Updated: Jun 17
Before Thom and I met I don’t think I had ever been to the Lake District, which is crazy as I only live a couple of hours away from this stunning scenery. For the last 7 years though we have gone to the Lake District every October with Thom’s family. It is something I always look forward to and in 2013 it is actually where Thom proposed so will always be special to us. (You can read our engagement story here)
The holiday starts for me when we pack up the car. I love a road trip and a long drive, this is probably because I am never the one that does the driving so Thom may have a different view of this experience. It takes about 2 and a half hours to get to where we stay which is Bowness-on-Windermere but I am always amazed at how short a distance you need to drive outside of Newcastle before you are presented with the stunning, picturesque scenery of rural Northumberland.
Our little tradition each year is stopping in the small town of Ambleside for lunch before we get to Bowness. The best memory I have of Ambleside was 2 years ago when I was walking up the street and someone caught my eye walking out of the newsagents. It was none other than Jason Orange from Take That, well ex-Take That at this point. I obviously freaked out and excitedly told Thom, who didn’t recognize him. Thom encouraged me to speak to him and I asked for a photo to which he said NO! I did understand though as I am sure he wanted to keep a low profile. Jason walked up the street with us, chatting and asking about our holiday and where we were staying. He was so nice. When we said goodbye I was shaking, I have been a Take That fan since I was 8 years old and could not believe I had just met my 5th favorite member of the band!
Our accommodation for the last 7 years has been beautiful self-catering lodges which are part of Storrs Hall Hotel, right on the edge of lake Windermere and near to Bowness. You can get into the center of Bowness from Storrs Hall by car in 5 minutes and about 20 minutes if you walk.
The lodges themselves give you everything you need, I wouldn’t say they are luxury lodges but they are warm, cozy and have all the facilities you need for a self-catering weekend break. I love the little touches they do like putting a pint of milk in the fridge and leaving a basket of hot chocolate, biscuits and marshmallows when you first arrive. I love the location of the lodges as its amazing for walks just around the grounds of the hotel. Lake Windermere is beautiful and I wanted to write this blog post to show the photographs I took the last time we were there (there are a lot of photos in this post!).
Storrs Hall itself is a grand hotel and I can only describe the inside as old-fashioned but in a good way if that makes sense. The hotel is amazing for afternoon tea, but I can only advise that because of reviews that I have heard. After 7 years I am yet to have any food in the actual hotel but I don’t care as the lodges are so cozy, especially at night or when the weather isn’t great.
As I mentioned the grounds of Storrs Hall are beautiful and great for having an early morning walk. The temple is my favorite part (where Thom proposed) it looks very medieval with its stone walkway pushing out into the lake.
The Town of Bowness-on-Windermere is beautiful. It has everything you need for a weekend or week away. There are some lovely restaurants and pubs. For a pub lunch my biggest recommendation is The Albert as they do the most amazing Sunday dinners. For a restaurant meal it would have to be Bodega, which is a Spanish tapas restaurant. You will also get the best fish and chips from Vinegar Jones.
The one thing I absolutely love about Bowness is The World of Beatrix Potter Museum, even though it took 4 years of going to Bowness before Thom actually said we could go! It is great to experience at least once, you walk through all the stories and the figures are all life size, you can even go into Mr. Mcgregor’s garden! The museum is perfect if you have kids and as I am actually just a big kid I can vouch for that fact as it makes you feel like you are in the stories. It’s been 3 years since we went so another look around this year might be on the cards.
There are lots of ways to explore the actual lake as well, you can either hire a boat and cruise around yourself (motor power or rowing power) or you can take the larger option and go on one of the lake cruises. There is a few to choose from and they go all around Lake Windemere.
The shops are like Ambleside’s mainly focused around walkers and tourists but not in a cheesy gift shop kind of way. The town of Windermere is only a 20-minute walk (uphill) from Bowness and this has a few more shops including cute shabby-chic home accessory shops and a huge Lakeland.
This time, we actually drove a little further out and went to Kendal which is a lot bigger and has all the high street shops and chain restaurants of a normal town centre but keeping that cute lake district feel. Am I the only person to refer to the lake district as cute?
As you can see above, be very careful if you feed the birds as they are bat-shit crazy!
Thom, his family and I love going on a big walk through the hills, I am definitely not a rambler and usually have the wrong type of shoes or coat on but I still love it. You don’t have to go on any scary hikes to see some beautiful sights just make sure you know where you are going if you haven’t walked somewhere before and you have your phone on you. This is the walk we usually do, last October I was able to get some lovely shots.
It is always sad when it is time to go home, Thom and I are such creatures of habit that every year after we have checked out we go to a cafe called Monties, it is actually a B&B with a public cafe attached to it. Monties does the most amazing breakfast and if you go you need to try the Full Montie. As its the end of October that we go we try to visit the garden centre that is just outside of Bowness as it usually has it’s Christmas grotto set up. It is huge and full of lights and decorations which sets me up nicely for the start of November and the run-up to the festive season.
Another place Thom recently took me to on the way home is Castlerigg Stone Circle. Surrounded by mountains it is made up of 38 large stones and is 5000 years old. I never thought a load of old stones could be so beautiful but it is a very calming place to visit.
I am so excited to go back this October, and the most amazing part is I will be going with my husband (that sounds so weird).
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