Art attractions in the Lake District

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Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House is situated in one of the UK’s most beautiful areas, the Lake District. Famous for its natural magnificence, Windermere is a favourite with cyclists, walkers and anyone who loves nature. Sometimes, though, the weather has other ideas about letting us explore the great outdoors – so we’ve compiled a few local art attractions that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness

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Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House was originally designed as a holiday home by architect Baillie Scott. It is a wonderful feat of architecture and is open to the public to explore. It also hosts arts exhibitions and events.

The World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness

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We all read The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck as children and this attraction quite literally brings Beatrix Potter’s characters to life. Perfect for adults and children alike, it makes a great day out for the whole family.

Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere

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This art studio has a gallery, bookshop and art shop, and is named after William Heaton Cooper, a celebrated Lake District artist. The studio is a must if you’d like to experience Lake District art up-close.

Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere

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A must-visit for poets, poetry readers and lovers of history, Dove Cottage was home to one of England’s most famous and best-loved poets, William Wordsworth. Explore the cottage, garden and museum for a glimpse into the life of this literary master.

Brantwood, Coniston

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Brantwood was home to John Ruskin, a writer and artist who completed thousands of watercolours and drawings over his lifetime. Brantwood house, garden and museum are together considered one of the most beautiful places in the Lake District – and we agree!

Enjoy a glimpse of a bygone era on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

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Cycling in the Lake District is the perfect way to enjoy the timelessly beautiful landscapes which remain one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations, but it’s also possible to combine your visit with a nostalgic trip on an authentic steam railway close to the shores of Lake Windermere.

Situated at the southern end of Windermere, the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway is a 3.2 mile long heritage railway which first opened in 1869. Now preserved and operated by a willing team of volunteers, the railway is the perfect way to step back in time and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era, while absorbing the picturesque views across the Leven Valley. With bikes allowed on-board, you can combine a leisurely cycle ride with a heritage steam train journey as you explore the local countryside and attractions.

After collecting your bike from the secure cycling shed at the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, a gentle 10 mile journey along the eastern shore of Lake Windermere will take you to Haverthwaite, where the station restaurant is the perfect place to break for a refreshing drink, light meal or even Railwayman’s Breakfast if you’ve worked up an appetite! You can also explore the steam and diesel locomotives parked in the engine shed or pick up some souvenirs for friends or family in the gift shop.

The 20 minute train journey will return you to Lakeside Pier at the southernmost tip of Lake Windermere, from where you can explore the local attractions, such as the Lakes Aquarium situated adjacent to the terminus, or resume your cycle ride back to your B and B in Windermere for some downtime at the end of an energetic day!

3 great ways to explore Windermere

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Keen walkers and cyclists have been flocking to Windermere for years to make the most of the jaw-dropping natural views on offer in the town. There are plenty more exciting ways to get to know this traditional town. Why not have a look at the top three alternative ways to explore Britain’s most scenic region?

By car

Travellers with an adventurous streak can really get stuck into the rugged Lake District landscape by taking an off-road driving tour. Whatever the weather or time of day, a 4×4 vehicle can take you on an exhilarating excursion on the unbeaten track, with breathtaking views of the mountainous scenery and vast lakes along the way.

By boat

A well known rat once said “there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Nowhere is this truer than in the Lake District. Treat yourself to a trip on the water to really experience what Windermere has to offer. Whether you’d like to try your hand at canoeing, unwind with a spot of fishing or simply sail through the stunning scenery, make sure you take to the Lakes during your stay.

On horseback

Nestled in the foothill of the Lakeland Fells, the vast, unspoiled scenery of Windermere is an idyllic place to take a horse or pony ride. There are a host of riding stables in the surrounding area. Suitable for riders of all ability, from brand new beginners to seasoned experts, horse riding in the Lake District is a peaceful and invigorating way to explore the natural landscape.

However you decide to discover England’s largest National Park, make sure you have a comfortable Lake District B&B to relax in after a long day of exploring. At Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House we offer luxury accommodation and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

See the Lake District that inspired Coleridge

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In the world of Romantic literature, the Lake District is immediately synonymous with the Lake Poets. One of the best-known of these, so-called as they all resided in the Lake District in the early nineteenth century, is Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Hawksmoor Guest House provides a comfortable base from which you can visit many places that inspired the writer of the poems ‘Kubla Khan’ and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.

For example, you can easily visit the town of Keswick – and, in particular, Greta Hall, where the poet lived from 1800 to 1804. The building is now Grade I listed, and still impressive today for its flush-panelled central double door and Venetian windows. Robert Southey later lived in Greta Hall as Poet Laureate.

Your Keswick visit could be followed with walking in the fells of the Lake District. Coleridge is recorded as the first person to have descended the mountain of Sca Fell through Broad Stand and to the narrow ridge of Mickledore. However, be warned that Broad Stand is an accident black spot that you should cross only with great care.

After lots of walking through beautiful rural scenery that has changed very little since Coleridge’s time, you can relax back at our comfy B and B in Windermere. That would be an ideal time to read poetry that Coleridge wrote during his life in the Lake District – including the poem ‘Dejection: An Ode’. There’s an undoubted literary beauty to holidays that you can enjoy from Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House.

Make the most of the May bank holidays

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The upcoming May bank holidays will hopefully see temperatures getting up towards the heights we want to see this summer and are the final long weekend opportunities that we all have for just over three months. How then, can you make the most of them? The answer: by simply visiting one of the most naturally beautiful areas of the UK here at Windermere.

The lake views and rolling hills are breathtaking and provide the perfect backdrop to a relaxed bank holiday getaway. Not that it needs to be relaxed though – there are plenty of great spots around the Lake District for hiking, biking or walking for those who love the outdoors and the chance to stay active.

The Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House is your perfect base for a bank holiday weekend’s worth of exploring and adventuring around the Lakes. We have a range of 12 beautifully furnished and fully en-suite guest rooms that all come with free wireless internet access to keep you connected to the world and a hearty full English breakfast in the morning to get you fuelled for the day.

For those who want to do their Windermere wandering on two wheels, we have a secure cycling shed and boot room to ensure that your gear is stored safely overnight and is ready to go as early as you are the next day.

After a day’s activity has worked up your appetite, our staff will be more than happy to point you in the direction of the best restaurants that the area has to offer; there are some amazing ones out there for you to discover.

Come and spend your May bank holiday weekend in one of the most spectacular locations in the UK!

Why the Lake District is a paradise for foodies!

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The Lakeland region is home to a vast range of organically grown produce and unique local dishes. Here are some items with a truly local history:

Cumberland Sausage

Presented in a coil shape, this sausage is made of pork (cut roughly), spices, pepper and herbs. There are lots of theories on the reasons behind the distinctive shape, with some saying it dates back to Elizabethan times.

Damsons

This fruit has been cultivated in Westmorland since the start of the 18th century. Part of the plum family, its unique flavour is due to cross-pollination with the wild sloe, and the Cumbrian climate. In the spring, you’ll see lots of white blossom from damson trees, which are harvested in early autumn. They flavour bread, chocolate, cheese, jams, pies – and there’s even a Damson Day Festival every April.

Grasmere Gingerbread

Created 160 years ago with a recipe that’s still secret, this unique product can be bought in the village where it was created by one Sarah Nelson.

Herdwick Lamb

These animals grow slowly because of the harsher climate on the higher fells of the Lakes, making the meat fuller-flavoured. This lamb is at its best during the first five months of the year.

Kendal Mint Cake

This famous sugar hit has sustained hikers for generations, giving a much needed energy boost when it is most needed. The stuff has even made it to the summit of Everest! Funnily enough, it was first created after an accident when a confectioner making mints found his mixture had grown cloudy. He poured it out, and a legend was born!

Rum Butter

Finally, rum butter (made with nutmeg and brown sugar) is another Lakeland treat, served traditionally to celebrate a new baby’s birth.

With so much regional flavour, if you’re a foodie, you’ll adore the Lakes! And whatever food’s your favourite, there’s probably a festival dedicated to it somewhere locally. Enjoy whatever tickles your fancy during your stay at the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House

Top 3 Restaurants in Windermere

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The Hawksmoor Lakeland Guesthouse is much loved by many returning guests, and not just for its award winning accommodation. There is so much to do around Hawksmoor, including eating out at some of the best restaurants in the area. We’ve listed our three favourites to make your stay even easier.

Hooked

If you like seafood, you’ll love Hooked. Their menu changes constantly to be in keeping with their very local fish supplier, but you can expect old favourites like calamari and fish cakes, scallops and sea bass, all cooked to perfection. They’re so popular that booking in advance is highly recommended, which you can do on their website at www.hookedwindermere.co.uk or by phone on 015394 48443.

The Golden Mountain

Not a fish fan? Delve into the Chinese cuisine with The Golden Mountain, they’re unbelievably popular with locals and tourists alike, offering everything you’d expect from a top notch Chinese Restaurant. People rate this restaurant highly for eating in and taking away so if you fancy food on the go, this is the place to start!

Cafe Italia

If you’re just after a light bite, Cafe Italia is the place for you. It’s one of the hottest coffee spots in Windermere and offers some cracking cake for your afternoon tea. However it’s no one trick pony, turn up after dark for some killer cocktails.

If you can’t wait to try our top three restaurants, come along and stay with us for a long weekend! Browse our available rooms at hawksmoor.com/rooms/ and book online in a flash. We look forward to meeting you.

Why the Lakes are perfect for mountain biking

Cycle and walks in the lake district

The Lakes almost seem to have been made for two-wheeled travel, with every kind of terrain available – from challenging routes to gentle country lanes. If you’re a committed mountain biker rather than a road cyclist, this part of the world won’t disappoint, whatever your skill level and experience. After all, it’s probably the only English region to offer real mountains! Whether you want steep climbs and technical challenges or just to spend a pleasant afternoon meandering off road with the children, the Lakes have it all.

You’ll also find purpose-built trails such as Whinlatter Forest, where the Altura Trail gives accomplished mountain bikers with strong off-road skills plenty to get their teeth into over the 19 km red-graded route. Stunning views 500 m above Keswick are among the rewards of this route, which also includes some challenging single track parts with rock features and jumps. This is also the site of British Cycling’s first UK-accredited training centre and so has professional guides and coaches.

You could also try places like Newlands Adventure Centre, or enjoy some instructed riding at River Deep Mountain High, which caters for experienced and novice off-roaders alike.

These are just some of the options available locally and you have the freedom to complete a guided ride, or make your own way with maps and route notes. You can also hire a bike or take your own.

It’s up to you how long you go biking for; it could be just for one day, a weekend, or you could get out on two wheels every day for a week or fortnight.

You’ll need somewhere to stay though! At the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, we offer a cycling friendly hotel in Windermere. We provide the kind of high quality Lake District B & B accommodation that is exactly what you need after a long day’s riding. Plus, with secure cycle storage, you’re welcome to bring your own bike if you wish.

