Stay Here: The Samling, The Lake DistrictBy Gemma Perlin
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills.
This is the opening of Williams Wordsworth most famous poem, an ode to the Lake District. Ever since I read these words at English GCSE, I have craved a visit to the Lakes. This was compounded surprisingly by another GCSE, Geography, where we studied the Lakes as examples of over-tourism. Before even visiting, I was aware of niche landmarks such as Hayes Garden World, yes a gardening centre which as we drove past I screamed so hard my boyfriend thought I had seen God. Who says you learn nothing long-lasting at school? To avoid the intense crowds and honeypot spots I so diligently learnt about for my GCSE, I say head to the Lakes to experience the glorious peace I did this October.
On the note of driving, I would return to this initial desire to the Lakes and what has kept me away. Well it’s the six hour drive up north from London, but when you realise the train from Euston takes three hours it certainly a more manageable feat. What I would recommend is getting the train, it’s really affordable especially if you book in advance and renting a car from the sustainable car club, Co- Wheels, who have often electric cars conveniently parked at both Oxenholme and Windermere station. You have a car to tootle around the Lakes, but none of the drag of getting it back to London.
When choosing a spot to rest your head, I would wholeheartedly recommend The Samling Hotel. A small luxury hotel nestled above Ambleside with soul souring views and a celebrity clientele to boot (yes Tom Cruise). The hotel is a 20-minute walk to the village of Ambleside and a five minute drive to Windermere, where some unbelievable walks begin from.
Our room was glorious, we stayed in Blea Tarn, a suite which was like a mini apartment spread over three levels. After a hard day of walking up and down the hills in often beating rain (yes this is the Lake District after all…), you want somewhere comfortable to return to. Our room had a living room area with a large soft sofa with a widescreen television (with all the channels yes including Sky Sports), a large bathroom with a rolltop bath and a shower fit for a family and a large bedroom and endless amounts of goose-down pillows and wool cashmere mixed throws. There is also a outdoor hot tub on the property which is complimentary for all guests to use during their stay.
The restaurant has recently come under the new creative direction of Executive Head Chef Robby Jenks. The menu calls upon many local ingredients including herbs and vegetables which you see members of the kitchen pottering off during the day to the kitchen garden within the property.
With the floor to ceiling glass windows of the restaurant you eat with a panoramic view of Ambleside Lake. Dinner was a delicious affair, we went for the three course meal, where they couldn’t be more understanding of dietary requirements, with the most showstopping gluten free bread concocted by the pastry chef, that couldn’t be further away from the plastic texture so often found in this bread sphere. We opted for venison and beef for main courses, tender, delicately flavoured pieces of meat with sublime presentation. Mulled figs and a gooey chocolate mousse tipped off a sumptuous meal.
Breakfast was a standout affair with moreish Cumberland sausages, homemade sweet granola and The Samling vegetable smoothies the highlight.
This is countryside hotel living that hits that sweet spot of homely and luxury. Little touches like the ability to make endless cups of tea and coffee in the room, and indeed order it complimentary on room service are all what you desire after a day in the elements. We would endorse the Lake District with the highest of praises, seriously one of the most beautiful landscapes we have experienced, and The Samling was the most perfect residence to rest your sleepy head.