Tag: lake district

Picnic Spots in the Lake District

Lake District Picnic Spots - Fell Foot Park

July is National Picnic Month, so what better reason to share our favourite picnic spots in the Lake District? Picnics are one of the UK’s favourite traditions and the Lake District provides some fantastic places to throw down the rug, tuck into some fabulous food and soak up the amazing scenery. Below are a few of our favourites.

Brant Fell – a Lake District picnic spot on your doorstep

If you don’t fancy venturing too far from your Matson Ground cottage in Windermere, Brant Fell is perfect. Lying at the heart of the estate, you can be at the summit in no time at all, enjoying stunning views of Lake Windermere and the Lakeland fells.

Orrest Head

Staying close to home, Orrest Head is short walk up from the centre of Windermere. But the climb is worth the effort. So pack up a picnic and head for the summit where you are rewarded with amazing views of England’s largest lake with the Langdale Pikes, Scafell Pike, Coniston Old Man and Morecambe Bay as a backdrop. This is the spot where Alfred Wainwright first fell in love with the Lake District and once you’re there, it’s easy to see why.

Fell Foot Park

Fell Foot Park, at the southern end of Lake Windermere, is less than half an hour in the car from our Windermere cottages and a fantastic spot to enjoy a picnic. No need for a long hike, or even a picnic rug. Facilities at Fell Foot Park include picnic benches, toilets and a café (just in case you didn’t pack enough food). There’s an adventure playground for the children and boats for hire if you fancy splashing about on the lake. Parking in the pay and display car park is free for National Trust members.

Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater

Guests staying in one of our Ullswater cottages are also spoilt for choice when it comes to picnic spots in the Lake District. Just a mile from Glenridding is Glencoyne Bay, made famous by William and Dorothy Wordsworth as it was the inspiration for one of the most famous poems in English literature – “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. Obviously summer is not the time to admire daffodils, but the pebble beach is the perfect picnic spot, with views across the lake to Place Fell and down to Barton Fell.

Aira Force

Another must visit for our Ullswater guests is Aira Force. These spectacular falls, tucked away amongst ancient woodland, provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic. Arguably the most beautiful waterfalls in the Lake District, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a picnic, although the area directly by the waterfall gets very busy. However, you’ll easily find a more sheltered spot in extensive woodlands.

Buttermere – what a fantastic spot for a Lake District picnic

Finally, if you want to make a day of it, then a trip to Buttermere will not disappoint. The four-and-a-half-mile circular walk is easily accessible and will take about three hours to complete. However, factor in a little more time as the lake shore is dotted with little beaches you can make your own, so you can while away the time enjoying some al fresco dining. If you’re after some beautiful scenery and a bit of tranquility, Buttermere is the answer.

There are so many fantastic picnic spots in the Lake District, but we hope that we have given you a little inspiration. And it goes without saying, please always take you rubbish home with you, don’t light barbecues on the ground, and please, please don’t build bonfires.

Bon appétit!

The World of Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter

If you have a young family then a trip to the World of Beatrix Potter is an absolute must. What’s more, it’s literally just down the road from our Windermere cottages.

The World of Beatrix Potter is a vibrant family attraction in the heart of Bowness-on-Windermere, a chance for visitors to explore the enchanting world created by Beatrix Potter. All twenty-three of her books are brought fabulously to life in a series of walk-through displays, where the sights, sounds and smells are recreated in stunning 3D.

The exhibition features the favourite characters from the book. Jemima Puddle-Duck can be found in a small, wooded glade, Jeremy Fisher making his way across the pond on a lily pad, and of course, Peter Rabbit and his siblings.

The Peter Rabbit Garden

Outside, the Peter Rabbit Garden is waiting to be explored. This is a small but perfectly formed show garden which brings to life Beatrix Potter’s illustrations. It captures all sorts of details from the stories, including the watering can in which Peter Rabbit hides from Mr McGregor, his blue jacket turned into a scarecrow and even the cos lettuces that Benjamin Bunny nibbled on.