Accessible trails in Windermere

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Holidays in the Lake District are all about enjoying the great outdoors. If you have limited mobility, use a wheelchair or carry youngsters in a pushchair, it can be challenging knowing which paths are easily accessible, without having to traverse stiles, steps or uneven ground. With a bit of forward planning, however, you can enjoy an active holiday without any difficulties.

Choose a hotel that is in the heart of the action with easy-access ground-floor accommodation. Here at the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, we offer four ground floor rooms with no steps from the car park.

There are currently over 40 ‘Miles without Styles’ trails across the Lake District, suitable for people with limited mobility, wheelchair users or families with pushchairs.

Windermere’s Western Shores route offers a smooth stone track with far-reaching views across to Bowness and the Troutbeck Hills. A five mile accessible trail begins at Ferry House and is also suitable for recumbent or hand-pedal bikes.

A shorter circular trail of just over one mile can be enjoyed around the waterfront area of Bowness and the shoreline of Cockshott Point. The route starts and ends at Glebe Road car park. A flat, surfaced path dotted with ample benches makes this accessible route a pleasure, with attractive views all round.

For breathtaking views across Windermere, the three mile trail that starts at Red Nab car park and ends at Wray Castle is ideal for anyone limited by mobility. It hugs the wooded shore of Windermere and brings you out at the tranquil Wray Castle.

Why experienced cyclers love the Grizedale Getaway

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At Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, we welcome cyclists with open arms and are known far and wide as a cyclist friendly hotel in Windermere. We love chatting to our guest about their cycling adventures, but one route that comes up again and again with experienced cyclists is the Grizedale Getaway, which offers a challenging trek yet rewarding scenery and attractions along the way.

This seven mile ride takes around three hours to complete, though many cyclists prefer to make a day of it and stop off regularly throughout the route. The ride starts at Grizedale Visitor Centre and works its way through the beautiful Grizedale Forest, passing Juniper Tarn along the way. You can expect to see some incredible views of Ambleside as you head towards Hawskead, which is the perfect spot for a rest and some refreshments.

Hawkshead is home to Beatrix Potter’s Gallery, so if you’re making this journey with kids we highly recommend you take them in to explore! Alternatively, there are pubs and cafes to drop into for a quick break; we love the Poppi Red cafe and their delicious homemade cakes.

After your break it’s onwards along the route, where you’ll pass Hawkshead Trout Farm, some lovely views of Esthwaite Water and cycle through woodlands and meadows before reaching Windermere and Ferry House, where you can board a ferry and enjoy a relaxing boat ride across to the other side of Windermere.

Fancy the Grizedale Getaway on your next visit to the Lake District? Bring your bike and give it a go! We have a secure cycling shed and boot room for our guests, and you’re bound to meet fellow cyclists to share stories of your Grizedale adventures with.

Windermere: the perfect place for extreme sports enthusiasts

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While many people book the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House for a spot of rest and relaxation, we have other visitors who head to the Lake District to make the most of the area’s great sporting activities. While cycling and walking are two of the most common options, many may not realise that the Windermere area is also the perfect place for a range of extreme sports to suit all ages, abilities and tastes.

Either bring your own equipment (we have a handy boot room that is ideal for storing wet and muddy gear) or hire it from one of the Lake District’s many extreme sports companies for your perfect thrilling break away. You’ll find a huge range of different activities to choose from – taking place on dry land, in the air and in the water – meaning that you can stick to what you already know or try something completely new.

Speak to Air Ventures (airventures.co.uk) to organise a paragliding trip, or Windermere-based Kankku (kankku.co.uk) for an amazing 4×4 off-road driving experience. Sky diving from 14,000 feet with Skydive Northwest (skydivenorthwest.co.uk) is a truly thrilling experience, while there are various companies offering hot air balloon trips over the lakes for those looking for something a little more sedate.

If you enjoy water-based activities, it’s possible to water-ski and wakeboard on Lake Windermere too – more information is available here (lakesactivities.co.uk).

For thrill-seekers, there’s no denying that the Lake District is a great place to visit – and with the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House handily located near Windermere, you’ll also find yourself with a comfortable, relaxing base from which to make the most of the area.

Windermere – the perfect Easter escape

Easter In Windermere

Easter is fast approaching, and is one of those few times a year that we actually have two bank holiday days running one after the other. The proximity of Good Friday and Easter Monday means that at the very least there is a long weekend free, and by using up just three leave days at work you can have a whole week to relax.

What better way to use that time than with a break in Windermere?

The Lake District in spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year to see the area and take in the great walks, hikes and bike rides that the area has to offer, as well as taking a tour of the lake by boat, and the Hawksmoor Guest House is your ideal base to do all of these things.

Located on Lake Road near no more than 10 minutes’ walk from the shoreline of Windermere, the Hawksmoor caters for young families and also has great facilities for those who really enjoy the great outdoors.

Our staff have extensive knowledge of the local walks and trails, so they can set you on the right track whether you are just looking for a gentle stroll or a more challenging hill climb. We also have a dedicated drying room for your outdoor gear so it will always be ready for the next day’s adventures as well as providing secure storage for your bike in our shed.

So whether you are a family looking for some relaxation time or a hiker looking for walks to conquer, make Windermere your choice; it is the perfect Easter escape.

March up to the Lakes for some great festivals!

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March is a great time to be up in the Lakes, with spring well and truly on the way and temperatures perfect for walking and cycling. With most of the month falling outside the main Easter holiday, you should find it a really cost-effective time of year for a relaxing break.

With Mother’s Day in the middle of the month, you could consider treating your Mum to a weekend enjoying some luxury B & B accommodation. At Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, we’re a B and B in Windermere offering a superb location and excellent walker and cyclist-friendly facilities.

Another reason March is a good time for a break in a bed and breakfast in Windermere is that there’s lots going on locally all month.

The following, for example, are all on locally and within a 45-minute drive:

• The World’s Original Marmalade Festival takes place near Ullswater from Feb 28 to March 1, featuring 15 separate categories of everyone’s favourite breakfast time treat.
• From Friday 6th to Sunday 17th March, Words by the Water Festival of Words and Ideas brings the excitement of live theatre and the freeing of the imagination to one of the UK’s loveliest regions.
• The sixth Kendal Festival of Food takes place on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th March, offering a superb celebration of all things comestible. Look forward to a full schedule of tastings, talks and demonstrations.

With so much going on, it’s a great time to visit our luxury B and B in Bowness-in-Windermere, and sample some of the best that the Lake District has to offer.

Ancient Historical Sites Around Windermere

Galava Roman Fort Ambleside

The Lake District is a treasure trove of history, as well as one of the most beautiful locations to visit in the world. Staying at the heart of this region means that you’re perfectly situated to access some of the finest lesser-known sites of ancient history in Britain. Here is a brief overview of a few of the places you can reach from a B and B in Windermere.

Roman Sites

The stone fortifications of the Roman fort Galava were built on the north bank of Lake Windermere in the 2nd century AD. Today, you can easily visit them from Ambleside, where the foundations of the main buildings still remain. Alternatively, a 9 mile journey east will bring you to the Hardknott Roman fort, once known as Mediobogdum. Here you’ll find more ruins from Emperor Hadrian’s time, including the foundations of a garrison headquarters building and a commandant’s house. Travelling a little further afield to Ravenglass offers the chance to visit the bath houses of the Roman fort Glanaventa, which was once home to over 1,000 soldiers, and remains one of the largest standing Roman structures in the UK.

Ancient British sites

Castlerigg Stone Circle Keswick

Just east of Keswick, you can find one of the oldest, and perhaps most dramatically situated, of Britain’s ancient wonders. Castlerigg stone circle was erected some time during the Neolithic period, and is surrounded by spectacular views of High Seat and Helvellyn.

For a great way to see these attractions, and many more, stay with us here at Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House in bowness, Windermere.

Our three favourite restaurants in Windermere

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As we don’t have a restaurant here at the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, we’re often asked by our guests if we can recommend some great local places to eat. Here in Windermere, at the heart of the Lake District, we’re surrounded by a wealth of local produce – as well as by fantastic chefs who know just how to use it. If you’re looking for a great place to eat in the local area, then wonder no more, as here are our top three:

For fine dining…

Those looking for something special should try Porto Restaurant (http://www.porto-restaurant.co.uk/) in Bowness-on-Windermere.. It’s an award-winning restaurant that prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients to produce a variety of freshly prepared dishes with a traditional twist. From venison haunch steaks to slow cooked belly of pork, you’ll be able to enjoy your meal in either the upstairs or downstairs dining room, or up on the heated roof terrace.

For seafood…

First opened in 2010, Hooked (http://www.hookedwindermere.co.uk/) specialises in locally sourced seafood prepared with a range of influences from all over the globe. The menu changes each day, depending on the day’s catch, but you’ll find plenty of fish and seafood dishes with Mediterranean, Australasian and South East Asian flavours.

For good pub grub…

Enjoy good quality pub grub in the oldest pub in Bowness when you visit the New Hall Inn (http://www.newhallinnbownessonwindermere.robinsonsbrewery.com/our-pub), also known as the Hole in’t Wall. You’ll enjoy good home-cooked meals (and decent portions), with a great range of cask ales available too.

How to follow the Countryside Code when you visit the Lake District

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We all remember learning about the Highway Code when we were at school, but the Countryside Code is just as important. It is there to protect visitors who aren’t used to the great outdoors, and to preserve the natural environment so we can continue to enjoy it for many years to come.

If you are planning a hiking or cycling trip to the Lake District, it’s a good idea to be aware of the Countryside Code and how you can follow it effectively.

1. Respect the environment

The Lake District is also home to a number of farms and agricultural land. Stick to public pathways and do not plan any walking or cycling routes which lead you across private land. Slow down if you spot any animals on the road, and give farmers plenty of space when they are herding or feeding their livestock.

2. Protect the environment

This means keeping your dogs under control and picking up after them on country roads or public picnic sites. Bring a few bags with you so that you can take all your rubbish away with you, and make sure you deposit your rubbish bags in the designated areas.

3. Enjoy the countryside

Stay safe by planning your routes before you set off and let someone know where you are going, and when you are getting back. If you are staying at a B and B in Windermere or nearby, your hosts should be able to advise you on known routes, local maps and incoming weather.

2015 – time to visit the Lakes!

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If you’ve vowed to see more of the UK in 2015, come and visit us at The Hawksmoor Guest House and discover the magic of the Lake District. There are still so many people in the UK that haven’t been to the Lakes despite their best intentions – opting for foreign city breaks and forgetting the beauty of Britain – are you one of them? If you love the great outdoors, fabulously fresh air and the most amazing scenery, it is the place to visit.

