Unmissable Ruskin Exhibition at Brantwood Coniston

As the reason why so many visit the Lake District, mountains were an obsession of John Ruskin, one of England’s most prominent visionaries of the 19th Century. His interests and subsequent knowledge spanned an unbelievable range of topics but in the Lake District, it is about his writing and painting that he most known for.

Brantwood, the home John Ruskin lived in for the last 28 years of his life, is a stunning Lakeland property over looking Coniston Water and the fells beyond. The house is set in 250 acres of private estate with equally as magnificent gardens. The house and gardens themselves are worth the visit alone but there are special events, courses and exhibitions on all year round.

coniston holiday cottages

An unmissable exhibition has come to Brantwood; The Power of the hills: John Ruskin’s Mountains. The Lake District fells were both an inspiration and an obsession which fuelled his vision that the power of art could transform the lives of people oppressed. His mountain watercolours in show are of the Lake District and the Alps of which he drew and painted these subjects all of his life.
Coniston of course gave so much inspiration and being able to visit this exhibition in the artists home is certain to excite.

Coniston is a stunning place to visit too with some of the highest fells in the Lake District, Coniston Water in all its gloriousness and some excellent places to stay. The Lakeland Cottage Company have a large selection of luxury holiday cottages and houses in Coniston, some with private lake shore access. Special discounts can be February and March too. Visit https://www.lakeland-cottage-company.co.uk/lake-district-cottages/coniston_collection for more details.

The exhibition is on until April 27th 2017, more information can be found here, http://www.brantwood.org.uk/exhibition/power-hills-john-ruskin-mountains/

Love in the Lake District, only 4 weeks away!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with it falling on a Tuesday this year, those love birds out there can book a romantic break away either the weekend before, the weekend after or both!
The Lake District and Cumbria, sort of officially and most definitely growing in recognition, as being the most romantic county in the UK due to the landscape, the poetry and artist heritage and of course, a plentiful choice of romantic places to stay. In fact, in the recent nationwide Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Awards, 5 Lake District hotels were named in the top 25.

But with such high profile mentions of the Lake District and Cumbria being romantic it is inevitable accommodation over Valentine’s weekend is booking up fast. Everyone has a different idea in terms of the location for a Valentine’s break. Some may have had memorable, past breaks in areas such as Ambleside and Windermere and like the lake activities and the choice of fell walks.

bay villa b&b grange over sands

Others may prefer a slightly quieter place to stay and that is where a small town such as Grange over sand fits in just perfectly. Everything is within reach including the honeypot areas of Windermere (the southern head of Lake Windermere is just 7 miles away) and Ambleside yet a far more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere can be enjoyed. Visit Holker Hall and have a walk around the rounds, take a trip to nearby Cartmel, a haven for couples, or walk along the prom and take in the fresh see air with uninterrupted views of Morecambe Bay.

With a choice of places to drink and dine in Grange itself and in nearby Cartmel, whether it’s a formal meal and dressing up or a cosy pub meal, there’s something for everyone. Looking at accommodation and the luxury B&B Bay Villa on Main Street has one room remaining for the Valentine’s weekend, Friday 13th and Saturday 14th with some extra special bits included. The special romantic getaway includes breakfast in your room at a time to suit with the essential Valentine’s extras of Champagne, chocolates and flowers. The price is £300 for the 2 nights and is bookable via http://www.bayvilla.net or by telephoning 015395 36793.

Give the gift of love in the Lake District this Valentine’s!

The answer to the corporate dinner dilemma

Whether it’s for a mass function and trying to accommodate everyone’s taste to a small corporate dinner knowing such high profile attendees will be scrutinising every detail, finding the right location with the right room and facilities is a mammoth task. All this is to be considered before deciding on the menu.

Corporate dinners, banqueting and functions are organised for so many reasons. It could be a company’s gathering of staff, a way to meet a number of different business associates through networking but on a more relaxed, social level or it could be a small, intimate guest list to discuss. But what they have in common is the need for privacy for any of these corporate dinner requirements.

banqueting venue surrey
Having a private room with private bar and entrance is ideal and what the Brooklands Hotel in Surrey have created for corporate dinner guests and functions. With a room accommodating up to 132 guests to a choice of small rooms for even the highest profile business leaders, the hotel offers discrete dining and facilities at all levels with top class food to match.

Brooklands Hotel banqueting venue in Surrey has a range of budget options and menus through to different themes and even wine tasting and cocktail making masterclasses, great for team bonding and to add something just that little bit extra to an evening to really impress corporate guests.

Sleek and stylish, the Brooklands Hotel occupies a fantastic location within leafy Surrey which is easy to travel to by train, car or plane being just 17 miles from Heathrow. The site offers peace and quiet as well as views of the iconic Brooklands motor racing circuit now home to the exciting Mercedes-Benz World UK.

