Cumbria Journals

A Lazy Woman's Lake District

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A March 2002 trip to Cumbria by Bear in Britain

Lake Windermere Photo, Cumbria, England More Photos
Quote: Cumbria’s lakeland was a rural backwater until Wordsworth put it on the map. Now known for spectacular scenery, dramatic hiking trails and rotten weather (the brochures don’t tell you that!), it’s THE quintessential great outdoors holiday. You can also, however, do luxury and pampering if you know where to look.

A Lazy Woman's Lake District

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Overview

Lake Windermere Photo, Cumbria, England
Quote:
Every time I visit the Lake District I mean to take a brisk, strenuous hike up one of those big hills. Honest. I just always seem to get sidetracked. Time may be short. Sure, you can hike up to deeply impressive sights like Hardknott Roman fort (surely some of the most dramatic Roman ruins in Britain, sitting at the top of a wild and dramatic mountain pass) or Castlerigg Stone Circle (atmospheric, Stonehenge-like; but smaller, more isolated, with stunning mountain views). But drive, and you can spend more time sightseeing. Or the weather has been rotten, so I end up retreating to the shops. Lakeland Ltd. in Windermere is a massive kitchen and household goods store that keeps me...Read More

Langdale Chase Hotel

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Hotel | "The Langdale Chase Hotel"

Langdale Chase Hotel Photo, Cumbria, England
Quote:
Thanksgiving can be the most depressing of holidays for an expat in England. You can re-create a 4th of July barbecue pretty easily in your back garden. But there’s something about that quintessentially American autumnal feast that’s harder to replicate. Rather than even trying one year when my mother was visiting I decided to escape to someplace special in the Lake District for the holiday. The Langdale Chase didn’t disappoint (though we didn’t, I must confess, eat any turkey or pumpkin pie!) The Langdale Chase is a wonderful old country-house-turned-hotel on the main road between Windermere and Ambleside. It is in the style known as "tudorbethan", a historical hotch-potch assembled… usual...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2002

Langdale Chase Hotel

Windermere, United Kingdom LA23 1LW
+44 (0)15394 32201

Jambo

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Restaurant

Quote:
Jambo is a delightful little place with such personalised service you’d think you were having dinner in the cook’s dining room. In fact, you almost are! There are only seven or eight tables, and you’re being served and cooked for by the owners. Jambo is a very personal enterprise run by husband & wife team Kevin and Andrea. She handles front of house, he cooks … and makes a later-evening sweep around to see how everyone liked their food. The menu tells you that they took their inspiration from the hospitality they received on their Kenyan honeymoon; "Jambo" is Swahili for welcome. They’d always wanted to open a restaurant, and came to the Lake District to give it a go. On my...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2002

Lakeland Ltd.

Attraction

Quote:
American visitors will have no interest in Lakeland Ltd., as they can drop by places like Williams Sonoma and The Container Store any time they want. Brits, however, go mad for this place. Lakeland supplies all manner of fascinating kitchen gadgets, a huge range of products for storing stuff and lots of other household convenience items. They’re well known as a mail order catalogue (see www.lakelandlimited.co.uk) and have recently been expanding to real stores. This is headquarters and carries a good range of everything. It’s a particularly compelling store for cooks. And I did find their range of garden stuff tempting. My last visit netted … all on sale … hook-and-strap gizmos th...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2002

Food with a view Photo, Cumbria, England
Quote:
This is the best gingerbread in the world. Period. Gingerbread as it should be. Gingerbread that explodes in your mouth with distinctive flavour. Gingerbread to Sarah Nelson’s 19th century recipe, like you’ve never had before. And gingerbread that you can ONLY get here. The shop and bakery is in a minuscule building … hardly more than an oversized garden shed … behind the church where Wordsworth is buried. Just follow your nose; you can’t miss it. The shop is about six feet wide by four feet deep, and has just one counter piled with the only thing they sell: Square slabs of Gingerbread. What makes this stuff so special? Banish your ideas of soft, cake-like gingerbread. Or ta...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2002

Castlerigg Stone Circle

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Attraction

The circle Photo, Cumbria, England
Quote:
Though Stonehenge is the best known stone circle in Britain, with the largest individual stones, there are many circles around these isles. Castlerigg certainly gets my vote for the most dramatic. The circle sits on the flat top of a high hill above Keswick. On one side, the landscape drops away toward town, though the urban view is blocked by trees. On the three other sides, valleys and higher hills stretch away into the distance. It could be into infinity, considering the mystic sense of isolation you get up here. If the producers of Lord of the Rings hadn’t flown to New Zealand to film, this certainly would have been a candidate. It’s that sort of mythic landscape. The circle ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 12, 2002

Hardknott Roman Fort

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Attraction

Fort wilderness Photo, Cumbria, England
Quote:
I wondered, as I sat on an old Roman wall inside Hardknott fort, how many Italians strode out into the wilderness and threw themselves off a cliff (plenty to choose from here) in sheer despair at being posted to this cold, barren, isolated … albeit magnificent … wilderness. Hardknott pass isn’t that high as REAL mountains go, but when you’re up here you feel like you’ve reached the roof of Britain. And the driving experience certainly reinforces that. You’ve just spent an hour winding up a very narrow road … two cars can pass only at certain points … with countless hairpin curves and nothing to break your long fall but grazing sheep should you miscalculate. Modern road builders didn’t even tr...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2002