Now that our Schengen visas have expired, we’ve been using the opportunity to explore the UK over weekends. Even when our visas were valid, we didn’t do thaaat much travel. It’s such a mission in London. All 4 of the airports are at least an hour away from home or work. Then, you need to get to the airport around 90 minutes early incase there’s a crazy security line (which there almost always is on a Friday.) Factor in passport control on either side and you’re in for a pretty long journey, even if the flight is short. After a few trips within Europe where we encountered delayed flights and spent hours in passport control queues, we decided we’d had it with airports for a while. Trains are way easier – the main train stations, Euston and King’s Cross, are in central London, and there are no security checks.
As much as I love London, being in the city does get a bit overwhelming at times. Mostly, I love the energy and buzz around me, but there are other times when I just want to be away from everything and everyone and spend some time outdoors. Our weekend at Linthwaite House gave us all that and more. I didn’t expect much from the weekend – maybe some hiking, an average hotel dinner and a bit of sightseeing.
What we got was an uber luxurious room, miles and miles of stunning hiking trails right outside the hotel, and a dinner that was worthy of a Michelin Star. Linthwaite House was an absolute treat – and judging by the reactions on the picture I posted of the lounge area, lots of people thought the same!
Lake District is a short 2.5 hour train ride away from London (I got tickets on Virgin Trains from Euston station to Oxenholme and then connected to Windermere. From there, it was a 10 minute taxi ride to the hotel.)
The Lake District area is massive, so I didn’t want to make the same mistake I made on our trip to Scotland and try to see everything in one weekend. Instead, we based ourselves at the hotel, didn’t hire a car, and tried to do as much as possible on foot. That was a great decision, because we really enjoyed ourselves, and felt super relaxed at the end of the weekend. We arrived late on Friday, so had an early night, ready to make use of our hiking shoes on Saturday. The hotel very cleverly has walking routes printed out on flyers, so you can pick one and then head out. It was raining at first, but we pushed on, and were soon rewarded with some stunning scenery.
Our hike was gorgeous – we strolled through woodland, to the top of little mountain peaks, around farmyards and pastures, and even through quaint little villages, eventually finding ourselves at the Windermere golf club where we had a nice lunch.
That evening, we headed to the hotel’s restaurant for dinner. Hotel restaurants are scarcely better than average, but this one was spectacular! Think crusty warm bread rolls for the table, fresh gourmet pasta, and hearty meat dishes. We had quite a feast! The restaurant is a destination for lots of non-resident guests too, so booking is essential.
We were only due to leave Windermere on Sunday evening, but needed to check out of the hotel in the morning, so we booked a tour with Mountain Goat. It met our needs perfectly, because we wanted to visit Beatrix Potter’s house (around an hour’s drive away) but didn’t want to hire a car, and we also needed a lift back to the train station and somewhere to store our bags during the tour, all of which Mountain Goat offered. Our driver was waiting promptly at our hotel in the morning, and he was the loveliest person. He told us lots of stories about the area while we were picking up other guests (around 8 in total.) We headed to Beatrix’ house and gardens – the experience was so cool 🙂 You can actually see the inspiration behind lots of the stories she wrote, and her house is filled with original letters from the time she lived there.
From there, we went to a quaint little village called Hawkshead, where we stopped for lunch. We then stopped at 2 beautiful view points where we got a taste of what the Lake District has to offer. I need to go back!
The final activity on the tour was a short 30 minute cruise on Lake Windermere, for which the sun decided to make an appearance. It was just perfect.. we even got ice creams just before we boarded!
We were then dropped off at the train station, about 30 minutes before our train which was perfect. This was actually one of Mountain Goat’s shorter tours – they cover the entire Lake District and even do multiple night trips. I loved my experience with them and while I don’t often go on organized tours, sometimes they do eliminate stress and hassle, especially when you’re short on time. It felt like we made the most of the weekend, without exhausting ourselves with long and tiring commutes. What made the train ride even better was the amazing novel I was reading at the time. It’s probably the best novel I’ve read in years. It’s not an easy story to read – it’s deep, scarring and haunting, but I was absolutely captivated from start to finish. >700 pages later and I still wanted more. Read it!
All in all, an absolutely fab weekend.