More excitement than ever is circulating around Ambleside in the Lake District with the imminent arrival of the Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain passing through. Stage 2, Carlisle to Kendal is a 187 km route with plenty of gradients and most definitely brimming full of beautiful scenery.
Instead of blinking and missing these elite riders fly through the streets of Ambleside, spectators will be able to watch the big screen with excitement building as they fly down from Carlisle, past Ullswater, through Keswick, down to Grasmere and Ambleside and onto the summit finish on Beast Banks in Kendal.
The aptly named “The Struggle”, just a short distance from Ambleside town centre, is the location for the Skoda King of the Mountains climb. Although it’s sure to a fantastic spectacle being up there at the top of this climb, being able to watch it from Ambleside on the big screen gives everyone the best of both worlds.
It means even more for the Ambleside community as well as lovers of this vibrant market town after the devastating floods back in the December 2015. Thanks to Ambleside Together, the big screen is certain to make this the ultimate Tour of Britain stage for the riders, organisers and hopefully the best in the history of the event. Free entry to the event in Ambleside is from 9.45 with live coverage from 1pm till 4pm on the big screen.
Don’t miss out on the chance of seeing the likes of Olympic silver medallist and multiple Tour de France sprint stage winner Mark Cavendish and now the latest news that Sir Bradley Wiggins will be riding this stage as well. Still not booked accommodation? It’s booking up fast but the Old Vicarage bed and breakfast in Ambleside has a small amount of rooms remaining starting from £100 based on 2 people sharing. Highlights – delicious breakfasts, swimming pool hot tub and sauna and dogs stay free. Visit http://oldvicarageambleside.co.uk/ for more details.
You’ve been working all week, lunch is nothing special just a quick bite yet it is still possible to go out in the evening to a restaurant for dinner. Head to the weekend though, two days to make a break from the week day norm and the perfect way to make the weekend special and different is to do lunch.
Enjoy not just dining in the day but also being able to take advantage of lunch time pricing, being anything up to 50% cheaper than the evening menus in the same establishment.
Sunday lunch has been made even more exciting proposition at one hotel in Grasmere. Oak Bank Hotel and their restaurant the 2 AA Rosette The Dining Room is #theplacetobe for a decadent lunch thanks to new Head Chef Gary McDermott. With a menu changing weekly taking advantage of the Cumbrian larder and seasonal produce, expect a true fine dining experience at lunch time. With a choice of three starters, main courses and deserts, the price is just £21.95 for 2 courses, £25 for three providing great value for a fine dining lunch.
Afterwards take a wander around Grasmere village with its pretty, independent shops and galleries or perhaps walk along the River Rothay.
Rooms on a Sunday evening at the Oak Bank Hotel in Grasmere start from £128 including breakfast based on 2 people sharing or make a weekend out of it. For more information on the hotel, availability and The Dining Room visit, http://www.lakedistricthotel.co.uk/
If July couldn’t be more of a fantastic time of the year to visit Ambleside, Windermere and the South Lakes, the must visit event of the year takes place on the last Thursday of the month annually. Ambleside Sports being held on Thursday 28 July 2016 on Rydal Park is #theplacetobe for the day for families, sports lovers, traditionalists and simply just for fun and spectating.
This highly regarded day is now in its 200th year and is the one of the biggest events on the fell running calendar attracting the very best Lake District and Cumbria based fell runners as well as those from outside of the county both track and fell opportunities. There’s also cycling races to take part in or watch, hound trails and Cumbria & Westmorland wrestling. It’s a day for the whole family, those of all ages when it comes to both races and events to take part in and activities and entertainment.
Alongside the sports and spectacles will be trade stands from local businesses, plenty of local food and beverages courtesy of Made and Cumbria and various other vendors and a giant barbeque. Five hours of sports and very much more.
Lovers of traditional Lakeland sports and attendees of Ambleside Sports for some considerable years, the Rothay Garth Bed & Breakfast in Ambleside is a great choice for somewhere to stay on the day or as part of the short break. Handy car parking and within walking dstane of Rydal Park, room start from £94 including breakfast.