Summer Events at the World of Beatrix Potter

This summer, events include the Peter Rabbit Summer Tea Party and a Celebration Afternoon Tea to mark the 30th Anniversary of the exhibition. These will be held on a number of dates throughout the summer in the Laundrama, just across the road from the attraction. For more information about these special events, click here.

A visit to the World of Beatrix Potter is a great adventure for the whole family. It goes without saying that younger children will absolutely love it, but we’re pretty sure adults will be fascinated too.

At the end of the visit make sure you visit the world-famous gift shop so you can take home a memento of your stay in the Lake District. And why not pay a visit to the family friendly café? It’s open every day from 10am for delicious treats, freshly baked by the talented café team.

Our Guide to Lake District Markets

Lake District markets

In an area renowned for its mountains and lakes, Lake District markets aren’t always the first thing that spring to mind. But the truth is we are well and truly spoiled when it comes to local markets. In fact, we think they’re the best in the country, but we are slightly biased.

From fresh vegetables to farm reared meats, homemade chutneys to artisanal breads, our markets are stocked with fantastic local produce from across the Lake District and Cumbria. If it hasn’t been grown or reared locally, it’s been baked or cooked locally.

This is a great opportunity for you to meet our wonderful producers. Talk to them and you’ll soon understand just how passionate they are about what they do. And you’ll get to sample some of the culinary delights the Lake District has to offer.

Cumberland Sausage, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, Herdwick Lamb, Grasmere Gingerbread and, of course, Kendal Mint Cake – to name but a few. All of these can be found in the array of farmers markets taking place across the Lake District National Park and wider county area.

There are also a number of craft markets which are not to be missed, the perfect place to find a keepsake from your Lake District break.

Below are a few of our favourite markets, all just a relatively short drive from Windermere.

Farmers Markets and Local Producers

Kendal Farmers Market is held between 9.00am and 3.00pm on the final Friday of every month in Market Place in the town centre. There is also a general market every Wednesday and Saturday in Market Place.

Milnthorpe Farmers Market takes place on the second Friday of each month in the village’s market square. There is a general market on the other Fridays.

Hawkshead Arts and Crafts Fair is located in the Market Hall and operates most weeks throughout the year. Lakeland Arts and Crafts is a collective of local artisan makers and craft workers offering a range of handcrafted items. Click here for the full list of 2021 dates.

Kirkby Lonsdale’s Thursday market attracts visitors and locals alike. There is a good range of stalls which offer everything from local produce to souvenirs, plants and jewellery.

Keswick may be a little further afield – about 40 minutes in the car – but a visit to the vibrant market is a great day out. It stands on Thursdays from February to December (and Saturdays all year round) in Market Square and has previously been voted ‘Best outdoor Market in the UK’. Keswick Farmers Market runs on the second Thursday of every month.

Orton and Sedbergh Markets

Other farmers markets worthy of mention are Orton and Sedbergh. Orton Farmers Market takes place on the second Saturday of every month, where over twenty-five local farmers, growers, producers and artisans come together to offer a variety of high-quality local produce and crafts.

Sedbergh Market is held on most Wednesdays throughout the year in Joss Lane car park just off Main Street. You can also visit the Artisan Markets which will run on 3 July, 31 July, 28 August and 18 September this year.

Please note that the information we’ve provided is as accurate as possible, but due to coronavirus restrictions please be aware that some markets may have been operating in a limited capacity.

 

 

The Punch Bowl at Home: New Food Delivery Service

The Punch Bowl at Home

The Punch Bowl at Home

We are thrilled to be able to offer our guests the brand-new premium home delivery service from the award-winning Punch Bowl in Crosthwaite.

The Punchbowl has developed a well-deserved reputation for its superb food, and now you can enjoy it in the comfort of your Matson Ground holiday cottage thanks to the new ‘The Punch Bowl at Home’ delivery service. What’s more, this is not just for lockdown, this is all year round.

Three-Course Weekly Set Menu

The Punch Bowl at Home will offer a three-course weekly set menu for two. These mouth-watering meals are available for delivery on Friday each week and can be kept refrigerated for up to twenty-four hours. Why not spoil yourself when you’re staying with us and enjoy some beautifully prepared, indulgent seasonal dishes?

