Find your Inner Dare-Devil this New Year

Emily Hadfield - Tuesday, January 24, 2017


More often than not, people make their resolutions for the new year based on 'giving up', be it take-away food, alcohol, or perhaps wilful spending. Although these goals are respectable, wouldn't it be refreshing to aim for something with a slightly more enjoyable process?


Make 2017 your year to be daring (not that giving up your Friday night curry isn't highly commendable!) and get those adrenaline juices flowing. Here are a few ways in which you can access your inner adventurer here in the UK...



Kankku 4X4 Off Road Adventure


Discover The Lake District from a completely new angle with Kankku's 4X4 Off Road Adventure. Your blood will be pumping as you take the wheel of the Kankku 4X4 and begin to be led across the challenging terrain of the Lakeland fells. Whether you're an advanced off road driver, or a complete beginner, the Kankku adventure is a thrilling experience that will be hard to forget.



Find out more:




IFLY Indoor Skydiving – Various locations


Relinquish control and stimulate true free-fall conditions at an IFLY indoor skydiving centre. If you're not quite ready to start jumping out of planes, then IFLY is the ideal way to go. No need to worry if you have never been indoor sky-diving before, first-time flyers will have two instructors - one to help you in the tunnel, and one to control the air speed.



Find out more:




CRAGS Adventures


CRAGS – or 'Climbing Rocks, Abseiling & Ghyll Scrambling - has been rated the No.1 outdoor activity company in The Lake District by customers on TripAdvisor. Operating in the picturesque national park, CRAGS allows adventure seekers to discover the charm of The Lake District, while taking part in one of the number of exhilarating activities offered, be it scaling a rock face, climbing a waterfall, or scrambling a gorge.



Find out more:




Harness Zorbing – Various locations


An activity like no other, Harness Zorbing is perfect for those wanting to shake with laughter rather than with fear. Strapped in at the hips, shoulders and feet, participants roll down a hill inside a cushioned, see-through ball at speeds of up to 30mph, while racing another person. There is simply nothing quite like it (unless you're a hamster).



Find out more:




Keswick Extreme: Outdoor Adventure Activities


Like the idea of white water tubing? Or perhaps climbing into a mine? Both are possible with Keswick Extreme. Located on the shores of Derwentwater, Keswick Extreme is a long established provider of outdoor activities, with trained guides guaranteed to give you an exciting day in The Lake District. The activities offered by Keswick Extreme allows you to test your nerves and experience the extreme nature of the Lakeland countryside.


Find out more:






Romantic activities/places to visit in The Lake District for Valentines Day

Emily Hadfield - Monday, January 16, 2017


The Cranleigh Boutique loves a little romance, so much so, Trip Advisor has awarded The Cranleigh Boutique 'Number 1 for Romance in the North' on two separate occasions. Therefore, we are here to help with your country escape this Valentines Day. Visit one of the most popular National Parks and discover the charm of The Lake District with that special someone...







High Sweden Bridge, Ambleside

Dating back to what is believed to be the 16th century, the High Sweden Bridge is an old packhorse bridge, which couples can see for themselves by meandering through the picturesque Lakeland fells. What is fascinating about this historical sight, are the numerous names which have been carved into the stone by famous visitors, including the poet William Wordsworth.

Learn more:

Pony Trekking, Rookin House

Discover the stunning scenery of The Lake District by horse for a unique and idyllic experience with your special other. It doesn't matter if you're a novice or experienced rider, Rookin House caters for all standards. Your instructor will take you along bridleways and quiet country lanes, across open fells and through forests, with guaranteed views along the way.

Learn more:

Zefferellis Cinema, Ambleside

Home to a cinema, restaurant, cafe & jazz bar, Zefferellis is so much more than your standard cinema. With their 'Movie Deal,' couples can enjoy a delicious two or three course meal at either Zefferellis or Fellinis restaurant - both known for their quality vegetarian cuisine - followed by a film of your choice in one of their cinemas. The atmosphere is inviting and relaxed, so much so, you can enjoy your film while sharing a bottle of vino with your other half.

Learn more:



The Lake District is well known for its quaint villages, cosy pubs and independent shops. Celebrate Valentine's Day with your loved one by discovering one of the national park's rural towns such as Grasmere, where you will find “the world's best gingerbread” in a Victorian-style cottage turned shop. Or you can discover Kirkby Lonsdale, which is home to many delightful boutique stores. For a slightly busier environment, explore Bowness-on-Windermere where you can escape to a traditional pub with a crackling log fire, wooden beams and real ale. If that doesn’t delight you, there are several less traditional venues with much to offer.








