So, I just mentioned this in my post on my travel plans for this year, but me and George went to stay in Bowness-on-windermere for the night last week as a little impromptu getaway! It was everything I hoped it would be and more, and it was the perfect thing to clear my head after getting so bogged down with my dissertation and independent project for my final year at uni. Also, we’ve been trying to be super-healthy recently, so we definitely needed a break to just eat whatever we wanted and relax…
We drove to the Lakes on the Monday morning quite early, and the drive was beautiful. I could literally do that drive every day, because even though it took two hours, it just didn’t feel that way because the scenery was gorgeous and the traffic even at rush hour was basically non-existent! On the way, we came across Country Harvest, a typical middle-of-nowhere country shop and café with gorgeous, peaceful surroundings. We were the first customers in the door as we had to wait for it to open, as we were dying for the loo and some brekkie. We both ordered scrambled egg and smoked salmon on crumpets to eat, and it was really delicious and definitely hit the spot one hour into our journey!
When we arrived at our guest house, Oakfold House in Bowness-on-windermere, we were allowed to check in straight away and explore our room. The décor was traditional and cosy, with an original antique fireplace (hidden behind the bathroom door, soz) but the bathroom was new and modern and the shower was amazing. George was pretty happy that there were shortbread biscuits in the room and Fox’s mints in the entrance hall- easily pleased!
We took the 10-minute walk down to the lake, through the centre of Bowness, which is one of the cutest places ever. They have lots of little cafés, independent shops, restaurants and a few of the usual high street favourites- Pandora, Co-op, you get the idea. We were really surprised when we saw the lake- not gonna lie, we had romantic ideas of an early morning run around it, not realising it was the largest lake in Britain *whoops*- it is huge and you can’t see the whole of it just from standing on its shore in Bowness.
We grabbed a hazelnut hot chocolate from Costa to walk around the edge of the lake with, because it was freezing. We found this cute little dock for boats that we walked out onto, but it was bobbing around in the water thanks to George deliberately rocking it, so I was actually pretty scared being so close to the edge in the pictures above! There isn’t much to do once you get to the lakeside, so we just walked around the bit that we could, to a more secluded place with equally beautiful views of the lake and the marina.
After we’d had our fill of lake views for one day, we decided to head off for some lunch. We took the 30-minute walk from Bowness up into the centre of Windermere, and had a look round some of the local cafés, before deciding to try and find the Lakeland flagship store, which had somewhere to eat and all the fancy kitchen and homeware you could shake a stick at. Not gonna lie, it was full of old people, but that was to be expected on a weekday during term-time I guess! It was really sleek and modern outside and in, and the food was really nice. George had a chicken tandoori wrap with potato wedges, and I had white onion and tarragon soup which was delicious. I then lusted after all of the fancy kitchenware and fantasised about having the kind of kitchen (and salary) where this stuff would be acceptable to buy.
So, this might be the most Instagram-worthy place I have ever been. Homeground in Windermere was our next stop (it was basically eat, walk a bit, get really cold, need an excuse to get warm, eat, and so on, for the whole trip) and their cakes and interiors were just stunning. I mean, just look at that mouthwatering selection (I only noticed the buttermilk scones when going through my pictures afterwards- WHY OH WHY- guess it’s just an excuse to go back again…) and all the rustic bench tables and the colour scheme it’s just all too much. We shared a peppermint slice (NOM) and I had Japanese Cherry Green Tea which was lovely, I need some cherry green tea at home.
After our afternoon snack, we went back to the guest house for a nap, because it had already been a long day! Then we just chilled in bed for a while and watched Come Dine With Me before we showered and got ready for our evening meal. By this point, it was pouring with rain, so when we headed out we had to take our ginormous umbrella and pretty much run into Bowness because it was still so cold. We fancied an Indian, so headed to Shahibs, where we had a delicious meal (I had chicken pasanda, entirely because of Gavin & Stacey- the episode where they have curry is my all-time favourite- go watch it on Netflix right now if you haven’t already). Chicken Pasanda is my new favourite curry! We had the classic samosas and poppadoms as well, which were amazing oh God I’m making myself drool writing this…
The people who owned our guest house recommended The Flying Pig, just down the road from Shahibs, so we headed there for a drink and some pudding! It is such a cute and cosy little pub, but still trendy and not stuffy at all. How gorgeous were the drink bottle lights above our table? I had a Bailey’s with ice (I love Bailey’s) and George had vodka, lime and soda (vague attempt to be healthy) which was then completely shattered by the amazing Apple and Rhubarb crumble and custard that we had for pudding! I would definitely return here for a full meal, as we were apprehensive at first that it looked a bit too ‘chainy’, but it had a really nice atmosphere and that crumble tasted really good.
