SuperBreaker David tells us why he thinks a birthday in the Lake District is a great way to celebrate…
As my wife, Laura’s <cough>ieth birthday approached she’d made it abundantly clear that she wanted to do something ‘special’ for it. Special is usually a by-word for the impoverishment of me but, she had done something amazing for my <cough, cough>ieth birthday so I was feeling a little bit of pressure. I’d settled on the Lake District as a destination, as it’s a location pretty close to our hearts having had a few family holidays there and we even went there for our mini-moon there. Plus I think it’s the best example of British countyside at it’s beautiful best no matter what the weather (sorry Sheffield, I still love you).
After a nice drive out there on the Saturday morning, we turned up around lunchtime in the glorious sunshine and got checked in (which the nice people let us do a bit early). Our first impressions of the hotel were great, the front looks very impressive and the rooms are nice and cosy. There’s also a little park opposite which leads onto the small harbour, so we went over to have a little picnic and watch some children terrorize the family sausage dog; you should have seen his little legs go! There’s also the tinniest pebble beach in the world circa 15ft so we dipped our toes in there (nowhere near as warm at it looked) and then wandered back wondering if all the boats there were the net result of years of Bullseye prizes.
Next it was time for Laura’s latest birthday present – coming hot on the heels of the excellent new ironing board and hoover she’d received that morning – so, it was off to the spa for the ‘Sea Spa Glow’ treatment whilst I checked out the gym facilities. As it happens they were great, probably the best hotel gym I’ve been to actually, and after an hour of me huffing and puffing, Laura reappeared looking very happy (and shiny) indeed. We then stopped off at the Café del Lago bar for a liquid reward.
Having spoken to some of my well-travelled colleagues I found out that Low Wood Bay has a very good reputation for food, and coupled with the fact that as a true Yorkshireman I love a bargain, a dinner deal was the natural option, so we got ready and headed off for our tea/dinner (delete depending on where you live). After stuffing my face with 3 courses plus a rather tasty red wine I came to the conclusion that the good reputation was richly deserved. Myself and Laura are self-confessed foodies and so we do eat out a fair bit, and this was genuinely one of the nicest meals that I’ve had. I usually end up in a situation where Laura picks options that are loads nicer than mine, so I sit there with food envy feeling somewhat bitter, but not this time! So after a coffee, a nightcap and a 30 second walk to my bed I went to sleep feeling like a right winner!
After a great night’s sleep (always important) it was back to the gym again (I’m not a gym nut by the way, holiday time is the only time when I can really be bothered) and this time we made full use of the pool, outside hot tub, sauna and steam rooms which was a really relaxing way to start the day. This was followed by a cooked breakfast based reward which was also very nice. We didn’t have much planned for day 2, so we had a walk into Ambleside plus I wanted to find the restaurant I’d booked for that evening. Ambleside town centre is about a 25 minutes’ walk from the hotel, but it’s not a particularly intense route by Lake District standards, but even so, once there we went for a pint in the Golden Rule (highly recommended) whilst reading the paper and contemplating how awesome it would be to retire. Inevitably the walk and the beer made us hungry, so we made a bee-line for the chip shop (now I’m sure you’re beginning to see why all the gym is needed) before a look in the shops and then a walk back.
A quick snooze and costume change later we made our way back to Waterhead (on the way to Ambleside) for a cheeky pre-meal pint before heading over to the Bar & Grill for our tea. Again the food was really good, Low Wood Bay just shaded it, however the Bar and Grill had a very fine gin menu and the most audacious gents toilet I’ve ever seen. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s a reason to go to the Lakes on its own. Once Laura has taken the requisite amount of pictures of food (yes, she is one of those people) she had just enough time to eat it and then head back to wrap up another very successful day 2.
Day 3 was just a case of making as much of a dent into the breakfast buffet as possible and then looting the room for all of the remaining tea bags and toiletries. And before you judge (I know you were), we give the toiletries to a homeless charity (you weren’t expecting that now were you?). The raspberry tea bags are all mine though! A leisurely drive back home to see our guinea pigs rounded off the weekend, although they seemed pretty nonplussed about our return, so no change there then. Another amazing weekend at a place we love, can’t wait for the next time!
Where would you go to celebrate your birthday? What would be your idea of the perfect break in The Lake District? Use the box below to let us know!