Your dishes will be carefully created and prepared by our team of chefs at the Punch Bowl and then delivered directly to your door. All you need to do is pop them in the oven. They even include a step-by-step guide to help you to finish preparing your meal. It really couldn’t be easier.

We’ve got a sneaky feeling that our guests will be enjoying these delicious Punch Bowl dishes in the comfort of a Matson Ground Holiday Cottage long after lockdown ends.

On the Menu

The Punch Bowl in Crosthwaite offers a seasonally inspired, classic British and French menu with a focus on locally sourced Lake District ingredients wherever possible. The Punch Bowl farm at Mirk Howe provides some of the vegetables and of course Lake District lamb. Foraged ingredients found growing in the nearby countryside are also used. And for anything else, the Punch Bowl works with some of the region’s finest suppliers.

At the time of writing, the menu was:

Smoked Salmon, Dill and Lemon Paté

Honey Roast Confit Duck Leg in Cherry Sauce

Lyth Valley Damson and Frangipane Sponge

How It Works

If you’d like an indulgent evening in with one of the Punch Bowl at Home set menus, simply get in touch and we will arrange the delivery.

Price for a set menu for two is £65 with delivery charged at £6.50 per box.

Books for a Matson Ground Holiday

Matson Ground holiday reads

This week we celebrated World Book Day and it got us thinking about what books we would we pack for our Matson Ground holiday.

With literally millions of books to choose from, this would need some serious thinking. To make it a little easier, we decided to focus our search close to the Lake District. After all, it’s well-known for its wonderful literary heritage, boasting writing talent such as William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome.

But we’re not necessarily after poetry or children’s books. We’re looking for gripping page-turners. Something you can really lose yourself in.

Our final list features a number of excellent books. What’s more, each one is set in the Lake District and based on the reviews, they’re on our list.

Happy reading!

The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid

It’s summer in the Lake District, and heavy rains have uncovered a tattooed body. Could it be linked to rumours that Fletcher Christian, mutinous first mate on the Bounty, did secretly return to England, where he was sheltered by Lakeland poet, William Wordsworth?

Local Wordsworth specialist, Jane Gresham, wants to find out. But as she follows each lead, death is hard on her heels. Jane soon finds herself at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still puts lives at risk.

Haweswater by Sarah Hall

Haweswater tells the tale of a centuries-old community that has survived into the 1930s largely unchanged, until Jack Liggett arrives from the city.

Liggett is a spokesperson for a Manchester waterworks company which has designs on a vast new reservoir. The valley in which the community has stood for hundreds of years will be evacuated, flooded, devastated.

This is a story of love, obsession and the destruction of a community.

Also by Sarah Hall, The Wolf Border.

The Windermere Witness by Rebecca Tope

Florist Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown has moved to the Lake District following a personal tragedy, content to lose herself in her work. But the peace is short-lived when, at the wedding of a millionaire’s daughter, the bride’s brother is found dead in the lake.

As the wedding florist, and one of the last people to speak to Mark Baxter alive, Simmy becomes embroiled in the relatives’ grief and anger.

When events take another sinister turn, Simmy finds herself at the very heart of a murder investigation.

Also by Rebecca Tope, The Ambleside Alibi and The Coniston Case.

The Woman from Browhead by Audrey Howard

If the psychological / crime genre isn’t your thing, how about a bit of historical romance? Set in the late 1840s and early 1850s, The Woman from Browhead tells the story of Annie Abbott, daughter and only child of a poverty-stricken Lake District farmer, who ran away with a theatre group at the age of fifteen.

Hearing that her parents have died, she returns to lay claim to the farm. But with an illegitimate child in tow, virtually no-one will speak to her, with the exception of a local landowner. But he is engaged to marry another woman.

Also by Audrey Howard, Annie’

All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills

This is one we haven’t read yet but will be doing so very soon. By all accounts it’s hard to pigeon-hole in terms of genre; possibly a ‘tragi-comedy’. It’s been described as weird, funny, quirky. Perhaps it’s this ‘hard to define’ element which makes it all the more appealing.