For more information on banqueting menus and packages and for full details of the Brooklands Hotel in Surrey, visit http://www.brooklandshotelsurrey.com/.

Stay warm this winter at Brimstone Hotel in the Lake District

What better place than the Lake District for getting away from it all enjoying a spot of luxury before the madness of Christmas.

It’s the time to treat each other but still enjoy the outdoors and some fresh air. September and October are stunning months to visit the Lake District. As with the onset of spring and the highly anticipated sea of the daffodils, the same excitement is evident for witnessing the landscape transforming into the autumn wonderland of burnt sienna, vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. Dewy mornings, crunchy bracken and comforting dusky early evenings are what autumn is all about and should be taken advantage of before the winter months.

brimstone luxury lake district hotel
Brimstone Hotel at Langdale has just the tonic for enjoying winter at its best. Cosy up in one of the Brimstone Hotel suites yet have the fresh air of a private balcony. Head out straight from the front door to walking and cycling routes. Feeling a bit nippy then head to the Berghaus Bootroom where guests have the chance to borrow the latest gear whatever the weather. Retire to The Reading Room post walk, recuperate with a glass of wine or real ale and some homemade snacks, all complimentary, before heading back to the suite to relax in style in one of the luxury baths.
A few paces take guests to he delights of Stove, the new restaurant on the Langdale Estate. Dine overlooking the waterwheel or in the secluded wine room. Alternatively choose in-room dining if you can’t pull youself away from the beautiful suites. Breakfast too can be served in room (or on the balcony as so many love) or at Stove.

Top Tip
Suites start from £240 when booked 30 days or more in advance saving 20% and can only be booked via the Brimstone Lake District Hotel website.

Magic and Sparkle at the Windermere Christmas Lights Weekend

What better than getting into the Christmas spirit and enjoying a Lake District weekend away at the same time? Get cosy and warm and watch some spectacular Christmas light switch on events in the Lake District.

Saturday 3rd December 2016 is the date for your diary. The date for the switch on of the Windermere and Bowness lights and as always, it is far more than just flicking a switch. Starting at the Maryholme centre next to The Catholic Church with a Christmas craft fair along with Santa in his grotto from 10.30am until 1.30pm. Onto the afternoon and more festivities with local choirs singing throughout the town.

christmas windermere lake district

Santa then leaves the train station on his float with his reindeer before magically switching on the lights at 5pm and going on to Queens Park with a celebratory fireworks display. The event including asking Santa to be present along with his reindeer and the fireworks is organised by the Windermere, Ambleside & District Round Table. The members of WADRT do a fantastic job raising money for local charities and good causes so keep an eye out for any opportunity to donate when attending any part of the Christmas lights switch on.

So if there’s ever a weekend this winter to come and visit Windermere, this is it. Furthermore, it is an excellent time to get away before Christmas and the shops in Windermere and Bowness are gift purchasing heaven especially the many Lake District and Cumbria independent retailers selling gifts galore such as jewellery, toiletries, homewares, food and beverages.

Where to stay?
The Newby Bridge Hotel on Lake Windermere located at the southern tip of the lake is currently being transformed into a Christmas winter wonderland and has some festive Christmas offers for weekend breaks during November and December. Visit http://www.newbybridgehotel.co.uk/ for more details.

Innovative Tanzania safari company showcasing at WTM London

Having spent over 20 years providing innovative Tanzania safari tours based at their own camps, A Tent With A View have now launched an innovative and new way to sleep, eat and drink when on tour being promoted at The Bush Rover Company.

A Bush Rover, an adapted Land Rover with, can transport safari travellers to the best vantage points in each of the parks providing the best and most intimate way to view the spectacular landscape and wildlife. Bush Rovers have been in operation for nearly 12 months now and have proved a real hit with guests. Meals are served by a private chef to the Land Rover suites which has solar power, a lounge, bed and even a bathroom complete with bath and running water.

bushrover tanzania safaris

World Travel Market London held this year between November 7th and 9th 2016 at ExCeL London is the leading global trade show for the travel industry. Any business working in or associated with the travel industry have the chance to exhibit or simply attend and it is often where forthcoming trends in tourism are incubated.

Stand AF301 will be the location of The Bush Rover Company and the drone video footage is set to turn heads. The dramatic aerial footage not only allows travel industry visitors to see the Bush Rover in situ but most importantly, the landscape and the wildlife habit this special type of accommodation is set amongst. In the words of the A Tent With A View “Some say it is the coolest invention in nomadic safaris since the camel. Some say it is the ultimate in bush chic with all the nuts and bolts practicalities to save the universe. All we know, is that we wouldn’t want to do a safari in any other way.

