Find inspiration from Potter and Wordsworth on a Lake District writing break

The magnificent Lake District has been linked to some of the world’s best loved writers. Now you too can find inspiration among the Lakes on this creative writing holiday…

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birthday, Linthwaite, a luxury country hotel in the Lake District, is launching a new Creative Writing Break this February.

Linthwaite

The spectacular landscape of the Lake District has been a huge influence on some of England’s best-known writers including William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter, who lived most of her adult life there as she wrote her classic tales of Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher and Jemima Puddle-Duck. After her death in 1943, she left her 14 farms and 4,000 acres of land to the National Trust, which to date is one of the largest and most important legacies in the Lake District.

Creative writing for beginners to published authors

Designed to unlock your creativity, the residential course at Linthwaite is suitable for everyone, from beginners to published authors. It takes place on 29th February – 3rd March 2016, just before the region’s annual literary festival ‘Words by the Water’ in Keswick on 4th -13th March.

The 3-day Creative Writing Course will be run by Angela Locke, author of six internationally published novels and non-fiction/travel books and a prize-winning poet with five published collections. The course will help participants to find their creative voice, expand their minds and encourage them to write poetry, stories and prose in a supportive environment.

conservatory at Linthwaite

Country house accommodation with stunning views

Award-winning Linthwaite, situated only a few minutes from the famous Bowness-on-Windermere and originally built as a country house in 1901, has been independently owned for 25 years. Sitting in 14 acres of landscaped gardens, the hotel offers complete privacy and spectacular panoramic views across Lake Windermere and the surrounding fells. Its picturesque location should get the creative juices flowing!

Linthwaite boasts 30 individually designed bedrooms, some of which feature hot tubs and free standing baths. Guests are encouraged to get out and explore the fantastic walking routes in the area (and Hunter wellies are available for all guests to borrow if you’ve come unprepared!).

Loft Suite

The Creative Writing Break includes:

  • 3 day Creative Writing Course based on site at Linthwaite
  • 3 nights’ accommodation at Linthwaite (29th February to 3rd March)
  • Dinner on 2 of the nights in Linthwaite’s award-winning restaurant with 3 AA rosettes
  • Private viewing and recital at Wordworth’s home, Rydal Mount
  • Dinner at Wordworth’s home

 

Rydal Mount was Wordsworth’s best loved family home for the greater part of his life from 1813 to his death in 1850 at the age of 80. It was here that he wrote many of his poems, revised and improved much of his earlier works, and published the final version of his most famous poem ‘Daffodils’.

Prices for the Creative Writing Break start at £462 per person based on double occupancy (one course participant) and £750 per person for sole occupancy and course participation. To book the ‘Creative Writing Break’ visit www.linthwaite.com or call 015394 88600

Tarn at Linthwaite

4 of the UK’s most popular walking challenges

With mountains, lakes, coastlines and valleys, the diverse landscape of the UK offers ramblers and hikers a nearly inexhaustible choice of challenging routes and paths. North, south, east or west, here are four of the best…(and keep reading for a chance to win £100 worth of walking gear!)

Are you an ambitious walker? Why not test your endurance by taking part in some of the UK’s gruelling long-distance walking challenges? Taking anywhere from four to 48 hours to complete, ramblers have an exciting choice of challenges to choose from, each with their own beautiful scenery to conquer (and some treks aso help raise money for charity).

Outdoors kit provider Sportsshoes.com have shared with us their pick of the top four most popular medium and long-distance walking challenges in the North, South, East and West of the UK (Note: These endurance walks are not suitable for beginners and all require a good level of fitness, experience and training).

Lake District, Cumbria
Lake District, Cumbria (c) Geograph.co.uk

NORTH: Lake District 3000 Footers, Cumbria, England

Also known as the Lake District Four Peaks, the comparatively small distance of this challenge is mostly covered by the ascent and descent of four mountains, each over 3,000 feet: Scarfell, Scarfell Pike, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. It’s a demanding and serious challenge, with a variety of undulating terrain – but with glorious views from no less than four summits, the rewards are great.

