York – the UK’s Number 1 Christmas Shopping Destination

york christmas markets

In 2016, York City Centre will once again be transformed into a winter wonderland thanks to the York Christmas Festival. The dates, November 17 to December 23 is when the festivities begin with everything from pantos at York Theatre Royal and the Grand Opera House, the Christmas Music Festival, decorations and lights galore and the St Nicholas Fair.

The fair will line the streets with trimmings and chalets filled with food, craft and gift retailers as well as the aromas of Christmas of mince pies, chestnuts (quite possibly roasting on an open fire….!) and mulled wine. In keeping with York as a whole, a large emphasis and presence will be on locally sourced food and locally made and created items for sale.

For the ultimate way to start Christmas and to purchase the most perfect gifts then cosmopolitan York can’t be beaten. The city is steeped in history with cobbled streets and all the UK’s favourite shops as well as independent retailers. York is also famous for its food with some of Yorkshire’s finest restaurants, much needed after a long day shopping.

Make a weekend or short break out of it and stay in one of the hotels in York. Hedley House Hotel has a choice of hotel rooms or self catering apartment accommodation with a relaxing lounge bar and restaurant and is just a 10 minute walk from the city centre. For more information and to book visit, http://www.hedleyhouse.com/

Keswick – Where Rugged Meets Beauty in the Lake District

keswick holiday cottages

Keswick, where most people who have ever visited the Lake District will have been to at least once, where there are wall to wall mountains and lakes.

Keswick is a relatively short journey up the A591 from Ambleside and Grasmere yet it seems a million miles away. Ambleside and Grasmere are simply stunning, quaint and picturesque and far smaller in terms of population. Keswick on the other hand is far more dramatic, the geology far more rugged and extreme, typical of the Northern Lake District. This ruggedness combined with the terrain naturally makes this a highly popular destination for walkers, climbers, mountain bikers and anyone who loves outdoor pursuits. Even travelling to Keswick is a joy. From the west and the A66 suddenly becomes a lakeside road with Bassenthwaite running beside it to travelling from the south and the making your way up one of the top 10 most scenic roads in the UK, the A591.

But why is it that Keswick not only drawers adventure seekers but also people who simply want to take it easy? Well that’s because Keswick is simply stunning at the time. Yes there are the rugged, mountainous areas but there are also such idyllic spots as Cat Bells and the Castle Rigg Stone Circle. Both these places of interest should be visited by all regardless of age or thrill seeking necessity.

As is the quality of the Landscape so too is the quality of the Keswick businesses. Luxury self catering cotatges and apartments can be found in an abundance with the chance to enjoy some of the famous Lakeland produce find so widely in the restaurants in Keswick. Keswick does also have a super Booths store where anyone that has frequented one will have no choice but to purchase some of the high quality and often local foods on offer there.

Head to The Lakeland Cottage Company for luxury holiday cottages in Keswick including Visit England 4 and 5 star graded properties available for full week and short break bookings.

Spa-tacular special offers at Surrey hotel

brooklands hotel surrey special offers

Everyone loves a special offer but there’s no need to compromise on a spot of luxury at the same time with the month of September being the ideal month to capture both.

With so many having hectic lifestyles, September is the perfect time to relax and unwind in preparation for the final quarter of the year. Think relaxation – think spas, the ultimate way to put any worries and stresses behind you. After a super summer, it’s now time for a spa-tastic September.

BSPA at Brooklands Hotel in Surrey is brimming full of September special offers. The state of the art spa and fitness facility housed in the Brooklands Hotel on the historic racing circuit is leading the way in spas in the Surrey and Weybridge areas. Coupled with all the services and amenities of the hotel, the spa offers one off treatments through to full packages.

During September enjoy 10% off the “Spa Life” spa day. Full of deep relaxation treatments, massages, facials as well as a light lunch with soft drink and a glass of fizz, treat someone special or book and take a friend.
Another highlight offer, the BSPA Signature Treatment is truly “Divine”. Using the Divine range by Caudalie the package includes a body scrub and full body massage before moving onto a bespoke facial treatment. This full body rejunvenation is just £120 saving £43 on the individual treatments. Also look out for the free BSPA app, late availability deals and the new loyalty card.

