Timeless Wild Boar is a Lake District gem that's a home away from home

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The Wild Boar Inn, Windermere.The Wild Boar Inn, Windermere.
The Wild Boar Inn, Windermere.

The Lake District needs to be hiked, explored; to be breathed in, slowly. Flying day visits are all good and well, but they don't afford us the time to truly experience everything this stunning part of the world has to offer.

For that, a night or two, preferably longer, is required.

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The Wild Boar sits three miles east of the quaint tourist trap, Bowness-on-Windermere. The five-star inn, one of the Lakes' oldest, takes its namesake from the local legend of Sir Richard de Gilpin, who is said to have fought and killed, yes, you guessed it, a wild boar.

Thankfully, the welcome these days is far warmer. As you set foot inside the charming countryside retreat, you're instantly transported back in time to a simpler age, with cosy traditional interiors closeting a relaxed and genial atmosphere.

The menu changes from week to week with different meat and veg changing to match the seasons.The menu changes from week to week with different meat and veg changing to match the seasons.
The menu changes from week to week with different meat and veg changing to match the seasons.

Boasting 34 individually styled bedrooms, with three categories of room to choose from, the Wild Boar is a home away from home; except this particular home comes complete with grill and smokehouse open kitchen, where dishes are conjured up using only the freshest local produce.

We arrived at 6-30pm, and the second our bags hit the floor, we were on our way to the restaurant, enticed by a waft of irresistible aromas swirling through the corridors. Roaring log fires, exposed oak beams, and tables lit by candlelight await diners who once seated will gaze across a menu featuring a range of refreshed classic favourites touched by a hint of Middle Eastern and Italian inspiration.

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Armed with a pint of home-brewed 'Blonde Boar' (a lovely tipple); to start, I plumped for the Glazed Salt Aged Short Rib Bao, which comes braised in ginger, chilli and spring onion, with a side of Asian slaw. Full disclosure: I had no idea what I was ordering, which made it all the more satisfying when I took that first bite and instantly knew trusting my gut had paid off. The narrow cuts of beef, fresh and flavoursome, while the bao (steamed bun) was melt-in-your-mouth soft.

I sampled two of the mains while staying at the Wild Boar.

My wife, Danielle, and I enjoying the views at Orrest HeadMy wife, Danielle, and I enjoying the views at Orrest Head
My wife, Danielle, and I enjoying the views at Orrest Head

The 'Proper Chicken Pie' and the 10oz '22 Day Aged Fillet of Prime Beef' (smoked). The pie came packed with tender chunks of chicken, smoked bacon, asparagus, and leek. The second my knife cut through the unbelievably soft pastry casing, allowing the creamy sauce to flow onto my plate, it was only going to be a matter of minutes until that same plate was wiped clean, mopped up by the one last remaining triple cooked chip.

The fillet of prime beef was cooked medium rare to perfection. Served with those delicious triple cooked chips, a slow roasted tomato, grilled flat cap mushroom and caramalised shallots, every single bite was as succulent as the last. At this point, the only thing that could have tempted me into ordering from the dessert menu was if they had that great British classic, sticky toffee pudding.

For dessert, I had...the 'Classic Sticky Toffee Pudding', with salted caramel sauce and vanilla pod ice cream. As mouth-watering as it sounds; the following day's walk we had planned was now in serious jeopardy.

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For those wishing to burn off a calorie or 5,000, the Wild Boar is perfectly positioned to explore every inch of the Lakes' natural beauty. It even has its own private 70-acre woodland for guests not wanting to venture too far afield.

We decided to journey through the woodland, past the town of Windermere, and on to Orrest Head; the stunning Lake Windermere viewing point, and the place that in 1930 transformed a young Alfred Wainwright's life. It was here, on his first visit to the Lakes, where he fell in love with the area, devoting his days thereafter to carefully charting the 214 fells we now affectionately refer to as 'Wainwrights'.

The walk, from the door of the Wild Boar, will take you around an hour and a half, at a leisurely pace. If you would prefer something even more leisurely, then Bowness can be reached by foot in under an hour.

Wherever you decide to spend your day, the Wild Boar and its team will be waiting to ensure your stay remains a memorable one.

You can take my word(s) for it.

Readers can receive a 25% discount off best available rates at the Wild Boar Inn for stays up to 15 July 2022.

For more information, call 0333 220 3108 or click here.

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