Cumbria’s Lake District National Park is a popular all-year holiday destination for walkers, food-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Windermere (and it’s touristy Bowness-on-Windermere) is perhaps the most visited town in this super-sized park, as the entry door lined with cute cobbled streets, cosy cafes and restaurants, ‘The World of Beatrix Potter’ museum and the magnificent Lake Windermere itself.
For years now, I’ve been visiting this part of the Lake District, with my partner, my friends and with work Christmas parties – and each time it feels like the perfect escape – and a well-earned treat.
Did you know? Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England and stretches a whopping 11 miles in length and a mile wide. With this comes the belief by many that a lake monster (similar to the one in Loch Ness, Scotland) lives in the lake. And what is it called? – ‘Bownessie’! What else?
I’ve visited Windermere in all seasons, but I have a favourite. As fantastic as it is to hire a boat and set sail around Lake Windermere or to enjoy a pint of real ale in one of its many beer gardens on a sunny Summer’s day, in my humble opinion, nothing quite beats the magic of Windermere in the Winter time!
For starters, the town sparkles with shop windows full of the festivities, the pubs entice you in with their roaring fires – and, well, there’s nothing quite like a crisp, wintery walk through forest and lakeside, soaking up the stillness and scenery (wrapped up in a very warm coat).
It’s easy to feel far removed from the stresses and strains of normal life and yet, Windermere is easier to get to than you’d think – served by its own train station that is reached easily from anywhere else in the country.
It’s little wonder that in a place so popular with tourists, Windermere is home to many a stunning hotel, keen to impress.
One such hotel is the Victorian ‘Langdale Chase’, found nestled off the road between Windermere and the nearby Ambleside. The hotel dates back to 1890 and is steeped in history.
During December, the Old Hall is decorated from floor to ceiling, with a huge Christmas Tree standing proudly in the centre, pretty garlands wrapped over the old oak fireplace and Christmas carols piped from its beams. When it’s cold outside, there really is no better place to relax, get in a festive mood and enjoy a cheeky tipple.
It would be remiss of me not to mention just how amazing the food is at the Langdale Chase! If you do choose to stay, be sure to book into the restaurant for an evening meal fit for a king (or queen) and enjoy the views of Lake Windermere whilst feasting on something wonderful. Breakfast is served here too – a sure fire way to start your day off perfectly!
If you feel the need to treat yourself (or you have brilliant parents who phone the hotel ahead of your stay and treat you first), then you must book in for afternoon tea. Relax, unwind and eat copious amount of cake! Who can resist?
Of course, you don’t have to be resident to enjoy this…but it helps!
Windermere and Bowness is a great place to base yourself when exploring more of the Lake District. Within quick reach are the towns of Ambleside and Grasmere. The former is extremely popular with hikers and walkers – and the latter is famous for possibly the tiniest gingerbread shop in the country!
If all that sounds good to you (and why wouldn’t it), then what are you hesitating for? Windermere and all it’s wonder awaits you!
If you want to read more about the Lake District, visit my blog ‘Keswick’.