Honeymoon in Lake District (Windermere)

Old Dec 11th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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Honeymoon in Lake District (Windermere)

Hello!

Honeymoon planning... We'll be spending 3 nights in the Lake District, near Lake Windermere next September. Anyone have thoughts on lovely little places to stay?

Here's what we've come up with:
- The Punchbowl
http://www.the-punchbowl.co.uk/index.htm
- Queen's Head House
http://www.queensheadhotel.com/index...tpage&Itemid=1


Also just looking for some advice on what to do during the days. We won't have a car, but we'd mostly like to relax (considering the weekend we will have just had). We'd definitely be interested in a massage, so if anyone has spa recommendations that would be helpful too! I have to say, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with all this!! Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Julia
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 06:52 PM
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This link has several Lake district spas. Most are attached to hotels so you'd have to check if non-residents can use the facilities. There are also some "stand-alone" spas.

http://england-travel.suite101.com/a...rict_best_spas

The Punchbowl looks great - but I would have a hard time staying there w/o a car. It is in quite a rural location
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Old Dec 11th, 2007, 11:52 PM
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You definitely would need a car for the Queens Head. Troutbeck is a lovely village, but the Queens Head gets packed in the evenings, and at lunchtimes.

If you want to stay on Windermere have a look at the Langdale Chase. www.langdalechase.co.uk/

It is not that small, but is on the Lake and has lovely gardens.

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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 12:26 AM
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The Lakes with no car??
The Punchbowl is great - I've eaten there and the food is wonderful, but it's in a tiny village. Without a car it would be impossible.
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 02:36 AM
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Cedar Manor has some lovely rooms and is more central if you don't have a car:

http://www.cedarmanor.co.uk/
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 04:21 AM
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I spent time in the area and found there to be an excellent bus service between towns. Of course, if your hotel is way out in the country, this could prove more difficult. I really liked the Rydal area as it's very much the countryside, but easily accessible to the quaint town of Grasmere and the somewhat larger Ambleside. Not far from Windermere at all.

I made a mental note of the White Moss House for a possible future visit. www.whitemoss.com/

Rydal is the site of Wordsworth's retirement home (not to be confused with Dove Cottage in Grasmere). Beautiful setting. Of course, there are lovely walks all around.
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 04:45 AM
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Don't take this as a criticism, but do you have a special reason for choosing the English Lake district for your honeymoon ? Of course I don't know your age, but IMO the visitor base largely comprises retired people, or hillwalkers. I also think it would be difficult without a car.

This place is supposed to be very groovy - www.thesamling.com. It's on the edge of a town which could be good for you, but I've only seen the sign for the turn-off from the main road so I'm not sure how far off the road it is.

For a more trad feel, this place is very nice, has a beautiful location right on the lake and has great food - www.sharrowbay.co.uk. (We went there for our first anniversary.) But isn't really near anywhere so I'm not sure how doable it would be without a car.

The 'other' famous Lakes hotel is Miller Howe - I haven't stayed there myself & don't know if it is still supposed to be good, but you could check the reviews. I think the location would be more convenient without a car - from memory (we pulled in for a nose) it's right on the main road near a town.



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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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Well, I'm 27 and think the Lakes would be a fabulous place to honeymoon. But I agree that to get to the out-of-the-way places you'd need a car. I stayed last summer without one, but we were only there for two nights, stayed in Windermere proper and took the bus up to Grasmere and back from Ambleside, and walked to Bowness a couple of times. If you want to stay somewhere more scenic (Windermere itself is not right on the lake), I do think you'll need a car.
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Thank you for this feedback. Well, we're splitting our honeymoon between the Lake District and London. 3 nights in each. We chose the Lake District because we're looking for something relatively close to London (within 3-4 hours) and more laid back than the bustle of the city. Though we wanted that experience too - I'm 25 and my fiance is 28, btw.

It sounds like we need to look for places situated in a town with lots of shops, etc. nearby. That's the tough part not knowing the lay of the land... but these responses have been quite helpful on that front.

Since our main focus for these 3 days is to relax and do some basic sightseeing/hiking, we decided against renting a car. Just didn't want the extra hassel.

Also, we'd looked at the Samling... out of our price range though. Beautiful location from the looks of the website though.
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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". . . we decided against renting a car. Just didn't want the extra hassel. "

For a lot of areas that makes total sense - in London of course, or York or Edinburgh, etc.

But getting around the Lakes is a more hassle w/o a car than it is w/ one. There are buses connecting the larger towns/villages. But you will always be at the mercy of bus schedules. And the buses really don't go most places. Plus - you would be very limited where you could go in the evenings.

I'd re-think not driving. It doesn't have to mean dashing to and fro and and run/run/run. You can leave the car alone for hours at a time - but to get from one place to another, or go out for dinner will be much easier by car.
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 08:08 PM
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Hi, Julia.

Cimbrone's suggestion of staying in Grasmere or Ambleside is excellent. You could walk to pubs and shops, they have bus service, plus there are hiking paths that radiate from the towns. (I actually looked at doing a non-car Lakes trip myself last year.)

My other thoughts:

I know you probably have your heart set on the Lake District, I love it there, too. But...

Why not spend 4 days or so in London, then take the train to Bath, a beautiful small city with lots to do, but more mellow than London, of course. And you could get your spa experience at the Roman Baths there. (If you haven't been there, of course.)

You can take public buses to Glastonbury and Wells from there, too, so you wouldn't need to rent a car.

Or, you could take the train to Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds, and use buses/taxis to go to the towns, or just hike the incredible footpaths there. (If you haven't been there before.)

Just my two cents. I don't want to burst your Lake District bubbble!