The Brooklands Hotel in Surrey special offers extend to accommodation and the 1907 Restaurant & Bar so make a super special offer weekend or overnight stay of it.
http://www.brooklandshotelsurrey.com/special-offers

New Lake District restaurant – #theplacetobe for Afternoon Tea Week

stove restaurant langdale

The annual and official UK Afternoon Tea Week will be taking place in 2016 from August 8th to Sunday 14th.  No one needs an excuse to enjoy this quintessentially English custom of tea, cakes and sandwiches of course but during Afternoon Tea Week it would be an absolute crime not to partake once, twice if not three times during the week!

Afternoon tea has made a renaissance of epic proportions in the last five years beyond what even the hardened catering (or cake devouring) professional could have anticipated. Its renaissance has opened it up to everyone and is definitely not just the afternoon event of choice for the older generation.

From full on afternoon tea made up of delicious and indulgent sandwiches (no crusts allowed), homemade cakes, hot beverages or perhaps a little sparkle in the form of Prosecco or Champagne to simply a lovely slice of cake and coffee, enjoy a very civilised but most importantly tasty treat.

The Langdale Hotel & Spa have a fabulous new restaurant Stove that should be at least one of the afternoon tea destinations to celebrate at. Stove has a statement double height area to sit in, perfect in the day time, overlooking the beck and waterwheel. If it’s dry then the variety of outdoor seating is fantastic for an alfresco afternoon tea.

Daily there are a choice of cakes and pastries as well as a large selection of Farrer’s Tea, special blend coffees, homemade lemonades and a new range of artisan herbal teas. Stove can perfectly add a glass of fizz to proceedings too. For more information on the full menu and setting of Stove @ Langdale, visit http://www.langdale.co.uk/stove.html

Grazia competition to win luxury spa break at Brimstone Hotel Lake District

spa hotel lake district

But be quick, you’ve got long. August the 31st is the closing date for the competition in conjunction with the Grazia magazine, the leading fashion, beauty and celebrity weekly publication. To mark the 25th Birthday of IMEDEEN the skin supplement brand, entrants will have the chance to win a luxury 2 night spa weekend for 2 at the boutique Brimstone Hotel on the Langdale Estate in the Lake District.

The two night break consists of luxury from arrival where the lucky winners will be greeted by their personal host and shown to their base for the weekend, one of the luxury Brimstone suites. If it’s warm relax on the private balcony terrace or if it’s cool, light the wood burning stove. Breakfast is included from the chefs at the super stylish new restaurant on the Langdale Estate, Stove. Choose to sit in the light and airy restaurant or have breakfast delivered to the suite, the balconies make great breakfast rooms.

Simply answer the question on the competition page here and fill in contact details. A lucky winner will be selected at random after the closing date of August 31st 2016 and the prize is based on 2 people sharing the room.

Brimstone is leading the way in luxury hotel accommodation in the Lake District National Park and throughout the north of England. The combination of the stunning Lake District setting, the quirkiness of the fixtures and fittings and operation of the hotel, it’s commitment to the environment and the wealth of facilities guests can use and enjoy on the Langdale Estate makes Brimstone one of a kind.

Delicious hotels with restaurants in the Lake District

 

damson dene bowness restaurantJournalists up and down the country are now clambering to stay and dine in the many hotels with restaurants in the UK. Just a few years ago this would have been likened to drawing the short straw. But as The Guardian wrote “Hotel restaurants are back in vogue, thanks to innovative menus from a new generation of talented chefs.” And this is so true.

For too long, even some 4 star hotels who you would expect to serve a high standard of food, have been falling well short. Everyone knows the scenario, deal too good to pass up for dinner, bed and breakfast, first night meal awful and well below par, the prospect of eating there again, fearsome and what about breakfast!

Despite the rise in the quality of British food and the restaurants that serve it up and down the country, food served in hotel restaurants was lagging well behind both in terms of quality and food trends.
The Lake District and Cumbria has some of the best food producers, best suppliers and best hotels in the North West if not the whole of England and hotel restaurant cuisine has always been of a good standard but this standard is continuing to rise. Hotel restaurants in the region are attracting big name chefs and who would blame them with the amount of people that come to visit 365 days a year and the truly stunning produce available on their doorstep.

