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With hiking, cycling, sightseeing, and more, Lake Windermere is the perfect staycation spot

WELLIES caked in mud, and huffing and puffing, we clamber the remaining few metres to the top of the craggy fell.

A friendly local had assured us that the steep climb up to the Brant Fell Viewpoint in the heart of the Lake District was well worth the sweat — and he was right.

Lake Windermere has some of the most spectacular views you’ll see in the UK
The Wild Boar Inn’S Grill and Smoke-house open kitchen serves seasonal local produce

We are treated to a glorious, grandstand view of Lake Windermere and the foggy mountain tops that envelope it.

Our home from home during our break was the Wild Boar Inn — one of two hotels in the Windermere area run by English Lakes Hotels — and what a treat it is.

It is a traditional country hotel in every sense, from the roaring log fires to the low ceilings and twisty corridors — but the highlight is undoubtedly its location.

It sits in the beautiful Gilpin Valley and the private 72-acre wood-land right next door is a haven for birdwatchers and ramblers — offering walking trails both long and short.

The hotel is named after local legend Sir Richard de Gilpin, who is said to have slain the last wild boar in the historic county of Westmorland — now part of Cumbria — more than 700 years ago.

Although nowadays the butchery is confined to the hotel’s acclaimed Grill and Smoke-house open kitchen, which serves seasonal local produce.

I can vouch for the Cumbrian lamb, while my husband raved about the homemade chicken pie.

Whether you’re into hiking, cycling or sightseeing, or simply like a home-cooked meal washed down with a pint of the finest ale or glass of wine, you won’t be disappointed.

Its dry and hoppy Mad Pig ale is a product of the hotel’s own micro-brewer and went down far too well.

That, and bellies full of breakfast fry-ups, made our trekking break all the more challenging — but we were rewarded with those views.

Windermere, England’s largest natural lake, is just a ten-minute drive from the hotel — and a visit to pretty Bowness-upon-Windermere, just up the road, is a must.

The cobbled streets there are lined with cafes, restaurants and cosy pubs, as well as quaint souvenir shops and little art galleries.

While in town make sure to visit Roly’s Fudge, too.

The traditional confectionery shop was founded in Devon but has made its way to the Lakes — with a display window crammed full with boxes of chunky home-made fudge in all sorts of flavours, from honey-comb and maple with cashew, to Baileys pumpkin spice and chocolate orange.

We parked near the marina, which cost £7.50 for the full day and is much cheaper than car parks further up the high street.

The town is also the place to go for exploring the water.


From there you can grab a steamer — many of which regularly sail north to Waterhead and Lakeside.

There are different routes and tickets, to cater for all budgets and allow-ing you to hop on and off where you want.

Or there are motorboats for parties of up to ten people, plus rowing boats, canoes, kayaks and paddle-boards which are all available to hire from various venues along the lake.

Back on terra firma, The World Of Beatrix Potter Attraction, in the centre of Bowness, is a must for the kids.

It tells not only of the late author’s writing but also her importance to conservation in the Lake District.

If you’re more of a history enthusiast, though, the award-winning Windermere Jetty Museum includes fabulous exhibitions and family-friendly activities and workshops dedicated to the boats and people of the lake down the years.

Our final evening called for a farewell dinner at Hyltons Restaurant just up the road from the museum, which serves up classic British dishes including a top-notch Tomahawk steak for two.

After cramming ourselves full, a cup of tea in the massive, free-standing stainless-steel bathtub back in our room at the Wild Boar was too tempting to pass up.

A very British ending to a very British holiday.

The cobbled streets of Bowness-upon-Windermere are lined with cafes, restaurants and cosy pubs, as well as quaint souvenir shops and little art galleries
After a long hike the big reward is the beautiful views
Quench your thirst with a pint of the finest ale at the Wild Boar
The World Of Beatrix Potter Attraction, in the centre of Bowness, is a must for the kids

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