As for the plot itself, it’s the end of the Summer in the Lake District, the sun is lower in the sky and the tourists have gone home. Our unnamed narrator decides to spend a few weeks in the Lake District, enjoying the quiet, before embarking on a motorcycle trip to India.

The book description reads: “But then the owner of the campsite asks him to paint a fence and he innocently obliges. Soon other odd jobs pile up until little by little he becomes ensnared in the ominous ‘out-of-season’.

Sounds intriguing.

We hope this list provides a little inspiration for you when it comes to books for a Matson Ground holiday. If you fancy buying something while you’re staying in the Lakes, why not pop into Fred’s Bookshop where you will find a diverse range of books.

Snowdrops on the Matson Ground Estate

Snowdrops on the Matson Ground Estate

Every year, as the cold, dark days of Winter begin to take their toll, we are buoyed by the arrival of snowdrops on the Matson Ground Estate. The sight of their tender, green shoots is a sign that Spring is finally on its way. No wonder the snowdrop has been labelled the ‘Flower of Hope’.

While we look forward to seeing their pearly, white heads, how much do we actually know about this pretty little flower which brightens up the Matson Ground Estate every February? Well, very little actually. So, we thought we’d look into it in a little more detail.

German Folklore

One of our favourite tales is one from ancient German folklore. Legend has it that when everything on earth was brand new, Snow needed a colour, so it asked the flowers. One by one they turned their backs on Snow, believing it to be cold and unpleasant.

The tiny snowdrops took pity on Snow and offered their colour, which Snow gratefully accepted. In return, Snow rewarded the snowdrop by letting it bloom first and making it impervious to the ice and bitter temperatures. Ever since, Snow and snowdrops have lived side by side as friends.

Actual Snowdrop Facts

  • The scientific name for the snowdrop is Galanthus Nivalis, which literally translates as ‘milk flower of the snow’.
  • Other names for the snowdrop are: Fair Maids of February, Candlemas Bells, White Ladies, Little Sister of the Snows, Snow Piercers and Dingle-dangle
  • Snowdrops were named after earrings and not drops of snow. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, women wore dangly, white drop-shaped earring known as ‘eardrops’.
  • Snowdrops produce Galantamine, which has been found to be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Snowdrops contain a natural anti-freeze which means that even if they collapse in freezing weather, they can recover once the temperature rises. In fact, they were harvested during the First World War to make anti-freeze for tanks.
  • Snowdrop enthusiasts are called Galanthophiles and they have been known to pay an awful lot of money for these sweet, little flowers. In fact, in 2015, a single Galanthus Plicatus (Golden Fleece) sold for a whopping £1390 on eBay. Nowadays, you can pick one up for about £200.
  • When temperatures reach 10°C, the outer petals open up, revealing the nectar inside, perfect for bumble bees who come out of hibernation when the temperature rises above 10°C!
  • There are over 2,500 varieties of snowdrop. They vary in height from 7cm to 30cm and are divided into approximately 20 species
  • Collecting snowdrop bulbs in the wild is illegal in many countries, so please don’t go digging any up.
  • On a sunny day, snowdrops are highly scented and give off a honey smell.

Finally, we’ll leave you with this. Hans Christian Anderson wrote a short story called ‘The Snowdrop’, which follows the fate of a snowdrop from a bulb striving towards the light to picked flower placed in a book of poetry. You can read it here.

We’ll certainly be enjoying the snowdrops on the Matson Ground Estate while they last and we hope that you have some pretty pockets of this fabulous little flower wherever you are. Spring is on its way.

Attractions and Activities near Windermere

Attractions and activities near Windermere

In October, Cumbria Tourism launched its #AttractionsActivitiesMonth, and while October may have been and gone, we thought we would share some of our favourite attractions and activities near Windermere. Now, more than ever, it’s so important to support our local businesses.

To include all the amazing attractions on offer to visitors to the Lake District would be a very long read, so we’ve focused on just five, but all within easy reach of our Windermere cottages.

What’s more, there’s something for all ages, something for the more adventurous among us, and something for those who prefer it a little calmer.