How to stick to those New Year's Resolutions

Emily Hadfield - Wednesday, January 11, 2017



We've all been there. One minute the Champagne is flowing and you're dancing the night away (giving Beyonce herself a run for her money), then before you know it it's the 2nd of January, and you're suddenly very aware that you have drunk your body weight in alcohol, eaten an impressive number of mince pies, and your bank statement is so disturbing that it's in the bin before you can truly analyse your questionable spending over the festive period. Cue the New Year's Resolutions. Whether your aim is to spend less/budget better, join a gym, or kick your chocolate habit, we believe there is a tactic you can use which will increase your chances of sticking to your goals of 2017.


This new year, consider joining the #Healthyish movement. #Healthyish encourages the small changes you make which not only improve your physical health, but also your state of mind. Perhaps that means you go for a run on Monday morning after your boozy Sunday brunch, or maybe you park further away from the entrance of the shopping centre during the sales.There is no denying that the concept of 'healthy living' has never been so visible in mainstream society, with newspapers, magazines, social media accounts and consumer products all promoting cleaner ways of living. However, this can cause obsession as well as an unnecessary healthy vs. unhealthy divide when in reality, most people live their lives somewhere in between. A punishing diet or an extreme new routine is unlikely to be manageable in the long run, and often causes guilt and a sense of failure. Therefore, the key is to set attainable goals and enjoy the changes you are making and the effect they have on your mental health. So go forth and live your unfiltered, #Healthyish life, just make sure you love it along the way...


Enjoy the countryside? Start your #Healthyish journey with some walks in the beautiful Lake District (yes, they do end in a pub)


Love your Christmas leftovers

Emily Hadfield - Monday, January 02, 2017


The festive season has officially come to end and although it feels like mountains of food and gallons of wine have been consumed, there STILL seems to be a never-ending supply of leftovers. If you're unsure on how to use your surplus, here is a handful of ideas which will give your leftovers a delightful second life.




Turkey or Chicken Risotto

However tempting that turkey, chicken or roast beef may look poised in the middle of the table on Christmas Day, there is a high chance that there will be some meat left up for grabs (even after seconds!). A turkey or chicken risotto is a delicious and easy way of using your leftover bird and vegetables. With softened onion, bacon lardons, peas, mushrooms, garlic, a glass of white wine (I'm sure there will be some knocking around), chicken stock and Arborio rice, you have the makings of a wonderful risotto.





Brie (or any other leftover cheese), Apple, Cranberry & Onion Tart

This dish is ideal if you found that by the time the cheeseboard came around, everyone was so far into their food comas that only a grape was eaten out of politeness. Cheese and apple complement each other perfectly in this puff pastry tart, alongside the distinctive flavours of cranberry and onion. Be sure to add some Dijon mustard and thyme to create a tasty tart that is mouth-watering when served either hot or cold.



Classic Sandwiches – Roast Beef & Horseradish / Turkey & Cranberry

If anyone is familiar with the American sitcom 'Friends', then you'll know just how exciting the prospect of a leftovers sandwich really is. With some soft, fluffy bread, cold meat, a dash of gravy (a baguette is advised for large quantities of gravy to minimise spillage), and a punchy condiment, you have the ultimate festive feast.


Christmas Pudding Strudel

Let's be honest, Christmas pudding rarely makes a person's 'top 3 desserts', and it is often left unfinished. But fear not, as a Christmas Pudding Strudel is a quirky way to use your leftover pudding to create a slightly more exciting sweet. Combining crumbled Christmas pudding, mascarpone, Baileys, filo pastry (with melted butter), and some icing sugar for dusting, you can create an impressive strudel which will even have the Christmas pudding condemners coming back for more.







What to expect from The Cranleigh Boutique in 2017...

Emily Hadfield - Thursday, December 29, 2016


With the new year fast approaching, it's time to start looking ahead at the goals and opportunities that lie ahead in 2017. The Cranleigh Boutique have some exciting plans for the upcoming year, and without giving TOO much away, here's a taster of what's to come...


A Round of Refurbishments:

Our latest upgrades have already started here at The Cranleigh, with our Hideout House recently reopening on the 23rd of December after closing for a month of refurbishment. The updated furnishings, décor and technology have created an even more stylish and luxurious boutique house in which guests can escape and unwind. On top of an improved user experience, guests who stay at The Hideout can also expect stylish lighting, a large smart television complete with a movie server, and a wireless music system fitted throughout. However, it doesn't stop there. The Cranleigh are continuing to update their rooms and suites to ensure that guests can always guarantee quality surroundings when they stay with us.

