As we drag ourselves out of the winter of 2010/11, there can hardly be a more exhilarating experience than to spend a few days in this beautiful corner of England when the clear air of the lakes was brightened by intense spring sunshine. This stay at Holbeck Ghyll, www.holbeckghyll.com, was a first time in this charming hotel enjoying panoramic views over England’s largest lake, Windermere. Every attention to our comfort was ensured from the warmth of our welcome by the attentive staff to the comfort of the bedrooms, not to mention the delicious food prepared by the chef, who has retained his Michelin star for twelve years.
For our edification we had two talks, the first on Linley, the continuing tradition of English cabinet-making, and Plutocrats Houses around Lake Windermere. These are not necessarily subjects which one readily associates with the Lake District, which is more usually associated with the outdoor pursuits of fell-walking and sailing, but thanks to the presence of the remarkable cabinet-making business of Peter Hall www.peter-hall.co.uk we were able to see, during our visit, how this skill is alive and well not only in Cumbria but throughout the United Kingdom. Around the shores of the lake are some 40 houses built by “in-comers” from the late 18th century to the 20th century. Attracted by the romance of the scenery and the beauty of the landscape many newly–prosperous business people built houses of varying architectural merit around the shores of the lake. Most notable of these is Blackwell, built by a somewhat recherché architect, Mckay Hugh Baillie Scott. A splendid example of the Arts and Crafts Movement, this “cottage” enjoys an enviable position with panoramic views and at the same time exemplifies an outstanding example of modern thinking in architecture.
So, a most successful first stay in this delightful spot. Just a few days away but enough to recharge the batteries and to enable us to face the gloom of the newspapers if not the weather.
Our next holiday from the 17th to the 20th April, will be at Bowood, near Calne in Wiltshire, full details of which are available on this website. Here we shall enjoy not only the luxury of a modern hotel set in an 18th century landscape, but also a privileged view of Lord Landsdowne’s home and also his woodland gardens, which at that time of the year are at their finest. www.bowood.org.
As always we are “Always pleased to hear from you” and look forward to your joining our expeditions in the future.