An increasing amount of cyclists of all ages and abilities visit Windermere and Bowness year on year. The area has seen a huge boost in cycle friendly routes and the updating of others to make them more user friendly ad safe.
Greater marketing has been done by Cumbria Tourism the GoLakes Travel programme and the local businesses in the area to encourage cycling. Cycling around this region is great for all, with fewer cars on the road, less congestion, less pollution and it’s a great way to stay fit and explore the Lake District too.
A huge bonus has been the launch of the bike boat service from Brockhole to Bark Barn enabling cyclists to cut out the busy A591 road to reach the western shore of Lake Windermere. Cyclists can them return to Bowness on the car ferry. This services operates weekends from 27 May to 16 July and daily from 22 July to 3 September. Explore the western shore by bike or ride a circular route from Brockhole and combine it with the bike buses to broaden the adventure even further. To book tickets and for the timetable visit https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/cruises-fares/bike-boat/
A handy location for bike hire now is from Brockhole, the Lake District National Park Visitor Centre being when the bike boat departs from. Bikes for adults and children can be hired along with trailers and tag alongs and the all important helmets and puncture repair kits. With each hire is a ticket for the bike boat and this is an excellent route to do with children. It is also a nice, flat route for adults with trailers! Visit http://www.brockhole.co.uk/attractions/bike-hire/ for more details.
In and around Lake Windermere are some excellent cyclist friendly and family friendly hotels. The Newby Bridge Hotel overlooking Lake Windermere where private leisure facilities include an indoor pool, ten person ‘Tylo’ steam room and spa pool are perfect for post ride relaxation and rejuvenation. The hotel has a ;large, off road car park great for loading and unloading bikes and the choice of either relaxed bar or restaurant to dine In. Cycle directly from the hotel on a network of paths or head off from Lakeside Pier down Lake Windermere.
Visit http://www.newbybridgehotel.co.uk for more details and to book online (book direct for best prices but also a free £10 to spend during the stay on food and drink).
Ambleside and Windermere will be awash with wetsuits on the weekend of June 10 – 12 2016. This is the weekend of the annual Great North Swim, an extremely exciting event for any open swimmer but also for spectators as hundreds of people watch as the competitors take to the water.
The Great North Swim is Europe’s biggest open water swimming event attracting over 10,000 participants. First held on Lake Windermere in 2008 with swimmers totally around 2000, it has grown as an event quite considerably over the years. This year is particularly exciting with the addition of a 10km swim due to popular demand and definitely shows how open water swimming is growing as a sport. Choose from half mile, 1 and 2 miles swims as well as 5km and the 10km so there are challenges to suit all abilities.
With the 10,000+ swimmers, their friends and family as well as other spectators, Low Wood where the swim base is set along with Windermere and Ambleside are going to be buzzing with a great atmosphere. What a setting, view and location for such an event.
For spectators, Ambleside is the ideal place to stay being able to walk to Low Wood. Rothay Garth Bed & Breakfast in Ambleside is a good tip. Very good value and a private car park. Visit http://www.rothay-garth.co.uk/ for more details.
More details on the Great North Swim can be found via http://www.greatrun.org/great-swim/great-north-swim
Cycling has been one of the biggest surges in sport popularity in recent years. Even before Sir Bradley Wiggins triumphs, the number of cyclists in the UK has been increasing year on year whether it be for commuting purposes, health benefits or just pure enjoyment. Now with another UK Tour de France winner, Chris Froome and the amazing achievements of the Team GB cyclists at the Olympics especially at London 2012 and subsequent championships, it really can be said that cycling is the new golf!
The Lake District and Cumbria has long been a popular place for both road cyclists and mountain bikers. Such varied terrain and some of the best cycling roads in the UK it’s no wonder it is a mecca for cyclists. The Tour of Britain over the recent years fully confirmed this with a record number of spectators both local and from afar watching the stunning yet challenging terrain Cumbria and the Lake District offer. Look out for another, sure to be, exciting stage through Cumbria in 2016, Stage 2 – Carlisle to Kendal.
The region isn’t just for pro cyclists, the Lake District is a haven for leisure cyclists. Sky Ride Local bike rides were launched in the Lake District, the first National Park in the UK to do so. Previously, the Sky Ride initiative was only held in cities and big towns. Thanks to the GoLakes Travel project, funded by the Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Cumbria County Council, Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Tourism, Sky Ride Local was a success in the Lake District and as such British Cycling has given great praise to the Lake District.
