Five hours: In the grand scheme of things, not a very long time. But a lot can be done in five hours if you apply yourself, and you can get to some pretty interesting places, with Greek islands, parts of the Middle East and Africa, and even Moscow within flying time of the UK. You can also get to some less exotic, but in my view – far more beautiful places closer to home. As a surprise for Steph’s birthday we took a five hour drive North to the Lake District, staying at Another Place, a new sister hotel to Cornwall’s wonderful Watergate Bay (you can read why we fell in love with it on our visit a couple of years ago here).
England can be wet and windy at the best of times, and going in January I knew that good weather would be a long shot, but the great thing about the way the team run these hotels is that you feel completely at home and there’s plenty to do, even if you are rained in. The hotel’s a stones throw from Ullswater and our generously sized room had a stunning view of the lake.
A little explore uncovered a lovely sitting room with a great selection of books and games, and gorgeous open fire, a nice casual bar and lounge area, a formal dining area for breakfast and dinner, and a very inviting looking spa with pool, traditional hot tub, sauna and treatment rooms. We were also delighted to see jars full of teacakes dotted all over the place!
We couldn’t resist wandering down to the lake shore, which had a selection of canoes and paddleboards which would have been irresistible had it been a tad warmer. As it was we went on foot along the waterfront and took in the snow-peaked mountains in the background, until dusk set in all too early and it was time for us to enjoy our first meal.
We went casual for the first night, starting with a game of scrabble before eating at the lounge bar and restaurant which offered a good range of options. We had an odd mix of dishes; olives and calamari to start, and a curry and burger for mains; all delicious and it left us unable to move much further than the sofa that night.
The next day we went for a good walk, working up an appetite for the incredible breakfast we knew was awaiting us, and we weren’t disappointed! There’s a full range of cooked English breakfast options to pick from, along with waffles and a selection of healthier cereals, fruits, yoghurts and juices. We were on holiday though so had the lot! And very good it was too.
Next up was spa time and the perfect end to a thoroughly relaxing massage was a good soak in the outdoor hot tub whilst taking in the view.
We ventured over to Keswick to have a bit of a look around but it chucked it down the whole time so we retreated back to the warmth and comfort of our wonderful hotel for a quick board game and what Steph describes as the best hot chocolate she’s ever had. She hasn’t stopped going on about it three weeks later!
Dinner that evening was at the more formal dining room (not stuffily formal, just a bit more so than the lounge). The menu was less pubby and much more restaurant. We shared a great beetroot salad and pigs cheek with black pudding to start, and then Steph went for a steak (standard!) and I had a really good halloumi dish with fondant potatoes. We had no room left for more food, but had sorbet and cheese & biscuits anyway!
The next day was perfectly sunny and so we went for one last walk around the Lake before saying farewell to our lovely hotel.
To work off the indulgence of the last few days we decided to do a proper hike. We did a very scenic 20 minute drive to Haweswater and walked up into the surrounding mountains, which in places were still heavy with snow.
Steph had a bad back so we couldn’t risk going quite as off piste as I would have liked, but we still managed to get a bit lost and had to get very wet feet to cross a couple of rivers to get back on track.
If like Steph, you’ve not been to this part of the world before, it really is the most stunning place and you can’t fail to get a good pic! We had a great trip and will be back, but for now I’ll let the photos do the talking!