Low Wood Bay Hotel, Windermere is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the Lake District
There is something magical about the Lake District in springtime..from the lambs in the fields and the daffodils swaying in the breeze to the sight of the early sun hitting the fells
Take the road from Windermere to Keswick on a beautiful Spring morning and you understand why this landscape has inspired authors, painters and poets from hundreds of years.
Skirt the edge of the lake itself, head past the boats at Ambleside, on through Grasmere and the road suddenly opens up at Thirlmere to offer a stunning mountain vista. These are some of the most famous fells in the Lake District - Helvellyn, Catbells and Skiddaw amongst them - and a joy for anyone looking for a day's hiking.
Despite that temptation, on our recent visit, we shunned the fells and instead went for a more level walk around the town of Keswick itself. It's the perfect place for a potter around independent shops, stopping off for a coffee in one of the many cafes and tea rooms, taking in the atmosphere with Skiddaw as a backdrop.
Antique and specialist food shops sit side by side with a host of outdoor shops providing everything you could need if a hike up a Wainwright is your plan.
From there it was back on the road back to Grasmere for a look around this picture perfect village, once home to Wordsworth. His former home, Dove Cottage, has recently been renovated and is worth a visit to understand more about his life and works. And if you fancy the ideal accompaniment to your pot of tea, it is also home to the famous Grasmere gingerbread - this version being more of a biscuit than a cake.
Our base for a couple of nights in Cumbria was the Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa, which sits on the lake between Kendal and Bowness in the South and the pretty Northern towns and villages we visited during our stay.
Parts of this hotel date back to the 1700s, when it was a farm and then a family home.
In recent years it has been transformed into a luxury resort. While the older white-washed building remains on the lake frontage, a three-storey building, known as the Winander Club, has been built into the hillside behind it.
Through clever positioning, this too affords views over the lake from its bedrooms, breakfast room, bar and roof terrace.
Our stay started with a glass of prosecco on arrival, fruit and chocolates in the room and a friendly welcome from the most helpful staff you are ever likely to meet.
The room was luxurious, with underfloor heating, a bath in the bedroom for the romantics amongst us and a double shower room. Coffees, teas and milk were all renewed through our stay, while an early evening visit from staff offered anything extra we wanted.
There is an amazing spa, complete with jacuzzis, plus an infinity swimming pool and a gym for those wanting to work off some of the amazing treats from its two
More renovations have been taking place recently in one of the restaurants. The W has recently been beautifully revamped in art deco-style and features a British and Continental menu including chicken scallopini and my choice of turbot meuniere.
If you are looking for somewhere a little less formal but with plenty of atmosphere, head to Blue Smoke on the Bay. The chefs in its open wood-fired kitchen put on an entertaining show as they cook steaks, meat, fish and vegetables.
Our steak and lobster meals, fillet and rib-eye, were superb. The contrast between the crusted, wood-fired outer and the soft, medium rare inner of the steak was a complete delight. If you like a posh version of surf and turf, this is definitely the place to come.
After dinner, a short walk across the courtyard took us back to the Winander Club bar, for exclusive use of those staying in that part of the hotel.
Watching the lights appear across the lake as the sun went down was the perfect end to the evening.
Our two-night stay went far too quickly. So much so that we, like many of the people we met at Low Wood, will be returning.
Luxury rooms, delicious food and wine, stunning views in every direction and in the heart of the Lake District. Who wouldn't want some more of that?
Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa, Ambleside Road, Windermere LA23 1LP www.englishlakes.co.uk Resort rooms B&B from £135 Winander Club rooms offer upgraded rooms, personalised service and private bar and breakfast area The Spa features treatments, spa days and thermal journey packages