View from the hotel out to the lake. Look at the lovely expensive boats on the water.

We stayed in this hotel on the shores of Lake Windermere during our trip to the Lake District.  I had found it on Trip Adviser and quite frankly could not go past the review that said “Expensive but well worth it”.  I just had to see what a comment like that meant.

Actually, it was quite accurate.  I had picked up a really good deal where I had bought a dinner, bed and breakfast rate.  It’s always a struggle with me to book this rate, as part of me often wonders whether I will be missing out on other eating options in town.  Actually, in this instance it was a good choice.  The restaurant, called Church Street Restaurant, is a nice 2 rosettes restaurant.  (I’m really not so snobby as to only eat in a restaurant with a Michelin Star or Rosettes rating, but it is a good way of telling what you’re going to get for your money).  A 3 course dinner is about GBP45, but with the package that we were on, we got it for about GBP25.  This I thought, was good value given that it was Easter School holidays, and most other places would charge a fair bit anyway.  So we were very happy with our choice.

Room with a view.

Of course the thing that made us happier was that the food was actually very tasty.  It had been a while since we had been out to a fine dining restaurant. (Work dinners don’t count.) Such a rare experience as a family in recent years.  I know, this sounds very sad, but you just do different things with little ones. One has to get quite practical with kids, where they’d like to dine and what they can cope with.  (Fortunately, we have been training the little one’s palate, and I have to say he sure now knows how to pick his choices from a menu.  So proud of him and how quickly he’s growing up.)

Photos of food will be posted on Foodcard Traveller.

Hotel exterior, looking into the Church Street restaurant.

Anyway, the other good thing about this hotel is the spa.  They have a lovely little pool with sauna, steam room, ice room and an experience shower.  Now I have to tell you, I have never been into an experience shower or an ice room before.  And it was a little exciting.  (Okay, I don’t lead a very exciting life!)

The experience shower has an extremely large shower head, so that it’s like a torrential rain shower on your head.  I like that. Reminds me of when I used to get caught in the rain when I was at school.  There are buttons there that either turn on the disco light (different!), or turns on the aromatic shower (really different!).  It’s just nice to stand under there and let the slight warmth of the water run off your back.

The other interesting spa experience was the Ice Room.  This is literally an ice room with an ice dispenser so that you can spread the ice all over your skin after you come out of the sauna.  There is also an ice-cold shower for the truly courageous.  I tried to take an ice shower, but I bailed (and screamed) the second the water touched me and jumped right out.  I think the other guests must have thought Norman Bates was in the room with me.

MacDonald Old England Spa Hotel in the background. Foreshore filled with Sunday tourists on the last day of school holidays.

Although we were in the tourist heart of the Lake District (this is just a very PC way of saying lots of tourists, tour buses and no peace and quiet), we didn’t feel it too much.  Because we were so close to the lake and we did not have to drive through town to get to places, we simply walked straight out to wherever we wanted to go. So I found staying the hotel so convenient for that.

There were the usual waterside activities: cruise boats, rowing boats, walking/cycling tours, ice cream shops, tourist bureaus etc.  Once we walked past these and got onto the quieter part of the lake shore, it was quite lovely.  Plus we were very lucky.  We had fantastically warm weather the day we arrived.  I was told that it had been rainy and dreary for much for the previous 6 months.

Sitting room

So with wonderful weather, I have to say the Lake District is just lovely.  Of course, I think it is lovely in winter too, if you’re nicely rugged up and indoors with a nice fire and cuppa.  I can see why its the choice of many a dirty weekend in many Mills n Boon romance novels.  Anyway, the Lake District always did sound lovely, and I’m glad to be able to say that I’ve now been there.

And the hotel?  Expensive but well worth it.

Spiral Staircase
Toilets maketh the room.