Christmas gift ideas galore at Cumbria’s Holker Winter Market

It’s nearly November and despite the handful of super organised people out there, Christmas gift buying is still far from being started.

It can be dread for so many people and that’s not to say just the male of the species and it seems even more so this year after a fabulous September of weather and the feeling and utterings up and down the country of “it really can’t be winter can it?!”. Well it is and the weekend has just confirmed this with the clocks going back and, well in Cumbria anyway, a distinct change in weather to “quite inclement”.

But the key to a happy and fulfilling Christmas shopping experience is combining it with a weekend away and it has to be said, Cumbria, the Lake District is a great location for both aspects.

Step just outside of the busy southern Lake District areas of Ambleside, Windermere and Coniston and the areas to the west of the county, Grange over Sands and Cartmel are pure and unadulterated Christmas gift shopping and weekend break heaven.

cumbria markets

The town of Grange over Sands and the village of nearby Cartmel have gift shops galore as well as stunning artisan food producers and markets with goods available all year round. New for 2017 is the L’Enclume shop. As December nears and the big day, Christmas, more and more markets are held and weekend special craft, gift and food events.

In the area on the weekend of November 4th and 5th is the Winter Market at Holker Hall. Situated just 4 miles from Grange over Sands, Holker Hall is a magnificent historic house renowned for the gardens and regular food and craft events. The Winter Market will include over 90 stalls (a huge increase on previous years) from mainly local suppliers and producers with everything from food to decorations and all manner of gifts. For the chance to purchase pieces to make Christmas at home extra special to some extra special gifts for friends and family, this upcoming market at Holker Hall is definitely going to be a one stop shop.

Grange over Sands is a good choice of location to stay at too when attending the market at Holker. Bay Villa, a luxury bed & breakfast have rooms available, visit the website for more details here, http://www.bayvilla.net.

 

Christmas in Cockermouth

Christmas is approaching scarily quickly and it’s not just all about gifts.

For businesses it’s where to hold the staff Christmas party or lunch and for families and friends the question, should we go out for Christmas Day lunch?

For businesses in and around Cockermouth in West Cumbria, Fredericks Lounge Bar and Restaurant have the answer to both questions. Now launched and taking bookings is a special Christmas Day Lunch menu and a Festive Christmas Menu for the days leading up to the big day.

With lots of businesses in the area, Christmas parties will be springing up in every bar, inn and restaurant in Cockermouth. The Festive Christmas Menu at Fredericks is full of tasty dishes including of course Turkey with all the trimmings (sourced locally from Cocklakes near Penrith) but also something a little bit different in the form of Pan Seared Fillet of Seabass with Beetroot Linguine, Curly Kale, Sauce Vierge and Goats Cheese, Spinach and Tomato Strudel with Olives, Sun-blushed Tomato and Red Onion, Red Pepper Coulis. The 3 course Festive Menu is just £28 per person and it can be booked to enjoy in the main restaurant or The White Room which can hold up to 50 guests.

christmas lunch cockermouth

Onto The Big Day, Christmas Day and it is getting more and more popular to eat out for this most important meal of the year. With the rise in cost of produce and utilities combined with the often stressful preparation and organisation, why not let someone else do it all! And we’re not even mentioning the washing up! Priced at £58 per person, the Fredericks Christmas Lunch is set to be a fabulous festive feast. Along with delicious starters to choose from the mains include Medallions of Lakeland Beef Fillet and Pan Seared Supreme of Sea Trout and puddings in the form of Christmas Pudding, Black Cherry Pavlova or a Platter of Local Cheeses.

Fredericks are gearing up for the decorating the lounge bar & restaurant to the nines for Christmas. For the full menus and more information on Fredericks Restaurant in Cockermouth visit, https://frederickscockermouth.co.uk

The Langdale Valley, “Challenging” Some May Say

The Langdale Valley, the real heart of the Lake District. Stunningly, scenic landscapes no matter when you look. The source of inspiration for artists and poets for hundreds of years and a place where people come to experience complete relaxation.