Advanced Booking Rates:

We have listened to customer feedback and therefore have installed a new intelligent booking system which offers guests a cleaner and more rewarding user experience. For example, people will be rewarded with discounted rates if they book in advance or directly through us. Our overall system has also been updated to allow for a simple and easy booking process.

Special Packages & Treats:

We have recently launched a brand new range of special packages and treats. Guests can choose from: the 'Deluxe Arrival Package', the 'Happy Birthday Package', the 'Luxury Arrival Package', the 'Because I Love You Package' and 'The Ultimate Cranleigh Package'. Packages include items such as handmade chocolates, a bouquet of roses, candles, a Huggie bear, a single red rose, as well as rose petals for the bed. These special touches gives our guests the opportunity to celebrate a particular occasion or make their stay even more personal.

Thank you to all our guests who have visited The Cranleigh Boutique during 2016. We hope you enjoyed your stay with us in this beautiful part of the country, and that we will see you again in the new year. All the best for 2017!


Pub walks for January

Emily Hadfield - Thursday, December 22, 2016


January is always an interesting month, with people seeming to fall into one of two camps. The first consists of those who suffer with the obligatory January blues as we wave goodbye to a month of parties, indulgent food and quality time with friends and family, while the other insists on posting far too many “new year new me” posts, which annually flood our social media feeds (usually with an obligatory gym selfie no less). I say enough is enough. Lets embrace the new year with dignity, and embrace January with open arms (and no pictures in lycra).


Although we leave the celebratory holidays behind in December, this tends not to be the case with the winter weather. January is the time to wrap up warm, and detox with the healing powers of fresh country air. Explore The Lake District countryside this January with one of our recommended walks (and yes, they end in a pub for a well deserved lunch and drink).




Skelwith Bridge - The Britannia Inn (Elterwater)





For those who want to start off easy, this flat walk doesn't take long, but it's undeniably picturesque. With rivers, tarns and glorious views along the way, the short walk to Elterwater is a charming one. There is a small car park as well as road-side parking near Skelwith Bridge where walkers can park up and follow the signs to Elterwater, and more importantly, to The Britannia Inn. This traditional Inn is small and cosy with locally sourced homemade food and real ales.


Windermere – The Watermill Inn (Ings)





A favourite walk amongst locals, it conveniently begins from the centre of Windermere, and immediately takes you into what feels like the depths of the countryside. The walk isn't particularly challenging, but you certainly feel like you've earned your lunch by the end of it. Thankfully, The Watermill Inn can oblige. Nestled in the quaint town of Ings, The Watermill is home to its very own award-winning brewery, and can offer up to 11 real ales at once. They also have a varied selection of food on offer which is served from 12pm till 9pm everyday.



Windermere – The Eagle & Child Inn (Staveley)






A slightly more challenging walk compared to the two mentioned above, this walk starts in Windermere and ends in Staveley. Notably, Staveley is home to a train station which travels directly to Windermere in under 10 minutes if one way is more than enough! The Eagle & Child is an inviting traditional country pub with slate floors, exposed beams, and real log fires. It serves freshly prepared pub grub and a variety of hand-pulled local ales and regular guest beers. Alternatively, walkers can visit the Hawkshead Brewery and Beer Hall which is the ideal pitstop for beer lovers. Featuring in 'The Good Beer Guide' AND 'The Good Pub Guide', at The Hawkshead Brewery you can enjoy a number of beers where they are made. There is also a food menu consisting of hearty and classic tapas style dishes.









The Best Experience Gifts in The Lake District

Emily Hadfield - Thursday, December 15, 2016




Want to give your loved ones more than a pair of socks this Christmas? Not only does an experience day give someone the opportunity to do something out of the ordinary, but it also creates lasting, invaluable memories. Here is a list of just some of the experience gifts located in The Lake District.


Tree Top Adventure for Two with Go Ape

The Lake District is home to a large number of adventure courses and outdoor activities, from gyll scrambling to wake boarding. Nevertheless, the high ropes course offered by Go Ape remains a firm favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. With obstacles, Tarzan swings, zip wires and spectacular views, a Go Ape Gift Voucher will put a smile on the face of your fun-loving friend or family member.

