Self Catering in The Lake District

Self Catering in The Lake District
Lake District Holiday Cottages

Monday, January 21, 2008

Flooding Alert for Lake District Holiday Cottages

With the Met Office forecasting heavy rain over the coming days, especially over western parts of England and Wales, concerns remain over further flooding. During Friday and Saturday Atlantic weather fronts could bring as much 100mm of rain to exposed upland areas of Wales, south west England and the Lake District. Met Office Operations Director Keith Groves said: “The weather over the next three days is certainly causing concern and we have a close working relationship with the Environment Agency in these situations. Our main focus is Friday and Saturday but heavy rain could continue into Sunday and it is this cumulative effect that is causing the current problems.” Many rivers are already very full and Doug Whitfield, National Flood Warning Duty Officer at the Environment Agency said: “Although we are paying close attention to the rivers Wye, Dee and Severn we are continuing to closely monitor all rivers across England and Wales during this period of very wet weather.” The heavy rain expected over western hills and mountains is only part of the story. As the water makes it way down stream, local flooding is likely over the following days as rivers become more swollen. The Environment Agency Floodline 0845 988 1188 provides latest information on flood warnings.

Lake District Holiday Cottages bookings ROCKET!!

Massive Rise in UK Holiday Accommodation Bookings

Headlines warning of credit crunches and personal debt crises haven’t dampened British spirits, with holiday bookings in the UK already up 100% on January 2007.

Traditionally, January and February are the peak months for booking foreign holidays, but this year Brits are staying closer to home, with a phenomenal increase in bookings for holidays within the UK, according to accommodation booking site

“In the week including the New Year bank holiday, our sites received 126,000 visitors; double the same period last year,” said Managing Director of iknow-uk Marcus Simmons. “The first full working week – touted as the most popular week for holiday bookings - we were up over 150,000. I think we’ll be calling January ‘the great escape’ from now on, as everyone plans their time away from work.”

The area attracting the most interest was the Lake District, with Wales and Scotland not far behind.

Bookings outside the UK have been booming too, especially for long-haul destinations.

“January is traditionally a peak booking time for summer holidays, but Monday [7th January] saw unprecedented levels of enquiries and bookings,” says Gareth Hockey, marketing manager for holiday accommodation provider, which recorded an 84% increase in bookings compared with this time last year.

Hockey pointed to huge increases in bookings to tropical destinations in particular, such as Malaysia, Mexico and the Caribbean, showing that Brits are keener than ever to guarantee themselves some good weather following last year’s rainy summer.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Avalanche danger on Helvelyn

Avalanche Warning In Lake District

Updated:17:29, Friday January 04, 2008
An avalanche warning has been issued in the Lake District - a very rare event in the mountains of England.

Conditions 'rarely been so bad'

Weather conditions on Helvellyn especially have deteriorated to such an extent that visitors to the national park in Cumbria have been strongly advised to stay away from the hills.
The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) says conditions have rarely been so bad.
Fell top assessor Craig Palmer said he had not seen Helvellyn in such a dangerous state for many years.

At 950 metres, Helvellyn is England's third highest peak.
There was a wind chill factor of nearly minus 16C, solid ice and up to half a metre of snow on the mountain, Mr Palmer said.

The former marine commando said: "High winds are moving the snow around and it's not bonding.
"It's lethal underfoot as edges are literally breaking away. An added danger comes from a cornice of snow, which could break off and avalanche at any time.
"I've rarely seen anything as bad as this in the Lake District and I would strongly urge people, even those experienced in winter mountaineering, not to venture out on to hills until the situation improves."
Walkers are advised to stay away from high peaks until the snow and ice subsides.
The LDNPA's Weatherline is on 08700 55 0575 or

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Holiday Cottages and The Lake District

A Romantic poet of the 18th century once spoke of "steep and lofty cliffs" that "impress thoughts of more deep seclusion" in his verse. Nineteenth-century Victorian writers fought to preserve the pastoral they felt slipping away due to the pressures of modern life. They all came to the English Lake District for inspiration. Today, the same sloping fells and rippling glacial lakes that once beckoned these literary greats attract longing travelers for very much the same reason.
But with the notorious dollar-to-pound exchange rate, many see their dream of deep seclusion fading into the ether. How could such a trip be affordable? Won't you be surprised to find out.

