A perfect Lake District break

Wednesday 26 September 2012
zoocha-admin

I recently decided to take a couple of days' break in the heart of the Lake District to unwind and maybe do a little writing. You could say it was a bit of 'busman's holiday' (as we say in the UK) as I only live about half an hour away and I write all the time ... but it is amazing how much benefit you can get from even a short change of scenery, however close by. Ambleside I booked a night’s stay at The Waterhead Hotel, perfectly placed just outside Ambleside, looking straight down Windermere, England's longest lake at just over 10 miles.  In the afternoon I wandered into Ambleside and spent a fascinating couple of hours in the very quirky Armitt Museum with its great collection of Lake District related artefacts, photos, books and works of art. Waterhead Hotel After an excellent dinner in the hotel restaurant I went for a walk by the lake. Ducks, geese and swans were paddling about, preening and generally seeming ready to settle down for the night.  There was a clear sky with distant stars twinkling merrily and the sound of halyards clattering on the masts of yachts moored nearby ... Armitt Museum Pulling back the curtains the next morning a pale sun was trying to break through low-lying mist which covered the lake in a soft duvet.  The boats, buildings and fells were slowly emerging as if from a deep sleep and there was a gentle murmuring from all the birds down by the lake. Magical... Windermere mist After a hearty Cumbrian breakfast I wandered outside.  It was crisp, sunny and held the prospect of a perfect day.  Now the dilemma – should I stay in the hotel and do some writing or get out in the sunshine? We have to make the most of days like this in this part of the world – so there was no contest!  There are absolutely loads of things to do in the Lake District and visitors can get a lot of info from Cumbria Tourism's excellent site Go Lakes for what's on.  I could have walked to the nearby remains of Roman Fort Galava, hiked up a nearby fell, got the bus to the north Lakes and Keswick or back towards Bowness and Kendal, visited a stately home, a beautiful garden, or Wordsworth's Dove Cottage,  but the lake was calling ... Swan at Ambleside pier At the Windermere Lake Cruises opposite the hotel I got an all-day ticket and embarked on 'The Swan'. The mist had cleared and the views down to the lake and across to the Old Man of Coniston and the Langdales beyond were sublime.  I spent the whole day sailing gently along the lake shore.  The sun was warm so I sat outside on top - great for photos and occasional note-taking.  We went to the end of the Lake from where you can get a steam train to Haverthwaite, go over to Fell Foot Park (National Trust) or visit the Aquarium of the Lakes.  Then it was back up the other side of Lake, past beautiful Victorian houses with lawns pouring down to the shore and to Bowness. As we sailed along the final stretch of the lake the sun was getting lower in the sky it turned delicate shades of pink, turquoise, green and violet. Windermere Yacht Getting into my car to go home that afternoon I felt totally relaxed, inspired by some of the loveliest scenery in the world and ready to get back to work with batteries recharged. Zoë Dawes lives on the border of two great NW English counties, Lancashire & Cumbria and her favourite place in the world is the Lake District.  She shares her lifelong love of travel on her popular blog The Quirky Traveller, on Face Book and Twitter @quirkytraveller

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