Escaping to the countryside and switching off for the weekend is something we love to do. We find it hard to do, but we love it nonetheless. As we live busy lives, we often find it hard to relax and just do nothing. We personally don’t think its in our natures. However, we have learnt it is vital. No-one can live their life full throttle all of the time, it’s bad for your health both physically and mentally. Therefore being able to leave the laptop at home, allowing ourselves to be in the moment and having a break to recharge the batteries are the trips we treasure the most. We endeavour to take at least one per year.
Being Brits, we are lucky to have beautiful and picturesque scenery on our doorstep. One of our favourite places to take such a break is in the Lake District in the North West of England. We love the area and visit as often as we can, usually two or three times a year. Many people think that it is a summer only destination. However, we more often than not prefer to visit the Lake District during the winter months. In fact, we have recently returned from another fabulous weekend there, where we had the pleasure of staying at the multi-award-winning Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat.
Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat is located just off the A591 in Bewaldeth in the northern area of the Lake District. It is very close to the beautiful Bassenthwaite Lake. Did you know it is the only official lake in the Lake District (yeah, we didn’t realise that before our stay either)? The lovely town of Keswick is less than 10 miles away and very easy to reach from the site. During our stay, we needed to stock up at the supermarket and found the easiest place to head was Sainsbury’s in the town of Cockermouth 10 miles to the west of the site. There are loads of things to see and do in the area, but more about that later.
Having stayed at a number of lodges over the years, I’ll start off by saying this – Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat is the nicest site we have ever stayed on. Even though we arrived quite late, after a ridiculously long drive (yeah – cheers Friday afternoon traffic on the M6) the welcome, reception and lodge were all warm. The holiday resort was only opened by Darwin Escapes two years ago, therefore everything is still lovely, modern and new. Not like many other sites we have stayed on before that look a bit tired and in need of a lick of paint. It is also a secure site with number plate recognition entrance and exit barriers, adding to the luxury and secludedness of the site.
Even though there are a lot of lodges the site is well spread out, meaning they are not on top of each other, allowing privacy. Each lodge also has a parking space right in front of it, meaning we did not have to lug our luggage far, especially as it was dark when we arrived. Also, on the weekend we stayed, the site was full to capacity, which surprised us as it was a random weekend in November. But we suppose that proves just how popular the site is regardless of the time of year. Even though it was sold out, it was still extremely quiet adding to the peaceful and tranquil nature of the site, aiding in our quest for pure relaxation.
Our lodge (number 19) was a one bedroom Walpole lodge. This lodge is not dog-friendly, however, a number of lodges on the site are. So if you are planning on taking your four-legged friend with you, just double check they will be welcome in the lodge you book before arrival. Comprising of a large open plan kitchen, dining and living area together with a spacious bedroom with a massive and super comfortable bed and en-suite bathroom with a shower and a bath. It had everything we needed for a great stay. Furnished and decorated in a modern and luxurious, yet cosy style, we instantly felt at home.
Our lodge also had a large veranda, which even though it was November, we got the opportunity to take advantage of because of the fantastic weather we were lucky enough to have. From the veranda, the lodge offered lovely views over the sites beautiful scenery. Some of the lodges (ones with Premier in the name) have hot tubs on their verandas, which I imagine are a great place to relax after a long day’s exploration.
As we are currently trying to live a healthy lifestyle we had planned to prepare and cook all our meals in our lodge. Therefore we were pleased to find everything we needed to do so. We must admit, we did get seduced by the on-site Copper Fells restaurant. Honestly, we have no willpower! But more about that later. The lodge also had a magic cupboard (dishwasher) meaning even after we had cooked, we didn’t have to wash and dry the pots, therefore we could go straight back to relaxing. The kitchen is also equipped with a washing machine. As we were only visiting for the weekend, we had no need for it. But it’s a great thing to have for longer breaks, as it means you can pack lighter and we all about travelling light.
The lodge has TVs in both the living area and the bedroom, meaning we could chill out and watch the box. I (Vicky) needed my ‘X Factor’ and ‘I’m a Celebrity’ fix (don’t judge!) It also came with a stack of board games. We love board games. However, we’re two of the most competitive people you’ll ever meet. Therefore, whenever we tried to play a game, it soon turned into a battle of wills. There were many accusations of cheating and the odd raised voice – when will we learn our lesson? We also took our Kindles. This allowed us to while away the hours enjoying the peace and quiet the lodge offered, whilst immersing ourselves in our books. Something we very rarely get the opportunity to do at home – life tends to have a habit of always getting in the way.