So put a date in your diary for WTM London if you’re not attending already the event and for more information on The Bush Rover Company visit http://www.bushrovertanzania.com/

The pinnacle of the outdoors at November’s Kendal Mountain Festival

Whoever used to think Cumbria and the Lake District went into shutdown in winter needs to think again. The whole region is now a 365 day a year destination for just a quick walking weekend or to attend nationally acclaimed festival such as the Kendal Mountain Festival.

In a history spanning now 16 years, Kendal Mountain Festival has grown in popularity and subsequently attracting higher profile and more famous speakers, exhibitors and special guests within the outdoor industry.

Starting on Thursday 17th November 2016 the 4 day festival is jammed packed full of films, events, culture and people about and from the world of adventure and the outdoors. Kendal on the edge of the Lake District (the adventure capital of the UK) is a very fitting venue and especially where the main events and films are being shown, at The Brewery Arts centre.

kendal mountain festival 2016

Thousands of visitors from around the world are due to land on this south Cumbrian town which is the UK’s largest gathering of enthusiasts and professionals. To sustain everyone through the epic festival adventure, Kendal is on hand to supply the demand perfectly!

Kendal is not just the location of the festival but also a lovely town in which to stay in. With a choice of places to eat and drink and sure to be a vibrant atmosphere during the 4 days, hotels and accommodation are booking up fast. There is still a limited amount of availability at the Riverside Hotel in Kendal. Great room rates, an onsite restaurant and bar and even leisure facilities. Booking direct means guest receive a £10 to spend in the hotel during the stay. For more information visit http://www.riversidekendal.co.uk/.

For all the programme details, event locations and travel information go to the KMF website here. http://www.mountainfest.co.uk/

Far Sawrey circular route via Coniston Water

Take in a combination of well known sights and locations with unspoilt ones on this 23 mile circular route.

Starting from Far Sawrey, the quiet village on the western side of Lake Windermere. Head south and see Lake Windermere in all its glory before heading slightly inland to the village of Graythwaite and onto Thwaite Head. The route then takes cyclists down into the beautiful Rusland Valley that many people don’t even know about. Tucked away between the southern end of Coniston water and Lake Windermere. Head further south to Oxen Park where a few gradients will be experienced but the views enough to keep you going. The route then heads north where the Coniston shoreline path is met and this takes cyclists all the way up the eastern side of Coniston Water and passes Brantwood, the period residence of John Ruskin. After leaving the Coniston water path, the route then heads to the pretty village of Hawkshead before heading to Esthwaite Water and yet enough lake side cycle way. The finish, back at Far Sawrey, is then within touching distance.

walking coniston lake district
There are plenty of places to stop along the way for refreshments and breathers including Rusland, Lowick and Hawkshead. The route is estimated at being a half day route but allow more, make allowances for extra stops and be aware later on in the year of sunset times, it goes very dark, very quickly in this part of the world!

Cycle friendly accommodation can be found at the Cuckoo Brow Inn at Far Sawrey and then also have an electric bike charging point. Rooms start from £111 but special rates and deals can be found during the off peak seasons.

Head east to Eden Cumbria for fabulous food this Christmas

With farming such a large industry over in the far east of Cumbria, it is natural that the produce is readily available when shopping over there too.

The independent shops and suppliers in areas such as Orton, Ravenstonedale and Sedbergh are all passionate about local produce and stock a variety of items from meats and cheeses to chutneys and cakes. Taking this into consideration and baring in the mind the time of year, this area of Cumbria is ideal for combining a short break with a shop for Christmas supplies, treats and goodies also gifts.

Orton is home to one of the largest farmers markets in Cumbria with monthly dates throughout the year. Held on the second Saturday of every month and the last one before Christmas being held on Saturday 10th December. The market includes crafts and other gifts as well as a plethora of food items both fresh and preserved all from withing 50 miles of the market and is described as “the best foodie day out in Cumbria”. It is a great chance to stock up for the festive season as most items will be able to be frozen. Brough also has a very good monthly market with their one before Christmas being on Saturday 17th December. 80% of the stalls come from within 25 miles of Brough, one comes from within less than a mile – as they say “you can’t get more local than that!”

tebay services hotel cumbria

For gifts then Sedbergh is great place to head for. It is England’s official book town and the community is involved heavily in these items from publishing to writing and selling. It has some lovely craft and gift shops too.

Then onto Ravenstonedale and to a spot of walking and a break from the shopping. Peace and tranquillity personified and where the Howgills can be tackled or the a more leisurely wander through the Smardale nature reserve.