Whatever you decide, have a great time and best wishes!
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 08:39 PM
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The Lake district is beautiful and youth can appreciate that too I think.
The Queen's Head hotel is lovely and the food excellent, though not cheap. However as other posters have said, it is out of the way.


If you stay in Windermere - and there are some lovely places there - you can easily take a couple of the small bus tours. These buses seat up to 8 and when we were there we took several of these with a retired policeman (great raconteur) and only 1 - 3 other passengers. Very informative and interesting and gave us a real understanding of the underlying history and economics of the area.

It's actually not a good place to be in a hire car as the narrow lanes are bordered by stone walls which can be difficult to see over. Not a problem in the van. Sometimes these lanes lead to a farm and nothing else! The penalty for damaging one of these walls is in the hundreds of pounds too.


You will also see signs all over the Lake District about locking and leaving your car at remote beauty spots while you go for a walk. The sparkle of broken glass in these parking areas tells its own story. The coast west of the District includes some very poor socioeconomic areas and I fear the Lake District is regarded by some as their local piggy bank.


That said I can't imagine a more breathtakingly beautiful location for a honeymoon. Enjoy!
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 09:16 PM
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Hi again.

I forgot to mention...look at the bus/shuttle/tour company that's active in the Lakes called Mountain Goat:

http://tinyurl.com/35t38t

I've never used them, but their buses (small shuttles, actually) were everywhere.

It may be a great alternative to renting a car.
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Old Dec 12th, 2007, 09:46 PM
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Hey Julia!

Our group just returned from the Lake District this May - we actually stayed in Troutbeck in a B&B. I absolutely loved this very little village - nothing more than Mortal Man(restaurant and hotel), Queen's Head, and a tiny post office. A big plus is that it is only about a 3-4 minute drive to Windermere...especially if you are whipping around those stone walls!

We explored Windermere, Grasmere, and Ambleside, but nothing really could compare to the tranquility of staying in Troutbeck - absolutely beautiful views, and you actually feel as if you are in the countryside as we hardly encountered any tourists in Troutbeck...and we were there during Bank Holiday!

By the way, even if you don't stay in Troutbeck, The Mortal Man and Queen's Head had great food - although I do think I enjoyed the Queen's Head a bit more. The lunch prices were reasonable, and the bread & butter pudding was incredible!

I agree with others that driving in the Lake District probably won't be as bad as you think(it was our first time driving in England), and it allows your schedule to be much more flexible.

By the way, if you want more info on the lakes, try looking up some Trip Reports of the areas - search under Moolyn...she's been there loads of times and I remember enjoying jent103's recent trip report.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 01:34 AM
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Ah, I didn't realise the Queen's Head is in Troutbeck. I've stayed at the Mortal Man twice and would say you definitely need a car there.

BTW another point against the Lake District IME is that it rains *a lot*.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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Julia, as others have pointed out, you definitely need a car if you want to stay at the Punchbowl or Queens Head or if you want to visit some of the recommended restaurants like the Drunken Duck Inn. But you could manage without if you stay in Windermere or even Ambleside or Grasmere and use Mountain Goat to explore.

Windermere is the largest town and it's also the end of the line if you are coming by train but you aren't likely to find a lovely little place with a spa here or elsewhere. The Miller Howe has lovely rooms and a great restaurant but no spa:

http://www.millerhowe.com/index.htm

It would probably be less expensive to rent a car to travel to the lakes from London than to go by train or coach and take tours while you are there. Also, driving on the motorwways isn't much different from driving in North America so you would be used to driving on the left side by the time you get to narrow roads. And if you fly home from Glasgow or Manchester rather than London, you would only be a couple of hours drive from the airport.

If you do decide to rent a car, Yew Tree Farm, which stood in for Hilltop in the Miss Potter movie, has arrangements for the use of the Langdale facilities in Elterwater, or at least they did when we checked it out last June:

http://www.yewtree-farm.com/

Or you could stay at the Langdale Hotel itself. Because of the extensive grounds, you don't feel that you are in a large complex:

http://www.langdale.co.uk/

Our favourite activity in the lake district is walking. There are lots of walks that aren't too physically challenging and all the drives are scenic. Here's the link to my trip report and photos:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34811293

And here's a link to Anna's hilarious grand tour of Europe with her lake district interlude about a third of the way through:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=35012850

We absolutely love the lakes but for proximity to London you might want to consider the Cotswolds as an alternative. Again you would need a car but the roads are wider and easier to drive.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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If you do want to see a bit of the countryside, I can highly recommend Mountain Goat mentioned earlier. They have half-day tours, so you're not committing a huge amount of time. The vans are small with very tall windows, they can get up the steepest passes unlike the big tour buses, and the driver/guides are great.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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Just watched Gordon Ramsay on BBC America. He worked his own particular brand of "magic" on an establishment in the area called "The Glass House". It looked rather interesting and for once, Gordon seemed to really like the folks working there. He was rather proud of the job they were doing.

www.theglasshouserestaurant.co.uk


It's now yet another name on my ever expanding list of places to visit list.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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If you must do the Lakes without a car, I agree with staying in Ambleside or Grasmere. Windermere is not actually on the lake. But Bowness is; that's another possibility. We stayed in a nice B&B in Grasmere with a view of the lake: www.lakeview-grasmere.com.

I don't know about spas.

It rains a lot in the Lakes; bring a waterproof outer layer.

But NanBug's suggestion of Bath is a good one too. New spa, great town. Not so reliant on good weather. (But maybe on a honeymoon bad weather is no problem.)
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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Well, I have actually been to Bath before - a good suggestion though.

What are your thoughts on Kendal? We've started looking at that area for ease of transportation.

I know most of what I'm hearing is that it would be smart for us to have a car. I honestly just feel too anxious about driving in another country. And I really want this experience to be as stress-free as possible, realizing it can't be devoid of it.
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