The main building of the site is home to the reception and the ‘corner’ shop. The shop stocks all the essentials should you need something urgently, have forgotten something or just fancy a cheeky chocolate bar. It’s also home to the Copper Fells Bar & Brasserie. Decorated in a modern, yet rustic style, it’s very much in keeping with the rest of the site. It has a lovely cosy atmosphere and is a great place to grab anything from a quick drink to a three-course meal.
It has plenty of seating and Sky Sports (which is vital according to Mr ESLT). As mentioned before, we didn’t really intend on eating at the brasserie. However, as we arrived late on our first night with stomachs rumbling, it made sense. Booking is recommended as it’s an extremely popular spot, not only for holidaymakers but also with locals. It’s easy to see why.
Friday Evening Meal
The first night we enjoyed a two-course meal each washed down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. It was a Friday night after all. Vicky opted for grilled goat’s cheese with field mushroom and caramelised red onions (£6.25) followed by roasted supreme of chicken served on linguini in a tomato sauce with aubergines, courgettes and olives (£13.75). Mr ESLT indulged in Cumberland and black pudding terrine with wholemeal toast, house chutney and English mustard butter (£6.75) followed by 10oz Local Rump Steak with flat mushroom, tomato and chunky chips (£18.95) accompanied by peppercorn sauce (£2.75). Everything was mouthwateringly delicious and before we had even finished our starters, we had already decided to book a table for Sunday lunch.
We couldn’t actually remember the last Sunday lunch we’d had before our visit at Keswick Reach, so we were very eager to try the one at Copper Fells Bar & Brasserie. As with our Friday evening meal, it certainly did not disappoint. We both opted for three courses for £19.95, which for the quality of the food and size of the portion is phenomenal value for money. Vicky opted for halloumi fries, a traditional roast beef and big fat juicy Yorkshire pudding Sunday dinner followed by profiteroles. Mr ESLT also chose the halloumi fries and followed them up with a scrumptious beef and ale pie and three tasty scoops of creamy ice cream. Needless to say, I think we slipped into self-induced food comas before we even left the table. An afternoon nap was very much needed afterwards.
The Other Things
There is also a gym, spa and jacuzzi & sauna on site for guests to use. A free Gym pass is issued for a £5 returnable cash deposit after completing a short induction. We’ll be honest, we never stepped foot near the gym. However, it’s good to know there is one on site if you are a gym bunny and can’t forgo a weekend without pumping iron.
The Ammara Spa is open seven days a week. Check the website or at reception for exact times. It offers a number of different treatments. The price list is available on their website. There are couples treatments and specialist treatments for pregnant guests too. Meaning almost everyone can have a treatment if they fancy one.
Last but not least the jacuzzi & sauna in the ‘Relaxation Suite’. It can be hired for up to one hour for £10 per person which includes complimentary use of a bathrobe, slippers & towels; plus soft drinks & magazines. Great for couples, groups of friends or even individuals who want to turn their chill out level up a notch or two.
Things To Do Nearby
There are of course a lot of things to do in the area. However, as the aim of our weekend was to relax, we’ll be honest – we didn’t explore very far. We did, however, make our way to Keswick for a wander around the shops, before heading to the shores of Derwentwater, one of the largest ‘lakes’ in the Lake District (approximately 11 miles from Keswick Reach) We have visited before, however, a different area. Therefore, we took the opportunity to walk along the water’s edge, snapping as we went before heading inland and along one of the bazillion hiking trails.
The late autumn colours were amazing making the area look even more beautiful than it is if that’s even possible. Unfortunately, the freezing temperatures and loss of light brought an end to the adventure. If it hadn’t I think we would still be out there now, its such a picturesque and peaceful place. Also, it’s a great place if kayaking is your thing.
We also headed to Castlerigg Stone Circle, somewhere we had wanted to visit for ages. Again located approximately 11 miles from Keswick Reach. The weather could not have been nicer when we visited. Therefore it came as quite a surprise that we had the place to ourselves, apart from the sheep of course. It is among the earliest British circles, raised in about 3000 BC during the Neolithic period and well worth the visit. There is limited car parking near the stones, however, if you fancy taking in the beautiful scenery and breathing in the fresh country air, you can walk from Keswick which takes around 30 minutes at a steady pace.
We had a fantastic weekend and Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat is just that, a retreat. It allows visitors to do as much or as little as they like during their stay. We relaxed, ate great food and took in some of the local area’s sights. Would we stay again? In a heartbeat, we already want to go back! Would we recommend a stay? 100%.
If you do stay at Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat, don’t forget to take home the lovely tin that the keys for your lodge come in and also the cute duck from the bathroom. Both great mementoes of a wonderful stay and a beautiful site.
- Thank you to Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat for inviting us to stay for the weekend – we had a fantastic time. As always opinions are our own.
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