For information on the Amble Sports visit, http://www.amblesidesports.co.uk/.
Ulverston is most definitely the place to be in Cumbria this July with events galore. Starting with Saturday 2nd July and it’s the annual Ulverston Hospice Carnival. A full days entertainment for the whole family in the centre of the town with a street market, food stalls, flats, dancers and bands with proceeds going to St Mary’s Hospice.
But it is the following weekend where visitors will really be spoilt for choice. Over Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July experience and enjoy retro, vintage and folk. Firstly Retro Rendezvous, a vintage festival offering a true step back time experience. There’s a vintage tea room, rock & roll music and memorabilia, retro craft and clothing stalls, classic cars and live music. Alongside this is a special vintage cycling festival À L’ancienne, back for a third successive year after extremely popular 2014 and 2015 events. Organised by Sportive Lakes, bring along your bike of any era pre 1987 to show or choose to enter either the 47km or 81km retro cycling sportives.
Finally and it’s all about folk music in Ulverston again July 8th to 10th. From folk music performances to storytellers and dancers, the festival is all about promoting and supporting the folk music traditions of Cumbria but especially in Furness. The performances and events will be taking places in various locations throughout the town centre. A full line up and programme can be found here http://furnesstradition.org.uk/
Where to stay?
Just 8 miles from Ulverston is the Newby Bridge Hotel. Offering easy access to Ulverston whilst having views over Lake Windermere. Combine with a few days in The Lakes too. The hotel has a large car park, restaurant, bar and leisure facilities.
Grange-over-Sands, a delightfully relaxing town on the Cartmel Peninsula transformed from a small fishing village to a thriving Edwardian town by the Furness Railway back in the 1850’s. The town still exudes Edwardian style but at a much slower pace than in its heyday. What brings so many to visit and live in Grange-overSands is the climate, one of the warmest in Northern England.
Now visitors are also treated to exceptional food in the town as well as in neighbouring village such as Cartmel so too arts and music events.
As summer approaches, festivals and outdoor events are occurring left, right and centre with Grange being no exception. June 11th is a particularly big day this year for Grange-Over-Sands with the annual Edwardian Festival taking place, now in its 23rd year. This festival celebrates Granges Edwardian heritage with music, acts and dancers as well as over 40 stalls selling gifts, crafts and foodie produce from local suppliers and makers. Best Edwardian dress and best stall competitions will be run during the day and refreshments in various forms will be plentiful to purchase.
Onto Sunday’s throughout the summer starting on May 29th, “Music in the Park” concerts. The bands include local brass, retirement and junior players and the location, the Park Road Gardens bandstand in Grange-over-Sands. If the weather is inclement, the concerts will be held in the Victoria Hall but fingers crossed for sunny Sunday’s in Grange!
So it’s never a better time for visitors to Grange-over-Sands to stay over either for the full weekend or even just a Sunday night stay after the “Music in the Park”. Bay Villa operates a Slow Life policy and makes an ideal place to stay on a Sunday evening. For information and room availability, visit http://www.bayvilla.net.
Sign up to the Langdale Fan Club and receive a huge 15% off room rates at the hotel. The hotel is beautifully designed inside and out and offers a choice of rooms, Lakeland signature, Roomy Lakeland Signature, Waterside Feature, Ultimate rooms and the Attic Feature room. All have been recently refurbished to connect and echo the immediate environment with natural finishes used including lots of wood and local slate. Inclusive within the room rate as standard is free use of leisure facilities and pool for the duration of the stay and Wi-Fi.
The Langdale Estate is in a special location offering unique facilities for visitors to the Lake District. Privately owned and run it encompasses a 4 star 48 bedroom hotel, the Brimstone Hotel of 16 luxury suites, timeshare and self catering lodges and cottages, a luxury spa and leisure facility, traditional Lakeland pub and brand new Stove Restaurant. Stove offers diners food and drinks from brunch until late, private dining as well as indoor and outdoor tables. A strong emphasis on the environment, sustaining and conserving it evident throughout the estate with a large emphasis on using local suppliers especially when it comes to the food served in Stove and Wainwright’s Inn.