At Hawksmoor, we are perfectly positioned to facilitate your Lakes experience. Firstly we are situated in the heart of Windermere, where the hills and fells provide great walking and cycling routes for all ages and abilities. If you want to get on the lake you can do so in a canoe or kayak, or if you don’t fancy that exertion, simply take the ferry! You can enjoy a sailing dinner cruise aboard a stunning private yacht. If you prefer your meals on land, the Hideaway Restaurant, Hooked and Applegarth Villa all come highly recommended.

We’ll provide you with a hearty and locally sourced breakfast to fuel your day – whether that’s activity based or a more sedate and relaxed affair. When you’re all done for the day, come back to us for a relaxing soak in one of our luxury bathrooms.

So forget airports and busy city locations, come and join us at The Hawksmoor Hotel for your fabulous Lake District adventure.

Fun and fitness in the Lake District for 2015!

Cycle and walks in the lake district

As we begin a new year, thoughts turn to health and fitness for the months ahead. Whatever your fitness goals, training, workouts and leisure activities are greatly enhanced by spectacular surroundings.

That’s where the Lake District comes in: the beautiful Lake Windermere provides a stunning backdrop to outdoor pursuits. Whether you are a walker, runner or a cyclist, there are routes offering a variety of challenges, from gentle strolls to paths requiring more vigorous pedal power. A luxury bed and breakfast stay in Windermere is guaranteed to refresh and invigorate!

Walkers in the Lake District really are spoilt for choice. From relaxing waterside ambles to more stretching fell-top routes for experienced hikers, there is something for everyone.

Have you challenged yourself to a running race this year? Training needn’t grind to a halt during your Windermere break. Take the lakeside path from Bowness-on-Windermere to Ambleside at the top of the lake and back for an approximately 10 mile run, or try a back-forest route moving inland, to the east of the water. These variations in terrain give fantastic training opportunities.

Cycle tracks trail the lake, or can take you mountain biking through the forest – try Grizedale Forest for fun suited to all abilities.

Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House appreciates the requirements of those participating in outdoor activities – there’s a drying room, for example, so you don’t have to have damp or muddy sports clothes hanging about in your bedroom. The staff will provide local information, maps and suggestions, ensuring you enjoy a stimulating and energising experience in Windermere.

Put spring in your step with a Lakes break

Bluebells

With ideal walking and cycling weather, and so many signs of life everywhere, spring is the perfect time to take a break in the Lake District. As well as the longer days and warmer temperatures, the area is also quieter at this time of year, especially if you can avoid main school holidays like Easter.

And spring flowers, including gorgeous bluebells in local wooded areas, will be out in force.

There’s also lots going on. Keswick Film Festival is on between February 26 and March 1 2015, while Words by the Water takes place in the same area from March 6 to 15, and the Festival of Food is at Kendal on March 7 and 8. If jazz is your thing, Keswick Jazz Festival is on between May 7 and 10. Cumberland Ale Keswick Mountain Festival is held in mid-May, around Keswick

There are also various walking festivals taking place in the region in the spring, giving even more reason to head for the hills of Cumbria.

The Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, offering bed and breakfast in Windermere, makes the perfect base for your spring break to the Lake District, however you wish to spend your time.

We’re ideally placed for all the walking you can do, and our secure cycling shed means you’re more than welcome to bring your own machine if you want to get out on your bike.

So if you’re looking for a B and B in Windermere for next spring, talk to us before you do anything else.

A591 Windermere road improvements

A591 Windermere road

In order to get to the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, many people drive along the A591. This major road into Windermere is now set for an upgrade, with more than £2 million set aside.

Through early December, drop-in sessions were held so that members of the public could have their say and be involved in improvement planning and in making suggestions to be considered.

Access to Lake District B&B accommodation will be easier than ever once the upgrade goes ahead, with routes being improved for cars and for buses. Walkers and cyclists are also set to benefit from the improvement, making this beautiful part of the Lake District even easier to enjoy.

What will the upgrade offer?

With travel routes upgraded, access to tourist attractions in and around Windermere will be easier than ever before. The Lake District Visitor Centre is one visitor attraction that will benefit, with other areas to be made more accessible including Low Wood Bay, Brockhole and Grasmere, along with Glebe Road in Bowness-on-Windermere.

Britain’s Favourite Road

The A591 was voted Britain’s Favourite Road. Tourists visiting the many wonderful attractions in Windermere and surrounding areas will travel through hilly scenes and peaceful, quaint Lake District villages. Attractions to visit along this popular stretch of road include Ambleside Roman Fort, Rydal Mount, Dove Cottage and the Treetop Trek Lake District activity centre, all of which can be enjoyed during your visit to the area.

A three day itinerary for a short break in Windermere

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Though you’ll find plenty in Windermere to keep you occupied for weeks, work commitments stop many of our guests from visiting for an extended length of time. The Lake District is one of those places that you’ll struggle to leave once you’ve fallen in love with the rolling hills, the calming waters and the atmospheric forests, but with just two nights and three days in Windermere, here’s one way to spend your time:

Day One:

Pack a few snacks, set off and make your way to Windermere, arriving at lunch time. At 1pm, check in to your Lake District B&B accommodation and walk down towards Bowness Bay. A gentle 20 minute stroll, stopping at a shop along the way to pick up a sandwich, will get you to the shore in time for a late lunch as you admire the scenery and greet the local ducks. After lunch, you’ll have time to walk to the World of Beatrix Potter and to enjoy this attraction for all ages. Call in to one of the many local pubs for an evening meal, then return to your B&B room.

Day Two:

Enjoy a slow and lazy morning. Aim to be at Bowness Bay shortly after 11am, again with a picnic lunch. Today, tackle the Bowness to Waterhead section of the Windermere Way (http://www.windermere-way.co.uk/route/north_east.html). You won’t find a better way to fully appreciate the beauty of the area. The walk should take around 5 hours. At the end, take a steamer across the lake back into Bowness for a well-deserved pizza at a charming Italian restaurant, such as Rastelli’s or Caffe Riva.

Day three:

Check out by 11am, though the earlier the better to make the most of your day. Take a boat from Bowness Bay to Lakeside, and visit the Lakeside Aquarium. Then, ride the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway into Haverthwaite itself. There you can visit the Lakeland Motor Museum, enjoy a bite to eat at the Station Restaurant and make the return journey to Bowness to end your break.

How to make the most of your Hawksmoor Guest House break

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Whether you’re visiting Windermere with friends, family, business colleagues or simply on your own, we know that you’ll love staying with us at the Hawksmoor Guest House! We’re perfectly situated to provide you with the ultimate in breaks away from home, no matter what the intentions of your visit are. Here are our top tips for making the most of your time with us.

Have a lie-in

Our gorgeous guest house has been recently refurbished to an impeccable standard, with superior interiors throughout. All of our rooms are luxurious, and we insist that you make the most of our huge, spongy beds and have a lovely long sleep.

Try the local food

Windermere boasts a fabulous selection of local independent eateries, so you can try out home-cooked and handmade food from our favourite local chefs, bakers, baristas and more. Perfect for after long walks! Take a look at our blog for the best bite in town.

Go exploring

You needn’t go far to find paradise when you’re staying at Hawksmoor! Lake Windermere is just 15 minutes from our door, so you can immerse yourself in natural beauty and take off on an adventure. Take a look at our main website to see all of the wonderful things to do in and around Windermere – from cycling to museums and much more!

Relax and unwind

It wouldn’t be a holiday without some serious relaxation, and we give you unlimited spa access for absolutely nothing! Hop in the sauna, lounge in the aroma room, or improve both your inner and outer self with full use of all state-of-the-art gym equipment.

Here at Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House we’re certain we’re the full package. Why not come and visit, and see for yourself?

The Best Daytime Stop-offs in Windermere

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There are so many things to love about staying at Hawksmoor Guest House – our luxurious rooms, accommodating staff, and of course the free spa facilities! But for us it’s our wonderful location that we can’t get enough of, and Windermere offers a wealth of fabulous places to explore during your stay with us. We’ve gathered a few of our favourite daytime eateries for you to try when you next visit Hawksmoor.

Brambles Tea Rooms

Warm and homely, Brambles is a great place to stop, relax, and enjoy a delicious hot drink. Famous for charming homemade cakes and treats, Brambles is perfect for all the family; they even have books and toys to keep little ones entertained! Toasties, soup, sandwiches and more make for full tums and big smiles.

Coffee Bar 7

If you fancy a cup of tea and some scones after a stroll around the lake, Coffee Bar 7 is known to be a very pleasant afternoon stop-off. Staff are delightfully friendly, and there are games to play while you wait.

Renoirs Coffee Shop

Well-known locally for exceptional cheese scones and a friendly atmosphere, Renoirs is a brilliant Windermere find. Tasty, wholesome, home-cooked food is on offer to accompany your fluffy cappuccino.

Sweet Stuff

There’s something for everyone at Sweet Stuff, from tantalising ice-creams and sundaes, to warm and wonderful winter puddings. Their handmade fudge is a real treat, and makes a lovely gift for your friends and family back home.

Do you have a favourite lunchtime spot in Windermere? If so, we’d love to hear where you stop after a long Sunday walk!

Rayrigg Wood – A Hidden Windermere Gem

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The Lake District is rightly famed for its excellent walks, hikes and cycling routes, but some areas do go a little under the radar. One of the very best of these is Rayrigg Wood, an area of superb natural beauty nestled away just off Cornbirthwaite Road between Windermere and Bowness.

Access is along a small path directly off the main road, so it probably isn’t a surprise that Rayrigg Wood can go unnoticed but take the path and you will find yourself in enclosed area of absolute, unspoiled natural beauty. Wander down to the stream under the canopy of the trees and you immediately feel completely removed from the outside world. It’s just you and the rush of the water.

At this particular time of year, with autumn heading into the upcoming winter, the colours are breathtaking. Yellows, golds, greens and browns surround you on all sides, enveloping you in this most beautiful of the natural seasons. It is a great place to take the dog, the kids, or for a romantic stroll just for the two of you.

Carry on through the far side of the wood and you are rewarded by a view of the lake over the Rayrigg Wyke, truly a walk to remember.

Your perfect base to enjoy local gems like Rayrigg Wood, along with many others, is the luxury Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House. This family run B+B is conveniently situated in Bowness-on-Windermere, giving you great access to walks and local amenities. For the more adventurous outdoor types among you, the Hawksmoor also caters for cyclists, with secure on-site storage for your bikes and boots after a long day on the local trails.

Windermere: a great place or all types of cycling

Cycling in the Lake District

It is almost as if the Lake District was designed with cyclists in mind. Well known for its stunning scenery, keen cyclists will also find that it is a great place for cycling breaks of all types – and with both standard bike and electric bike hire available throughout the region, there’s no need to worry if transporting your bicycle is an issue.

