Enjoy the Lake District in luxury at Landal Whitbarrow
Gazing out across the rippling serenity of Lake Ullswater, I watch in awe as lingering wisps of pink and orange sunset morph into pitch black sky bejewelled with a blanket of stars. Parked lakeside, perched on the bonnet of our car, my husband and I are lost in the moment as our happy brood fill the boot with the remains of the day: muddy boots, empty flasks, picnic basket and paddle boards.
All afternoon, the lake has been abuzz with swimmers, canoes, kayaks and scenic Ullswater steamers showcasing the crystal waters with a glass of fizz and an audio tour of our storybook surroundings. On the short drive back to Landal Whitbarrow tonight - our idyllic haven for a weekend of adventure, relaxation and exploration - we’ll chat, recap and, more importantly, draw straws for who’s making supper and who’s lucky enough to be stargazing in therapeutic hot tub bliss.
Enviably located between Penrith and Keswick in the heart of the Lake District National Park, this alluring Landal resort is the epitome of vacation perfection, offering beautiful natural stone apartments and cottages for up to eight guests, in a picturesque park at the foot of the Blencathra Fell. Our holiday home, a modern two-storey Troutbeck Cottage, surpassed our every need, with three bedrooms – including an en-suite double leading onto a furnished terrace with hot tub - modern kitchen, sociable open plan living area with flat screen TV and small balcony just prefect for a nightcap.
The ideal romantic retreat or chilled family base, the friendly resort boasts first rate facilities including gym and indoor swimming pool and sauna, plus children’s playground, life-size outdoor chess and mini golf course, with pretty walks aplenty just beyond its gates. After an action-packed day drinking in the delights of one of the world’s most breath-taking landscapes, the park’s Eden bar and restaurant combines culinary and visual delights, with an inspirational menu and panoramic balcony overlooking some of Mother Nature’s finest work. Whether you feel like unwinding on park, hiking, mountain trekking or visiting cultural gems such as nearby Wordsworth’s House, laid back Landal lets you set your own pace in restorative tranquillity, with an abundance of discovery just a stone’s throw away.
An inspiration to artists and poets across the ages and home to some of the area’s most challenging and visually rewarding hikes, Blencathra Fell is a walker’s paradise just begging exploration. Also known as Saddleback, it’s one of the Lake District’s most northerly hills, with six separate fell tops to traverse. The highest, Hallsfell Top, is 2,848 feet, treating those who conquer the climb to unrivalled views of glorious unspoiled countryside, with mountains, valleys and ravines as far as the eye can see.
Lake Ullswater and The Ullswater Way
Easy on the eye with the feel-good vibe of people merrily splashing around, glorious Lake Ullswater certainly has the boomerang effect. Crystal clear shingle waters flanked by every shade of green, we spent many a wet and wild hour swimming, paddle boarding and picnicking at the water’s edge, before walking into Glenridding at the lake’s southern end, a must-visit for lovers of quaint coffee and souvenir shops, traditional pubs and bustling village charm. Popular with visitors scaling Helvellyn, England’s third highest mountain, you’ll also pass through Glenridding if you attempt The Ullswater Way, a rewarding 20-mile route taking trekkers on a scenic extravaganza around the whole of Lake Ullswater.
The Derwentwater Walk and Keswick Launches
The jewel of Keswick’s crown and Wordsworth’s heart, it’s easy to see why Derwentwater bewitches both locals, tourists and romantic poets alike. An awe-inspiring 10-mile signposted walk around the lake’s striking shore, the Derwentwater Walk is flat underfoot, winding through enchanting woodlands with a confetti of cafes, restaurants and picnic stops along the way. Derwentwater’s four islands - Derwent Isle, St Herbert’s Island, Lord’s Island and Rampsholme Island - are also discoverable by embarking on one of the popular Keswick Launches, allowing you to complete a lake tour in around 50 minutes or, like us, use your tickets to hop on and off at any of seven landing stages around the lake.
Stunning when the sun shines, arguably even prettier when its mountainous landscape gleams with snow, the lure of the Lake District is multi-seasonal, magnetic and - paired with a stay at Landal Whitbarrow - the stuff that memories are made of. We barely scratched the surface on our break but thoroughly enjoyed every moment, with one thing for sure … we’ll soon be back for more.
A four-night break in the Troutbeck sleeping six people costs from £569, while a week break costs from £1,009. For more information, visit landal.co.uk or call 0345 498 6200. Hot tub included. Prices are accurate at the time of writing and subject to availability.