The Lakes … not just for walkers!
The non-walkers guide to enjoying the Lakes
People are often surprised when I say I am going holidaying in the Lake District. Most people imagine that involves parading around in a pair of walking boots, waterproof trousers and climbing hills and mountains. I can 100% declare that I shall not be climbing anything apart from the stairs to bed! The last time I attempted any mountain climbing was during my A level Geography residential week away which involved climbing Cat Bells. My old teacher had no sympathy for me as I pretty much cried the whole way up (and down). It was pure torture. In summary after this trip I dropped A level Geography, it just wasn’t for me.
On a positive note the Lake District holds so many amazing memories for me. I have been enjoying family holidays here since I was a child on the Langdale Estate, near Elterwater and Chapel Stile. My family used to own a timeshare here and we used to visit every new year week and also the odd summer week too.
I still feel the same way I did as a kid when I drive into the main gates onto the estate. The lodges haven’t changed much apart from updated décor, the bottle green kitchens replaced with shiny new cream ones and the worn maroon red sofas updated to brown. The lodges still have the same nostalgic smell when you walk in, it really is like my second home and coming back here with my own family makes it feel really special.
Of course the surroundings of the estate have moved with the times and in the last few years they have added a super snazzy new hotel Brimstone for adults only which I hope to visit as a treat soon. They have just completed a fantastic luxury spa expansion project…I am dying to have a nosey in there.
Langdale ticks all the boxes for a week in the UK. Comfortable accommodation, swimming pool, spa, restaurants, bars and easy access to walks (if you’re that way inclined).
You can eat at the newly added ‘Stove’ restaurant which serves anything from a la carte to wood fired pizzas, grills and sharing platters, you can also have the same menu as a take away which is delivered straight to your lodge door while you relax, switch off and drink prosecco. Stove have been having some teething problems since their opening, but I have been ensured these issues have been ironed out, so we look forward to returning soon to try out the updated menu.
The estate is beautifully quiet and peaceful, surrounded by ducks, squirrels and lots of other wildlife to keep you company while relaxing on your balcony. My 6 year old son especially enjoys feeding the ducks over our balcony, it’s the small simple things in life that really do give us the greatest pleasures.
There is a selection of wooden built lodges from 1-3 bedrooms (which all include a pull down double bed in the lounge) so can sleep 4-8 people. Admittedly they are rather pricey (if you are not a time share owner) however a top tip if you’re booking a lodge for a week, wait until 2 weeks before and the owners will drop the prices online so you can often save a few hundred quid if you can be patient enough.
For those who do like walking…there a various walks that start right outside the estate, the most popular short walk which takes you down to Skelwith Bridge and the lovely Chesters Café by the river which serves imaginative vegetarian only cuisine and the most AMAZING selection of cakes. A well-deserved treat at the end of the walk…and then you can burn the cake calories off on the way back.
The other walk is a little longer, more rocky, hilly and picturesque BUT there is also the added bonus of 2 pub stops on route ‘The Eltermere Inn’ and the ‘Three Shires’…so another nice incentive to get your walking boots on. Last time I attempted this walk I wore ugg boots on a boiling hot day. The thing that kept me motivated was the pub half way round!
Things to do, places to see…
Tweedies is great for lunch
World famous Grasmere Gingerbread shop – selling the real deal as well as other ginger inspired goods.
Barneys Jigsaw shop – which stocks over 8,000 jigsaws plus they keep 22,000 in their house! We have a nice tradition buy a jigsaw everytime we go.
Dove cottage where William Wordsworth wrote some of his greatest poetry.
Take the ferry from Ambleside to Bowness, then mooch round the shops, lunch is good at the The Angel Inn and with small children a look round the Beatrix Potter museum – it is expensive but worth a visit if you have never been before.
There is a great little cinema in Ambleside which only seats about 50 and is always very quiet, it’s like having your own private viewing.
Lots of nice shops in Ambleside as well as tea rooms for a good cake stop or a nice glass or fizz in one of the many traditional pubs.
Brockhole visitor centre – on the way to Bowness. You can do the high ropes and tree top nets adventure for smaller children, there is also a great play park. Make sure you book in advance for the tree activities.
South Lakes Safari Zoo is approx. 25 miles which is a great place for day out. A fantastic selection of animals to see.
The Lakes Distillery is also 25 miles away if you fancy a run out. You can see ‘behind the scenes’ of the heat, the smell and the buzz of England’s largest award-winning whisky distillery. There are various tours and tastings that you can pre book including (for real Whisky enthusiasts) a ‘Stillman Masterclass’. There is a also a fabulous Bistro which serves ‘tea, cake and everything in between’. Headed up by renowned North East chef Terry Laybourne MBE, the menu looks very appealing. I have heard some great reviews about the Bistro and I look forward to visiting next time we venture to the Lakes.
Good places to eat nearby…
Drunken Duck Inn – great for lunch or dinner (15 min drive from Langdale).
Eltermere Inn – 10 minute walk.
Wainwrights – part of the Langdale estate, they serve hearty portions of traditional grub, famous for their lamb shoulder dish. They also have their own smoke house. This is a 15 minute walk from the estate, perfect distance for small children and it passes a lovely area for throwing stones.
Britannia – 2 minute walk out of the estate. Booking recommended for dinner.
L’enclume – 2 Michelin starred restaurant in Cartmel if wanting a real treat.
We left feeling, full of food and drink, fully refreshed and I can safely say I didn’t wear any walking boots that week!!