Hotels in the Lake District are noticing guests are more interested in food and their restaurants are doing better than they ever have done. Damson Dene Hotel near Bowness on Windermere have most definitely noticed a boost in the number of guests staying on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis recently. With a daily changing menu using locally sourced food including seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs from the owners Victorian kitchen garden at Yewbarrow House not far away in Grange over Sands, the quality of the produce is a step above many other restaurants in the area.

Book a delicious dinner, bed and breakfast stay at Damson Dene by visiting http://www.damsondene.co.uk/

Lake District yoga retreat in top 7 worldwide

luxury lake district yoga hotel

The London Evening Standard have recently written an article on their top 7 health retreats worth visiting this summer. With the warmer weather on its way, holidays booked, it’s now time to think about looking and feeling your best.

The retreats located around the world have been selected from some of the most popular holiday destinations around, Malaysia, Mauritius, Bali and Italy to name four. But closer to home for those living in the UK is an exciting new choice in the form of the Brimstone Hotel on the Langdale Estate in the Lake District.

Brimstone Hotel is a luxury hotel of just 16 suites located amongst the woodland and fells of the Langdale Valley. The retreats held there range from yoga focused to fitness and retreats for the mind and bowl too and all organised by the Lake District based wellness experts The Well Connected. Two highly successful 3 night retreats have already taken place.

Upcoming wellness retreats at Brimstone Luxury Lake District Hotel in 2016 include ones from Purearth – Juice, Yoga & Spa, House of Voga – Exclusive Yoga Retreat and Olivia Cooney – Lavish Fitness Retreat. Take advantage of the Brimstone Reading Room where The Well Connected provide healthy snacks and drinks there, enjoy also private balconies and 5 star accommodation. All this and the lake District fells and landscape on the doorstep to explore. Brimstone also provide all the walking kit you’ll need too in conjunction with Berghaus.

A glorious new holiday apartment in Grange over Sands

grange over sands cottage

In fact this new self catering property is not just glorious and located in Grange over Sands but it also has a gold award from Visit England.

Marketed by The Lakeland Cottage Company, the luxury holiday accommodation agency based in Grange over Sands with extensive knowledge of the area, 1 Woodheads is set within a Regency style villa with jaw dropping views across Morecambe Bay.

The views are sunning but head inside and the real delights await, sympathetic interior design at its most current and luxurious. Look up to the ceiling to view the original plasterwork, glance across to the sand stone fireplace with woodburner and take in all the beautiful furnishing.

Outside, the French doors open out onto the veranda and landscaped garden with the view beyond. Pre dinner drinks and nibbles an absolute must or in the summer, an alfresco breakfast.

Extras include a complimentary basket of logs, bottle of Prosecco and locally made chocolates, 10% discount at Clare House Restaurant in Grange over Sands and at Christmas, a tree all decorated and festive.
The location of 1 Woodheads is 5 miles from the town of Grange over Sand yet just under 2 miles from the village of Cartmel, the culinary capital of Cumbria and also the home to the famous Cartmel Race Course. This property is ideal for easy access to any of the race meetings at Cartmel.

More fabulous images of this 5 star apartment in Grange over Sands can be found here as well as booking an availability details.

Beef things up in the Lake District during Great British Beef Week

tebay services hotel cumbria

It’s on right now, Great British Beef Week, a celebration of the fabulously high quality product UK British farmers produce day in day out. Now in its 6th year and organised and championed by Ladies In Beef.

Beef is popular across the globe, is one of the most of the most versatile meats but when reared properly provides taste beyond belief. Great British Beef Week to raise awareness for the quality found and available from farmers right on our doorsteps and to continue the support of this area of farming an food production, so important to so many.

In Cumbria and the Lake District, with fertile grazing and the emphasis on quality, it’s no surprise the beef either pasture or fell bred is some of the best in the country. Lamb may be the quintessentially Lake District meat but beef, available at its prime all year round in the region, is something that adorns every pub, restaurant and eating establishment. With such varying cuts, beef is often found 3, 4 or more times on a menu.

