Now this was a room with a view...
It is a phrase too often bandied about. Very often the “view” turns out to be the distance glipse of a sparkling blue sea between the rooftops, or in the case of Cumbria, a lake just visible beyond the treetops.
But at Waterhead,beautiful Windermere is just metres from our window, the scene from the comfy chairs placed in front of it unfolding like a watercolour painting.
We were in Ambleside to enjoy a short walking break and were blessed with perfect winter weather - chilly, but clear and sunny.
But, oh the pull of our room with a view in the four star boutique townhouse hotel that was named Cumbria Large Hotel of the Year for 2016.
Very comfortably furnished in contemporary style and calming hues with super- King sized bed, flat screen TV and Nespresso coffee machine, it also boasted that must for every weary walker - a pristine bathroom with luxurious deep bath to soak those aching muscles. Oh, and not forgetting the White Company goodies.
Dinner is a highlight in an establishment that also prides itself on its menu, championing local ingredients and regional dishes, all served up with a modern twist. Breakfast too is a real treat - particularly so for a fish-loving other half who was delighted to see smoked haddock on the menu.This is a family run hotel, part of the English Lakes group and one of the most noticeable things about Waterhead is how uniformly impressive are the staff. Friendly, attentive without being intrusive and super helpful. The emphasis that MD Simon Berry puts on his staff being core to the success of the business is evident.
We took the advice of one such staff member when opting for a low level walk along the Rydal Valley, starting from Ambleside centre, just a ten minute walk away. This gentle four miler took us through the beautiful Rydal Hall Estate, 40 acres of parkland dating back to the 17th century. We stopped for coffee in the beautiful Old School Room Teashop and paused to admire the view at The Grot and waterfall - a place the famous lakeland poet William Wordsworth is known to have written about.
Ambleside is a great base. There’s an array of restaurants, coffee shops and what must be the most outdoor shops per square mile in the north. We also ventured over the dramatic Kirkstone Pass - in a car I hasten to add- to head over to Keswick via Patterdale and Glenridding on the shores of beautiful Ullswater.
We walked back into town in the evening to experience the delights of a movie deal at Zeffirellis, a Mediterranean restaurant, wine bar/jazz club and cinema in one. We took in a fabulous two course dinner, plus La LA Land at this little gem for just £20.75pp.
Sunday dawned lakeland grey, so with the rain showing no sign of letting up - and us being fairweather walkers - we took advantage of the proximity of the jetty and boarded a Windermere Lake Cruises ferry down to Bowness, taking in the fantastic views of lake shore and snow-capped peaks from the comfort of a weatherproof boat.
If you have only a few days to spare, Ambleside is hard to beat - and for a treat, so is Waterhead.
TelL 0333 2202 106
Luxury lake view room from £228-£350, classic lake view room £176-315.
Windermere Lake Crusies Eindermere Lake Cruises