  • Distance: 15 to 21 miles (depending on the route taken)
  • Duration: 16 hours of walking (tackled in one long day or split into eight hour walks over two days)
  • Getting there: The M6 runs to the east of the Lake District National Park; car journeys from the south east take approx. six hours and journeys from Manchester and York take roughly two hours. Direct trains run from Manchester and Windermere
  • Find out more: Organise a group trip with Lake District Challenges

 

Snowdonia Glyderau from slopes of Pen yr Helgi D
Snowdonia Glyderau from slopes of Pen yr Helgi D (c) Geograph.co.uk

WEST: Snowdonia Mountain Challenge, Wales

Although some training is required for this walk, it’s a great challenge for ramblers with little experience. The Llanberis route up Snowdon is a steady ascent but the climb is all on paths (some parts of the path are rougher than others however). The summit commands striking views of Snowdonia National Park with Anglesey and the Irish Sea in the distance.

  • Distance: Nine miles
  • Duration: Average completion time is seven hours
  • Getting there: Betws-y-Coed train station is located in the heart of Snowdonia and can be reached from London Euston in four hours and from Manchester in three. To drive from the north west take the M56 and A55; roads M6, M5 and M1 link North Wales with the south east
  • Find out more: Take part in an organised climb with Marie Curie

 

South Downs, view from Ditchling Beacon
South Downs, view from Ditchling Beacon (c) Poliphilo

SOUTH: South Downs 100km, South Downs National Park, England

Not to be undertaken lightly, the South Downs 100km is a seriously strenuous challenge, with walkers having to endure the high ridges and steep hills of the rolling South Downs of Hampshire and Sussex. The hike takes place over night and day, starting at the historical town of Arundel and finishing at Beachy Head, the UK’s highest white chalk coastal cliffs. To conquer this challenge walkers have to battle strong fatigue and must be experienced, determined and physically fit. The South Downs is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge and those who complete it will be proud of their achievement for their lifetime.

  • Distance: 100km – which is just under 63 miles
  • Duration: 30 to 36 hours of walking (covered over two days)
  • Getting there: The start of the challenge, Arundel, can be reached in 90 minutes on train from London and is roughly a two hour car journey from London. The walk finishes in Eastbourne where trains can take you directly back to London (or you can arrange a friend to collect you!)
  • Find out more: Discover Adventure will help you organise your South Downs 100km walk for any charity you wish

 

Norfolk Coastal Path, Sidestrand
Norfolk Coastal Path, Sidestrand (c) Dennisbluie

EAST: Norfolk Coastal Challenge, Norfolk, England

There are a number of organised challenges along the dramatic Norfolk coast. One of the most ambitious walks sees people complete 47 miles on foot in 24 hours. Starting in Hunstanton and finishing at Cromer Pier, the route takes walkers over field, sand and stony beaches. The event does see a few challengers drop out with injuries; however, the supporting crowds at the finish line make the arduous feat worthwhile. A participant from last year, Tom Bailey, perfectly summed up the experience saying “Pain is temporary, pride is forever. Coastal Walk Challenge was truly memorable and organisation phenomenal.”

 

Image sources Dennisbluie, Geograph.org.uk and Poliphilo

Competition Time!

Fancy winning £100 to spend on walking shoes at Sportsshoes.com?

To enter, simply subscribe to our monthly enews to receive a regular round-up of the best from Goodtrippers (including some exclusives) straight to your inbox – Enter and subscribe

But hurry, you must sign-up before 6pm on 4th August 2015 to be in with a chance of winning. The winner will be notified by email (the one used on entry) by 11th August.

Terms and conditions (please read before entering)

  • One entry per person
  • One ‘entry’ counts as one individual subscribing to the Goodtrippers enews using a valid email address
  • All entries must be received before 6pm (BST), Tuesday 4th August 2015
  • Competition open to residents of the UK and the Republic of Ireland only
  • Employees (and their immediate families) of Sportsshoes.com and Goodtrippers are excluded from entering this competition
  • One winning entrant will be picked at random – judges’ decision is final
  • No part of the prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize
  • It will be assumed all entrants have read and accepted the competition terms and conditions

 

 

3 of the best farm stays near the Scottish border

This post is sponsored by Lakes Cottage Holidays

Now that the politics surrounding the England-Scotland border are over (for now), the wild landscapes and historic towns let this beautiful area speak for itself…

A stay at one of these self-catering cottages, all on working farms, makes a great base to explore the countryside around the England-Scotland border and nearby Lake District. Here’s our pick of three of the best farm stays…

Williamwood Cottage, Lockerbie, Scottish Borders

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Williamwood Cottage is perfect for families coming fully equipped with cot, highchair and baby bath, alongside wifi and a wood burning stove for cosy evenings. Garden furniture and BBQ are available for warm summer days.

Located on a 310 acre farm, which previously won the RSPB Nature of Farming award for Scotland, this is a great cottage for those who love nature. By farming with conservation in mind, this land is abundant with birdlife, much of which you can spot from several wildlife trails around the site.