The Langdale Fan Club is quick and easy to join by visiting http://www.langdale.co.uk/ . Not only will fans be eligible for the 15% discount offer but also other exclusive rates and offers delivered by email to fans. These rates and offers will be made available exclusively to fans only and not available anywhere else. Just remember to book 30 days or more in advance to be eligible for the 15% discount.
June is nearly here and Cumbria is playing host to two massive events seeing in the month in style and fun with a choice of weekend festivals.
Firstly starting Friday 3rd June and running through until Sunday 5th June is the annual Holker Garden Festival. Such a lovely setting in the grounds of historic Holker Hall at Cark in Cartmel near Grange over Sands and with stalls galore ranging from arts & crafts to garden supplies and plants, outdoor furniture and leisure accessories as well as local Cumbrian food producers and suppliers.
Onto Country Fest which is taking place on the County Show field Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th. All things outdoor, county, food and farming will be showcased here along with entertainment, dog shows and food and craft stalls. Continue into the evening with live music from Tone Junkies and a beer tent.
The forecast for the weekend is looking excellent but it’s never a bad idea to pack a waterproof too, these events are in Cumbria afterall! Food though will definitely not need to be packed. Both festivals will be crammed with food to devour whilst walking around as well as to purchase and take home. Local breweries will be providing real ale beverages as well.
Tempted and in the need of accommodation? The Lakeland Cottage Company for Lake District cottages near to Holker Hall and for easy access to the County Show field for Country Fest. 3 night weekend or full week breaks available including 1 Woodheads at Grange Over Sands, a 5 star property with views over Morecambe Bay, sleep 4 and reduced to £479 for 3 nights.
Think of Windermere and think of the quintessentially Sothern Lake District, the giant Lake Windermere and the fells. But one Hotelier is adding another yet another reason to visit this village and area, whisky!
Applegarth Villa Hotel & Restaurant in Windermere have been one of the leading locations for single malt whisky enjoyment in the area with over 50 available including a rare 40 year old Glenfarclas. Three new members of the family have been added to the selection, Glenfarclas Family Casks 1966, 1986 and 1995. These special releases were distilled in their respective years and bottled in either Spring or Winter 2015.
Single malt whisky is having a grand time of it at the moment. Sales are soaring to such an extent some distilleries are running out of certain ages. As gin and vodka, whisky now appeals to everyone, has such varied and interesting flavours and accents and with Scotland being the home of this drink, something with relatively little drink miles!
And lets not forget the whisky even closer to home being produced at the Lakes Distillery. The One whisky, a blend, is already widely available and gaining much praise. The exciting news is it’s only 2 years until the first Lake District single malt will be ready. With the quality of the water around Bassenthwaite where the distillery is based, the taste will be lightly peated like the whiskies found in The Highlands. For now, enjoy The One on the terrace or in the bar at Applegarth Villa. Visit http://www.lakesapplegarth.co.uk for more details.
For the second time in two years, The Cuckoo Brow Inn at Far Sawrey has been selected as finalists in the Cumbrian Tourism Awards.
The category Tourism Pub of the Year with past winners including the Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater, Wild Boar Inn, Crook and the Watermill at Ings. The regional winners are then automatically entered into the Visit England National Awards meaning they have a chance of being crowned the very best in their category across the whole of England.
Cumbria and the Lake District has so many fabulous pubs & inns, ones that draw people in their millions to come and experience each year along with the fantastic scenery of course. For The Cuckoo Brow Lake District Inn, reaching the finals is a massive achievement in itself with the quality of and amount of competition. Having narrowing missed out on winning in 2014, the team at Cuckoo Brow including managers Dan & Sally Schreiber have their fingers crossed 2016 will be the year.
In its 14th year and growing year on year in popularity, the 2016 Cumbrian Tourism Awards on June 22nd are being held at one of Cumbria’s most exciting venues Cartmel Race Course.
So, who will be first past the post on June 22nd? Live announcements will be made via the award Twitter page https://twitter.com/CumbriaAwards.