CHERYL MULLIN enjoys trains, boats and planes in the Lake District while staying at the revamped Lindeth Howe Hotel in Bowness
WE hadn’t even arrived at the hotel and already we’d ticked off three Lake District staples – RAF jets, rain and stunning vistas. Having left the motorway, our journey to Bowness was now taking us down tree-lined lanes, the leafy canopies tinged with reds and golds as autumn took hold.
The sun was shining when we arrived, winding our way down a country lane and popping out in a clearing to find our home for the next few days. The Lindeth Howe sits on the hillside above Lake Windermere for all to see, yet it felt as if we’d stumbled upon a beautiful little secret. Built in 1879, it once belonged to one of the Lake District’s most famous daughters, Beatrix Potter.
The current owners are celebrating their 20th anniversary at the hotel, and have invested more than £1m in creating a unique new ‘tea room’ for conferences and weddings, and refurbishing the building’s downstairs lounges and bar area.
We were staying in one of the Lindeth Howe’s suites, The Westmorland Suite, which commands impressive views across the hotel’s gardens, the lake and Cumbrian fells. Lavishly appointed, we had our own fridge, luxury tea and coffee facilities and a fire to take the edge off the autumn evenings.
We booked ourselves in for an evening meal and took a stroll down towards the lake, through neatly manicured gardens. It’s a good stretch of the legs to the lakeside and on to Bowness town centre but the evening weather was pleasant and we paused for a cocktail at an outside bar to watch the sun go down.
Back at the hotel for dinner, we ordered drinks in the drawing room and enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres while we perused the menu.
This is one of the areas of the hotel which has undergone a huge makeover. Crammed full of bright colours and nature-inspired furnishings, it’s a lovely place to relax.
The Lindeth Howe has a formidable reputation for its food, thanks to head chef Christopher Davies’s menus bursting with seasonal goodies.
My husband opted to start with seared scallops, with sweetheart cabbage, pancetta and chive beurre blanc, which he described as perfect.
For his main, he chose the roast Cumbrian lamb taster – a lamb cutlet, lamb rump, Cumbrian Haggis and smoked celery purée, which was again greeted most favourably.
As a vegetarian, my selection was a little smaller but none the less enticing. I had a rich and flavoursome tomato and basil soup to start, followed by garden pea, mint and Parmesan risotto, which was gorgeously creamy and full of flavour.
For dessert I opted for a deconstructed cherry and white chocolate cheesecake, while my husband settled on a classic, sticky toffee pudding, which was deliciously light and sweet. We enjoyed a further glass of wine in the lounge before bed.
Next day, after a full cooked breakfast, we headed to Bowness to join one of the many lake cruises. We boarded a boat heading for Lakeside, which boasts a steam train, an aquarium and a motor museum.
The 40-minute cruise cost £22.90 each, but included entry to the motor museum and a return journey on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway – excellent value. The crossing was smooth, with the sun shining down on the busy lake.
Departing the ferry at Lakeside, we were lucky enough to find the bright blue steam engine waiting on the platform to take us to Haverthwaite. The journey is short but charming, with plumes of smoke passing the window as the countryside rolls by.
At Haverthwaite there was an engine shed where you could get a closer look at the railway’s collection of steam and diesel locomotives, and a lovely little tea room, where we paused for a brew before hopping back on the train to Lakeside.
From Lakeside we took the free shuttlebus to the Lakeland Motor Museum, which boasts a stunning collection of – as they describe it – vintage, veteran, classic, comical, majestic, weird and wonderful vehicles from all over the world.
The museum is a veritable Tardis of exhibits, with thousands of fascinating items. There’s also a separate exhibition about Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald, who both set speed records in the Lakes. Afterwards we enjoyed a huge cream tea in the museum’s café, overlooking the River Leven.
Jumping the shuttle bus back to Lakeside, we boarded the last ship to Bowness, sheltering on a lower deck from the autumn chill.
Back in Bowness, rather than dashing straight back to the hotel, we decided to stop for dinner in a tapas bar that had caught our eye.
Bodega was a lovely little place tucked off the main drag, which has a bar downstairs and a cosy restaurant upstairs. The menu was vast, and we ordered Spanish omelette, crunchy tempura battered mixed vegetables, chicken and pepper skewers, and meatballs, with patatas bravas to share. The service was quick, the portions huge and the food delicious.
Stuffed to the gills, it was lovely to stroll back to the hotel and walk off some of our meal.
Ordering wine in the hotel bar, we retired to the garden swing where we unwound and set the world to rights. The perfect ending to a beautiful day.
The Lindeth Howe Hotel, Bowness-on-windermere
Rooms have a traditional feel
Lounge areas have been tastefully redecorated
Lakeland Motor Museum
The train to Haverthwaite