Beef is something with even more meaning than most to the owners of the Tebay Services Hotel on the M6 between Kendal and Penrith. Famers first and foremost, they branched out into the motorway services industry in the 70’s with the award winning Tebay Services. The Farm Shops there are what travellers make a bee line for both for the food available to eat in or take away and especially the butchers counter, the first of its kind on a UK motorway. All the beef is reared on the Dunning farm in nearby Orton and can be found the hotel too. On the vibrant new spring menu at the Tebay Services Hotel are 3 beef dishes, a starter of Dry cured beef and Cumbrian blue cheese salad with celery leaf and roasted walnut and mains, Ribeye steak from our family farm, lightly smoked in house with herb butter, hand cut chips and spring slaw and their own beef burger in a toasted brioche bun with hand cut chips and homemade relish.

Guests of the hotel receive a 10% off voucher for use in the Farm Shops so the beef addiction can continue at home. Rooms start at £87 per night including breakfast based on 2 sharing when booking 7 days or more in advance. Visit http://www.westmorlandhotel.com/ for more details.

Enjoy an extra night at Grange over Sands luxury B&B

bay villa luxury grange b&b

Grange over Sands is a 365 day a year destination. With one of the highest national averages in temperature and climate in the north west of England, experience above average temperatures in the winter months and the breeze, beaches and views in the summer. Easy to access by train or by car, Grange over Sands is just a stones throw away from the Lake District fells but also so much of Cumbria’s coastline.

Bay Villa is the newest B&B in Grange over Sands having opened its doors in April 2014 but despite being a relatively business in the regions tourism sector, the pedigree of both the building and the people behind it have experience in abundance. The building, constructed in 18 and designed by one of Cumbria’s most famous architects. Located on Main Street amongst similar period buildings, quiet yet within a short walk of Grange’s town centre and with spectacular views over Morecambe Bay, it is the place for those wanting a complete getaway from it all. All this, yet within easy reach of so many of the Lake District villages and sights.

During certain off peak months, guests booking a midweek break Sunday to Thursday can enjoy three night’s or more accommodation and breakfast and receive a free night to add onto it. The emphasis at this B&B is relaxation and “The Slow Life”, read more about this on their website. Suffice to say, you choose what you want to do, when you want to do it without any hustle, bustle or hassle. The generosity of the accommodation is key to the success so far of this business. Just 3 rooms, well really suites, where there is more than enough room for a table and chairs where breakfast is delivered to at a time that suits the guests.

With Cartmel on the doorstep, the Lake District National Park within touching distance, Morecambe Bay and all its; gloriousness, there’s no wonder why Grange over Sands is somewhere people keep coming back to. This well kept town has life and activities if required yet complete peace and tranquillity if not.

Bay Villa luxury B&B in Grange over Sands rooms start at £110 per room per night with breakfast based on two sharing.

Glorious gluten free options at Windermere hotel

A gluten free diet is an extremely common and is increasing by the day. Many people choose to omit gluten from their diets for reasons such a lethargic feeling after consuming it or slight bloating where as a huge number of the population are forced to for much more server symptoms and reasons. An allergy to gluten (or gluten sensitivity) effects many people differently and can create symptoms such as skin rashes and hives, headaches, a stuffy head and runny nose like hay fever and most commonly, problems with the gut such as indigestion and stomach cramps. Then onto Coeliac disease, a lifelong disease of an intolerance to gluten that can luckily be kept at bay omitting gluten from the diet.

In the case of being a Coeliac, it is extremely important not to consume any food item that has even touched a gluten product. Finding places to eat naturally becomes a problem as the UK is a nation of bread, pastry and pasta lovers. Restaurant menus are often laden with heavy, gluten rich dishes but replacing that with fresher, lighter foods without loosing out on the satisfaction or taste, is a good thing even for those who can eat gluten products.

windermere hotel restaurant

That is why it is refreshing to see hotels such as the Applegarth Villa Hotel & Restaurant in Windermere offering a high number of gluten free dishes on their dinner menu. These dishes do not scream out gluten free and are delicious for each and every guest, they have just been well thought out and devised. To get your gluten free taste buds going there’s pan fried scallops with butternut squash puree, micro herbs, pancetta crisps and citrus oil, lots of mains including pork fillet with a chorizo & sundried tomato puree and a ruby port reduction and the ultimate for any pudding lover, sticky toffee pudding. Chef’s own gluten free recipe is served with butterscotch sauce & vanilla ice cream. Gluten free bread, crackers and lager are also available to accompany dishes such as soup and the Cumbrian cheese slate.

