Don’t miss out on the beauty on our doorstep
STEVE HOWARTH heads up the M6 to The Lakes, and to a fine hotel with a ‘good feeling’...
WE really do take things for granted in this country... like one of the world’s most beautiful places almost on our doorstep.
That is certainly true of the Lake District. Just an hour or so up the M6 is a region which draws in visitors quite literally from the other side of the world, and yet many of the people who live here visit rarely.
Taking Her Indoors for an adventure outdoors, we were the guests of Linthwaite Hotel, a fabulous retreat perched above Lake Windermere with magnificent views and equally fabulous accommodation.
The large Victorian villa boasts 30 luxury bedrooms and suites, some with hot tubs and many with stunning views of the huge lake.
It is just a 25-minute stroll from Windermere and we took that leafy lane walk on a sunny April afternoon. It was then that I realised just what a tourist attraction The Lakes and villages like Windermere really are.
As we made our way through the busy, but not too packed, streets, accents from around the globe could be heard. Germans, Americans and many Far Eastern visitors. It really is quite impressive just what a draw our ‘national treasure’ attraction really is.
And when you sit on a Windermere hotel terrace overlooking the lake on a beautifully sunny afternoon enjoying a cream tea (plus a bottle of local brew Old Man Ale) there are few spots on the planet that are more pleasing.
Later that day, as we sat on the veranda of Linthwaite, we saw another glorious scene as the sun set across the lake behind the Old Man of Coniston while waiting to go through for our evening meal... where further treats were in store.
Linthwaite’s head chef, Chris O’Callaghan, tells guests on his menu: “I have a passion for eclectic British food, taking the best and finest produce from England’s diverse larder and bringing it all together with an understanding of flavour, combinations and technique – some more challenging than others.”
He prides himself on using local produce, especially using meat from Cumbria and Lancashire (even black pudding from Bury) and my dish of duck and Her Indoors’ beef-based creation were both beautifully presented and cooked.
The stylish dining room had that just-right atmosphere and an excellent choice of wines also helped things to go superbly. Lots of brownie points in the bank for yours truly.
The Good Food Guide praises chef Chris for ‘exact cooking techniques and a degree of ambition, showing balance and depth of flavour in dishes, whilst using high quality ingredients’.
I cannot disagree with any of that.
The house is in a perfect spot for a Lakes break where there is always something to enjoy, from walks, sailing on the lake, off-road driving, or a wealth of outdoor activities, to attractions like the superb Lakeland Motor Museum, Brockhole Visitor Centre, Blackwell Arts and Crafts House and The World of Beatrix Potter, to mention just a few should the weather prove too inclement.
Built in 1900 as a private house it originally had five bedrooms and was set in seven acres.
It was extended in 1910 and then changed hands several times until, in 1969, it became a guest house for the first time.
From there, over 20 years, the number of bedrooms grew and the land expanded to even include a tarn (which boasts private fly fishing for guests and even swimming for the truly adventurous).
In 1990 current owners Mike and Jean Bevans bought and refurbished the then two-star hotel and added even more bedrooms.
Over the years the hotel has enjoyed great success and won many awards – gaining four AA Red Stars and three AA Rosettes.
It features in the Good Hotel Guide and has a five rating in the Good Food Guide.
The last extensions and refurbishment happened in 2008 when five luxury suites were added, plus a new bar and kitchen, to bring us to the Linthwaite of today – a luxurious yet welcoming, up-market yet comfortable destination.
The perfect spot for a special break which has that ‘good feeling’.
A room at Linthwaite, left, and the wonderful food, right. The dining room , above
●● Linthwaite’s setting could not be better... and the views are not bad, either