the Lake District can sometimes get a little crowded. When you’re looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a bit of time with your loved one – when you finally pull yourself away from your beautiful suite, that is – Newlands valley is just miles and miles of open countryside that remains pretty quiet all year round. You could tackle the Newlands Round which is a ten mile loop of the valley’s summits. Alternatively, if ten miles really isn’t for you, try the shorter route from the beautiful village of Little Town.

 

So, that's one to seven of our top ten covered, remember to set a reminder for next week's installment so you really can fill your time away wih visits to some of the greatest sites the Lake District has to offer. 


Top 10: What to do in the Lakes (part 1)

Graham Hadaway - Monday, April 27, 2015

 

Situated on the edge of Lake Windermere, we definitely have one of the best spots in the Lake District, so we should be pretty good at telling you the best places to explore, the most amazing things to see and exciting things to do.

 

Here is the first part of our on-going expert guide to the Lakes…


 

Cruising on Lake Windermere

 

It seems only right to start at our own front door. Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England, stretching more than 10 miles between Newby Bridge and Ambleside. Bowness-on-Windermere is perhaps one of the more touristy areas around the Lake, and, lucky for our guests, we’re right in the heart of this exciting village.

 

If you’re feeling brave and fancy joining the quayside crowds then there really is nothing better than a scenic boat trip around the lake – other than resting your head on a pillow in our beautiful hotel after a hard day, of course - taking the time to visit all of its 18 islands.

 

Wordsworth’s house, Grasmere

 

William Wordsworth’s first home in the Lakes, this place is a literary lover’s dream. Currently owned by the Wordsworth Trust, it’s full of memorabilia that’ll keep you in there all day, including his glasses, passport, ice skates and even a picture, given to him by Sir Water Scott, of his favourite dog Pepper.

 

It’s not just inside this picturesque cottage that’s impressive though, outside is just as spectacular. Make your way out back and take in the breath-taking scenery that used to assist Wordsworth when composing poetry. The half-wild backdrop to his charming cottage helped him write some of his most famous creations.

 

Hiking in Great Langdale

 

If you’re a fan of fell walking then you’ll almost certainly have heard the name Great Langdale. Home to some of the most famous hikes in the Lake District, experienced hikers love the challenge of the Crinkle Crags and Bowfell. If this is something you plan to tackle then it’s worth arriving early to secure a parking space, as carparks fill up quickly.

 

We're extremely lucky to have all of this right on our doorstep (Lake Windermere, is literally a few minutes walk away), but that's not all, the Lake District has plenty more to offer. Stay tuned for our next installment of the Top 10 for even more activities to fill your Cumbrian getaway. 



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