Sabi Phagura heads to the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa in England’s Lake District to (in the words of William Wordsworth) sit ‘Beside the lake, beneath the trees’
The Lake District is the largest of the United Kingdom’s National Parks and contains 16 lakes and many more smaller tarns. It also includes England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike at 3206 ft. Understandably, you would need to spend several weeks to fully explore this area. But Sabi Phagura made a start by spending two days at the luxurious Beech Hill Hotel & Spa in Windermere.
The Lake District is a world-famous holiday and leisure destination, so it’s no surprise there are over 3,500 places to stay in the county of Cumbria. My guest Nita and I were fortunate enough to stay at the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa which boasts one of the best location in the Lakes.
The pictures on the website had us sold, but it wasn’t until we went to our suite and witnessed the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake just a few yards away that we realised we really were in the lap of luxury. With weather on our side, we made the most of the decked seated area as much as we could, especially in the mornings, and early evenings as we got ready for dinner.
Back inside, and the incredibly large room boasted a king-sized bed, a lounge area, and a spa bath with a walk-in shower brimming with Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. Fresh cut flowers dotted around gave the suite the at-home feeling. A plasma screen was firmly attached to the wall in the corner, but with the fabulous views over the Lake – not to mention the ducks that came right up to the patio door – I knew that screen would not even get a look in. Nature’s telly was far too interesting. In fact, most of the hotel’s 57 bedrooms have private balconies or access to the garden so the majority of the guests can expect similar views.
I would challenge anyone not to feel calm in this setting, but The Lakeview Spa further helps to soothe away the stresses of modern day living. The indoor pool, sauna and steam room can be enjoyed throughout the day in all weather conditions, but on good days, the outdoor Jacuzzi strategically built to take in the vistas of Windermere, and the fells beyond, is a real gem. Guests can further reap the benefits of taking time out with Elemis Spa treatments.
But I like to earn my spa treatments, and being in this part of the world just makes me want to be immersed in nature. A ten-minute drive to the town centre and you can find the local tourist information centre where there are ample ideas for walks and hikes of varying lengths and difficulty. Nita and I decided to conquer Orrest Head – a gentle transition to the starting point of Wainwright’s famous Lakeland love affair. The two-mile hike led us through woods, urban tracks, grassy fields and hillside. The views increased in scale all the way round the back of Orrest Head to be presented with the panorama that kept its promise to enthral us. Despite the sideways rain and poor visibility, we were still able to appreciate the rugged splendour of the Lake District from the summit.
And you don’t have to just follow specific walks and hikes. Exploring the hills, mountains and the lakes can be just as fun when you’re not following a structured path. But do make sure you have enough power in your smartphones in case you do get lost and always let someone know where you are roughly heading.
Back at the hotel, and after a day full of exploring, our thoughts naturally turned to food. Named after the local slate, Burlington’s restaurant acts and behaves as a destination in its own right. Head chef Lukasz specialises in French and English cuisine, plating up dishes with the finest freshest produce available whenever he can. One of the best ways to sample an array of foods is their offering of a fixed two, three or five-course menu.
Expect a lot of meat and fish on the menu with plenty of potatoes and vegetables. Cumbrian Fell-bred Beef, Flame-grilled Veal Sirloin Steak, Crispy Duck Confit, Roast Saddleback Pork Belly and Flame-grilled Fell-bred Fillet Steak are just some of the main dishes meat lovers can rejoice in. Vegetarians need not lose hope as there is a separate menu catering for their taste buds too. The portions are hearty too as I found with my Sea Bass Fillet. But it was so delicious, I couldn’t leave any of it on the plate.
The dessert offerings are just as moorish. With choices from Warm Banana Muffin to Sweet Shots where you enjoy three small desserts, there is something for everyone with a sweet tooth or not. And you can never go wrong with an ice cream to fill in the gaps. I can confirm the Banana and Custard Ice cream was polished off swiftly just minutes after it was presented to me.
With so much to do both in and out of the hotel, a couple of days is never enough to spend in this beautiful part of the world. But then again, no one is stopping you from making repeat visits regardless of the weather or time of year.
The Beech Hill Hotel & Spa – Where and How?
The Beech Hill Hotel & Spa is located at Newby Bridge Road, Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3LR, UK. For more information, visit www.beechhillhotel.co.uk or call 0844 502 7587. Rooms range from: £115 to £358 in price.