Road cyclists will enjoy routes through the Eden Valley with its quiet rural and village lanes, while the peaks and valley around Windermere are great for those who prefer a good mountain biking route. If you’re seeking more of an adventure, the off road north face trail at Grizedale Forest may be more up your street, while many visit the Lake District to conquer the Altura Trail: the area’s longest purpose-built trail for mountain bikes.

The area is also great for family cycling holidays, with a range of fantastic routes for all ages and abilities, including the 4km Western Shore Cycle Trail, which also passes Wray Castle – well worth a visit.

For a great cycling friendly hotel, Windermere based the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House is ideal. In addition to its luxury rooms, you’ll find plenty of facilities designed with cyclists in mind: a secure bike shed in which to stored your prized possession, as well as a boot room and cyclist-friendly catering in the form of flask top ups and packed lunch provision.

There’s no denying that Windermere is a great place for cyclists of all abilities to get out, get fit and see the beauty of the Lake District at their own pace.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – & Boats too !

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A visit to the Lakes hardly seems complete without a boat trip on Lake Windermere. After all, it’s a fictionalised version of Windermere which is depicted in Arthur Ransome’s book, Swallows and Amazons. Whether you choose to hire a rowing boat or prefer to opt for a Lake Cruise, there’s nothing like getting out on the water of the largest natural lake in England.

The Lake District is most obviously associated with boats, so some people may be surprised to learn that there are also attractions for rail and car enthusiasts. If you catch the Lakes Steamer from Bowness south to Lakeside Pier, you disembark just a few steps from the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, a preserved line which runs through the picturesque Leven Valley. It was originally part of the Furness Railway, used primarily for transporting freight, such as coal, for the lake’s steamers, but the line was closed in the 1960s. The preservation railway reopened in 1973, operating a steam service for tourists.

A visit to the Lakeland Motor Museum is not to be missed for vintage car enthusiasts. If you’re staying at the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, a luxury B&B in Windermere, you can travel to the Lakeland Motor Museum by car, bus or bike. Alternatively, catch the boat then take the bus service from Lakeside Pier to the museum. From Fords to Fiats, Buicks to Bentleys, you’ll find vehicles representing over 100 years of motoring history. Don’t miss the Campbell Bluebird exhibition which celebrates the remarkable achievements of Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald.

If you simply can’t choose a favourite form of transport, buy a combined ticket for a lake cruise, the railway and the motor museum. As for planes, well you can’t catch one here, but you might just see one of the low-flying military aircraft, such as Hawks or Typhoons, on RAF training exercises in the area.

Three of the best restaurants in Windermere

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After soaking up some of the best scenery the Lake District has to offer on a morning bike ride or afternoon hike, you and your family will have worked up a decent appetite. Luckily, when you stay at a B&B in Windermere, you’re just a stone’s throw from some of the best restaurants in the north of England.

Splash out: Cedar Manor

When you’re spending a little more on a meal you want a guarantee that it will be worth the money, and with two AA Rosettes, the Cedar Manor Restaurant is a place of recognised dining excellence. The Manor itself is stunning and the Table d’Hote menu varies from season to season, although a typical three course meal could include the likes of celeriac gnocchi with sage butter, slow cooked lamb casserole, and sticky toffee pudding with creme fraiche sorbet. Just five minutes’ drive from Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House. Price: £30-£45.

Reasonable: Hooked Seafood Restaurant

If you like wonderful seafood, cooked fresh and tasting delicious (with side vegetables to die for), then Hooked is for you. Less than half a mile away from Hawksmoor, Hooked serves the freshest seafood with influences from the Med, South East Asia and Australasia. Charming owner Michael Gould is a true host who not only welcomes diners, but entertains them. The menu changes daily depending on the catches available from Fleetwood fish supplier, West Coast Seafood. Book ahead! Price: £20-£30.

On a budget: Café Italia

You know somewhere serves good food when the locals eat there, and this delightful little café on Main Road in the centre of town is always frequented Windermerians. With friendly staff, good ambience and subtle background music, it’s the perfect place to watch the world go by. Offering a range of pizzas and light bites (try the deliciously cheesy cheese on toast), it’s a great place to head before or after sightseeing. Plus, if you like to eat al fresco, there’s outside seating with heaters for the cooler months. Price: £5-£20.

Bringing Children on a Windermere Break

Beatrix YO

Windermere makes for a peaceful escape for people of all ages, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t include the youngest members of your family. At Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House we have a family room for four, and can also offer plenty of amenities that make your life easier. Not only do visiting children enjoy the great outdoors, but there’s also plenty to do nearby for little travellers, so you can keep them entertained in all weathers.

South Lakes Animal Park

South Lake Wild Animal Park

With plenty of space for the animals to explore and play, this is the perfect spot to see creatures in their natural environment. Just half an hour’s drive from our B and B in Windermere, you’ll be able to see lions, giraffes, and plenty of other exotic species, and there’s a year round calendar of events to keep the family happy.

Aquarium of the Lakes

Lakes Aquarium Underwater Tunnel

At the Aquarium of the Lakes, you can learn about all the fish and creatures that live below the surface of Lake Windermere, with a glass tunnel that’s a recreation of a walk under this iconic lake. The aquarium also has exhibitions about lakes around the world, from the colourful creatures of the tropical rainforests to the adorable otters of Asia.

Beatrix Potter Museum and Hilltop

Beatrix Potter Cumbria

Beatrix Potter has delighted children for generations with her charming animal books, and a visit to her home (now a museum) is essential for fans. The museum is just a short bike ride from our cycling friendly hotel in Windermere, and features scenery you’ll recognise from the books, from the vegetable garden, to the interior of her cosy cottage.

Children love the vast spaces of the Lake District, and by bringing them to a spot such as Windermere, it’s easy to keep them entertained all year round.

Remember if you need to book a hotel in Windermere why not try us here at The Hawksmoor.

Paradise found: just off the M6 motorway in Cumbria!

lake district attractions

Windermere is just a couple of hours drive from many UK towns and cities, including London which is less than five hours away.

Approaching junction 37 of the M6 motorway (there are several alternatives routes), the A591 is seen by many as being a gateway to this paradise, and results in audible sighs of relief and eager anticipation as visitors guess what this Lake District holiday break has in store.

As you unload the car at your B + B in Windermere, the largest of the lakes, it seems that fellow guests’ already have very clear plans. With luggage consisting of significant numbers of haversacks, boots and walking apparel, and with boats and paddles strapped to car roofs, their intentions are clear.

Windermere has it all though. Whether you’re here to enjoy walking – lonely as a cloud – along the numerous recommended routes, or cycling to see the area’s breathtaking scenery that bit quicker, this relaxing region serves as an antidote to today’s pressures and is on the doorstep for many in the UK.

An essential element of any holiday is the choice of Lake District B+B accommodation. There are hotels and guesthouses catering for all tastes and requirements and they don’t come any more versatile, or ideally placed, than the family run Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House. This cycling friendly, luxury B+B in Bowness-on-Windermere is difficult to beat and just to give you a flavour of what is on offer here; they even have a secure cycle store and boot room for the use of more energetic cycling and walking guests.

So, the holiday is nearly over, but with this Lake District region being within such easy reach, you’ll soon be thrilling again as junction 37 comes in to view!

Plan a festive (or post-festive) break to the Lakes!

festive-break

If the thought of another festive season spent stuffing the turkey and listening to the Queen’s speech leaves you cold, how about having something different planned for this year?

Family seasonal gatherings can be fun but also exhausting, especially if you are doing the brunt of the organising, shopping, cooking and everything else that has to be done.

So why not escape right afterwards and treat yourself to a midwinter break at our B&B in Windermere at the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, and let someone else take care of you for a change? Or see in the New Year in style?

After all, New Year’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, so you only need to book the Friday off to get a clear four day escape.

As long as you set out early enough, wrap up warmly and take all the usual common sense precautions, it’s actually a lovely time of year for cycling and walking, with the countryside
looking starkly beautiful.

Stay in our Lake District B&B accommodation and you’ll find endless walking and cycling opportunities to burn off those festive calories. Mind you, with so many excellent local eateries, we can’t guarantee you won’t fall prey to temptation all over again.

From music to poetry and more, there’s plenty going on in these parts if you prefer to not walk or cycle all the time, even in the dead of winter.

And, if you visit us later in January, there are events on from the Royal Northern Sinfonia Concert on January 31st in Kendal to the local Arts and Books Festival which runs from January 23rd to 25th. Meanwhile, the Grasmere and the Great War Exhibition runs all the way through until March.

Book now to recover from, extend or round off this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations!

Are you a hiker, a rambler or an ambler?

windermere-guest-house-walk

Whichever description best suits your walking preference, the area around Windermere has plenty of routes. As the largest and most visited National Park in England and Wales, the Lake District’s stunning scenery provides a wonderful backdrop to walking, whatever the pace and distance!

For a short walk you could stroll up to Orrest Head from the town of Windermere itself, giving you an excellent vista of the Southern Lakes from 784 feet above sea level.

If you prefer a longer outing, Windermere’s Western Shore route offers stunning views across the lake to Bowness, and beyond to the Troutbeck Hills. Passing along a wooded shoreline, across pebbly beaches there is plenty to explore and perfect spots for picnicking and relaxing.

The stony tracks and sheer drops of Scafell Pike provide a challenge for the more experienced hiker – but on a still day the breath-taking reflection of sky and surrounds in Wast Water make a fantastic reward for the effort!

The unique situation and sometimes unpredictable weather in the Lake District ensures that walkers should take particular care. Comfortable clothing is advised, and waterproofs are essential. Sturdy boots with strong, tracked soles are another must. Accommodation that appreciates the needs of walkers is invaluable; here at the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House we are exceptionally walker-friendly, with a boot room and drying room in the event that you are caught in an impromptu shower! We also supply a free flask top-up to ensure that your day bag is suitably equipped with warm drinks.

What’s on in Windermere this autumn

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If you thought holiday time was over once the children were back at school, think again. We can’t promise sub-tropical temperatures, but there’s plenty going on around our B & B in Windermere to make the autumn a perfect time of year to visit.

Not only can it be quieter without the summer crowds, but the autumn colours are truly spectacular in this part of the world and it’s a great time of year to be out and about, walking and cycling.

When you stay at our bed and breakfast Windermere is just on the doorstep, and, for a small town, it punches well above its weight.

For example, there are regular lunchtime concerts locally where you can enjoy a feast of light music played on a 1927 Wurlitzer Organ.

Another nostalgic option on November 1 is a showing of the 1925 classic Phantom of the Opera, with musical accompaniment from the Wurlitzer Organ.

If that doesn’t appeal, there are also informal “walk and talk” sessions focused on edible mushrooms, which take place in Windermere’s gorgeous deciduous woodland. You could find yourself learning more about safely identifying, collecting and cooking all kinds of fungi.

