I’ve heard it said many times that we often don’t appreciate what is on our doorstep. How I reflected on those very words on a recent trip to the Lake District.
I am the first to admit that when it comes to breaks, mini or whatever, I tend to think sun, sun and more sun.
So, as we set off in the pouring rain for an overnight stay, I wasn’t expecting too much to be honest.
It had been quite some time since I’d driven this far up the M6 but, as my companion was a seasoned ‘Laker’, the navigating at least was in safe hands.
Despite the rain plummeting down, the journey up to Windermere was very pleasant – and astonishingly swift.
I really had forgotten how close to home this beautiful landscape is.
We arrived in Bowness too early to book into our hotel so decided to lunch in town. There were plenty of tempting places and we had a lovely meal at The Pig, which had a roaring coalburner going so we soon dried off.
By the time we came out, the rain had stopped so we had a nice walk around the shops.
Our hotel for the night, Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel and Restaurant, was just a short drive from the centre, although we didn’t know it at the time and got a bit lost.
Lindeth Howe was originally built as a summer home for a rich mill owner in the 1800s – and the driveway up to the house was certainly impressive.
However splendid it was, the child in me was more interested in the fact that Beatrix Potter actually not only stayed here and illustrated some of her famous stories in situ but also bought the house for her mother to live in after the death of her father.
Lindeth is exactly what the name says, a country house – absolutely steeped in English charm inside and out.
A lovely welcome was followed by a brief tour of the premises – enough to dismiss previous gloom of the rain.
The cosy lounges overlooking the glorious gardens provide a peaceful view of the stunning surroundings.
Even on the rainiest of days you can sit beside a roaring fire and admire the view or read a book.
The decor throughout is an eclectic mix of old and new, paying homage to Beatrix Potter in many subtle ways without being too garish.
The fabulous lounge carpet, for instance, with a wonderful woodland theme, was just awesome like the many carefully placed photographs and drawings.
The hotel also boasts many little nooks and crannies, like the carefully placed reading areas and a very comfortable bar area.
Our room, on the ground floor, was spotless and included a tasteful wet room worthy of any boutique hotel.
After dropping our luggage, we wasted no time in heading out to explore the beautiful grounds and found a path down to the road which led us to the Lake – literally minutes away
Lindeth boasts a fantastic two AA rosette restaurant, including a children’s high tea menu, which is served between 5pm and 6.30pm.
Booking is advisable as it is open to the general public.
We were there on a weekend so it was quite busy.
But that was definitely not reflected in the relaxed atmosphere.
The selection of locally produced food is excellent, making the task of choosing what to eat difficult.
Service was swift and very pleasant and the servings more than ample – but we both managed to work our way through three fabulous courses before relaxing in the cosy snug.
Choosing what to eat was just as bad at breakfast where, besides a vast buffet, we were also offered a good selection of cooked food.
Lindeth Howe is ideally placed for seasoned hikers or sightseers wanting to explore what the Lakes has to offer.
There were plenty of overseas visitors during our brief stay and it is clearly the kind of place that once you’ve stayed the pull to return time and time again stays with you.
Blackwell Arts and Craft House is very close by for those seeking a bit of culture and a short stroll by the Lake takes you back into town where there are shops and galleries galore as well as the Lake cruises and attractions.
The rain returned on day two but failed to dampened our spirits.
We’d been joined by my companion’s family – including two young children and we were all excited as we boarded the cruise for a tour of the islands.
Town was very busy, despite the weather, and car parks were packed which necessitated our visitor moving the car at least once during the afternoon.
We’d taken the walking route so it wasn’t an issue.
However, the atmosphere was charming and it was easy to see why people fall in love with the Lakes and return regularly.
Windermere, and Bowness in particular, has so much to offer a weekend definitely isn’t enough and I have already planned my next visit. I don’t intend to leave so long this time.