Find out more:

4x4 Adventure/Expedition with Kankku

Need a present for an adventurous thrill seeker? Well look no further. Kankku's off-road adventures are guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping, as well as show you The Lake District from a new angle. It doesn't matter if you're advanced, or an off-road driving beginner, individuals, groups or families can take the wheel and learn new skills as the experienced instructor guides you through The lakes on challenging terrain.

Find out more:


Spa Day Package with Oxley's

The Lake District isn't all about outdoor adventure. Spa packages are ideal for that friend or family member who deserves to be pampered in an oasis of clam. Oxley's Spa in Ambleside offers a range of indulgent and relaxing packages to choose from like the 'TLC Spa Day' package or the 'Madagascan Dream' package.

Find out more:

Champagne Picnic Cruise for Two on The National Trust Steam Yacht Gondola

Want to give a romantic gift this Christmas? Enjoy a full lake cruise on Coniston Water with a delicious hamper and a bottle of Champagne with your special other. Expect a delightful day out with stunning scenery and tasty treats (the Steam Yacht Gondola shall return to the lake in April 2017).

Find out more:

Eagle Experience Day/Walking with Wolves with Predator Experience

The perfect gift for an animal lover. Predator Experience gift vouchers allows you to get up close and personal with the predators of the UK. Whether you choose the 'Eagle Experience' or the 'Walking with Wolves Experience', an unforgettable day is guaranteed.

Find out more:

Gift Vouchers for The Cranleigh Boutique are now available. Simply call 015394 43293 to purchase or find out more.



Where to go for the best Christmas markets in Britain

Emily Hadfield - Thursday, December 08, 2016


'Tis the season for mulled wine and bratwurst! Britain's Christmas markets are becoming bigger and better, with most major cities hosting their own version of the winter market. Here is a selection of our favourites....




Bath – November 24th to December 11th

Charming and sizeable, this Christmas market boasts 170 stalls set amongst Bath's historical buildings. Visitors can spend hours exploring what's on offer, lots of which has been made in or supplied from the local area. On top of great shopping opportunities, the Bath Christmas Market offers an ice rink AND a glow-in-the-dark crazy golf course near The Royal Victoria Park.

Find out more:


Manchester – November 10th to December 16th

For a duration of five weeks, Manchester hosts their annual award winning Christmas Market which winds its way through the city's most striking streets and squares (including Albert square and St Ann's Square). Inspired by the spectacular markets in Europe, visitors will be greeted by an array of delicious international food, drinks and carefully crafted gifts.

Find our more:


London – various dates

Naturally London makes an appearance on this list. With a number of Christmas markets taking place in the capital, visitors can take their pick. For a more traditional European-style market, head for the Southbank Centre Winter Market (November 30th to January 3rd), where you will find wooden chalets filled with festive food, drinks and novelties running along the picturesque riverside. For a more extravagant (and somewhat busier) Christmas market experience, the place to be is Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland (it even has its own app!). Visitors can wonder freely around London's largest German-style market, indulge in the plentiful food and warming mulled wine, or purchase tickets for one the numerous attractions on offer. From skating around the UK's largest ice rink to watching an astounding circus show, there is something for everyone at Winter Wonderland.

Find out more:


Edinburgh – November 19th to January 7th

Those visiting the Christmas markets in Edinburgh can choose to meander around the traditional European Christmas Market located in East Princes St Gardens, or, Edinburgh's Scottish Market (ends December 24th) which promotes the best locally-sourced food and drinks.

Find out more:


Birmingham – November 24th to December 29th

So. many. Sausages. Birmingham is home to the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria, and the amount of stalls offering Bratwurst (selling by the half metre) is a telling sign. A heaven for food-lovers, this long stretching market is the ideal place to indulge in fresh pretzels, candied nuts, mulled wine and hot chocolate. Visitors can also expect a range of traditional gifts, handmade decorations, toys, jewellery and more.

Find out more:


...Windermere? December 10th to December 11th

I admit, the Windermere Christmas Market is really an unexpected addition to this list. Make no mistake, this market could potentially be the greatest festive market ever to grace the planet; however, 2016 is in fact its debut year, and Windermere is somewhat smaller than the cities mentioned above. Nevertheless, this brand new venture is a particularly exciting prospect for the little town of Windermere, with promises of over forty local produce stalls, live music and street entertainment, with festivities to continue into the evening in the bars and pubs of Windermere.

Find out more:






Something to mull over...

Emily Hadfield - Thursday, December 01, 2016

  2. It's that time of year where Mulled Wine (or Glühwein in German and Austrian) makes its annual appearance on seasonal menus and at social gatherings (everyone has at least one really organised friend who makes homemade mulled wine putting everyone else to shame), but how and where did this tradition begin?