Not only that, but there’s an arts season of drama, film and music on at the Old Laundry Theatre until December, and an arts and crafts show of The Glasgow Style 1890-1930. This runs at The Arts and Crafts House, Bowness, until New Year’s Eve.

So whether you’re looking for a Lake District cycle friendly hotel in Windermere this autumn, or need a base for endless cultural excursions, the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House is perfectly placed.

The great outdoors in Bowness-on-Windermere

bowness

Bowness-on-Windermere, situated on the banks of Lake Windermere in Cumbria, has been a tourist hotspot since the arrival of the railways in the 1800s, and continues to be popular to this day. Its natural beauty combined with its fascinating history and rolling countryside make it an idyllic location for a break.

The best way to absorb this magnificent part of England is by taking one of its many memorable walking or cycling routes which sprawl around the countryside and around Lake Windermere’s banks.

The western shore of Lake Windermere has some excellent cycling routes that are also suitable for young children. Simply hop on the Windermere car ferry and you can cross the lake to enjoy its western shore. If you don’t have a bike with you, there are plenty of opportunities to hire bikes from several shops within the town.

You can enjoy a family cycle to Wray Castle, or enjoy Grizedale Forest with its mountain bike forest trails, or a more sedate track from Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater.

Of course, there are plenty of cycling routes around the town to choose from too, ranging in length and difficulty. If you want to cycle somewhere beyond, you can simply hop on the 800 “Bike Bus” service, which will let you explore the wider Lake District.

Here at Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, we have a secure cycling shed and a boot room, and after a long day’s hiking or cycling you can unwind in the Lake District Spa, which guests staying with us can make use of.

Pubs near to the Hawksmoor Hotel

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A long day walking or cycling in the Lake District can build up a thirst. Fortunately, there are some decent pubs in both Windermere and Bowness, within walking distance of our Guest House. Real ale lovers in particular are well catered for in the Lakes with local breweries producing some fine beers. Here are some of the best pubs in our local area:

The Albert

The Albert at Queens Square in Bowness is a cosy pub with a selection of decent beers and wines. It serves food all day, ranging from bar snacks to hearty home cooked meals.

The Angel

For the best beer garden in Bowness, stop at the Angel just before you come into the village itself. A cold beer outside on a summer evening is the perfect way to relax after a day of cycling in Lakes.

The Queens

A walk into Windermere will take you past the Queens Pub and Restaurant where you will find cask ales and generously portioned meals. Grab a table outside and watch the walkers and cyclists arrive back in Windermere after a day on the fells.

The Elleray

The Elleray is a traditional pub and restaurant in the heart of Windermere village. Serving real ales and continental beers, it’s a pleasant place to unwind. Try and grab a table by its real fire on a cold evening.

There are plenty of other decent pubs within walking distance of the Hawksmoor. Just remember to drop off your bike before you head out for a drink!

The Best Lake District Cycle Trails

Easy Mountain Bike Trail by Lake Windermere

The stunning hills and fells surrounding Windermere are ideal for cyclists of all ages and ability. The Grizedale Forrest Park, just across Lake Windermere, is home to a number of popular cycling trials.

Silurian Way

Silurian Way is the longest of the Grizedale Forrest trails at 14 miles. Cyclists are able to take in many pieces of art work along the Grizedale Valley as well as wonderful views on this part Forest and part public road route. Cyclists should be prepared to encounter some hills though!

Hawkshead Moor Trail

Hawkshead Moor Trail is a 10.5 mile trail along the Forest Road. Like the Silurian Way route, the Hawkshead Moor Trail commences from the Visitor Centre and offers amazing panoramic views towards Ambleside and Coniston Old Man. The shortest Forest road trail is the Goosey Foot Tarn Trail. At 2 miles long, the trail can be completed in half an hour and features the smaller climbs in the park.

North Face Mountain Bike Trail

For proficient mountain bikers with good off-road riding ability, the purpose built North Face Mountain Bike Trail is a popular option. The 10 mile trial incorporates a number of single-track descents, many intensive climbs and numerous challenging boardwalks. For an even greater challenge, mountain bikers can follow the Black MTB Trail. At 0.8 miles, the route incorporates a fast and flowing combination of jumps, berms and steep descents.

The Hawksmoor Bed and Breakfast is a cycling-friendly hotel and a great base for those who want to explore the Lake District using pedal power. In addition to our luxury Lake District B & B accommodation, our guests have access to a secure cycling shed and an extensive cycling boot room.

Follow the Wordsworth Trail around the Lake District

wordsworth

The Lake District is intimately associated with William Wordsworth. One of English literature’s greatest poets, Wordsworth lived in the Lake District for most of his life, and the locations of many of his poems can be found in the area. When you plan your visit to Windermere, a tour of these places can be a wonderful way to spend a day.

The poet was born in Cockermouth, where his birthplace and childhood home are now a great tourist destination. You can also visit his later homes, where he wrote many of his most famous poems.

Wordsworth lived in Grasmere from 1799 to 1808. His home there, Dove Cottage, is home to the Wordsworth Trust. From there, you can walk the Coffin Path to Wordsworth’s later home, his beloved Rydal Mount. The Coffin Path offers a beautiful walk complete with views of the lake and gorgeous mountain scenery. Wordsworth’s grave, and the graves of his family, can be found in Grasmere’s village cemetery.

Of course, you don’t need to limit your Wordsworth tour to the places the poet lived. You can also include the many sites around the Lake District that he made famous in his poems. These include Hawkshead, Kirkstone Pass, Coniston Water, and River Duddon.

From our B and B in Windermere, you can set off on a beautifully poetic tour of the Lake District’s most inspiring locations. Don’t be surprised if you come back ready to pen a few verses yourself!

Beautiful Bowness-on-Windermere

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A beautiful, scenic town on the very coast of Lake Windermere, Bowness provides a vast wealth of attractions to suit all personalities and weathers. Situated just a brief cycle ride south of Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, Bowness will easily become the centre of your Lake District holiday.

Savour the sights at the lake

Bowness and its adjoining bay make it a perfect destination for those seeking the beauty of the lake. Lake Cruises sail from the dock at Bowness, including a Bike Boat to connect avid cyclists to the beautiful, traffic-free, western shore, as well as many options to simply relax and enjoy the sights of the Lake District from the centre of its largest lake.

Rainy day options

In gloomier weather, Bowness has lots to keep the holiday going. The World of Beatrix Potter – a tribute to the great children’s author and the natural beauty of the Lake District that inspired her stories – is perfect for youngsters. Aside from this, the marvellous Royalty Cinema boasts an original 1930s theatre and Wurlitzer Organ, perfect for a silent movie showcase.

Dining out

Whatever your fancy, Bowness will be able to serve. A wide range of restaurants of various settings and cultures is guaranteed to satisfy any appetite. From the refined menu available at the Porto Restaurant, to the rich flavours of the Emperor of India, you can eat your fill followed by a few local ales at The Hole-in-the-Wall, before carefully cycling to the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House

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Bowness’s offerings make it a wonderful jewel to the already beautiful Lake Windermere. Come see for yourself.

Restaurants and Eateries in Windermere

windermere-bed-and-breakfast

With the dying days of summer just on the approach, there’s still time to enjoy the best that Windermere has to offer, and whilst you’re staying at the Hawksmoor Lakeland Guest House, there are plenty of restaurants and eateries to enjoy in the surrounding area. Looking for places to eat shouldn’t be stressful during your stay, so here is a list of places you can put into your travel plans before you even start.

Italian Restaurant

The The Villa Positano is an Italian restaurant fairly close to the hotel, and offers a cosy and intimate environment for any occasion. They also offer a specials menu alongside their regular evening choices, so there’s certainly going to be a great choice whenever you go.

Caffe Italia

If you’re more of a coffee person then perhaps Caffe Italia would be a great stopping point just north of the hotel. Designed to be more of a bistro than other establishments, there is a wide choice of hot drinks and it’s renowned for its fine seafood range. It’s perfect for a casual, informal meal in the middle of the day.

Hooked (Fish & Chips)

Sometimes though, you fancy something a bit more substantial, and fish serves as the main attraction at our next restaurant. The cleverly named Hooked is proud to use locally caught fish and its menu changes on a daily basis depending on local stock. Their menu is influenced by Mediterranean, South-Asian and Australian cuisine, proving that a few changes can really spice up a meal.

Remember that our Windermere hotel is cycle friendly, so you might find cycling to these destinations an enjoyable experience. Bowness-in-Windermere is a safe and friendly area so you can certainly consider bringing a bike with you on your stay. These restaurants have plenty to offer families and couples alike, so keep them in mind during your stay.

Free guided bike rides in Windermere available this August

cycling-from-our-windermere-guest-house

The Lakes – A Cyclists Paradise

Although Windermere is already full of keen cyclists, especially when the weather is as warm as this, the free guided bike rides on August 20th run by Go Sky Ride are definitely guaranteed to bring even more cycling crowds out. Aimed at both young families and leisure cyclists, there are rides to suit all ages and abilities. Cyclists should go onto the website to see the available rides and to book a place.

Beautiful Cycling Routes

With so many beautiful cycling routes to choose from, many visitors to the Lake District choose to stay over for a few days, and with a great choice of B&B accommodation in and around Windermere there really isn’t any reason not to.

Cyclist Friendly Geust House

Some guest houses in Windermere are favoured by cyclists, The Hawksmoor Guest House in Windermere being one of them, especially as we have a secure cycling shed and boot room for guests to make use of. Packed lunches can also be made up on request for walkers and cyclists should you require them.

Get a Bite to Eat

But after a day cycling up and down the hills in the beautiful areas in and around Windermere you will no doubt have worked up an appetite. Now whilst our luxury guest house doesn’t offer evening meals, there are a good choice of restaurants to choose from in the area that are only a few minutes walk away. From traditional hearty pub grub, the Jintana Thai Restaurant, Jerichos traditional English restaurant, Indian cuisine and Hooked seafood restaurant you certainly won’t go hungry.

Visit The World of Beatrix Potter

World of Beatrix Potter

Less than a mile down the road from the Hawksmoor B&B in Windermere, you’ll find The World of Beatrix Potter. This popular attraction is just a ten minute walk from our door, and we thoroughly recommend a visit, especially for families with younger children. However, it’s not just for children, and anyone who has fond memories of Peter Rabbit from their formative years is likely to enjoy a visit to this unique attraction.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Children enjoy story telling at The World of Beatrix Potter

Inside you’ll find exhibitions depicting scenes from some of Beatrix Potter’s most popular stories, costumed characters and even a recreation of Mr. McGregor’s garden. There are also plenty of interactive elements throughout the attraction where you’ll find detailed information about the history of Beatrix Potter’s life, her literary works and inspiration.