Recently, I visited the Lake District National Park in the rural county of Cumbria for three full days and nights, and managed to keep within a $500 budget. You can, too.

Where to stay in the Lake District

Though the main Lake District towns of Windermere, Ambleside, and Grasmere offer a range of lodging, from elegant Victorian hotels to small guesthouses, they can get touristy—and pricey—especially in the summer. If you want to save and find some peace and quiet, look for cozy country inns outside of the towns, and consider going in the off-season.
This past fall, I stayed at Mirefoot Cottages , Cottages are comfortable, with an updated English country look. Most have soft yellow walls and rose-colored floral drapes and linens, while offering views of the neighboring fells (hills) or sheep pastures through iron lattice windows. Located a few precarious miles from Windermere, these rugged stone cottages make for an ideal escape, as well as a jumping-off point for mountain walks.

Driving a rental car in the Lake District

Though it's relatively easy to explore the Lake District by foot, you'll need a car if you want to head off the beaten path. Just remember you'll be driving on the left side of the road and will have to navigate steep climbs and narrow, twisting roads through the mountains.
1car1 is a great option for easy and affordable car rentals. When renting from the Manchester Airport location, I found rates for February rentals from £19.39 per day (£58.17 for three days) for an economy car with manual transmission. Automatics cost a bit more. No matter what you drive, remember that sharing a car means sharing the cost, so there's more room in your budget for activities and food.

What to do in the Lake District

A quest for "deep seclusion" wouldn't be complete without a visit to Dove Cottage, former home of William Wordsworth, the poet who penned the line in his famous poem, "Tintern Abbey" (although the abbey is actually in Wales). You can tour the former inn and pub turned family home for £6.50, and then head to the adjacent museum housing 90 percent of his manuscripts. Afterwards, take a short walk through Grasmere to the churchyard of 14th-century St. Oswald's, where the poet and his family are buried. At the churchyard gate, be sure to stop into The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, which still bakes Sarah Nelson's secret 19th-century recipe that is something of a cross between a biscuit and a cake.
Within a few short miles, another famous writer put down roots. On the shore of Coniston Water, John Ruskin—Victorian writer, artist, art critic, poet, and advocate for environmental conservation—designed and built his estate, Brantwood. Here, you can tour the parlor where he entertained many friends with music, reading novels aloud, and making Ruskin Lace; as well as his bedroom, where he hung many of his favorite J.M.W. Turner paintings from his collection, some two or three deep. Admission to the house and extensive gardens costs £5.95.
Perhaps the biggest literary highlight is seeing the very place where Beatrix Potter brought so many lovable characters to life through stories and illustrations. At Hill Top, her former home in Near Sawrey, visit the room where Tom Kitten got dressed in his too-small blue suit or where Samuel Whiskers pushed a rolling pin up the stairs. The author based many of her tales at this farmhouse, which has been preserved pretty much the way she left it. And if you're starting to feel inspired by the surrounding countryside, you can thank her. Beatrix Potter also became a well-respected farmer of Herwick sheep, the local breed, and is responsible for much of the Lake District's preservation for having donated her pastureland to the National Trust. Admission costs £5.40.

For more inspiration, there are ample opportunities for country walks in the Lake District. And best of all, they're completely free. I spent a day on a gentle hike near Great Langdale, in the fells overlooking Elterwater. During the fall, paths lead you through a breathtaking mix of green and russet ferns, as you climb alongside meandering stone walls. Views of the valley below are stunning and change depending on the mist.

