I love the Lake District.
Even though it always rains harder than anywhere else on earth, the hills and dales of the Lakes hold a special place in my heart.
Of course my Lake District experience have generally of been a particular type involving tents, midges, half-cooked fry-ups and queuing outside a shower block before yomping up a nearby mountain with last night’s Lakeland brew threatening to resurface.
But with age and with my student years very firmly behind me, these type of trips are becoming few and far between.
Now I like to wander lonely as a cloud around the lakes and dales with the knowledge that a hot bath and a glass of wine awaits.
Actually, not that lonely, as I arrived at the Linthwaite Hotel’s spectacular hillside location with plus one in tow, carrying all the luggage.
The rain poured but despite the cloud cover, it was clear that somewhere beyond Linthwaite, Windermere was waiting.
But we had to wait until the next morning for a full, unimpeded view of the lake with its backdrop of the Langdale fells, from the hotel’s truly impressive 14 acres of landscape gardens.
This is a hotel with a solution to everything – and while we couldn’t see Windermere, we were able to admire the Linthwaite’s very own tarn, with its own summer house and rowing boat tied tethered poetically in the rain.(It has fishing rights too)
We arrived in reception to be greeted informally by a roaring log fire and a welcoming smile.
This is not a hotel with an attitude – it prides itself on being ‘unstuffy’ and ‘unpretentious’ – but in minutes it was clear that this was a hotel with style in spades and designed with the finer things in life in mind.
No sign of the usual chintz associated with Cumbria country house hotels, but no signs of austere modernity either, it was clear the hotel has developed its own relaxed identity – and a sense of humour.( I was reliably informed that there were back issues of the Beano and Dandy annuals in the gents)
We were booked into a suite, which turned out to be small but perfectly formed. Tasteful décor in muted tones, mixed with luxurious bathrobes, Molton Brown products and a stonking shower.
I personally can tell a lot about a hotel from the state of its shower – Linthwaite passed hands down.
Suitably settled in, we made our way downstairs to the lounge for afternoon tea.
We sat in the new conservatory and admired the rain, while I was served with fantastically fresh scones with jam and cream and plus one wolfed down some Enid Blyton-inspired thick ham sandwiches, served with a side order of freshly fried, still warm crisps.
Soon we had lapsed into silence, the peace and calm of Linthwaite was already working its magic.
As darkness fell, we made our way to the hotel’s luxurious and comfortable lounge where we served with drinks and menu to make our dinner choices.
Served with a selection of canapes to whet our appetites, we were soon spoiled for choice as we perused an extensive menu offering imaginative dishes, many with ingredients sourced locally in Cumbria.
Linthwaite House Hotel, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3JA
Telephone: 01539 488600
This first appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post
Room at Linthwaite