The World of Beatrix Potter isn’t short on activities for children either, painting workshops, tea with Peter Rabbit himself and storytelling occurs throughout the day, all of which is certain to entertain the children.

There is also a tea room serving a range of light lunches made with fresh local ingredients and a selection of home-made cakes. The afternoon teas, that are served with sandwiches, scones and cream, are especially popular, providing some welcome relief for parents whilst the little ones enjoy themselves.

If you’re going to enjoy a day our in Bowness-on-Windermere during your stay at the Hawksmoor Guest House, then The World of Beatrix Potter is certainly worth a visit on a sunny afternoon. Visit their website for further information regarding opening times and admission prices. www.hop-skip-jump.com

The Windermere to Townend Walk

Troutbeck Valley

A moderately challenging walk, recommended by the National Trust, the trek from Windermere to the Townend 17th Century farmhouse in Troutbeck, will take you through an outstandingly picturesque countryside route that offers stunning views of the Troutbeck Valley on the return to Windermere.

With an optional longer route back to Windermere from Townend this is a great flexible walk. Whilst clocking in at ten miles, it shouldn’t prove too much of a challenge for slightly more inexperienced walkers.

The suggested starting point for this walk is Windermere Train Station, which is just under a mile from the Hawksmoor B&B in Windermere, so it can easily be reached on foot. If you want directions to the train station, then feel free to ask at reception, we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction!

The Journey to Townend in Troutbeck Village

Once you reach the station, you need to take the road opposite the pedestrian crossing on your left. It leads to Orrest Head, so keep an eye open for the sign. Follow a tarmac road that will soon become a gravel track. Carry on down this path until you reach a wall and turn to the right. You’ll have to cross a stile, after which you’ll turn left and continue up to Orrest Head.

At the top of Orrest Head you’ll be faced with some truly excellent views of the fells surrounding Windermere and the town itself. We’d thoroughly recommend pausing here for a short while to take in the sights!

Once you’ve finished admiring the views it’s time to continue. Down the opposite site from where you ascended you’ll see a white farmhouse, head towards it. You will reach a stile in the wall, but you don’t need to cross it. Instead, turn left and carry on down the road towards Crosses Farm.

When you arrive at Crosses Farm you’ll see a footpath for Troutbeck. Follow it across fields to another farm, Far Orrest. Here, follow a sign for A529 via Dubbs Road. You’ll reach a road that you must cross. You’ll find a footpath opposite that you can follow through a field to the A529.

Townend

The interior of Townend near Troutbeck village

Take care crossing the A529 and turn right at the footpath that runs along the road. Turn left at this footpath through a field, you’ll have to cross the Troutbeck on a footbridge. By this point you’ll nearly be at Townend. Turn right when you reach the road and Townend is on the crossroads just at the top of the road.

There’s plenty of historical insight to be found at Townend, a traditional 17th Century farmhouse. You’ll see various historic artefacts that belonged to the family who lived there and learn how people lived without the modern conveniences we now take for granted. Find out more about Townsend at the National Trust website.

Return to Windermere

You’re presented with two options for the journey back to Windermere. You can either retrace the route you took to arrive at Townend, or for the slightly more intrepid amongst you there is a longer and more challenging route available. There’s some unmissable views along this route, so if you’re prepared to make the extra effort, it’s very rewarding.

At the aforementioned Moorhowe Road you’ll turn left and then take the first road you see on the right. You’ll meet a crossroads where you’ll need to turn right and follow the road past Near Orrest Farm and continue onto the Causeway Farm. From Causeway Farm you can retrace your steps across the fields to the top of Orrest Head and then simply head down the other side to Windermere Train Station.


This is a fairly long walk that’s strenuous enough to satisfy seasoned walkers, but not so tough as to be overly difficult for the less experienced fell walker. Either way, once you’ve finished this trek you’ll certainly be tired! Who wouldn’t want a cosy room at the Hawksmoor waiting for them, where you can relax in absolute comfort whilst your gear airs out in our drying room. For more information about walks and cycle routes in the area browse our blog. Also, do not hesitate to get in touch with us to check availability and book your stay.

Lake District Brewery & Beer Tours

Lake District Brewery Tours

The Lake District is famous for many reasons. Outstanding natural beauty, unspoilt dramatic scenery, superb hiking & cycling routes and perhaps one other thing… Beer. For the ale enthusiast, the Lakes is certainly something of a treasure trove, bursting at the seams with excellent traditional pubs serving beer produced by the region’s many celebrated breweries.

If quenching the thirst you worked up on a long trek over the fells with a hand-pulled pint of Lakeland’s finest ale sounds like your idea of heaven, then you really should consider visiting one (or several) of the breweries operating throughout the Lakes, or perhaps even taking a brewery tour. Take a look at the Hawksmoor’s run down of the best breweries to visit in the Lake District!

Hawkshead Brewery

Only five miles away from our B&B in Windermere, the Hawkshead Brewery is an ideal starting point for a brewery tour of the Lakes. Bristling with awards, this is one of the most well respected breweries in the Lakes, so don’t miss out.

The leisurely walk over the dales from Windermere to Staveley, where the brewery is located, is quite enjoyable and fairly easy going. Great news for those who’d like to seize an opportunity to enjoy the beers on offer rather than drive!

An ideal spot to stop off for a pint and a bite to eat, the brewery serves an interesting selection of ‘English style tapas’ to compliment the rather extensive range of ales on offer in their ‘beer hall’. Of course, there’s a shop where you can buy some bottles to take home. There really is a lot to choose from, so don’t be scared to ask their staff for some recommendations, they’re always keen to talk beer!

If you’re a real aficionado then we’d thoroughly recommend the popular brewery tour, which runs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, giving you an insightful look into the processes and practices that go into creating some of Hawkshead’s famous brews. It’s best to book ahead, so check the Hawkshead website beforehand.

Recommended Pint – Hawkshead Bitter, 3.7%

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Whilst you’re there we’d suggest you try a pint of their flagship ‘Hawkshead Bitter’. Pale and hoppy, it’s a real thirst quencher, ideal for those warm summer days spent hiking. Also, at 3.7%, this award winning beer isn’t overpowering, so you can easily enjoy a pint (or maybe two) over lunch.

Coniston Brewery

About twenty five minutes drive from the Hawksmoor, Coniston Brewery doesn’t offer formal tours as such. However, the friendly chap I spoke to when I called to enquire informed me that if you catch them on a quiet day, then they’re usually happy to host a small handful of guests for an informal tour around the brewery. If you’re planning to head over with the intention of seeing the brewery itself, then we suggest ringing ahead just to make sure it’s okay! You may be one of the few lucky enough to be privy to an exclusive tour of Coniston Brewery. Just don’t tell everyone, alright?

Despite not offering official tours, we felt that Coniston Brewery was worth a mention, simply because their beers are truly excellent! You can find their beers all over the Lakes, and the Black Bull pub, just a short walk from the brewery, has a number of Coniston beers available of cask.

Recommend Pint – Old Man Ale 4.2%

CONISTON-Old-Man-webNamed after the imposing fell, the Old Man of Coniston that overlooks the town, this ruby coloured beer has a really strong fruity aroma. With a light malty taste and some hints of toffee thanks to the roasted barley used when brewing, this is a classic English ale that is definitely worth a try.

Jennings Brewery

You certainly won’t be walking to Jenning’s Brewery if you’re staying at the Hawksmoor, but it can be reached by car. The drive up to Cockermouth is approximately 50 mins, but we think it’s worth it to visit this excellent brewery!

Jenning’s offer a very thorough tour of their premises that’s sure to satisfy even the most hardened of ale fanatics, who’ll be keen to see the time-honed traditional methods still in use by Jennings to create their range of ales. You’ll find out how they brew their beers on this guided tour, which of course ends in the brewery’s own bar, the Old Cooperage, where you’ll be treated to plenty of samples. A very hearty post-tour lunch is available if you prebook and there are also evening tours with a meal available. The tour schedule varies throughout the year, so check out the Jenning’s website in advance.

Recommend Pint – Sneck Lifter 5.1%

Sneck Lifter - Lake Distrcit Brewery ToursThis is a reddish ale with a variety of strong and very rich flavours, guaranteed to satisfy those who prefer their beers a little on the stronger side. The unusual name comes from traditional northern dialect. Sneck is a door latch and ‘sneck lifter’ meant a person’s last sixpence that allowed them to lift up the ‘sneck’ of a pub door for one final pint, hopefully meeting somebody generous enough to get another one or two in!

As it’s quite strong, the designated driver might want to stay away from this and perhaps take a bottle home instead. However, passengers can feel free to indulge and we suggest you do!


 

We hope you enjoyed our guide to just a few of the many breweries throughout the Lake District. There are many more producing a wide variety of great traditional ale and some that offer tours. If you’re staying at the Hawksmoor Guest House and would like to know about some of your favourite Lake District breweries, then don’t hesitate to ask a the reception. You never know, we might be able to point you in the direction of pub pulling your favourite pint!

Cycling Route – The Windermere Lake Shore Mountain Bike Trail

Easy Mountain Bike Trail by Lake Windermere

This is an easy mountain bike run along the Western shore of Lake Windermere. Starting at Harrow Slack and ending at Wray Castle, the route is entirely traffic free and offers some absolutely stunning views across the lake. At just under 7 miles it’s a great ride for cyclists of all ages and abilities that we thoroughly recommend!

Lake Windermere Cycling RouteThe best way to get to the starting point, Harrow Slack car park, from the Hawksmoor Guest House is to take the ferry across Lake Windermere, which leaves from a pier just South of Bowness. Feel free to ask how to find to the ferry at our reception desk, we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Once you arrive on the Western shore you’ll find yourself at Harrow Slack car park, it’s right next to the queue for the ferry. From the car park turn left and follow the tarmac section where you’ll often see people picnicking. After 1km the road becomes a track after a cattle grid and open gate.

A Ride through the Woods…

Next you’ll find yourself riding into the woods for 2.2km on a wide and stony trail. This section of the route has a number of steep & short climbs and descents that can easily be ridden at a sensible speed with due care. However, groups with young or inexperienced riders may need to walk through some very brief sections of the track. Also, keep and eye out for the parts of the path that have eroded, creating small trenches either side of the track.

Soon you’ll reach Belle Grange and a sign post indicating a left turn off onto a bridleway. However, continue on ahead and stay right on the main track heading onwards to High Wray. From this point the track is smooth and flat, making it an easy ride. Do keep an eye on your speed though, as you’ll encounter walkers around the corner.
After approximately 500m you’ll arrive at Red Nab car park. Ride on through the car park and follow the signs to Wray Castle. Look out for a rather low wooden barrier as you set of from this point! This section of the ride is along the shore of Lake Windermere, so prepare yourself for some great views. Continue along the lakeside track for 1.6km until it turns away from the lake and goes uphill for 500m. The part of the route is sign posted ‘The Castle Gatehouse’. Continue on the Castle drive to reach Wray Castle.

