Friday, 31 October 2014

A Family Stay at the Keswick Country House Hotel

Keswick Country House Hotel

At the end of the Summer we had some big occasions to celebrate, within the space of a week we had our eldest son's seventh birthday and my thirtieth. So we were thrilled when the lovely folks at Choice Hotels invited us to spend a weekend at the Keswick Country House Hotel in the Lake District to celebrate in style.

I have been spending family holidays in the Lake District for as long as I remember and it is a place that is very dear to me and is full of happy memories. Over the last few years we have taken the children on a few camping trips near Lake Windermere but I was excited to be able to show them another part of the beautiful Cumbrian countryside.

Before our stay we went online to plan our adventures and I was pleased to find the hotel website had a really useful page all about the local attraction and activities available in the area.

As the children love boats and water we knew we had to take a trip on the Keswick Launch on Derwentwater and we couldn't possibly be as close as were to Whinlatter Forest without going on a Gruffalo hunt!

As well as handy tips on things to do in the area the website also gives a peek into the interesting history of the hotel. Since it's construction in the 1860's to coincide with the opening of the railway, it has built up a reputation as one of the most prestigious hotels in the Lake District and has played host to some rather significant guests, most notably Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany in 1895 with Lord and Lady Churchill and later Queen Elizabeth II in 1965. Being the history nerd that I am, I of course sought out the evidence of these visits during our own stay.

A list of the visitors to the hotel in 1895 including Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, displayed in the hotel bar.
A list of the visitors to the hotel in 1895 including Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, displayed in the hotel bar.

We arrived in Keswick in the late afternoon, the hotel was easy to find and had plenty of parking for hotel guests. As we traveled up the extended driveway it felt like we were being transported back in time, the grand Gothic architecture of the hotel enticed me before we'd even stepped inside.

The staff were friendly and helpful and even with two excited young children the check in process was quick and easy. As there were four of us (Two adults and two children) we were booked into one of the family rooms on the second floor of the hotel, a small lift just to the left of the reception desk allowed us to get ourselves and our luggage to the room with ease.

I was really surprised by the generous size of the room, despite having a double and two single beds, there was still plenty of extra space in the room. Large windows gave spectacular view of the grounds and the surrounding area and brought lots of natural light into the room. A door led off to the ensuite bathroom which housed a modern bathroom suite including bath and shower.

A family room at the Keswick Country House Hotel

The room offered all the comforts of home including a large flatscreen TV with freeview, tea, coffee and hot chocolate making facilities and comfortable chairs to sit in whilst we perused leaflets of local places to visit.

Dinner each evening was served in the impressive Lonsdale Restaurant, which overlooked the beautiful gardens. The dining room itself was very grand and I felt it had a 'Downton' feel to it!  At first I was worried that such a 'grown up' looking restaurant wouldn't cater to seven and three year olds but I had no need to have been concerned, as well as offering small portions of the daily specials there was a separate children's menu with favorites such as pasta and mild curries. I was also delighted to find varied vegetarian options including some of my favourite dishes. An extensive wine list was also offered to complement the freshly cooked food.

Amazing food in the Lonsdale Restaurant at the Keswick Country House Hotel

Breakfast was a buffet style affair served in the same room as dinner and cooked to the same high standards. The selection was varied with cereal and fruit to please our daughter, a cooked breakfast for Daddy and our eldest and delicious poached eggs cooked to order for me. A great morning feast to set us up for exploring the local countryside.

During Dinner on the first evening the local area was affected by a power cut meaning we were left in the dark. Rather than this turning into an uncomfortable and upsetting experience for our children, the staff immediately brought candles to the table and chatted to the children, keeping us informed and turning an event that could have upset our meal into an exciting adventure! The quick and thoughtful actions of the hotel staff meant we enjoyed a atmospheric candlelit dinner and the lights came back on just in time for dessert!

After dinner we were encouraged to take an evening walk around the grounds to see the infamous wild rabbits who run around the lawns and are enticed by the attraction of the floodlights, this delighted the children who tried to name them all!

Wild Rabbits playing on the lawn at the Keswick Country Hose Hotel

The staff were chatty and approachable throughout our stay talking to the children about their adventures and offering tips and personal experience about places to visit.

On Saturday morning we took a walk through the town and up to Derwentwaters. The discovery of some fabulous shops in Packhouse Court just off the market square took us on a little detour, where we picked up a few mementos of our break.

Keswick Launch on Derwentwater

Our Afternoon was spent enjoying a boat trip across Derwentwater and exploring the Lodore Waterfalls, Daddy and Ben were even brave enough to climb to the top!

After checking out on Sunday we took the short drive over to Whinlatter forest and spent a fun day exploring the forest and of course going on a Gruffalo hunt!

We had a wonderful weekend at the Keswick County House Hotel which was made even better by the friendly and helpful staff. I've always been unsure about staying in hotels with young children and we have often opted for self catering alternatives instead, Choice hotels really do know how to cater for families but also make you feel you are enjoying a grown up break at the same time! It was the perfect way to celebrate our birthdays and I would recommend the Keswick to any families wanting to experience a few days of luxury. The location is perfect for discovering the the hidden delights of the Lake District and there is a wide variety of year round activities in the area.

Check out the website for the latest prices and Christmas and New Year stays.

You can also follow Choice Hotels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest offers and news and the Keswick Country House Hotel has it's own facebook page where you can enter to win a two night break for two at the hotel (ends 4/11/2014) and check it out for yourself!

What's Happened? What's Happening?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

My Sunday Photo 19/10/2014

I had a lovely day at Blog Camp Birmingham yesterday thanks to TOTS100 and really enjoyed the hands on photography sessions with Becky and Tom from AR Blog. Here is my favourite photo from the day.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Win a Spooky Halloween kid's DVD!

Keep your terrors happy this Howl-loween with ALPHA AND OMEGA: THE LEGEND OF THE SAW TOOTH CAVE on DVD!

With spooky surprises and suspense galore, everyone’s favourite Alpha and Omegas are back with a family friendly adventure especially for Halloween! 

It’s story time by the moonlight and the wolf pack elder gathers the young cubs around to share his precautionary tale about the saw-toothed cave. The cubs sit wide-eyed as the elder tells the story of a cave inhabited by a terrifying creature; no wolf that has entered the cave has come out alive. 

Despite the warnings, the young cubs dare each other to be brave enough to venture out to see this mystery cave for themselves … but are they really as brave as they thought?
Alpha & Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave was released by Lionsgate UK on DVD on 6th October and you can Win a copy to entertain your little monsters this Halloween!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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