With 1 in 100 people having Coeliac disease and many more people with gluten sensitivity, it’s about time there were more restaurant menus such as this one and if you aren’t gluten intolerant and don’t spot the “G” next to the menu item, I bet you’d ever know.

To view the full menu visit, http://www.lakesapplegarth.co.uk/villa-restaurant/dinner-menu

Langdale is #theplacetobe for adventure in the Lake District

langdale hotel lake district
Adventure comes in many forms and is perceived as being very different from one person to the next. Everyone has different interest, limits, capabilities and challenges but for anyone wanting to be adventurous in the UK, the Langdale Valley can serve every level.

The Langdale Valley has tarns and waters, fells both gradual for leisurely walking through to crag filled some of the best rock climbing routes in the National Park and a quintessentially Lake District village, Elterwater. Langdale is just a short distance from Ambleside, Grasmere and Coniston yet is the gateway to the Western Lake District over the famous, or some may say, infamous Wrynose and Hardnott passes. Couple this with a high concentration of woodland areas and the peaceful location means off road activities such as mountain biking and even 4×4 adventures are popular and achievable pursuits in the valley.

But walking is really where the best of this area can be enjoyed and the ability to view 360 degree landscapes of the Lake District to look down on the busy village of Ambleside or across to the west for views of the Irish Sea and England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike.

So where to stay, well we ‘d say no other than the Langdale 4 Star Lake District Hotel. The staff there know the area like the back of their hand giving helpful tips and advice on routes and most definitely on how to enjoy the are car free. Saying that, there’s the choice to hire a Renault Twizy if relaxing is too much of a pull. Head back to the full, onsite leisure facilities and fine at the new Stove Restaurant for the complete package. Rooms start from just £120 including breakfast so a great deal. Visit http://www.langdale.co.uk for more details.

Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro wins Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction Award

tanzania holidays safaris

The recent 2016 World Travel Awards Africa have crowned this giant, Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction.

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in East Africa and the mountain to climb and achieve for so many walkers and enthusiasts. This iconic peak is Africa’s highest mountain but also the highest free standing mountain in the world. Whether it’s as a part of a trek, an item on a bucket list or as so many do, tackle this monster for charity, the look, the terrain and the beauty sets this wondrous geographical feature apart from the rest.

The area surrounding Kilimanjaro is what ultimately adds to the appeal being located in North East Tanzania, one of Africa’s most popular countries for safari tours and breaks but also a coast lined with idealistic, white sand beaches.

Post taking on Mount Kilimanjaro, relax and unwind on one of the many safari tours in Tanzania. After witnessing a landscape like no other, experience wildlife in natural habitats like no other. Let the tour guides transport, feed and delight, resting those weary legs and feet. Afterwards, chose to jump on a short plane ride to the ultra stunning island of Zanzibar with its miles of beaches and a town steeped in history.
This award is great news for Tanzania as a whole and fully confirms this country as a must go destination for travellers far and wide.

For Tanzania safari tours in and around the Serengetti, Saadani and Selous National parks and games reserves post trekking, visit http://www.tentwithaview.com. The new Bush Rover accommodation will be the perfect way to relax whilst being part of the land.

500 5 star reviews on Tripadvisor for Cuckoo Brow Lake District inn

cuckoo brow lake district b&b

With a total number of reviews standing at just over 700, the Cuckoo Brow Inn reaching 500 maximum 5 star reviews is an even bigger achievement. As a percentage it means over 70% Cuckoo Brow’s reviews are the full 5 stars.

Having a quick glance at the reviews, what stands out the most are the amount of people heading their review “consistently brilliant”, “another amazing stay” etc showing just how many guest return some of them into stays of double figures. The food, choice of real ales, standard of accommodation and friendly and relaxed atmosphere also appear frequently.

The inn is open every day serving hotel and cold food, most locally sourced including daily changing specials, real ales, soft drinks, artisan tea and coffee as well as 14 bedrooms including family and dog friendly rooms for overnight stays. Popular with walkers, sightseers, families and dog owners where everyone is welcome. This year there’s even more reasons to visit and stay with the 150 anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter with events, talks and activities being held just 5 minutes away at Hill Top as well as nearby Bowness on Windermere.

Rooms including full breakfast can be found from just £77 when booking direct by telephone on 015394 43425 or via http://www.cuckoobrow.co.uk