Enjoy a Picnic by the Lakeside

It’s around this point of the ride you may want to pause and walk down to the lake shore where you’ll find some really beautiful spots for a picnic. Don’t forget that here at the Hawksmoor B&B in Windermere we’re able to provide packed lunches on request.

From Wray Castle you can take the same route back Harrow Slack car park and ride the ferry back over to Bowness. However, if you’re feeling up for it then you could even continue onwards to the village of Hawkshead.

This ride along the shore of Lake Windermere is a nice and simple route, perfect for groups with younger members or as a warm up for some more challenging rides during your stay in the Lake District. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at the Hawksmoor if you’re looking for accommodation close to popular cycling routes in Windermere. We have great facilities for cyclists, including a secure bike shed monitored by CCTV and a drying room for all your muddy gear.

February Windermere Guest House Cycle: Lakeland Loop Cycle

Cycle and walks in the lake district

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This one will sort the wheat from the chaff: a 65 mile loop around the lakeland area of the Lake District is one for only the more accomplished cyclists of you out there. We recommend beginning this cycle in Elterwater as there is plenty of carparking, however you can join the loop earlier if you are heading out straight from our B&B in Windermere – it’ll only put that extra few miles on the clock! The cycle is a thrilling, tiring and challenging ride covering much of the lakeland area. With unrivalled scenery across such a large area you will see all of the top tourist spots as well as a few of some of the less frequented corners.

There will be plenty of places to stop for a drink or some food and we recommend taking a good supply to keep you full of energy. A special Windermere Guest House breakfast will get you ready for the day, full up to the brim to take on the challenge well fueled.

Elterwater is a delightful little village is worth taking in before heading towards Colwith where you will turn right and be hit immediately by Wrynose Pass which is your first significant challenge. Enjoy the last stretch of level tarmac to Little Langdale and then get ready for the pass. The incredible steepness of the ride up means there will be a stunning cycle down to pick up the pace and you will hurtle down towards Cockley Beck but with little respite as you will soon be winding your way straight back up Hardknott – as pleasant in reality as it sounds, but fortunately that bit shorter than Wrynose pass.

 

We recommend taking it slower on the descent into Eskdale as the corners can be tight and the road is known for its occasional pot-hole; we don’t want any broken bones coming back to our Windermere Guest House! The good news is that having made it this far you have taken on the two biggest of climbs so it’s good to have got them out of the way! From now on back to the Windermere Guest House will be ever so slightly easier.

Follow the valley down to Eskdale Green before taking on a short climb over to Santon Bridge. From here there are some easy lanes to manage to Gosforth and pick up the A595 briefly as far as Calder Bridge. There are some great views of Scafell from here that are well worth glancing up to see.

From Calder Bridge take a right past the church and head towards Lamplugh on a 300m climb that isn’t too difficult at any point. More remarkable scenery to take in as the western seascape is on show and on a clear day the distant Isle of Man can be seen from your vantage point.

Down to Ennerdale Bridge and turn right and a quick left into Kirkland and Lamplugh, heading north from here on the A5086 very briefly. The pass of Fangs Brow is next on your list north-eastwards. Turn right next and descend at speed past Loweswater and Kirkstile, climb up Scale Hill and look out for a quaint little lane signposted Hopebeck which has fantastic views in all directions. Hit the main Whinlatter Road which climbs into the forest centre before a fast descent into Braithwaite.

Take the lanes through Portinscale and into Keswick, which lies at the northernmost point of Derwentwater. Climb out of Keswick on the narrow, suburban Ambleside Road and take a right onto the A591 and follow it over the flank to descend into St John’s Vale.

Find a narrow road to turn right onto along the western side of Thirlmere and enjoy the beautiful waterside views and scenery. Follow this through lovely forestry and rejoin the A-road at the southern end. From here you’ll climb to Dunmail Raise, which is a short one before heading back down and at speed to Grasmere.

Leave on the Red Bank Road and with the last of your energy before heading back to your Windermere Guest House for the night, crank up the effort towards the Youth Hostel. Take the right fork for the short drop back to Elterwater and into the car for your drive back to the Windermere Guest house.

February Windermere Guest House Walk: Kentmere Horseshoe Walk

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This delightful walk starts in the equally delightful and quaint village of Kentmere only a short drive away from our B&B in Windermere. The walk is quite a challenging twelve miles in length and should take you between five and eight hours depending on your walking ability so do plan your walk well in advance. There are some steep climbs but with steep climbs comes stunning views of breathtaking fells making this walk one of the best in the lakes.

With many spectacular views on offer we recommend doing this walk on a clear day to really get the best of it. Obviously you can never predict the weather but if you’re staying at our Windermere Guest House for several days, hopefully you can plan this walk on the best forecasted day. Get yourself well breakfasted for this one as you’ll be out most of the day, and at our Windermere Guest House we will make sure you don’t leave the door without a proper breakfast in your stomachs!

Be well prepared, the weather can change quickly so make sure you pack for all eventualities with plenty of food and warm clothing. Kentmere is just a few minutes walk and the best spot for parking is by the church which is towards the north of the small village. Once parked up the signpost you are looking for is Crabtree Brow which shouldn’t be too hard to find on the western edge of the village.

You are immediately on the ascent towards Garburn Pass and the views are sublime even from this early stage so do take them in. From here you are heading towards Garburn Nook where you will begin the ascent to Yoke Fell, the first of several on this walk that you will be taking on.

It might be a good idea to take a break for a snack and some coffee or tea that you’ve packed to give yourself a much needed energy boost to the breakfast you had at our Windermere Guest House. Before getting to Yoke Fell, you’ll reach the top of Ill Bell, a magnificent conical topped mountain and a good spot for your brew and biscuit with stunning views to enjoy and a beautiful side to itself. Stunning peaks in sight include Bowfell and Scafell and a remarkable view over Windermere; take a moment to see if you can spot the Windermere Guest House from where you have set out from!

From Ill Bell you’re heading to Frostwick which is almost identical in shape but quite a bit smaller so the climb here is not as strenuous. From Frostwick you come to the sweeping ridge of High Street, which, as its name implies was remarkably once a Roman Road and even a racecourse. In the 18th and 19th centuries Lakelanders used to head up onto the heights to race horses as part of their summer fairs – quite a remarkable idea!

From High Street you’re heading to Mardale Ill Bell and from there to Harter Fell affords some spectacular views over Blea Water as well as Haweswater Reservoir beyond. Beautiful fields of green grass cover the expanse of your walk to Kentmere Pike, particularly so if you’re walking in late spring or summer. Kentmere Pike is quite plain in itself but once again the views across to Windermere and Morecambe Bay are stunning and if you can find some shade it is a brilliant spot to stop for some lunch and relax before heading on.

Southwards now on a comfortable descent to Shipman Knotts, the last fell you’ll be taking on on this walk. With relatively easy terrain to deal with during this section of the walk, you can really build up some pace and enjoy stretching your legs. Shipman Knotts is a collection of interesting rock outcrops which can be explored at length before heading onwards on your descent back to Kentmere village.

Continue south to Wray Crag and further south to the high pass between Kentmere and Longsleddale. Turn west from here to Stile End with stunning views of Kentmere village, your final destination before heading back to the Windermere Guest House. Join High Lane onto Hallows Bank before turning south onto the Low Lane track over a stepped wall and head across a small field to a footbridge straddling the River Kent and head on back into the village.

January Windermere Guest House Walk: Two Falls and a Fell

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Wonderful Waterfalls

You might think that the rainy season of January does not lend itself to great days out in the Lakes and it might well have you all reaching for the Monopoly set on a Sunday afternoon. However, one thing rain does bring is running water and running water makes for wonderful waterfalls. Whilst we love the sunshine at our Windermere Guest House, we also cherish the rain as it give us an opportunity to see the Lake District’s spectacular waterfalls in all their glory.

Waterfalls are fascinating, romantic, adventurous, majestic, exciting, picturesque and enchanting all in one. The Lake District might not have the world wonders of Niagara or Victoria to its name but our National Park does have some beautiful falls none the less. From our Windermere Guest house you do not have far to go to enjoy the finest Lake District waterfalls in all their splendour. This walk will detail a splendid circular route that visits the two cascading forces of Skelwith Force and Colwith Force.

The walk incorporates a chance to take in the pleasant Elter Water as well as a short fell climb to High Hacket; it is not too challenging and should be OK to take on whatever the weather. Indeed, the walk never rises above 200 metres meaning it should not being too difficult for all levels of fitness including senior walkers and families. As mentioned, the waterfalls are at their best after a downpour so the rain will never be an excuse to stay in! A good bit of rain will mean you will hear the falls from some distance, revving up your anticipation before you see them for yourself.

The First Fall

Our route begins in Elterwater Village but with it being circular could quite easily be rearranged to start at Skelwith Bridge or Little Langdale. Either way, it’s not far from our Windermere Guest House and there is a car park closeby to a bridge that spans Great Langdale Beck allowing you to park up and set off on your watery adventure. At this point it’s not the time to realise you haven’t packed your waterproofs so make sure you’ve got some appropriate clothing and a change of clothes for when you get back to your car!

Set off eastwards on Cumbria Way which runs alongside the River Brathay and Elter Water. If the clouds have cleared, the view back to the Langdale Pikes from Elter Water is stunning but if the clouds are still lingering around you might have to make do with imagining the view. After all, we’re setting off to see the waterfalls, all else is a bonus!

From our starting point in the village of Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge, the route boasts fantastic scenery throughout; winding through fields alongside River Brathay to Elter Water and then through beautiful woodland dripping wet and alive with the smell of a recent rain. The closeness of the woodland is heightened by the intensifying and anticipatory sound of crashing water that informs you that you are close to your first waterfall of the day. Skelwith Force is a small but impressive fall, particularly so after a rain. The Brathay narrows as it comes to the fall allowing for a funneling and powerful performance that you can sit and enjoy.

The Second Fall and Fell

From Skelwith Force head into Skelwith Bridge and don’t miss the Kirkstone Slate Galleries. There is some really impressive pieces of work and it is well worth checking out as one of our Windermere Guest House recommendations. From Skelwith Bridge it is time to head west towards Colwith Force for our second fall of the day.

Pass Park Farm and emerge from the fields crossing the road to enter Tongue Intake Plantation. The woodland is delightful once again but it is not long before the sound of falling water revs up the anticipation once more.

Colwith Force is somewhat different to Skelwith Force as it is a series of falls with an impressive height totalling 40 feet. Each stage is more spectacular than the last and the double spout at the bottom is the most stunning aspect of the feature. The surrounding woodland provides perfect solitude for you to take in the fall in all its beauty.

