Stepping back in time in the lovely Lake District
As a television show, Escape to the Country is not my cup of tea, but as a lifestyle choice there is nothing I love more.
Switching the noise of traffic and concrete urbanisastion for winding dry stone walls and undulating green pastures filled with cows and sheep instead of a supermarket car park surely has to be the best way of passing a relaxing weekend.
As idyllic countryside goes, the Lake District takes some beating for me, with its picturesque blend of old style tea rooms, untouched lakes, seductive scenery and countryside lanes offering a fascinating taste of a bygone era.
So, with my work and social schedule mercifully empty, I headed up to Windermere to sample all the delights the lovely Lakes has to offer.
My base for the weekend was the beautiful Lamplighter Inn, which is perfectly situated in the very heart of Windermere.
The family run B & B, which is run by the Tasker family, including Sue and brothers James and Alistair, was started by Sue some 28 years ago and offers the friendliest of welcomes and comfortable bedrooms providiing an ideal home from home.
It is also proudly offers the finest meals in the Lake District, with its range of succulent juicy meats, fabulous fish and rich variety of sauces all washed down by an extensive list of wines, brandy, scotch and beer and ciders on tap providing a surefire winner.
Alistair oversees the Kitchen as head chef, with his established career skills, harnessed over the last 12 years at Ascot, Newbury, Lancaster House Hotel and Porthole Restaurant in Bowness, being put to very good use.
Despite numerous previous visits to the Lakes, this was actually the first time I had ever been to Windermere. And I was instantly very impressed.
If you love good food, good wines and good beers, all served in up a charming atmosphere, then look no further.
Windermere dishes up family-run eateries, restaurants, continental bistros, pubs and wine bars everywhere you look, giving hungry tourists the very best in homecooked quality food in a delightful social setting.
As a village, Winderemere still retains that quiet and undiscovered charm. A village where the roads are quiet, time pressures and pollution simply don’t exist and the grass always seems to be greener.
If you ever wanted to remind yourself what life was like 30 years ago (minus the technology of course), then Windermere is the perfect place to do that.
Windermere is an easy 1.5 mile stroll from the hugely popular Bowness-on-Windermere.
It was a leisurely walk that really hit the spot as myself and my wife wound our way past the many quant gift shops and hotels down into Bowness.
What instantly stikes you about Bowness is the huge increase in people. Tourists and coaches seem to be everywhere as Bowness cashes in on its clear popularity.
Thankfully there are many scenic cruises around England’s largest lake, allowing you to leave Bowness-on-Windermere and head to Ambleside or Lakeside and away from the throngs of crowds.
The steamer trips offer fine views of the lake and surrounding mountains, with scores of people heading to Ambleside to enjoy a day of hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking.
There always seems to be something rather soothing about water and the 20 minute voyage across to Amblesde was just what the doctor ordered.
Ambelside is equally as charming as its neighbouring towns and villages, with the many delightful pubs and vistas crying out to be sampled.
The Lake District really does offer a haven for relaxation, culture and class no matter what the tastes.
And I, like millions of others who go there every year, cannot wait for my next visit to England’s finest beauty spot.