Routes in and around the Langdale Valley have proven very popular for Sky Ride Local with plenty of uptake. The area in and around the valley has everything from challenging gradients to routes around scenic tarns and of course, simply stunning vistas wherever you look. Langdale businesses both support and encourage cycling in the area. It is one of the best ways in which to enjoy the Langdale Valley whilst being an environmentally friendly way in which to get from A to B. Brimstone Hotel, the luxury Lake District hotel on the Langdale Estate both encourage cyclists to stay and ride and their spa makes for a handy place for relaxation if you’ve pushed it that little bit too hard! If it’s really been a tough ride for those staying in one of the Brimstone suites, order room service and dine on the private balcony!
A leading luxury holiday cottage agency in the Lake District has added a new, luxury Gold Award property to their expanding portfolio.
Purchased by the current owners in 2015, this 2 bedroom garden apartment within a former grand Victorian gentleman’s country house has been completed renovated and refurbished providing luxury holiday accommodation for up to 4 people. Set within extensive, private grounds, the apartment has already been awarded one of the highest accolades in the industry, a Visit England 4 Star Gold Award. Garth Cottage provides a new level of luxury holiday let accommodation in Keswick, an area already popular for self catering guests.
Although Keswick and its surrounding fells are dramatic and stunning, the town is extremely busy and for those wishing to get away from it all, being so close to the hustle and bustle is not always idea. Garth Cottage is located near Applethwaite, just outside of Keswick town yet within easy reach of Bssenthwaite, Derwentwater, Whinlatter Forest and especially for walking up England’s sixth highest fell and one of the most famous in the Lake District, Skiddaw which is no surprise given the location of “Underskiddaw”.
But it the physical views from the actual apartment and grounds that seal the deal for this brand new holiday let and why it should be a must booking during 2016. We’re talking a vista made up of some of the Lake District’s most walked fells such as Cat Bell, High Craggs, Causey Pike and Grizedale Pike. Just imagine sitting in the garden, glass of wine in one hand and Wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Northern Fells in the other.
For all the images and information as well as availability and to book, visit https://www.lakeland-cottage-company.co.uk/lake-district-cottage/garth_cottage/ including helpful and insightful details on where to eat and activities when staying at Garth Cottage, Keswick by the team at The Lakeland Cottage Company.
If an experience of a lifetime of a safari tour in any one of the magical locations in the country of Tanzania, Africa wasn’t enough, A Tent With A View Safaris have launched a tour to surpass it.
Taking place between August 29th and September 5th the Amazing annular Solar Eclipse 2016 Safari Tour will enable travellers to enjoy the ultimate in Tanzania safari tour within the UNESCO Word Heritage Site of Selous Game Reserve in South Tanzania as well as the stunning island of Zanzibar but in the middle of this watch one of the great spectacles from earth, an annular solar eclipse.
The exact date of the next annular solar eclipse is Thursday September 1st 2016 and it is when the moon is a new moon, is near a lunar node, the earth, moon and sun are perfectly aligned in a straight line and the moon is at its apogee.
The path of the eclipse changes each occurrence. The September 2016 eclipse path spans part of the South Atlantic, into Gabon in Africa, Congo before heading into Tanzania and northern Madagascar before ending in the Indian Ocean.
It Tanzania and specifically over the Selous Game Reserve that the greatest eclipse will be in view as well as for the greatest duration. Of course any location to witness this spectacle will be amazing but for it to be within the giant skies of Tanzania in 2016, creates even more excitement and makes this special safari tour truly one in a lifetime.
The full itinerary for this 6 days and 7 nights tour can be found here, http://www.tentwithaview.com/tours/south-tanzania/amazing-annular-solar-eclipse-2016-safari-tour which includes the night before the eclipse in the brand new Safari butterfly accommodation underneath the stars.
The new suites being constructed by and next to the Applegarth Villa Hotel in Windermere are going full steam ahead for the opening on December 1st.
The bathrooms in the top floor suites are in, plastering throughout is complete along with the local slate roofs on the Garden Suites and the sand stone is all ready to be sand blasted on the corners and terrace edges. All the furniture will be arriving shortly along with painting team. Val the interior designer has been working alongside Alan & Suzanne the owners day and night with no detail being forgotten in each of the 7 individually decorated suites, 4 AV Suites, 2 Garden Suites and 1 Duplex.
But these new rooms aren’t just going to look stylish, they are also going to have stylish gadgets and extras. Firstly throughout the suites, their bathrooms and the entrance lobby will be lutron lighting with touch panel controls allowing guests to set the mood. The lighting choices and locations have been carefully planned for the guests depending on where in the suite they are and what they are doing such as reading spots above the beds and fixtures specifically for when watching the Smart TV’s.