But the Langdale Valley also appeals to another very different lot of people as Langdale is at the end of England’s steepest roads, Wrynose and Hardknott and surrounded by some of England’s highest mountains. So it is no wonder that Langdale is also quite popular with outdoor enthusiasts and those adventurous types.

langdale lake district
On to running and the much respected Great Langdale Road Races running club hold a magnificent marathon and half marathon each year. Yes, a marathon as in 26 miles but not along the streets of London but through the bumpy Lake District National Park. Taking place on Saturday 21st October this year, competitors can enjoy (endure!) the stunning true heart of the Lake District, the Langdale Valley. It’s no surprise there are a few hills here and there, some being 1 in 3 gradients making it invigorating and challenging. The route starts from Great Langdale following an anti-clockwise direction via Little Langdale and through the picturesque hamlets of Skelwith Bridge, Chapel Style and Dungeon Ghyll.

Sponsors, supporters and outdoor lovers the Langdale Hotel & Spa have just the location for pre and post race relaxation and rejuvenation. The Hotel as a choice of rooms either for those taking part or for spectators and the new Brimstone Spa is what will be required to sooth aching limbs. Visit http://www.langdale.co.uk for more information.

 

Welcome Summer at Country Fest in Cumbria this June

Country Fest returns again this year organised by the Westmorland County Agricultural Society and held on the County Show Ground at Crooklands near Kendal. The weekend, June 3rd and 4th of June 2017.

As with so many of the Cumbria country and outdoor shows, it has grown year on year with 2017 set to be the biggest and best yet. As a true event for all there will be something for the whole family giving everyone a taste of the countryside.

Exhibitors will be coming from all over the north but most will be from Cumbria and Lancashire showcasing just how much these two counties love the countryside and the high quality produce and activities available.

country fest cumbria

Food of course will be plentiful with lots of trade stands selling the delicious produce produced and supplied in the area. Take plenty of bags for buying food and go hungry as they’ll be lots of hot and cold food stands for meals and snacks during the day.

What you’ll be able to see and enjoy at the 2017 show: Live music from TwentyFourSeven, Honda UK’s Official Stunt Team Bolddog Lings are coming to Country Fest (you may have seen them on Britain’s Got Talent), a kite festival, a cookery theatre and workshop and a vintage revival to name just a handful of what’s on during the two day show.

As with any country focused show, animals will play a large part with poultry and rabbit shows, dog shows and sheepdog trials, a children’s discover farming experience and a young shepherd show.

Ticket prices: Adults £9.50; Children £3.00 (5 – 16 years); Family £22.00 (2 Adults & 3 Children). For more information on Country Fest visit http://www.westmorlandshow.co.uk/country-fest

Looking for somewhere to stay? There is MIlnthorpe close to the show ground also Levens or head to Kendal which has plenty of choice of places to stay including the Riverside Hotel in Kendal. Rooms from £135 B&B. Visit http://www.riversidekendal.co.uk to book.

Great North Swim 2017 Lake Windermere

It’s that time of the year again, the fantastic event weekend of the Great North Swim. The dates, June 9tt, 10th and 11th, the location, the stunning Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake.

As well as it being the UK’s biggest weekend of open water swimming, the event is also celebrating its 10th anniversary. Each year entries get fully subscribed earlier and earlier thanks to bigger coverage and the rise in popularity of open water swimming in this country.

The Great North Swim incorporates different distances and events for all ages and those for novices as well as experienced swimmers. This year distances will be half mile, one mile, 2 miles, 5k and the biggy, 10k.

great north swim windermere

There are also two other new and exciting events for 2017 starting with the Great North Swim250. This event is aimed at new, nervous and families to take the plunge into open water swimming and is 250 metres in the bay area of the lake. The event can be entered by anyone aged 8 years or over (children under 12 to be accompanied by one adult each). Places are limited to it is well worth applying online for places to avoid disappointment.