Let’s start with the World of Beatrix Potter and our favourite character, Peter Rabbit.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Located right in the middle of Bowness-on-Windermere, the World of Beatrix Potter is an exciting family attraction and an absolute must if you’ve got young children.

Here, the author’s best-loved characters are brought wonderfully to life through a series of charming sets, including Jemima Puddleduck’s woodland glade, Squirrel Nutkin on his raft and Mr McGregor’s garden, complete with Peter Rabbit’s coat.

As the website says, “you’ll feel as though you are walking through the pages of the little books”.

At the end of your visit, pop into the world-famous giftshop and take home a piece of Beatrix Potter magic, followed by a tasty treat in the family café?

Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House

Designed by noted architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and built at the turn of the twentieth century, Blackwell is a stunning grade one listed property and one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts and Crafts architecture.

The house, which overlooks Lake Windermere and the Lake District Fells, is nothing short of awe-inspiring, retaining almost all of its original Arts and Crafts features. It’s also home to a wonderful collection of furniture and objects from some of the Arts and Crafts period’s leading designers and studios, including William de Morgan and Simpsons of Kendal.

From stained glass windows to inglenook fireplaces, carved wooden panelling to rare hessian wall hangings, Blackwell is definitely one of the most interesting, not to mention enchanting, houses in the Lake District.

Windermere Jetty

Just a few hundred yards from The World of Beatrix Potter is Windermere Jetty, a museum of boats, steam and stories.

Located right on the shores of Lake Windermere, this spectacular new museum boasts a stunning collection of around forty boats and sailing vessels, including steam launches, record-breaking speed boats and motorboats. These boats cover the history of sailing on Windermere from as far back as the late eighteenth century. You will also have an opportunity to see ongoing restoration projects and to chat with the restorers.

Other vessels include Swallow and Amazon, the boat used in the BBC film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s famous book; Osprey (1902), one of the museum’s fully-restored Edwardian steam launches; SL Dolly (1850), the oldest mechanically powered boat in the world, and still in running order; and TSSY Esperance, owned by a chap called Henry Schneider who used it every day to take him to Lakeside, where he boarded the train to Barrow.

Before you leave, why not enjoy some of the delicious food available in the museum café. The café itself overlooks Lake Windermere and has arguably one of the most stunning views in the Lake District.

Brockhole and Tree Top Treks

A short drive towards Ambleside brings you to Brockhole House and Gardens. Brockhole is another stunning Arts and Crafts house set in extensive grounds on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Built at the end of the nineteenth century, Brockhole enjoys breath-taking views of Lake Windermere and the Langdale Pikes. The gardens were created by renowned landscape designer Thomas Mawson and are well worth exploring, as are the art gallery and gift shop.

And if gentle strolls and careful perusing are not everyone’s cup of tea, you can always visit Treetop Trek and swing, climb, balance and fly across the thirty-five exciting treetop challenges, including rope bridges, wobbly logs and an adrenalin-fuelled 250 metre zip wire on the shores of the lake. What a way to end your treetop trek.

Brant Fell and Orrest Head

Not all attractions and activities near Windermere require booking. If you fancy getting away from it all, escaping the crowds, then Brant Fell, which sits at the heart of the Matson Ground Estate, is a relatively easy climb.

Overlooking Bowness-on-Windermere, the trek to the summit of Brant Fell is a little steep in places, but well worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with views of Lake Windermere, glistening in the sunshine (obviously we can’t guarantee the sun), and the Lake District fells beyond. To the north you’ll be able to spot Orrest Head, from where Alfred Wainwright was treated to his first view of the Lake District fells and the inspiration for his series of books.

Orrest Head is an easy walk, although you will have to head up to Windermere. But, as it’s a little over a mile, why not take a stroll, browse the various shops on the way, or stop for coffee and a cake – there’s plenty of choice.

The climb itself starts on the A591 by the large Orrest Head signpost and follows a narrow lane for most of the way. At the summit the views are incredible, especially on a clear day – no wonder Wainwright fell in love with the Lake District.

Just remember to bring your camera.

If you would like any information about attractions and activities near Windermere, please get in touch. Our friendly team will be more than happy to make any recommendations.