I think we sometimes think we forget that getting away from it all can include staying on home turf. With this day and age of social media, you must forgive everyone for wanting to jump on one because so-and-so is doing it. Don’t get me wrong, heading to foreign lands is one of my fave things to do, but sometimes just jumping in the car and driving for a couple of hours can be much less stressful. No remembering passports, security checks and hours sat waiting in departure lounges to get to your chosen destination. So when Darwin Escapes asked me to come and trial run one of their latest, luxury holiday lodge parks – I was more than ready for it.
We set off on the A1 on a cold, windy and rainy February night. The 2 and a half hour journey from Yorkshire across to the Lake District would have been made much nicer had it not been pitch black and the views could have been seen quite easily. But, to make the most of our weekend we wanted set off on the Friday night so we could enjoy two nights in our home from home at the Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat. The Lakes have always been one of my favourite places to go in the UK. Beautiful scenery for miles, gorgeous lakes you can take a short boat ride and a generally slower pace of life that hasn’t succumbed to modern technology quite as much as the inner cities. We arrived just after 9pm and a lovely receptionist kindly checked us in, giving us the cutest little tin case (that, check this out, looked like a mini suitcase. HOW CUTE?) – armed with a key, a map and our spa vouchers, we were located in lodge number five which was about a two second drive from the main area with the bar & restaurant. We decided to treat ourselves to a G&T before heading to our lodge to settle for the night.
I can’t begin to tell you how cosy the lodge was. When we had a little reccy round our little home for the weekend, we sank in to the plush bed. Crisp, cotton covers made it even more blissful and easy to fall asleep in to a deep slumber. I have to say, it was the first night in a long time that Mr C & I slept like babies. There’s nothing like a comfy bed in my eyes and Darwin Escapes have nailed this. Coupled with the gorgeous lighting, if we had been here longer I would have gladly laid here for a full day with a great book, wrapped in one of the fluffy robes that hung in the wardrobe, too.
The Jack & Jill bathroom was open plan from the bedroom. Yes, you could see warts & all (well, not exactly warts!) so if you were here with someone who might not want to see you in the nuddy, lock the bedroom door. Everything was so clean and with a rainforest style shower, it made getting up each morning a little easier knowing we had a warm shower to dive in to, to start the day.
The main living area was unbelievably cosy. Have I said that word enough yet? With an open-plan design, if you were here for a week and cooking some nights there would definitely be a relaxed vibe here, whilst you all enjoy a glass of wine or a beer and cook with everyone around you. I loved the feel of it. The appliances were all sparkly clean as well, which filled me with a lot of confidence if I did want to cook.
Instead we enjoyed a bottle of fizz on the Saturday afternoon after got back from a little wander around Keswick and before our spa trip. We then polished it off on the sofa, whilst I did a bit of blog writing and Mr C watched the rugby (which saw England beat Wales, much to his delight.) Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to go in the hot tub which was on our veranda. It wasn’t for the want of trying. It was trying to snow each day we were there and I don’t think I could have braved my bikini in that weather. (It just gives me an excuse to head back in the summer!)
When we got back from our evening meal (read more to find out about that) we cranked up the fire, stuck the TV on and watched Taboo. It was the perfect way to end the Saturday night.
The views from our balcony were gorgeous! It really paid dividends to be at the top of the park to get the views of the fells. We had a little drive round to the lower parts of the park and we were super glad we were up near the main reception.
On the Saturday afternoon we were booked in for a spa day which, after the few weeks I’ve had at work I was so very ready for. It was just me & the love so it felt like a private spa day. With no-one else around it gave us chance to chat and enjoy each other’s company in the Jacuzzi. The facilities were lovely (a great feature was the coded lockers so you didn’t have to wear a key round your wrist, big brownie points from me!) Not only was there Jacuzzi, there was also a sauna with gorgeous views over the countryside. And if you really wanted to cool off there was a cold water plunge that you could pull over your head. Neither of us were brave enough for that.
We each had a 30 minute back massage and it was incredible. I have to say that I felt more serene after a half an hour massage here at the Ammara Spa than I had some places after a 60 minute massage (which is saying something!) and I had a mjor #TreatYoSelf moment, as I also had a 15% off voucher, so booked a 30 minute facial straight after and boy, did my skin feel shiny & brand new. Even the girls said how good my skin looked when we’d finished. I’m salivating just thinking about it. When can I have another spa day please?
Don’t worry about being in the middle of nowhere, there’s a little corner shop on site and it’s so twee!
We also had an evening meal booked in at the Copper Fells Restaurant which was complimentary. I was so ready to tackle a three-course valentines inspired meal (heck, I even got a single rose to take away with me – how romantic?) The general feel of the restaurant was country chic, with a touch of being out in the wood with the big roaring fires, making it a really cute and warm place to be. Perfect for a winters night.
We both started with chicken liver parfait with a chutney, it’s one of our favourite starters and were so pleased with how deep the taste was (some places can get it so wrong!) and how flavoursome the smooth pate was. It was a pretty huge portion and we both gave it a really good go, maybe a little too hard because our mains were a real struggle for us. Whilst my belly pork was tasty, I found it so hard to finish. The portions were humongous and even if I hadn’t have had a starter I think I still would have found it difficult to eat. James had fish & chips, and if he was honest, whilst it wasn’t offensive, he felt the fish may have been frozen rather than fresh.
To finish I had the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream which was TO DIE FOR. Mr C munched down on the sticky toffee pudding with dates and rum and raisin ice cream. It’s safe to say we were stuffed, ans the starters and mains were our winning courses for both of us. We ended with a coffee and then had a boozy walk back to the lodge to watch Taboo on the big, corner sofa.
I can’t wait to share with you what we got up to outside of the Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat too in my next post. Overall we had the most gorgeous stay, it was genuinely was what the doctor ordered. I could have easily enjoyed a full week here, relaxing and enjoying a much slower pace of life which is what I really need to embrace and take on this year after a hectic start to the year 2017. A massive thanks to Darwin Escapes for having us. It’s now my task to head to each and every one of the 19 locations in the UK!
You can book our hot tub lodge, the Walpole Premier here and with prices starting from £240, I might be back there sooner than I thought!
*Our wintery, cosy (I had to fit that word in again, didn’t I?) lodge break was provided to us on a complimentary basis but all my thoughts and words are my own true, personal experience. Heck, even Mr C provides me with a play by play run down now too!
I'm Bee. 27 year old who is finally starting to understand herself. A Scorpio that's too nice to use that sting in her tail, regularly found searching for holidays or online shopping. Happiest when being fed, travelling & spending time with Mr C.