Spontaneous weekends away were a fairly regular event for the hubby and me in the days when our lives were our own! We adored the romance of candlelight meals and fine wines in luxurious locations where we could pretend this was how life would always be. However, fast forward 14 years and three children later and the harsh reality that our lavish weekends have evaporated into distant memories. We have traded romantic breaks for self-catering accommodation, take-away food and early nights with comfy slippers. Gone are the days where we’d just throw a few things in a suitcase and flit around various uk beauty spots. These days i have to compile an excel document detailing every item we need to take for all five of us. The dalliance of options has evolved into a strategic military operation. Weekends in ‘posh’ hotels’ with three children for company fills me with dread at the very real threat of sheer pandemonium.
Conveniently located just 15 miles from the M6, The Lakeside Hotel & Spa is easily accessible and made stage one rather too easy. On arrival (after ensuring the kids had wiped their faces, brushed their hair and told to ‘act nicely’) we entered the hotel dragging our abundance of baggage, carrying everything but the kitchen sink behind us to be met with warm welcoming sympathetic smiles. We were here to explore and discover what the Lake District can offer to families and that is just what we did. The hotel was originally a 17th century coaching inn and still retains many original features. Perfectly placed on the southern shores of Windermere it offers breath-taking views of the lake which makes it easy to see why the lake district attracts over 18 million visitors each year and why the area has recently been awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO.
Renowned for the scenic ‘rooms with a view’, The Lakeside Hotel’s newly refurbished rooms offer parents and children their much needed privacy while still being within easy reach of each other due to the interconnecting rooms. The hotel proudly boasts of their restful bedrooms… however; rest is no longer a term that we are familiar with!
I was worried with good reason! I felt the beads of sweat beginning to form as we prepared to enter the lakeview grill restaurant, for the evening meal. In my opinion quality dining accompanied by three children is the least likely recipe for quality family time. Thankfully I needn’t have worried. The staff were both warm and accommodating, even when my youngest Martha decided to be creative by forming a monocle out of the freshly baked bread. The menu, inspired by the abundance of locally sourced fresh produce made me want to squeal out loud I did however resist the public outcry in favour of behaving, just as I’d told the children to. With an extensive under 14s menu on offer my fussy feeders were in their element especially when given the option to create their very own pancakes.
The following morning, we took a drive out to nearby Grizedale Forest. Situated between the Lakes of Coniston and Windermere the forest is an ideal place to go walking or in our case cycling. With its array of various natural cycling trails there’s a trail to suit any level. Once kitted out with helmets and bikes we were off. All was going well until we were forced to cycle through a herd of cows which left Martha covered with a pebble dashing of cow pat… however, despite the little drama we were left tired, but exhilarated.
Thankfully, the Spa at The Lakeside Hotel offered us all an opportunity to relax and have a dip in the 17m swimming pool safe in the knowledge that cows would be refused access.
Perfect for the little ones to ‘let off steam’, the nets are suspended 40m up in the trees and equipped with netted slides, walkways and tunnels. They can bounce, fall and tumble in complete safety thanks to the 3m high walls with no chance of them banging their heads on any sharp corners.
With their filthy faces wind-blown hair and mucky knees they reluctantly got in the car to go home. Within minutes the little darlings were content in beautifully deep, quiet sleep… peace at last!
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