Field of sheep on rolling hills in the Lake DistrictAs much as I understand (and love) the appeal of capturing and sharing moments there-and-then, there's something quite refreshing about occasionally keeping moments entirely to yourself - at least for a little while.  Perhaps it's because of this I inadvertently found myself not mentioning visiting the Lake District until I'd returned home.  I'll admit, it's strange - ahem, for a blogger!  The last time I visited the Lake District was in my early teens, and so my memories mostly consist of impossible yet thrilling hikes, slate mines and finding out my waterproof jacket wasn't quite as waterproof as I'd have liked.  So jumping to the start of this month, I found myself on a mission to (quietly) reconnect once more with the mountainous region, sheep and all...
Ambleside Salutation Hotel travel blog review

Lake District Ambleside Hotel Balcony View
Balcony view from the Ambleside Salutation hotel
Blog review of the Ambleside Salutation Hotel
I truly hadn't realised there'd be so many hotels to choose from when it came to staying in the Lake District.  However considering the main area of interest was Ambleside, it made sense to stay in the heart of the town - that way, you already find yourself at the starting point of some of the most popular walks (such as the Coffin Route, seeing you go from Ambleside to Grasmere - more on that in Part Two!).  With this in mind, the highest-rated hotel in town is the Ambleside Salutation Hotel; a modest but comfortable and very welcoming hotel, set in a 17th-century building.  Having made the day-long journey with relatives (dropping some off elsewhere for a - kind of insane - week-long trek), the warm and inviting welcome by the Ambleside Salutation's reception was like a breath of fresh air.  Speaking of fresh air, the balcony did a pretty good job on that front too!

Ambleside Salutation Hotel
Lake Road
LA22 9BX
Old Bank Hotel Chocolate shop in Ambleside
Travel blog review of Old Bank House Chocolate Shop in Ambleside
Okay, a round of applause for the Lake District's chocolate game.  Seriously, everywhere you turn there's a chocolate shop stocking more ingredients and shapes than you can imagine!  Somewhere I very quickly became fond of was the Old Bank House Chocolate Shop, a family-run business since 1992.  Their simple (but delicious) chocolate-dipped flake swiftly became a daily favourite of mine.  Mmm, heaven...

Old Bank House (Chocolate Shop)
Lake Road
LA22 0AD
Boat trip from Ambleside to Bowness Lake District
Travel blogger Bowness Lake District photography boats
Although I'd planned on completely slowing down, most days were spent hiking over hills and marvelling at just how wet one person can get.  Very, is the answer to that - the Lake District's weather doesn't care about your blow-dried hair, trust me.  After just 24 hours, it began to feel as though I'd lived there my entire life; there's something addictive about the area's nature-loving, laid-back vibe.  You can't help but fall into step.  Though, something far removed from the fields of sheep and yet going entirely hand-in-hand with the concept of relaxation, is afternoon tea.  Having heard great things about those served at the Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa in Bowness-on-Windermere, a 30-minute boat journey was needed via Windermere Lake Cruises to reach the Cumbrian town.  In such a popular (read: crazy busy) town, the Macdonald Hotel feels like a luxurious oasis, the perfect spot for some lakeside sandwiches and scones.

MacDonald Old England Hotel & Spa
23 Church Street
LA23 3DF  

Note: shown here is the Afternoon Tea for Two.  Unless you have massive appetites, the Afternoon Tea for One could easily feed two people.Bowness luxury Macdonald Old England hotel
Luxury hotels in Bowness Lake District Macdonald
Luxury afternoon tea at Macdonald Old England hotel Bowness
Luxury afternoon tea for two in the lake district
This was undoubtedly one of the slower-paced days, those that consisted of food, shopping and boat-hopping - something Bowness-On-Windermere knows a lot about, and caters to those that want it!  The range of boutiques on the high street is incredible, with prices wildly varying from one shop to the next.  Personally speaking, I stumbled across a really sweet salon that stocked all of the Clarins skincare products I'd forgotten to bring with me, as well as a gorgeous boutique selling the tweed jacket of my dreams.
Bowness Lake District Macdonald Old England Hotel review

Travel blogger waterfall photography in Ambleside
Although I didn't often take my camera out during the stay, I was sure to have it at hand when visiting the popular Sizergh Castle, as well as Rydal Mount (home of poet William Wordsworth) - both of which will be in Part Two!  You know what, I may even throw in a photo of me marching ahead in a massive anorak, backpack and hiking boots.  Fashion.  

With love,

Gabrielle x