Back to shopping though and food and accommodation combined at a hotel that makes a great base when exploring (and shopping) in this region, the Tebay Services Hotel. The hotel makes use of the Westmorland Family produce reared on their own farm in the bar and dinner menus and at breakfast. Rooms start from just £87 B&B. Finally and more food can be purchased from the Tebay Services farms shops on the same site where guests booking direct with the hotel receive a £10 voucher to spend there.

Half term late deals in Windermere and Bowness

Half term in just around the corner, less than 2 weeks away to be exact. Panic may have started to set in with the thought of “what to do???”, “where to go????”, “how are we going to entertain the kids for a week in winter???”.

One thing’s for sure, you’d better start thinking, looking into what’s on and if there’s anywhere to stay still available if you want a short break.

Choosing a location for a short break has to depend on what activities and things to do are available in the area when looking to take children of age. Windermere and Bowness are family friendly, 365 day destinations and there’s always plenty of adventures and things going on especially during a half term holiday. Look to Brockhole – the Lake District National Park Visitor Centre, Windermere Lake Cruises, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction and for a full list of what’s on throughout the whole week, visit the GoLakes website, http://www.golakes.co.uk/things-to-do/whats-on.aspx.

half tern lake district hotels
Luckily there are a small amount of half term late deals available at the family friendly Damson Dene Hotel near Bowness. With private leisure facilities on site, special family rooms and vast landscaped gardens to play in, it’s the ideal place to stay during half term.
And guests staying at Damson Dene Hotel can enjoy a flavour packed menu full of local produce in both The Heron View Restaurant and in The Damson Bar. Enjoy salads and sandwiches in the day in the bar as well as hot meals served all day into the evening. The Heron View Restaurant showcases the best of the local produce available on the doorstep from Lyth Valley Venison to Lake District smoked salmon and Cumbrian cheeses.

To view the last minute, late deal half term availability at Damson Dene Hotel near Bowness and Windermere visit www.damsondene.co.uk

Christmas in Cosmopolitan Cartmel

Imagine spending Christmas this year in the beautiful village of Cartmel? Cosmopolitan Cartmel is sure to make this extra special time of the year even more special.
Cartmel comes alive at Christmas and is a very popular place to spend the festive period with visitors and locals alike heading to the various pubs, eateries and shops in the village creating an exceptional atmosphere.

Being the culinary capital of Cumbria, Christmas will definitely not disappoint when it comes to food visitors can be certain of that. Most of the pubs and restaurants offer a pre-booked Christmas lunch including The Kings Arms, Royal Oak Inn and Cavendish Arms. There is also Rogan & Co, The restaurant at the Uplands Hotel as well as the new Ilex Brasserie at Holker Hall.

cartmel holiday cottages
Cartmel Village, Cartmel Village Christmas Pud and The Old Bank Hous 5 star holiday cottage

Some great walks can be found for Christmas morning too with one in particular that starts and ends at the racecourse. This easy 4.5 miles route is the ideal distance before lunch.
For accommodation then The Lakeland Cottage Company have a selection of luxury self catering cottages in the village and this year the cottages can be booked for a full week or on a short break basis. The beauty of self catering means leisurely lie-ins with no need to adhere to any set times yet the proximity of Cartmel village to most of the properties means everything required for Christmas is on the doorstep. View all of their cottages in Cartmel by clicking here.

If neither of you have purchased gifts for each other then Cartmel can again come to rescue as there are some delightful independent home, gift and fashion shops. All in all, the perfect place to spend Christmas.

A Lake District Christmas in Windermere

Going away for Christmas isn’t for everyone but I believe it is starting to become more popular.

Stress is often a common problem at Christmas time. From worrying about the cooking of Christmas day lunch to keeping peace between family members, the festive period can all too often spiral out of control into an event of dread. Then there is the run up to Christmas where work is more than likely busy, shops are fraught with shoppers and everyone is running around like a headless chicken.

So it isn’t too hard to understand why going away for Christmas is becoming more popular. It also makes sense as a time of the year to take a short break. Christmas and New Year gives 3 free days off for most and some firms shut completely down between Christmas and New Year.

lake district christmas breaks
But of course, the decision is where to go and in my eyes, the Lake District has it all as a destination for a Christmas break. It has literally, all the right ingredients! The scenery is spectacular, it is walking heaven (to walk off all those Christmas indulgences!), has stunning hotels to stay in and fabulous food. Areas such as Windermere are really accessible too and travelling can also be done to there by rail.
So why not make the most of time off at Christmas and more importantly, actually enjoy a relaxed Christmas this year and book a hotel break in Windermere.

Practically all the hotels in Windermere offer Christmas breaks including Applegarth Villa Hotel & Restaurant, http://www.lakesapplegarth.co.uk/special-breaks/lake-district-christmas-breaks