THERE’S nothing quite like an out-of-season visit to the Lake District to enjoy the glorious sights without the crowds.
It’s a magical corner of the country marred only in the summer months by the hordes of tourists, cars, caravans and coaches.
And with the value of the pound going through the floor in post-Brexit Britain there’s never been a better time to start re-discovering the delights of our own country.
With that in mind we enjoyed a weekend break to the South Lakes in January where the misty weather actually added to the atmosphere.
A waterproof, something to eat and drink, a hat, map and guidebook should be all you need.
Footwear is important though – a long distance walking friend recommends trainers purely for their comfort but we were happy in our boots.
Kitted out for walking – and given the outdoor shops in every town and village there’s no end of choice – we took to the hills to take in the loughs, tarns, and fells with frequent cafe stops for soup and sustenance.
There are walks for all ages and abilities in the Lake District and our first ‘expedition’ took us out of Ambleside on a six mile hike round to Rydal Mount, the historic home of Wordsworth, via Loughrigg Fell with views down to Elter Water and back along the River Brathay.
Billed as ‘not too demanding’ it lived up to its name after a fairly steep ascent out of Ambleside; from there the way was easy to follow and the views, even in misty January, breathtaking.
Day 2 saw us take the car ferry from Bowness across Windermere to Far Sawrey. Our walk took us up into the hills, past Moss Eccles Tarn – once owned by Beatrix Potter – and down to Belle Grange then back along the shore of Windermere to the Claife Heights cafe.
Apart from the odd mud be-splattered mountain biker and locals out walking their dogs it seemed we had the area to ourselves.
We stayed at the dog friendly Wild Boar Inn Grill & Smokehouse, Windermere – a traditional coaching inn set in a tranquil valley close to Windermere.
It boasts its own microbrewery, the Brewhouse, where you can experience real ale fermenting sessions under the expert guidance of a master brewer. The hotel also has a smoke house, which supplies the restaurant with meats, cheeses and fish.
The hotel has its own private woodland for nature walks, clay pigeon shooting or archery.
For further information, visit http://englishlakes.co.uk/hotels/lake-district-hotels/windermere-hotels/wild-boar-inn/
We took advantage of their two Night Winter Saver featuring bed and full English breakfast and dinner on your first night, which costs £228 Sunday to Thursday and £300 Friday and Saturday valid until March 23.
For more details visit http://englishlakes.co.uk/ or call 01539 445225