From the fall it’s northward bound back to Elterwater Village via the fell of High Hacket and through Fletcher’s Wood. High Hacket is not strenuous and should be the icing on the cake to this picturesque walk before you head back to our Windermere Guest House for some Winter warming food and drink!

January Windermere Guest House Cycle: Claife Heights

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This route is one for the mountain bikers and as such you can expect the terrain to be somewhat more difficult to navigate than the open road. You also know to expect hills when you’re in the Lakes so do prepare for a lot of climbs on any cycle you go on. This route typifies a great Lake District ride starting out with a climb on tarmac towards the off-road tracks that take you across Claife Heights. From there you will descend quite sweepingly on hard packed and well drained tracks towards Hawkshead which offers a great place for a good break. From Hawkshead your route heads up into Grizedale taking in the North Face Trail before finally dropping down to Lake Windermere.

We recommend leaving your car at our Windermere Guest House and heading to the ferry to cross Lake Windermere on your bikes. It’s not far from our Windermere Guest House and this way you will save a lot of money and time rather than waiting in the traffic to cross with your car.

The Ride

Once you’ve crossed the lake and taken in the wonderful views as you do so, get your helmet on and head along the road towards Sawrey. You’re immediately twisting, turning and climbing so don’t say we didn’t warn you! Just before you get to Sawrey Hotel, you will reach a bridleway on the right and if you take this you will follow a slate track pass the Sawrey Institute and up towards our destination of Claife Heights.
Eventually you will come to woodland where you will start your first significant descend at speed. The track is rocky so do take care, we don’t want you returning to our Windermere Guest House with any broken bones or dislocated joints! You will come to the lake shore and if you follow the track along this shore you will come to another bridleway on your left that takes you back up the the heights of Belle Grange.

The bridleway is cobbled and develops into rocky steps on steep ground which can be difficult to negotiate. Nevertheless keep on going and cross over two other closely located bridleways for another fast paced descent. With a good balance and line choice you will hit high speeds as you head all the way down towards Hawkshead.

Hawkshead’s a great place to stop for a bite to eat or just a drink from a great selection of eateries, pubs and cafes. Once you’ve got your breath back and filled up your bellies, cycle up through the village passing the Kings Arms and Minstrels Gallery Tea Rooms on your left. Head under the arch and up towards the bridleway leads you to Grizedale Forest. This track is steep but well surfaced, getting you up into the forest quickly to join the North Face Trail. This trail is found roughly ¼ mile upwards into the forest on your left. Follow this trail until you come to Moor Top car park.
From the car park take the tarmac road through the forest until you see signs that lead you into the forest again to the left. Keep right at the first forking and follow this for some distance as it weaves through the trees. When you come to the next junction take a left and as the track curves around, a bridleway sign leads you onto some great off-piste, which weaves through the trees and speeds you downhill again.

Exiting onto tarmac turn right and cycle along the singletrack road before picking up the bridleway off to the left and heading down once more through trees. From here you will join a good tarmac road, turn right, pass the junction to the left, before taking a final bridleway at the edge on your left which leads down towards Cunsey. Follow the lakeshore north and you will arrive back at the ferry which will take you back across the lake to your Windermere Guest House.

December Windermere Guest House Cycle: Lyth Valley – Damsons & Daffodils

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South Lakeland is one of the most idyllic and quietest parts of rural England and thus it is one of the best places to explore by bike. Nowhere is too far from our Windermere Guest House especially if you’re on your bike so we’re always on hand to give you advice on places to cycle to.

The Lake District has something for every cyclist to enjoy, from challenging off-road mountain biking routes to gentle country lanes so whatever it is you’re after you can count on the Lakes to provide for you. There are plenty of winding road cycling with stunning views which is ideal for a gentle spin or a great journey. There are plenty of safe and enjoyable family rides for all ages and abilities as well.

On this Lyth Valley journey you will wind your way between rocky knolls and small woods. The town, famous for its damson orchards, is just a short way south of our Windermere Guest House accessible south via the A5074 towards Levens and onto Sizergh Castle. The ride starts by the gates of the magnificent Sizergh Castle – itself a place well worth visiting – and takes in enclosed wooded landscapes, flat open farmland, open straight roads and pretty orchards set amongst rocky outcrops. A steep detour provides a spectacular view over south Cumbria and the Lakeland fells as well as the perfect place for a picnic; the view definitely makes the climb worthwhile! Attractive at any time of year but the wild daffodils and damson blossom in Spring make this an especially beautiful ride during the Spring and Summer months.

The distance of the cycle is a short 13 miles but if you cycle directly from our Windermere Guest House it is an extra 10 miles on top. The cycle is moderate in difficulty but if you do choose to take on the optional detour, the steep climb can be quite tough for unseasoned cyclists. If you need any refreshments en route you can find pubs in Sizergh, Levens, Underbarrow and Brigsteer.

The Route:

From Sizergh Castle pass the Strickland Arms and turn left immediately. You will come to a T on a steep hill, turn right and cycle uphill. Follow this direction into Levens taking care on the hill.

Once in Levens, bear right at the town’s Post Office, then follow the sign marked Grange.You will come to a sharp right marked route 20 and take this. From here, turn left at the bottom of a short hill over a bridge onto flat farmland. Take the next right to Brigsteer, entering village up another short hill. Brigsteer is a quaint and lovely village which you must keep left in, joining the main road at an angled junction. Take the very next right you come to which will bring you out at another T junction. Turn left here – signed Crosthwaite and Bowland Bridge – and continue to Underbarrow via a steep and bendy hill.

Once in Underbarrow take the first right – signed Crook – and continue to Underbarrow Church where splendid drifts of wild daffodils carpet the churchyard in spring. Fron here, return towards the village, taking a right fork into Mill Lane and turning right onto the main road.

Keep an eye out for a sign for Milnthorpe and Levens on the left and take this. Your next sign will be for Brigsteer and if you keep left back into this village you can head to the Wheatsheaf Pub if you fancy a tipple before moving on.

For the detour to Helsington viewpoint continue uphill and approximately 300m past the Wheatsheaf take third track on the right. Follow the bridleway past houses and through gate onto open farmland and diagonally uphill to stone track at top. Take a left towards Helsington Church and you can’t miss the viewpoint with its spectacular views! Once through, retrace route to Wheatsheaf or continue past the church to rejoin the road and turn left downhill towards Brigsteer.

Follow the sign for Levens and from here you can either enjoy the town of Levens or return to your Windermere Guest House after a cracking day out.

December Windermere Guest House Walk: Ambleside to Skelwith Bridge Walk

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This Ambleside to Skelwith Bridge walk is a pleasant and perfect introduction to walking in the Lake District. The walk is only a short distance away from our Windermere Guest House and so is easily accessible whether you drive to the starting location yourself or wish to use public transport. If you do choose to take public transport though just make sure you know the times and if you need any advice just ask before you leave as we will be able to provide public transport information at our Windermere Guest House.

The walk is popular and is suitable for people of all ages whether you’re thinking of bringing the whole family or popping along by yourself you’re sure to have a great time. The route has all the features you would expect from a standard Lakeland walk with some basic climbing and clambering over a fell as well as a visit to one of the wondrous tarns. The initial climb out of Ambleside to Loughrigg Fell is the toughest part of the walk so it’s always best to begin this walk in Ambleside to get the blood pumping and allow you to relax on the remaining part of the walk which is a pleasant experience at an elevation with stunning views. Loughrigg Tarn is particularly special as it is in a lovely setting and when the walk is completed you can celebrate with a drink of your choice in Skelwith Bridge. You can always walk back too as the walk isn’t incredibly strenuous, depending on your own comfort.

Once you are in Ambleside make your way to Rothay Park and cross the river via a footbridge. This will lead you along a road for a few yards before cutting off on a lane towards Brow Head Farm and then to Miller Brow. It’s a good climb so do be prepared and then continue on skirting Deer Hows wood onto Loughrigg Fell. The fell affords some lovely views back to Ambleside, incorporating the tip of Windermere lake. There are plenty of paths criss-crossing and leading in all directions all over this popular walking area meaning you could continue to explore it for a long, long time and there is also something rather comforting knowing that it is a well trodden area.

However, on with the route and we continue heading west and off the fell after passing Ivy Crag. Once off the fell, follow a path enclosed by walls on either side to a gate from where you cross north over two fields. You’ll know you’re on the right path when you come to Loughrigg Tarn.  Take a moment to take it all in, the sights and surroundings of the tarn are truly fantastic. It’s a great place to stop and pull out the flask, enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat before ploughing onwards. You can always pack a lunch from our Windermere Guest House before you set off to save you buying one on your way.

Tracking south towards the end of the walk you come to Crag Head and Little Loughrigg before descending into Skelwith Bridge where you can enjoy a drink before deciding what to do next. One option is to head north following the River Brathay no more than a mile to Elter Water from which it drains. It would actually be a shame not to visit the river’s source saying as your so close and Elter Water does have it’s own great views. Once done it’s time to head back to your Windermere Guest House.

November Windermere Guest House Cycle – Ambleside to Wray Castle and Hawkshead Hill

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This cycle starts in Ambleside and is looped so you can either cycle up from our Windermere Guest House or drive depending on how keen you are with your cycling! Whichever you decide you will be taking in some splendid views as you drive or cycle along the eastern shore of Lake Windermere up to Ambleside using the A591.

Once you have reached Ambleside, leave the A591 and head towards Clappersgate on the A593. Head onto the B5286 once you’ve passed through Clappersgate and go over Brathay Bridge alongside Brathay Dub. You’ll now be heading in the direction of Hawkshead but be sure to take a left, signposted Wray and its plain sailing from there with the occasional climb that shouldn’t be too tough for any cyclist.

You will arrive at the stunning Wray Castle, a perfect spot to stop for some lunch or a coffee to keep the fire burning before heading onto a few miles of great ascents and descents until you arrive at Colt house. From here you can follow signs to Hawkshead and go onto the B5285. Make your way through Hawkshead and turn left before the bridge signposted Coniston and Hawkshead Hill, staying on the B5285.

At this point you’ll be taking on your toughest climb of the cycle as you head for the summit of High Cross. About half way up there’s a sign marked ‘Hill Top’, but don’t be fooled, you’ve still got a fair bit of peddling to do before High Cross. Take in the incredible view from there and after such a tough climb you might well want to treat yourself to a pint. Either way, at the upcoming crossroads turn right following signs to Barngates, go through Hawkshead Hill and you’ll arrive at the Drunken Duck pub. Grab a rest, a drink and a bite to eat if you like or continue straight on until you get to the B5286 junction, at which point, turn left and retrace your route back to Ambleside.

The ride is little over 10 miles but quite taxing unless you’re a seasoned cyclist, but with some of the best 360 views of any ride in the Lakes, it’s one that can be enjoyed by all and is worth taking time over to take in the scenery!