We then headed to Tesco down the road to get some room snacks and drinks to take back to the guest house and chill out with. We got the Galaxy Golden Eggs and they are literally THE best thing, they will make your life. We were both so tired when we got back that we devoured the eggs whilst watching the start of Step Brothers and then went straight to sleep!
The next morning, the rain sadly hadn’t stopped. We ate our delicious Full English breakfast downstairs, before packing up our things and checking out. They thankfully let us leave our car in their car park, so we donned our waterproofs and walked down into Bowness to get the ferry to Ambleside. It stopped raining when we got on the boat, so we braved the top deck after wiping it down with a ginormous wad of tissue!
Sadly, the rain came back in full-force whilst we were still on the boat, so I literally had my waterproof hood pulled over my head and my scarf pulled up to my eyes! When we got into Ambleside, every other couple but one had gone back inside, so we felt very smug that we had braved the elements. We were soaked and desperate to warm up and dry off by the time we had walked into the centre of Ambleside, and I was so thankful that we took the time to look around, because we found The Apple Pie.
It is actually one of the best cafés I have ever been to. It was warm and cosy, and they had a really tempting display of homemade hot cross buns in the shop at the front! I opted for a Bailey’s hot chocolate (the perfect thing to warm me up!) and George had a Bailey’s milkshake (it was delicious when I had a sneaky sip). We shared an open brie and caramelised onion toastie, and it was so good. Then, we had to decide from the huge dessert menu! It was so tempting to go for their namesake, a big slice of warm applie pie with ice cream, but we decided on a jam and cream scone and were not disappointed. The scone was huge and so tasty, and the strawberry jam and clotted cream both tasted homemade too! I am actually dreaming of going back there right now, and they even have some really nice, modern rooms next-door which I’d love to stay in sometime.
After having a little wander around the rest of Ambleside, we went to the huge garden centre that was along the walk back to the lakeside. There was some seriously enviable garden furniture there, which was all the more tempting now that we actually have our own garden! I spent ages sat in this little swinging cocoon chair, it was so comfortable, but it cost something ridiculous like £700 which made me cry a little inside. The displays of flowers and plants were so inspiring and really made me want to get out into my garden and make it look pretty! The shop was amazing there too, with some lovely little homeware bits, and they had some gorgeous pastel blue plant pots that I really want to buy and plant some of those little trees in that I can put lights in (I’m so basic).
Then it was time to head back to the boat. The scenery around the pier was incredible, especially as the sun was just coming out over the hills in the distance. We decided to sit inside the boat on the way back- I’d had enough of being cold for one day and we’d only just dried off! We were both pretty tired when we got back into Bowness, but we had a little walk around to make sure we hadn’t missed anything, before heading back to the guest house to pick up the car.
How cute is the little striped shed in the back garden?
We were too tired for the walk up into Windermere, so we drove and managed to park up close to The Lighthouse restaurant where we planned on going for an early tea. It was fairly busy downstairs, as the upstairs seating area hadn’t opened yet, and the interior was really pretty- lots of marble countertops! I loved the oversized lightbulbs above the window where we were sat. We decided to order a few different bits to share, so we had nachos, mushroom and prosciutto pizza and fries with garlic mayo. They were all delicious, but the pizza in particular was absolutely delicious, and I’d definitely eat there when we go back again! They are known for their cocktails, so we’ll have to go here for an evening meal so we can sample those, too.
Our journey back was nice and easy, although the sat nav took us a different way so the scenery wasn’t quite as nice as the way there, and it was getting dark. Our playlist for the journey back was the Wicked soundtrack, our favourite musical, and we had some chocolate as our final treat before we returned to reality back home and our healthy diet! We had an amazing time, and I vlogged the whole thing which was really fun. You can watch it below, I hope you like it if you do- please subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep up with my future videos!
Have you ever been to Windermere, or the anywhere in the Lake District? I am so glad we booked this spontaneous break, and I definitely want to go back there ASAP- today if I could!