Winter Break at Underscar

Liz, one of our recent guests wrote us a guest blog from her visit to ‘Brackenburn’ in January, enjoying one of our Winter Warmer special value breaks.

My Stay

My name is Liz, I booked a weekend at Brackenburn, Underscar, under their ‘Winter Warmers’ offer. The beautiful apartments provide a wonderful stay nestling in the hills below Skiddaw, close to Latrigg and with views over Derwentwater and Keswick.

We wanted a luxury yet relaxing weekend with a spa and pool, and we chose Keswick as it is one of our favourite Lake District towns, with lots of hustle and bustle even in the winter months.

Me and a friend chose a 2 bedroom apartment (Brackenburn) then we could both have a room- and a bathroom each – much as we are great friends, we didn’t want to share! It was a nice treat having our own space.

Brackenburn Cottage

The apartment:
We arrived at Brackenburn on the Friday, in glorious winter sunshine, snow on the tops of the fells, and amazing pink skies as the sun began to drop. We had a lovely welcome at reception from Tom, who explained everything to us, and we quickly unpacked our car. The apartment was amazing.

Open plan, modern and luxurious. Soothing decor, very classy soft furnishings and interesting paintings.

The Views:
And the views! Through the arch windows, we sat and gazed across to Catbells, Derwentwater, and down to the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’. The winter light changed every few minutes and we were utterly spellbound.

There was even a little terrace with a table and chairs we could sit on, but it was a little bit too chilly to spend much time out there, but we can imagine on a summer evening or spring morning it would be a lovely spot.

Walk to Latrigg

We headed out from the car park, a right turn up the hill, and then onto the Cumbria Way, up and up to Latrigg. The actual path up to Latrigg – a ‘Miles without stiles’ is very accessible, and the views at the top are just stunning – a 360-degree view from Blencathra at the back, round to Skiddaw, then across to Robinson, then Catbells, Derwentwater, down to the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’ and back round again.

Tip: If you have issues walking, there is a very small car park on the side of the road, with the finger post leading up to Latrigg which saves you some walking up the lane.

On the way back we couldn’t quite believe our eyes as we came across a herd of red deer – feeding close to the fence and seemed very calmly looking at us. It was a magical moment when we locked eyes and spent silent moments just watching each other. To top it all a red squirrel scampered across the road and up the fence disappearing into the woodland. What a great start to the weekend.

The Spa

We then wandered back to our gorgeous weekend home and headed through the elegant gardens to the spa, the darkness just falling.

Subtle lights lead the way along the paths, into the spa and pool, and it all feels like a peaceful and warm sanctuary. The first stop is the jacuzzi, a wonderful place to relax our weary bones and feel the stresses of life just melt away. Then we swam, had a sauna, and steam room and back in the jacuzzi again, just as dark fell and the evening arrived.

Tip: Book early if you want to enjoy a treatment at The Spa, as we left it too late and they were completely full! A good sign of how popular the therapists and their treatments are.

Back home we changed into our ‘comfies’ and prepared some food and wine to share. The sun was dropping behind Catbells, as we listened to some jazz on the Sonos system. G & T, music playing watching the sun set over the snow-dusted fell tops, pink and golden skies…

Coffee in Keswick

A Day Out in Keswick

We walked into Keswick the next day, it took us probably half an hour. (there is a lot of parking available if you’d rather drive).

Today was all about coffee, food, a bit of shopping, and pootling around the lakeshore. We enjoyed a coffee and cake at Bryson’s bakery and a pint and goulash at the famous Dog and Gun. There are so many choices of pubs, cafes and shops to browse around, and the Saturday market was on where we bought a new hat each.

We went down to Friar’s Crag to gaze at the view down the length of Derwentwater into the Jaws of Borrowdale, and Castle Crag. We talked about who lived on Derwent Island – an amazing place where the tenants need a boat to pick up their groceries. And we just enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of the lake.

All this area is owned and protected by the National Trust, who keep it in excellent condition, working with local partners to allow as much access as possible.

We wandered through Hope Park, said hello to Max the Miracle Dog, and had some lovely coffee and food.

Relaxing by Derwentwater

Relaxing by the Lake

Keeping the relaxation theme, we were totally happy admiring the high fells from the water’s edge – still as beautiful and breathtaking. We also enjoyed a wander along the boardwalks that weave their way across the marshland on the side of the lake.

Tip: If you do one thing to support the Lakes District, join the National Trust. Not only will you support the upkeep of this breathtaking area, but there are over 30 NT car parks in the Lakes which then become free to use.

On the last morning, we packed up the car and drove to ‘The Filling Station’ a diner that serves amazing breakfasts, to send us on our way. We had a magical weekend in Keswick – the weather gods were definitely kind to us, and we both agreed we would try and do a Winter Warmer break each year at this time, to lift the spirits in January!