GAZING out the large bay windows it’s not hard to see the allure of the Lake District.
The waters of Lake Windermere almost lapping at its steps, The Waterhead hotel in Ambleside is the closest to paradise I have been on UK soil.
Stepping into the four star hotel – run by the select English Lakes resorts group – it’s as if the stresses of everyday life somehow melt away.
Attention to detail – those special little touches – is what staff at the hotel pride themselves on. From the moment we walked through the doors into the reception area, we were greeted by friendly and welcoming staff. No question was too inconsequential, no task too small – the team at The Waterhead want to make your stay as easy as possible.
The rooms are beautifully decorated, spacious and unassuming – grand yet not ostentatious. With bay windows overlooking the lapping waters of Lake Windemere; melt-in-the-mouth gingerbread biscuits (and I mean it, the best I have ever tasted); and ice-cold gin and tonics on arrival there is nothing the Waterhead staff haven’t thought of. Coupled with the contemporary bathroom and silk-swathed super king sized bed it would be easy for you remain in the room for the entirety of your stay.
Let no one ever say you will go hungry at The Waterhead – and to pass on the food would be a crime. Welcomed by a barman who already knows your name is impressive, but not as impressive as the restaurant’s menu – boasting modern takes on classic dishes. If you want to experience what salmon should taste like, with the fish literally melting on your tongue, try the beetroot cured salmon served with celeriac remoulade and soda bread to start. The confit of Gressingham duck leg for mains comes highly recommended as does the mammoth cheeseboard. A note of caution, this is no bite-sized fine dining; the portions even managed to satiate my other half’s bottomless appetite.
If, after indulging yourself in the bar and experiencing the sheer comfort of the room, you still have the inclination to explore the beauty of the Lakes, The Waterhead is perfectly placed. Nestled between the lake and the impressive hills and mountains which surround it, walkers, cyclists and sailors will not be disappointed by what the Lake District has to offer. Feeling particularly inspired by our surroundings we pulled on our walking boots and set off to climb the 1581 ft high Wansfell Pike, aided by a particularly helpful map and accompanying instructions from the hotel’s staff. The views at the top span miles and, while not for the faint-hearted is a climb worth making.
For those less energetic, there is no lack of nearby historic and heritage sites, including novelist Beatrix Potter’s house and poet William Wordsworth’s grave in neighbouring Grasmere. Guests at The Waterhead can also take advantage of the leisure and beauty facilites just a down the road at the Low Wood Bay resort.
Visiting the Lake District is like pressing ‘pause’ on your hectic modern lifestyle and taking time – a day, a weekend or even more – back for yourself again. It is easy to see why advocates return to the Lakes year on year, and the same could be said of the superb Waterhead Hotel.
Visit www.englishlakes.co.uk for further details and to book a stay.