Guest post by Louise Millard
The Lake District is perfect for exploring the best of the British countryside, and you don’t have to leave your dog at home! Windermere is full of pet-friendly places – we stayed at the 4* Low Wood Bay hotel for two nights, which offers guests access to the start of the Wansfell Pike hike at the rear of the hotel car park. This is perfect, as the front of the hotel is based on a busy road and means you have miles of open fields and farm land to walk through on your ascent to Wansfell Pike.
The staff were all super friendly and full of helpful advice booking us a taxi that would accept a dog, and pointing us to the local dog-friendly pubs and restaurants. We started off at a great little watering hole, the Royal Oak Inn. It’s situated in the heart of Bowness and welcomes both you and your dog and is approx. £10-£12 taxi ride from the hotel.
The Village Inn Bar and Grill in Bowness would be my recommendation, with its rustic feel, candlelight, roaring fires and comfy leather sofas – and that’s just the bar area! If you don’t have a dog with you, then you can always venture into the restaurant side of the bar for a more formal affair. The food is to die for! Try the Spinach, Goat’s Cheese, Mushroom and Pine Nut Tagliatelle if you’re a veggie or the Cider marinated Gammon Steak if you’re not!
The rooms at the Low Wood Bay are really comfortable (complete with a fluffy blanket & welcome treats for the pup!). Breakfast is a full buffet with a choice of hot and cold dishes, and overlooks the beautiful marina and lake.
From the hotel, we walked through Troutbeck, over Wansfell Pike and down into Ambleside. If you decide to do the walk this way, then make sure you stop off at Stockghyll Force (Ambleside) to get some amazing pictures of the waterfalls, before stopping off at Bilbo’s Cafe (again, dog friendly), for a well-earned tea and scone break! We walked from Ambleside to the hotel in about 35 minutes and walked for part of it near the water’s edge.
Afterwards, we took advantage of the hotel’s spa and leisure facilities, which are located in a separate building at the entrance to the first car park. We visited the hotel at the end of October half term week and were incredibly lucky with the weather – with the exception of the second evening! As such, we opted to stay in the warmth of the hotel lounge area, with its cosy sofas and open fire. Whilst we stayed on a bed and breakfast basis, we did sample the evening menu. Make sure you leave room for one of their sumptuous desserts and incredibly strong Irish coffee’s to end off the night!