I will never forget running straight up to the window, thrusting it open and inhaling this view. Holbeck Ghyll is one of the most romantic places we’ve ever stayed. We had already fallen in love with the Lake District earlier in the year, visiting with the kids, but we decided to return together, to treat ourselves in celebration of our 10th wedding anniversary. Holbeck Ghyll is an old hunting lodge, now a beautiful hotel, overlooking Lake Windermere. It’s a stunning building, a cosy arts and crafts retreat with roaring fireplaces, places to snuggle and fabulous little details, like the hearts carved into the chairs. Our first home together was Edwardian, so it felt like familiar – albeit a jump in scale and grandeur from our flat in Streatham.
Our room involved climbing up two flights of stairs, past a beautiful stained glass window seat and into the eaves, where we discovered a four poster bed, a beautiful bathroom suite and complimentary damson gin. The view of the lake was breathtaking and it was magical to sit at the window seat and watch the lake appear and disappear out of the mist. This hotel is where Renee Zellweger stayed when filming Miss Potter, in the Beatrix Potter suite.
We took a day to walk to Ambleside and hike up to nearby Wansfell Pike, taking a packed lunch from the hotel which included the most wonderful fruitcake, exactly what we needed after a very long steep climb up this fell. The walk took us through the town, past the waterfalls and on up to the fell. The walk back down the other side finally brought us back behind the hotel, where the hotel’s outdoor hot tub overlooking Lake Windermere was booked and waiting for us, the most amazing treat.
We dined in the restaurant, a lovely experience, Holbeck Ghyll has always been internationally recognised as one of the ultimate foodie retreats of the Lake District.
Writing this up more than a year after our stay means I can admit that I can’t recall what I ate, other than that it was delicious. The courses are delivered in mouth salivating instalments, it was two hours before we reached a substantial course, so it was a wonderful way to while away a romantic evening. However, not one if you’re already ravenous, Mr A eventually settled when his main arrived. I love the ritual of aperitif in the lounge, the whole experience encourages you to slow down and enjoy time with your special person, even if they are a little hangry 😉
Walking, being in beautiful surroundings, slow ritualistic eating, hot tubs, roaring fires and beautiful grounds, the perfect setting to remember life as a couple before kids came along. If you are looking for a romantic, wild getaway from it all with spa, awesome food and stunning views, look no further. Dogs and families are also welcome, there are cottages perfect for families, children’s high teas and dog friendly rooms, there is even a doggie welcome pack.
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