Furthermore, Smart Tv’s will stream buffer free with superfast fibre optic broadband offering massive speeds of 80 mb download and 20 mb upload and which will also increase the speed of any devices guests bring such as iphones, ipads and laptops.
Bookings are being taken and already a significant number of nights have been booked including many over the Christmas and New Year period. The Garden Suites are dog friendly and accessible and are proving extremely popular.
It’s British Food Fortnight celebrating everything that is amazing about British food and there’s a lot to celebrate.
And it couldn’t be celebrated at a better time of the year either as Britain knows a thing or two about autumnal fair.
Autumn Lamb and especially Cumbrian autumn lamb (well this is a Cumbria based blog after all!) has been maturing and growing in flavour yet still has the tenderness of spring lamb.
Vegetables, the UK is root veg heaven growing tonnes each year from carrots to turnips, parsnips, beetroot and celeriac. Above ground we then can do pumpkins at this time of the year really well, leeks and iron packed savoy cabbage. Winter vegetable stews and soups and roast accompaniments are beyond plentiful.
Above all, the hotels and restaurants in Cumbria and the Lake District know how to do these seasonal offerings justice and no more so than when it comes to Cumbria’s finest product, lamb. Lamb producers, stockists and restaurateurs the Westmorland Family support British Food each and every day but there’s even more reason to shout from the rooftops about the British produce during British Food Fortnight.
Book an autumn break at the Tebay Services Hotel near Penrith and sample some of their own reared lamb from the family farm down the road in Orton, relax and unwind with some Cumbrian ale before finishing off the evening with a Cumbrian liquor such as Kin Toffee Vodka. Rooms start from just £108 based on 2 sharing including a full Cumbrian breakfast (when booking 7 days or more in advance). Contact 01539 624351 or visit http://www.westmorlandhotel.com for more details.
Cuckoo Brow Inn has gone one step further in providing services to their customers and guests. Walk through the doors to find a blackboard, basically a mini tourist information centre.
On the blackboard there’s tips on walks including first walks to do with little ones, events in the area, the car ferry times a list of useful websites for even more Lake District info such as golakes.co.uk.
In one of the quieter areas of the Lake District National Park yet on the doorstep to so many of the busier ones, Cuckoo Brow Inn has always welcomed everyone, 2 and 4 legged and provided everything from a place to charge an electric bike to food and drink and somewhere to lay the head after a day on the fells with the 14 bedroom B&B rooms, a one stop shop some may say.
The new autumn menu is full of Cuckoo Brow favourites using local, seasonal produce. Sit down beside the log fire or the wood burner with a pint of Cumbria Legendary Ale brewed just down the road in Hawkshead with a Steak & Flakebridge Cheese Pie, dissect the days walk and look forward to another day of autumn walking, cruise on Lake Windermere or visit to Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter.
October is definitely alive and well with plenty to see and do. The Cuckoo Brow Inn and Lake District B&B can be booked online via http://www.cuckoobrow.co.uk or via telephone on 015394 43425.
We doubt many would have anticipated how popular afternoon tea has become in the UK. It has gone from being something mostly enjoyed by the older generation or at levels most cannot afford such as at The Ritz and The Savoy to a national obsession. From cafes to hotels, even restaurant and bars, afternoon tea can be booked and served and really, it’s not a surprise it is so popular. This meal is made up of delicious cakes, scones, pastries and bakes as well as the nation’s favourite, sandwiches which us Brit’s love so much!
It’s time of the day most definitely adds to the special occasion nature of this dining experience. Mid afternoon, not lunchtime, not dinner, just sitting perfectly in the middle. It’s not a time most people dine in the week or even weekends. For that special occasion, celebration or when on holiday, the afternoon tea is the ultimate treat.
The Lake District and Cumbria has always been a firm lover of an afternoon tea but now there’s even more choice and most definitely some of the finest cakes and sandwiches around freshly baked and prepared using Cumbria’s plentiful larder.
Roundthorn Country House Hotel in Penrith now offer afternoon teas and they have been a real hit since the launch. Having the views to look out on over The Eden Valley makes it an ideal location for a special treat and afternoon tea gift cards are available, a top tip for Christmas gifts this year. They even do a fizz filled one too with a glass of sparkling wine. Afternoon tea gift card options start from £14.75 per person and can be order online here, http://www.roundthorn.co.uk/product/afternoon-tea-gift-card/.
To stay in style with luxurious fixtures, fittings and extras isn’t just the domain of hotels now in the tourism accommodation sector in Cumbria. Bed and breakfasts are now stepping up to the luxury mark offering guests 5 star quality accommodation just on a smaller scale to hotels.