The second new event is for all those runners and swimmers out there, the Great North SwimRun. Sure to be popular with many people up and down the country and of course triathletes looking for something a bit different to their normal triathlon challenges. What makes this much more than simply a duathlon is it involves teams of two who will navigate their way around the course going seamlessly from land to water, really taking in the very best of the scenery in and around Lake Windermere. For more information on the full programme of events visit http://www.greatrun.org/great-swim/great-north-swim

It is always extremely busy in and around Lake Windermere on Great North Swim weekend with 10,000+ entrants and their supporters and spectators. There is still a couple of rooms available in hotels one of which is the Damson Dene Hotel between Kendal and Windermere. IT’s easy to access and it has a pool for last minute training or post swim warm down. Rooms are limited and booking up fast. Visit http://www.damsondene.co.uk for more details.

Brimstone Hotel and Beyond in the Lake District

It is worth a little reminder about one of pioneering luxury Lake District hotels, the Brimstone Hotel.

Most visitors to the Lake District will have at some point either stayed or made use of the facilities on the Langdale Estate and it is on the Langdale Estate that the Brimstone Hotel was created and opened 4 years ago. This hotel has gone from strength to strength with guests returning year on year (sometimes more than once a year!) and critical acclaim by journalists from the UK and abroad.

If the Estate wasn’t unique enough, Brimstone firmly and well and truly confirms this. The excitement surrounding this brand new hotel has brought guests to the resort that may not have visited previously.

brimstone lake district hotel
The main reason for this post is to make readers aware of all that can be experienced when staying at Brimstone. It is not just a stand alone 5 star hotel but one that is full of character and offers flexibility, relaxation and the ability to do whatever you like, whenever you like.

Firstly the location in the heart of the Lake District where activities galore can be enjoyed. Next, the spa. A spa with swimming pool, gym, sauna and steam room as well as treatment rooms. Dining and beverages is where it gets even more exciting with the fabulous Stove Restaurant serving breakfast, snacks, drinks, cocktails, fine wines and dinner every day and Wainwright’s Inn, a traditional Lakeland inn just a 2 minute walk from Brimstone. And don’t forget, if the suite is too good to leave, there’s the Brimstone in room dining menus to choose from 24/7. Depending on what has been done during the day, the cuisine desired etc, guests are bound to enjoy a meal to suit them perfectly.

Brimstone Hotel is special in more ways than one and it is well worth experiencing if given the chance.

 

Lake Windermere Wonderland for February Half Term

Half term is creeping up upon us all but what an excuse and time to visit the Lake District and in particular Windermere.

Everyone has their fingers crossed for a good weather forecast so if you’re thinking of visiting and staying over or just taking a day trip in and around Windermere, Bowness and Lake Windermere then there is plenty to see and do and even if it’s a tad damp.

Brockhole and the Lake District Visitor Centre of course has some great activities planned for the whole family as usual including Winter Wildlife Survival Trail. Full of adventure, face painting, outdoor adventures and storytelling and Treetop Treks also on the same site. Brockhole is equally as good fun indoors or out so great whatever the weather.

lake windermere hotel

Beatrix Potter, another great love of children and families of all ages. Enjoy Easter “Tea with Peter Rabbit” at the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction on Saturday 18th February and Saturday 25th. Cakes and sandwiches supplied along with stories told by “Beatrix Potter” and the chance to explore the World of Beatrix Potter attraction.

And let’s not forget the activity for all ages, abilities and that can be enjoyed for hour or a full day, a Lake District walk. Tips on walking routes and points of interest are always available by the knowledgeable staff at the hotels and B&B’s in and around Lake Windermere. Gummers How is a definite where the short, sharp climb rewards walkers with a stunning view of England’s longest lake.

From places for afternoon, a light lunch through to Sunday carvery’s and evening meals, you’ll lever go hungry in the Lake District and around the Windermere are with a huge choice of places to dine.
Being February and the chance of some wet and cold weather, the hotels around Lake Windermere are the ideal places to stay in. Everything under one roof, many with restaurants as well as bars and some having leisure facilities too. One such recommendation, the Newby Bridge Hotel at the southern end of Lake Windermere and still with views down the lake.

