Gar­den­ing leave in the great in­doors LYNSEY ELLIOT

Re­laxes at Ap­pleby Manor in Cum­bria which has a spa with indoor and out­door gar­dens...

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

A GAR­DEN Spa in Bri­tain, you say? With our weather?

You’d be right to be sur­prised. But Ap­pleby Manor in Cum­bria has cre­ated the per­fect gar­den spa both in­doors and out.

And what a beau­ti­ful English coun­try gar­den it is. There’s a pot­ting shed, plants and trees aplenty, buck­ets and spades, rock­eries, beau­ti­ful flow­ers, and... a hy­dro pool.

My hus­band and I started our aqua ther­mal jour­ney in an aroma salt in­hala­tion room, decked out with brick-style tiles, cop­per pip­ing and pres­sure gauges that mimic house­hold mech­a­nisms.

Next door, there’s a wooden bench with climb­ing ivy grow­ing up the wall be­hind, so we took a seat and en­joyed the mas­sag­ing jets of the Pe­di­dar­ium – an out­door sink with cop­per tap.

Our next stop was the steam room, quickly fol­lowed by a cool down in the rain, sky and mon­soon shower.

There was noth­ing tra­di­tional about the sauna ei­ther. De­signed to look like a pot­ting shed with its wooden slats, a steel bucket stood out­side the door with wa­ter to stoke the heat. Hang­ing our robes on wall­mounted trow­els, we pulled the shovel door han­dle and sat on the wooden benches.

Mounted on the walls were wooden crates hid­ing the con­trols and look­ing like shelves on which to store pots and seeds.

A lot of thought has clearly gone in to the de­sign and the at­ten­tion to de­tail is amaz­ing.

Even walk­ing to and from each ex­pe­ri­ence on the pa­tio-style stone floor with sil­ver planters dot­ted about was like walk­ing out­side – but warmer.

There’s a good-sized hy­drother­apy pool to ease aching mus­cles and two out­door spa baths, one of which sits in a cosy out­door gar­den area com­plete with comfy seats, blan­kets and a fire pit.

The spa is mod­ern but re­ally com­ple­ments the manor, which was built in 1871 in the idyl­lic coun­try­side of the Eden Val­ley on the edge of the Lake Dis­trict.

It’s sur­rounded by the North Pen­nines and is also close to the York­shire Dales.

I felt like the lady of the manor as we climbed the grand stair­case to our room at the top of the stairs be­hind an old, heavy wooden door.

It was like step­ping back in time to the turn of the 20th cen­tury with wood­pan­elled walls, dark wood fur­ni­ture and an old­fash­ioned tele­phone.

I loved the lit­tle touch of a vin­tage suit­case on top of the wardrobe, too.

I set­tled down to a cup of tea – made from the wide se­lec­tion of ameni­ties in the room – and sat on the win­dow seat ad­mir­ing the view over the val­ley and Cum­bria Cas­tle.

Speak­ing of ameni­ties, the bot­tled wa­ter in the room wasn’t just your usual bot­tle, it was Ap­pleby Manor’s very own. A la­bel hang­ing round the bot­tle­neck read: ‘In our quest to be more en­vi­ron­men­tally aware, we have drilled our own wa­ter bore hole. We are happy to pro­vide this, our own wa­ter, for your en­joy­ment.’

The food at the ho­tel was de­li­cious.

The AA rosette-win­ning restau­rant is as good as billed, with the chef serv­ing up a mix of tra­di­tional dishes beau­ti­fully fin­ished.

Start­ing with a drink and ap­pe­tis­ers in the lounge area while mak­ing our choices, we were led to our ta­ble and soon greeted with an amuse bouche of but­ter­nut squash soup with truf­fle oil.

For starters, I or­dered the Ice­landic prawn ravi­oli and spicy fish broth, while my hus­band had the breast of pi­geon on caramelised onion mash with celaric foam.

We both love a good steak so opted for the char­grilled aged sir­loin of Lake­land beef served with dauphi­noise pota­toes, braised field mush­room and roast plum tomato, mine with Diane sauce and my hus­band’s with gar­lic sauce.

The lat­ter wasn’t ac­tu­ally on the menu but the chef was more than happy to con­jure up a gar­lic and white wine sauce. That’s ser­vice for you!

For dessert I was drawn to the crème brulee – a firm favourite of mine – the other half go­ing for the trio of choco­late pud­dings which in­cluded a rich dark choco­late ganache.

Full to the brim, I re­luc­tantly agreed to have a game of pool in the games room be­fore loung­ing by the fire and brows­ing one of the many in­for­ma­tion book­lets dot­ted through­out the ho­tel with ideas about what to do in the area.

Af­ter a great night’s sleep and a soak in the spa bath com­plete with tele­vi­sion, we headed down­stairs for break­fast.

We were greeted with a sign on the restau­rant door say­ing: ‘This door leads to your de­li­cious break­fast’ – a lovely quirky touch.

There was a vast, fresh con­ti­nen­tal buf­fet to choose from and then a hot break­fast to or­der.

Sur­prise, sur­prise the other half went for the full English but I liked the look of the Amer­i­can-style pan­cakes with blue­berry com­pote and maple syrup.

All re­laxed with full tum­mies and a wealth of knowl­edge about the sur­round­ing area from the ho­tel re­sources, we headed off to ex­plore.

Ap­pleby Manor Ho­tel

The spa pool

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