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YOUR HOLIDAY TV
While perusing the menu at the luxurious Linthwaite House Hotel, Windermere, I was relieved to find rabbit pie was not an option.
It's Beatrix Potter's 150th anniversary this year and I'd just visited Hill Top, her charming home, where Peter Rabbit and friends came to life in her timeless tales of worldwide appeal. An increasing number of Japanese visitors flock to this National Trust treasure. Japanese guide, Sachie, said these stories are much-loved by Japanese youngsters and are used as a schools' teaching aid.
At Hill Top, one can imagine Jemima Puddle duck, clad in poke bonnet and shawl, waddling around the garden - not the first, or last, female to be seduced by a foxy gent, believe me - and mischievous Tom Kitten or Tabitha Twitchit peeping out from the petunia patch. A collection of Beatrix Potter's artwork is displayed in the Hawkshead gallery, one time office of solicitor, William Heelis, who became her husband.
The visitor services' team includes Kendal's town crier, Richard Mathews, a former general manager of Blackpool's Warwick Hotel. His colleague, Rory Legge, 24, studied history and heritage management at Blackpool's Palatine campus for a while. Rory's grandfather, zoologist, Raymond Legge was the Blackpool Tower Zoo and Aquarium curator in the 1950s.
It's a 10-minute car ferry journey across Lake Windermere to Bowness. Just down the road is the four-star, award-winning Linthwaite House Hotel, which boasts amazing lake views and nestles within 15 glorious acres. Cosy log fires crackle in the hall and stylish lounge, and smiling staff offer a warm welcome plus top class service to guests.
There are 30 bedrooms. Ours was comfortable and well-equipped, with a Nespresso machine (no George Clooney, unfortunately) plus contemporary, double walk in-shower. Feel like splashing out? Choose the room with a verandah, sip champagne from your hot tub and watch the sun go down.
Food is superb here. Enjoy a canapé with pre dinner drinks and an amuse bouche at the table. My gin-cured salmon starter was enhanced by a touch of lemon plus a refreshing tonic sorbet. The main course comprised the most tender, perfectly-prepared cut of roast sirloin, with potatoes boulangère, shallot jam and red wine. For dessert, I was rewarded with a tangy lemon posset, infused with elderflower and served with Grasmere gingerbread and meringue.
More food tasting followed the next day at Hawskhead Brewery and Beer Hall, Staveley. From an award-winning range of around 80 beers, Hawkshead Bitter and Windermere pale are the top sellers produced by 'people who love beer for people who love beer'. The popular Beer Hall with an urban feel, showcases the selection of beer and features Sunday 'jam sessions', festivals and guest band appearances.
From the menu's tapas section, we recommend the sweetcorn coriander fritters and bitter-battered plaice goujons. Equally impressive is the gastro pub fare at the re-vamped,re-designed, newly-named Flying Pig in Bowness, just across the road from the World of Beatrix Potter - another great family attraction. The Flying Pig is a friendly, traditional British hostelry with a great vibe. We tucked into the highly-recommended lamb shank shepherd's pie and slow-cooked belly pork and shared a crunchy rhubarb crumble.
Later, I resolved to take a leaf out of Peter Rabbit's book and to nibble on a carrot for a few days.
The Linthwaite House Hotel
Crook Road, Windermere
tel 01539 263794
From £149 DB&B pp per night
Photo credits: Beatrix Potter and Hill Top, credit ©National Trust/Paul Harris
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