Calling all map, art and Lake District lovers

This is cartography at its most creative and beautiful. Whether you’re a cartographer yourself, a fell walker or runner, a Lake District lover or simply have an appreciation for wall art, these 3D Lake District relief maps could fit on any wall, modern apartment to country house.

Created by husband and wife team Chris and Ruth Scammell from their base in the north western Lake District, these maps combine accuracy but without the graphic information found on so many 3D relief maps. Have pleasure in spotting your favourite Lake District fells before opening up your Ordnance Survey map for confirmation and reminiscing about each summit.

lake district raised relief map
A Signature Bronze Lake District relief map by Map Sculpture

These 3D Lake District relief maps are available in Classic, a striking metalized coated high definition formed plastic or Signature, in a choice of woods, metals and stone including bronze or cedar wood. The Classic form is available off the shelf with the Signature being a bespoke service and the ultimate piece of craftsmanship where the client can also be involved in the design process.

Contact Map Sculpture via http://mapsculpture.co.uk/ and to view their full product range.

Ambleside – A Destination for all Seasons

Many people love to get away in January or February even if it’s just for a short break. It breaks up the end of the winter and is a little bit of a recharge after Christmas.

For people from southern Scotland, the North East, Manchester and Yorkshire, the Lake District is a ideal destination for a short break in the winter being roughly only a 2 hour drive, perfect. Cumbria, the Lake District is a varied region offering beauty as well as dramatic landscapes. For a short break then Ambleside and the South Lakes is hard to beat and just 20 miles from junction 36 of the M6.

Ambleside has the shops, some great places to eat and stay and once parked up, you really needn’t use the car again. There are walks of various lengths and for various abilities as well as a short walk takes people down to Lake Windermere and it’s just an absolute necessity to have a cruise down to Bowness or Lakeside. If the weather is really fierce then a cosy fireside pub location or Zeffirellis Cinema are alternatives.

ambleside holiday cottages
The ideal winter getaway – Ambleside
Being away from the busy summer months means not only are there some excellent offers available on accommodation but the likes of self catering providers open up for weekend for short breaks. Always an ideal choice when taking your 4 legged friend for a weekend away.

So many places to choose from to stay in Ambleside, right in the heart of the town or slightly out Either providing easy access to Grasmere, Windermere and the Langdale Valley for days out.

For a spot of luxury on a self catering break to Ambleside then head to The Lakeland Cottage Company with a choice of both dog friendly and pets not allowed cottages in Ambleside. Visit https://www.lakeland-cottage-company.co.uk/ for more details.

It’s all about food and cycling this autumn in and around Penrith.

The two go hand in hand really, you can’t cycle without food (AKA energy) and after a gruelling bike ride, food is the must have aid to recovery (and probably what’s get you through those last few miles!).

Autumn is such an exciting season for hearty food in the hearty Eden Valley and with the Tour of Britain event not just passing through the region but also playing host to what’s set to be one of the most exciting summit finishes in TOB history, cycling is also very much “in season” too.

What could be better than some super September seasonal lamb? Cumbria, internationally acclaimed for its high quality lamb and quintessentially linked. Along with the equally as famous Cumberland sausage, these two dishes are longed for and anticipated when visiting the county and almost always consumed by visitors at once. They are warm, welcoming and recovery inducing post ride meals that’s for sure.

tebay services
The Westmorland Family farm near Orton

Pioneers many say, immense supporters and producers themselves, Tebay Services and the Tebay Services Hotel offer their own reared Cumbrian lamb across all the Westmorland Family businesses. Starting out as farmers, the ethos of local, quality, yet good value meat following into all manner of other food products continues to be to be core values of the business at every site.

Throughout autumn and winter the Tebay Services Hotel has a special dinner, bed and breakfast offer which will be released very soon along with a new menu. For the meantime take advantage of the current offer of £108 for bed & breakfast (along with a 10% off voucher for use in the Tebay Services Farm Shops) and sample rump of lamb with salsa verde on the menu right now.

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