I also took a scenic drive to Aira Force, a favorite spot of Wordsworth's, to see the waterfalls and take in views of Ullswater, perhaps the most stunning of all the lakes. On the way, the mystery surrounding the Castlerigg Stone Circle compelled me to stop the car and explore.
Affordable eats in the Lake District

For food outside of your cottages, Ambleside is the most convenient—and perhaps most satisfying—place to find a bite to eat. Streets are packed with all sorts of cafes, tearooms, and coffee shops serving relatively affordable meals. And considering the reputation of British food, the quality is a pleasant surprise.

First, I recommend all the "Lucy" eateries, which respect the local region and strive to make dining an all-around pleasurable experience. For lunch, you can't go wrong at Lucy's on a Plate, a lively cafe that specializes in gluten-free and locally-sourced products. I paid £9.70 for a pot of Lakeland Special Tea and the goat cheese and balsamic-drenched Paddy McGinty's salad. For dinner, literally a few hours later, I dined at nearby Lucy4, a fun, informal wine bar and bistro. Plates are small, so you order as much as you want. Specials like lamb cutlet with mashed potato and crispy pancetta cost £6.95, and a dressed green salad £3.95. British food tends to be portioned large, so two plates were plenty for me. For souvenirs or lakeside picnic supplies, Lucy's Specialist Grocers sells all kinds of Cumbrian products like sticky toffee pudding sauce, rum butter, and jams. Plus, there's a full delicatessen featuring cheeses from the North Country.
Another favorite, Apple Pie CafĂ© and Bakery, serves some of the most affordable and delicious lunches in town. The tarragon chicken sandwich, for instance, costs just £2.45, and a slice of pie—we're talking remarkable pie with plump raisins and a heavy hand of sugar and spice—will set you back a mere £0.84. The cafe is bustling inside during the lunch hour, but you can find seating outside overlooking a brook.

If you have a little left in your budget for a fancier meal, make a reservation next door at the The Glass House Restaurant, set in an old water mill. The food is so superb that you'll never know the restaurant was once thwacked by Kitchen Nightmares celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Entrees like Lakeland confit duck leg with Cumberland sausage stuffing cost £12.95.

With sublime food and exhilarating mountain scenery to match, the Lake District can take you to a lofty place and elevate your senses. And if you do it right, you'll keep your budget down to earth. The only thoughts in your head will truly be those of "deep seclusion."

Getting to the Lake District

Manchester airfare is comparable to that of London, and flights to London are still among the cheapest to Europe. To search for flights and compare prices to Manchester, visit's price-comparison tool.

Lake District Holiday Cottages

Lake District

For those of us who love the Lake District, well known for its natural beauty and wide variety of outdoor activities, it is a life long quest to publicise and educate all those who are interested in holidaying in such a wonderful part of the world.

Independent of the weather the Lake District can also help visitors to step back in time at one of South Lakeland's historic houses or fascinating museums, relax on a lake cruise or steam railway or follow in the footsteps of great literary characters like William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin who all lived in the Southern Lake District and whose homes you can visit.

Its most commonly recognised peaks of Scaw Fell and Helvelyn are only two of a vast number of climbers and hikers perfect routes. Many international climbing expeditions have started off in The Lake District as a training ground.

Children can come face to face with animals from around the world at two wildlife centres, an aquarium and a sheep and wool centre or enjoy a magical indoor recreation of Beatrix Potter's famous characters. The whole family can explore deep underground in a slate mine too.

If you are looking for a souvenir of your visit, there are working potteries, photographic, art and craft galleries, design studios and plenty of other shopping opportunities, including an outlet centre in Kendal.

For those who want to get active, there's a climbing wall, leisure centre and a high wire adventure experience in Grizedale Forest!

These are just a few ideas for great days out in South Lakeland.

A fantstic place to start your holiday if you are looking for Lake District Holiday Cottages.