Once again we can thank the Romans for yet another glorious invention (perhaps not as practical as the roads, but equally as important). Originating in the 2nd century, the Romans would heat their wine to help them through the cold winters. As they caused chaos over the next century by conquering much of the continent, their preference for mulled wine in the winter also spread across their empire and trading nations. Popularity for this warming drink continued to increase throughout the middle ages but with the added twist of spices, as this was thought to prevent sickness (good call), and natural sweeteners to improve the flavour.


The next peak in popularity for mulled wine was in the 1890s when Glögg (a Swedish variation of mulled wine) became largely associated with Christmas in Sweden , and eventually every wine merchant in the country had their own version and recipe. Before too long, bottles were being distributed throughout Europe, and the almost forgotten mulled wine was reinvented and brought back to the market and public consciousness. In decades to follow, mulled wine became a world phenomenon with nations creating their own recipes and cooking methods.


As we approach the holidays, mulled wine remains a delicious Christmas tradition, sharing the same status as the mince pie and figgy pudding. Chin chin.


For mulled wine in The Lake District, visit The Fizzy Tarté. See their full Winter Menu HERE


What to do when it's wet in The Lakes

Emily Hadfield - Thursday, November 24, 2016











So you're visiting The Lake District and the weather has turned out to be somewhat disappointing (a situation one should be prepared for when visiting this part of the world!) However, this certainly does not mean your mini-break to the beautiful National Park has to disappointing too. The Lake District is home to a number of highly enjoyable activities which are wet weather appropriate (but don’t neglect to pack your umbrella).




  • The Puzzling Place – Keswick
  • Access your inner child at The Puzzling Place in Keswick. The Puzzling Place is an attraction based on the 'world of illusion' which will expose the flaws in your visual system. You'll be shaking your head in disbelief as you discover the interactive exhibits and optical illusions. The Puzzling Place appeals to all ages with favourites including the 'Anti-gravity Room and the 'Hologram Gallery'.
  • Learn more:
  • Zeffirellis - Ambleside
  • Home to a cinema, restaurant, cafe & jazz bar, Zefferellis is so much more than your standard cinema. Although all visitors have the option of simply seeing a film in the comfortable cinema theatres offered by Zefferellis, you can also take advantage of the great value Movie Deal. The deal includes a two course meal at the popular Zefferellis or Fellinis restaurant and a cinema ticket for your choice of film showing in any of their 3 cinema venues. Booking in advance is advised. Jazz fan? The Jazz Bar at Zefferellis hosts live music from an array of acts most Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Learn more:
  • The Keswick Climbing Wall – Keswick
  • Perhaps you were hoping to explore the fells of The Lake District and the weather has forced you to reconsider your plans? The Keswick Climbing Wall is the ideal rainy day choice for the more active among us. Choose from indoor climbing or indoor archery for a day of physical fun in the heart of The Lake District.
  • Learn more:
  • The World of Beatrix Potter/Old Laundry Theatre – Bowness-on-Windermere
  • The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction is not just for children! Learn more about the world-famous author as well as her stories and illustrations. The attraction includes a short introductory film and an exhibition which brings her wonderful characters to life. If this doesn't sound all that appealing, The Old Laundry Theatre is also located within the same building. Small and intimate, The Old Laundry Theatre boasts a lively season of professional drama, classical music, folk, comedy, lectures and film.
  • Learn more: -
  • Lakeland – Windermere
  • A 'shopping experience' rather than the average kitchen technology shop. The flagship store located in Windermere is an impressive 12,200 sq. foot, including a state of the art kitchen where you can watch product demonstrations and try out the newest and most innovative kitchenware products on the market. The large, bright and inviting shop is home to thousands kitchen products, general home solutions and seasonal essentials and gifts. You'll be astounded at the ingenious technology and the sheer number of products that will be make you question how you survived in the kitchen all this time without them!
  • Learn more:
  • Local pubs & cafes
  • When the weather is miserable there is often nothing better than a steaming hot chocolate in a quaint cafe, or a hearty lunch in a cosy pub with a crackling log fire...
  • Such establishments are plentiful and very popular in the Lake District (undoubtedly helped by our rather impressive annual rainfall), and every preference is catered for.
  • For a traditional country pub (think low ceilings, wooden beams, warming fires) try The Masons Arms or The Hole In't Wall. If you would prefer a bustling and intimate cafe, our recommendations include Homeground Coffee + Kitchen in Windermere and Brew Brothers in Kendal.



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