Stef Hall takes to the water and enjoys a slice of luxury in the heart of the Lake District
Having dreamed for years of owning my own boat, I jumped at the chance to sail around the Lake District’s most popular attraction, Lake Windermere.
The Low Wood Bay Hotel and its Watersports Centre, situated between Ambleside and Windermere, was ideally located for the lake, which - at 10 and a half miles long and 219 feet deep - is England’s largest lake.
We spent most of the first day of our Lake District trip at the popular Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre where we had a fantastic family day out.
Although parking is pricey, the children have access to little lakeside beaches to paddle or swim in the lake, a fantastic adventure playground packed with rope walks, slides, swings, scramble nets and zip wires. If that is not enough to burn off some energy - mums, dads and kids can climb the treetops around the site through the Tree Top Trek attraction.
We were so impressed by the beautifully planned site, and its picturesque surroundings that we returned the very next day to wander through the impressive 30 acre gardens, which boasts magnificent views over Windermere and the Langdale Pikes.
Less than half a mile away was our accommodations.
We arrived at the four star Low Wood Bay hotel in the late afternoon.
The complex offers water sports, gym and spa facilities. It has en suite rooms, many with lake views, one of which we were lucky to stay in.
The hotel is just 1.8 miles from Windermere Railway Station and the town centre and a ten minute drive from the Beatrix Potter museum and gallery.
After a friendly check in we had a bit of a walk to our interconnecting rooms but it was worth the stairs.
The rooms were spacious and homely, and tastefully furnished, with amazing views of the shimmering lake.
The fluffy dog toys and colouring books on the bed were a nice touch for my children (although it was bit difficult explaining it would cost £30 if we were to take the toy dogs home!)
The rooms were uncomfortably hot and sticky, which was disappointing, although staff had provided fans.
To cool off we headed to the leisure club which has a 50ft swimming pool and gym. The spa includes sauna and steam rooms, and a beauty salon.
The leisure club also offers a sauna, steam room, outdoor hot tub and beauty salons offering a range of treatments.
After relaxing in the outdoor hot tub it was time to get ready for dinner.
The hotel has the Langdale Lounge & Bar and the Café del Lago Bistro for more casual dining throughout the day.
We dined in the swanky Windermere Restaurant, which serves classic European dishes and has a nice view of the lake. Although the dishes were faultless, the dining experience left a lot to be desired, which was a shame because the opulent surroundings were lovely.
The restaurant was not air conditioned and this, being on the hottest day of the year, made it sticky and unpleasant.
Yet many guests were turned away because they were wearing shorts. It was embarrassing and uncomfortable to witness a whole family (not us) having to leave the restaurant.
We made a quick getaway after dinner and had a walk around the hotel site, spotting lots of wild bunnies much to my childrens’ delight.
As sunset approached we had a walk across the road to a lawned area near the lakes shoreline and the hotel’s marina.
This was rather perilous with children as the hotel is situated on a bend on an extremely busy main road.
The following morning we dined in the Windermere Restaurant again.
Breakfast was a much more pleasant and casual experience.
In addition to a sumptuous self serve hot breakfast there were continental options and special dishes such as Eggs Benedict on the extra menu.
After indulging it was time for our long awaited boating trip from the water sports centre linked to the hotel.
Its stunning setting against a backdrop of the Lakeland Fells is a great location for getting out on the water.
It offers lessons in dinghy and keelboat sailing, waterskiing, power boats and has motor boats, rowing boats, sailing dinghies kayaks and canoes for hire.
There is free parking, changing rooms and showers, equipment hire and a shop selling refreshments and watersports equipment.
One of its biggest attractions at the moment is wakeboarding - being towed behind a powerboat while pulled along the water on a board. It sounded great fun but as I had my young children with me I couldn’t take part.
We opted for a more sensible motor boat and spent an hour exploring, seeing the inlets, hidden monuments and backdrop of the Lake District in the best way - from the water.
Low Wood Hotel facilities
111 Bedrooms with en-suite & daily housekeeping
Check-in from 3pm & Check-out until 11am
Restaurant, Club Bar & Bistro
Free Use of Leisure club
24 hour reception
Tariffs - House Rooms from £98 per night
Contact Low Wood Bay, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LP
Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre: Opening times 10am - 5pm (Gardens and adventure playground: 8.30am to 7pm) Call 015394 46601 www.brockhole.co.uk