Travel

Lovely Lake Windermere

A view of Lake Windermere from Bowness

Last year I spent a lovely, sunny Spring week in the Lake District on a press trip. It wasn’t somewhere I knew much about or had previously had any real desire to visit but I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to visit again one day. Here is the piece I wrote for the travel pages of the Post:

AS the tiny red motorboat sputtered its way across the vast expanse of Lake Windermere ,it was hard to believe we were only a few hours away from Nottingham.

Maybe it was the overpowering petrol fumes from our rather unsophisticated mode of transport, or perhaps the unseasonably warm sunshine had gone to my head, but it was one of those moments where you really appreciate how lucky you are to live in the UK.

Having never been to the Lake District before, I had no idea what to expect. But it certainly wasn’t the scene before us – the searing sunshine, green pines and sparkling blue water were more akin to the Mediterranean than the north-west of England.

The town of Bowness, our base for the week, did not have quite the same feel but offered all you would expect from a British summer holiday – fish and chips, tacky souvenirs and more ice cream shops than I’d ever seen in one place.

It’s the perfect place for a family day out, with attractions including the Beatrix Potter Museum and numerous boat trips launching from its pier.

Another view of the beautiful Lake Windermere

There’s also the option of hiring your own little red boat like ours but the town itself was probably our least favourite part of the lakes.

We preferred to lose ourselves in the wild surroundings, enjoying the peace and isolation of the nearby fells.

Sturdy walking boots and comfortable clothing are a must for anyone planning to venture out and about, as I discovered to my detriment after attempting to climb a fell in jeans!

There is no shortage of leaflets and books available outlining the best walking routes from Bowness and we opted for an eight-mile route that took us through the nearby village of Troutbeck and up the 484m-high Wansfell Pike – a tough climb but worth it for the stunning views.

The view from the top of Wansfell Pike

The walk ended in Ambleside, where we were able to enjoy an early-evening pint before taking the lazy way out and catching the bus back to Bowness.

Our hotel, the Fayrer Garden House Hotel, was around 15 minutes’ walk from the centre of Bowness but felt a world away from the hustle and bustle of the town.

The walk back took us along the lake shore, where the only noises to be heard were the occasional seagull and the jangling of yachts in the breeze.

The hotel was the perfect place to hole up after a long day’s walking . Its cosy furnishings and welcoming staff made it feel more like someone’s home than a hotel.

We visited for my 30th birthday and it was the ideal place to spend a few relaxing days.

Service was spot-on and the hotel’s popularity was evident from the many guests we encountered who said they returned year after year.

Our room was spacious and clean and had a great view of the lake.

It also had a whirlpool bath, which would have been nice had it not made so much noise that any attempt to relax in peace was pretty much impossible.

On our first night, we ate dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, which boasts panoramic views of the lake and a menu worthy of any high-end eaterie.

We both opted for guinea fowl for our main course and enjoyed deliciously decadent desserts.

The only down side was the slight lack of atmosphere in the restaurant.

Despite being busy with diners, it was very quiet and we opted to head out and explore the nightlife in Bowness – it’s limited, but then who wants to go out hiking with a hangover?

The next day, we decided to catch a cruise from Bowness to Lakeside, on the southern end of the lake.

There’s not much there except lots of other tourists and some very overpriced cafes. But there is a motoring museum, which kept my other half happy for the best part of a morning.

As we journeyed back to Bowness on the boat, soaking up the scenery and sun once more, we both vowed that this would not be our last trip to the lakes and were already planning which of them to visit next.

Having taken 30 years to discover the place, I’m determined to make up for lost time.

Prices for a standard room at the Fayrer Garden House Hotel start from £72 per person per night. For more details, see http://www.fayrergarden.com or call the hotel on 01539 488 195

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