Nowhere suits romance quite like the fells and tarns of Cumbria. Especially in midwinter.
The sky has shed its summer haze, and the velvet night glitters with stars that reach into oblivion. Winter has a hush-hush magic. It is the season of nostalgia and memory, triggered by the evocative crush of pine needles and cold air; wood smoke and mulled wine.
As the air crisps, we instinctively slow down and reach for our loved ones. Small wonder that it is also the season for mistletoe, a midnight New Year’s kiss with your partner, and Valentine’s Day. Make your own time for yourselves with a lakeside hibernation (hikes optional) in the gloriously romantic setting of Rothay Garden Hotel. A winter trip is all about well-deserved respite. Not faff or research. So sit back, we’ve prepared a three day itinerary you can steal.
Arrive at the hotel and settle straight into holiday mode. Pop the kettle on in the comfort of your room or sink into a fireside armchair in our lounge. Drink tea, chat, recuperate.
When you are ready, a stroll across serene gardens takes you to our Riverside Spa. All our facilities are at your disposal. Unwind in our cosy Herbal Pine Sauna and float away in our Hydro-Spa, watching the river flow as warm water caresses you with jets and bubbles. For anyone prone to feelings of stress or fatigue, our Aromatherapy Room’s alluring scent of essential oils will transport you, body and soul, to utter peace.
Dine by candlelight in The Garden Restaurant. This intimate setting allows you and your loved one to focus on each other and rediscover the sparkle of your first dates. Flowing conversation, four sumptuous courses, fine wines. Just lovely.
You could round off your first evening with a wander arm in arm around old Grasmere village. Dancing in the dark is famously romantic, we prefer to stroll.
Wake up feeling truly rested, and float down to breakfast. Fresh juice, cereals, fruit and yoghurt are on the side, porridge is prepared to order. We’ll bring a cafetière of coffee or pot of tea to your table, and your choice from our hearty cooked breakfasts. From The Fell Walker to Croissant of Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon, there is something for every kind of day. Nothing is too much trouble. More tea, more talk, more toast…
See Grasmere by daylight. Visit the pretty St Oswald Churchyard and Dove Cottage, William and Dorothy Wordsworth’s former home. Then stick your head in Grasmere Gingerbread Shop for a whiff of pure heaven. This shop is the birthplace of aromatic gingerbread, invented here in 1854.
Embark on one of the gorgeous walks on our doorstep. Whether you choose to stride along dramatic ridges, or amble gently around tarns and meres, we have it all. With too many routes to mention, here is a favourite of ours, a circular six-mile trail taking in Rydal and Grasmere. There are plenty of cosy country pubs on each route, ready for a Hawkshead ale, and a warming by the fire.
It’s date night. For something a little different, head to Zeffirellis. This gloriously quirky Ambleside institution has an independent cinema, an award-winning Italian restaurant, and a jazz bar. Catch a National Theatre Screening here or see a new film like Last Christmas, The Good Liar and Official Secrets.
Wind down with a nightcap in the laidback ambience of our bar.
The fresh air will be working its magic, wake up feeling recharged and have an indulgent breakfast.
Today is for drinking in the picturesque scenery of the lakes. The options are diverse, a short drive or bus from Grasmere takes you to the outstanding spots like Windermere, Buttermere, Ambleside, and Keswick. The ‘Bus and Boat’ ticket also includes a boat ride on the calm water of Windermere, England’s largest lake. The area became a well-to-do pleasure ground in the 1840s. Artists and aristocrats built gothic mansions along the shore, and steamboats were introduced to travel between them and open new, breath-taking, views of the fells and ridges that rise from the water.
From Keswick Lakeside Shop, a ten-minute walk on the level takes you to Friar’s Crag viewpoint, which was the site of John Ruskin’s earliest memory. An appropriately placed bench offers an unbroken panorama of the water, with Walla Crag and Maiden Moor fells stretching along the left and right shores, and Castle Crag in the centre. The sublime landscape and the many generations who have loved it both deserve a moment of contented silence. Drink it all in with the one you love.
When you return, why not treat your hardworking muscles to a luxury couple’s massage? Our therapists work in the privacy of your room. Enjoy your evening however you like, perhaps with a soak in the spa, or by curling up with a good book in the lounge.
Sound tempting? It’s possible The Lakes are the most romantic setting in the country. After all, it was here that Wordsworth started the romantic literary movement.
Rothay Garden has special two and three-night midweek break rates through to the end of March.