Lake District review: The perfect staycation for the whole family11/23/2020
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There’s a very good reason why William Wordsworth's famous poem: “I wandered lonely as a cloud, that floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils,” is etched into English literature history.
It was inspired by the Lake District and his writings helped to put The Lakes – designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty – on the tourist map in the 19th century. The stunning landscapes have not escaped the attention of pop star Taylor Swift either as there’s a song titled The Lakes that pays homage to Wordsworth and Lake Windermere on her new album Folklore.
The rugged mountains and vast lakes also provide an outdoor playground for families of all ages. So if you wish to have a classic Swallows and Amazons (the 2016 film starring Rafe Spall and Kelly Macdonald was filmed in Coniston and Derwentwater) outdoorsy adventure – then the Lakes are perfect.
Our advice? Parents have a G&T or a Keswick Gold beer ready at the end of the day and a comfy sofa to flop on. You'll need it!
Where to stay in the Lake District
There's nothing quite like being in the middle of nowhere, where ducklings come and meet you for breakfast and you can enjoy a glass of champagne in a hot tub without interruption. You can do this if you stay at one of the ‘Luxury Lodges at Whitbarrow’ located in the heart of the heart of Lake District National Park with Lake Ullswater and Keswick around ten miles away.
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Whitbarrow is home to a collection of a hundred self-catering lodges, cottages – many converted from the original stone farm buildings – as well as new stylish apartments. Taking out the hassle of dealing with possible flight cancellations, luggage restrictions or pre-flight COVID tests, a stay at one of the Luxury Lodges makes for a stress-free holiday.
And if the Lake District doesn’t suit your holiday plans – then you can also choose between Luxury Lodges’ three other self-catering resorts, Clowance and Burn Coastal Resorts in Cornwall and the Dylan Coastal Resort in Carmenthenshire in Wales. With more and more people having to work from home during lockdown, Luxury Lodges are finding that people are booking in for extending stays and using the properties to remote work, and with high-speed fibre optic Wi-Fi it’s probably far better than your home Wi-Fi!
At Whitbarrow, OK! checked into Troutbeck, a contemporary-styled cottage with three bedrooms including bunk beds and an outdoor hot tub. In the grounds, you’ll find an outdoor play area, crazy golf and a pitch and putt course. Troutbeck has a well-equipped kitchen but if you don’t want to cook you can order a takeaway (we loved the pizzas) from the on site Eden Café Bar. If the weather is miserable then there’s an indoor heated pool and a games room with table tennis and pool table. During these Covid times, OK! had to book in a slot for the pool but at the end of our session everything was thoroughly cleaned before the next family arrived.
Luxury Lodges also has put in place additional safety and hygiene measures including implementing stringent COVID cleaning protocols with specialist housekeeping teams and also contactless check-in procedures and cashless payments so that visitors can rest assured that everything is is being done to make their stay as safe as possible.
What to do in the Lake District
The Lake District is well known for its breath-taking mountains criss crossed with walking trails with Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, a challenging hike. OK! couldn’t persuade our teenagers to scale these lofty heights but after plying them with some chips we did get them to walk the seven-mile scenic clifftop path – part of the Cumbrian Coastal Way – that connect St Bees headland and Whitehaven, a historic harbour town.
On the way you pass by the RSPB Nature Reserve, with its large seabird colony, and the St Bees Lighthouse that sits on the most westerly point of Northern England. The teenagers did, however, love some of the adrenaline-pumping activities we signed up for including hiring electric bikes, a quad biking expedition and a sunset kayak tour on Derwentwater, which ended with us all jumping 30ft off a bridge into the water.
We hit more heights scrambling through the trees at Go Ape in Grizedale Forest and firing down the zip wire at the end. But nothing beat Ghyll (ravine) Scrambling for which you're kitted up head to toe in a wetsuit, boots, helmet and life jacket. You clamber around natural rock chutes, sliding into deep pools of icy water and jumping from waterfalls. Utterly terrifying but exhilarating all at the same time! Luckily our capable guide Lee, from Keswick Adventures, managed to get us all back to shore safe and sound, albeit with some very big bruises!
What to eat in the Lake District
There are some great places to eat and drink in Keswick. The famous Cow Pie at The George Hotel, the oldest pub in town, was definitely worth the trip. Other notable places to eat include The Sizzling Stone, where chunks of meat are cooked on a hot lava stone in front of you, Wild Strawberry for savoury and sweet crepes (make sure you try the one with chocolate, marshmallows and digestives) and The Bistro at The Lake Distillery, where you can also sign up for a whisky tour.
A good place to buy local delicacies to – Cumberland sausage, Kendal mint cake and Grasmere gingerbread – is at Keswick’s twice weekly market. It's a good job you do a lot of exercise in the Lakes because you have plenty to burn off in a week there!
How to get there?
Luxury Lodges at Whitbarrow in the Lake District offers 100 one, two and three-bedroom lodges and apartments that sleep up to eight people. A two-night stay at Troutbeck Cottage costs £944 whilst three nights at the super child friendly The Den costs £844. For more info visit www.luxurylodges.com
For more details on kayaking or ghyll scrambling visit keswickadventures.co.uk, tree canopy & ziplining tour visit, goape.co.uk/locations/grizedale and for local tourism visitcumbria.com or visitlakedistrict.com
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