Yes, bed and breakfasts and guest houses aren’t for everyone with many people being put off by B&B’s of years ago where it felt like staying in someone’s spare room. How things have changed in recent years and although most do not have a bar or a restaurant, this gives guests the chance to explore the area. In Cumbria and especially in strong foodie areas such as Cartmel and Grange over Sands, there is a staggering amount of restaurants, cafes and gastro pubs.
In Grange over Sands, Bay Villa has taken this approach from the moment it opened its doors in April 2014. It’s hard to believe from the size and standard of the rooms, the location, the view and the breakfast that this bed and breakfast has just 3 rooms. But as with so much in the world, it’s all about quality not quantity. Having 3 rooms means individual attention can be given to all guests, the owners put in little extras such as sherry and chocolates into the rooms and breakfast is served in there too enabling the guests to fully relax. Prices start from a very reasonable £125 per room per night and can be booked online via http://www.bayvilla.net or by telephone on 015395 36793
Don’t just take our word for it about Bowfell being one of the best Lake District fells but also the great Alfred Wainwright and Outdoors Magic, the leading outdoors magazine. Wainwright in fact ranked it “amongst the best half dozen” of the Lake District fells.
Let’s talk a bit out Bowfell first. Located in the Southern Fells region in Wainwright’s pictorial guides, it is the 6th highest peak in the Lake District at a height of 2959 feet. It is a highly impressive and striking rocky fell with nine gullies.
It can be attacked from various start points offering different routes, experiences and vistas and can also be joined onto Crinkle Crags and Esk Pike, both two fantastic fells in their own right. For an even bigger challenge then Bowfell leads onto Great End which gives access to Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak. This route is a hefty yet extremely rewarding 14 miles enabling walkers to see two very distinctive sides of the Lake District and in fact, views of a huge percentage of the National Park.
But Bowfell can more than entertain on its own and from Great Langdale is a great starting point in which the full spectacle and long ridge of this fell can be enjoyed. It is a busy fell so the quieter autumn into winter months are ideal and when Cumbria can often be granted with the clearest days of any during the year.
As recommended by Outdoors Magic as well as ourselves, Brimstone Luxury Hotel at Great Langdale is the ultimate Stay in Style accommodation when doing the Bowfell walk. It’s high end luxury so not an everyday place to but for a real treat and the chance to borrow Berghaus gear from their extensive Berghaus Bootroom, not to mention the free snacks and drinks in the Reading Room, it offers plenty of extras for your money. Book 30 days or more in advance and receive 20% off the room rate too. For more information visit http://www.brimstonehotel.co.uk
It is of no surprise that the luxury holidays cottages in Coniston, Garden House, has a stunning garden. Garden House sleeps 4 is a 4 Star Gold property and is located at the north eastern edge of Coniston Water just 1 mile from Coniston village.
But back to the garden which is lovely lawned landscape with views galore of the surrounding fells and all set within the Townson Ground Estate. Sit out at any time of the year but autumn really is special in this region.
As October nears there are some great deals for short breaks and full weeks for the remaining dates in October. Coniston is one of the stand out places to visit in the Lake District during autumn being so heavily tree covered and lined with so many species that turn every autumnal shade.
What to do:
Well there’s never a shortage of walk and cycle routes of course and then the steam yacht gondola operators until the end of the month.
November is still exciting in Coniston and a great time to stay as it’s the Coniston Power Boats Record week from the 2 until the 6. Garden House is available for 4 night midweek short breaks starting on a Monday until the Friday.
To book and find out more about Garden House holiday cottage in Coniston. Visit, https://www.lakeland-cottage-company.co.uk/lake-district-cottage/garden_house/
The Langdale Hotel & Spa have launched a super stylish offer for enjoyment during autumn and what a what a lovely time to visit the Lake District it is.
The leaves are just turning and the landscape is changing from glorious green to the browns, reds, oranges and deep yellows so quintessentially autumnal. For foodies then the September and October larder is full of produce perfect for making hearty, warming dishes and staying in the Lake District means a real log fire is never far away.
Crunch through the leaves and bracken, have a leisurely stroll or enjoy the views of the autumnal landscape from the fell tops, this time of the year is a delight in the Lakes. Head back to the Langdale Hotel, visit the spa before relaxing with a drink in at Hobson’s, The Terrace or Wainwright’s Inn. The new autumn menus are all up and running in the four restaurants.
The unbe-leaf-able room rates this autumn start from £125 on a bed and breakfast basis for two sharing. Book direct for the best rates via http://www.langdale.co.uk or call 015394 37302.