The owners will be happy to introduce you to their herd of Highland cattle, Highland ponies, sheep, chickens and Tottie the mini pig! A new children’s playground boasts a petting area with mini animals. Take a horse ride around the farm or even bring your own four-legged friend (arrange with the owners in advance).

The surrounding area is full of historic sites including Robert Burns House, the Old Blacksmith’s Shop at Gretna (famed for its weddings and eloping lovers!), Hadrian’s Wall and Hermitage Castle.

Size: 3 bedrooms, sleeps 6
Rates: From £530 per week

Wild Rose Cottage, Jedburgh, Scottish Borders

[gdl_gallery title=”wildrose” width=”120″ height=”110″ ]

Wild Rose Cottage is set in a peaceful and tranquil site on a 1,100 acre working farm. It comes fully equipped with all mod cons including wifi, a cot and highchair for little ones, plus an open fire. A welcome tray of homemade cakes awaits you on arrival!

Part of the farm, which is mainly home to 2,000 sheep, is within a conservation scheme which encourages ground nesting birds. Explore the farmland and spot buzzards, badgers and deer on one of the many farm trails, or take a stroll down to one of the many ponds.

The nearby town of Jedburgh is the historic gateway to Scotland and is dominated by the twelfth century Augustinian Abbey. Edinburgh, Carlisle and Newcastle are all within an hour’s drive of the cottage.

Size: 2 bedrooms, sleeps 5
Rates: From £320 per week

Red Stables, Aikton, nr Carlisle

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This farm building conversion is stylish and contemporary but retains many of its original, early twentieth century features. Boasting green credentials, the property includes underfloor heating sourced from the farm’s biomass boiler, a charging point for electric cars, and is insulated to the highest standards.

One stand-out selling point is that you can enjoy stunning views across to the Lakeland Fells from your own private hot tub on the patio! But if you ever tire of lazing around in the hot tub (when would that be?!), you can also enjoy complementary use of the swimming pool at nearby Orton Grange Leisure Pool.

Two miles away is the Watchtree Nature Service where red squirrels and bats can be spotted. Hadrian’s Wall, Carlisle and the Lake District are all within easy reach with a car.

Size: 2 bedrooms, sleeps 4
Rates: From £440 per week

For more details, availability and booking for all properties mentioned, visit Lakes Cottage Holidays at www.lakescottageholiday.co.uk or call 0176 883 8103. Browse the site for romantic bolt holes, luxury pads, log cabins, dog-friendly holiday homes, properties with a view and much more.

This post is sponsored by Lakes Cottage Holidays – Goodtrippers retains editorial control over all content and only selects partners and publishes sponsored posts that fit the Goodtrippers ethos.

 

How a UK walking holiday can make you a happy wanderer

Now is the season to take a hike over hill and through vale. Guest blogger Gareth Williams, founder of Large Outdoors, puts on his walking boots…

Spending a day out walking is a great way to explore Britain’s fantastic countryside, and is healthy to boot. But if you’re a little cautious about venturing into more remote areas of the countryside, joining a guided walking group can be the perfect solution.

Snowdonia National Park with Large Outdoors
Snowdonia National Park with Large Outdoors

There are a number of guided walking companies out there all offering a variety of walking trips according to location and fitness/experience level, from easy strolls through to more challenging hikes.

Walking company Large Outdoors runs a range of hiking holidays across the country for a range of abilities. It also donates a portion of the proceeds from each booking towards conservation charities such as Friends of the Lakes whose work helps protect the Lake District landscape.

What to expect on a guided walk

Trips come in all shapes and sizes but generally you can expect to join a small sociable group of like-minded walkers and spend up to a day out walking with a guide.

The guides are fully-qualified (highly-experienced in route-finding and navigation and have first aid qualifications) and, importantly, are experts in motivating people to get the best out of the group.

Routes are planned in advance and aim to take walkers through a variety of landscape that offers heaps of interest and umpteen view stops (cameras at the ready!).

Lake District with Large Outdoors
Lake District with Large Outdoors

Making a break of it

Once you’ve started, it’s hard to stop! On a weekend or week-long guided walking trip, accommodation is based in hotels, cottages or hostels. In contrast to the traditional image, many hostels are now a really good option, providing guests with an affordable way of staying in some fantastic properties in idyllic locations.

For instance Ilam YHA in the Peak District is a gothic manor house set in 84 acres of parkland, while the converted school house in Dalby Forest now provides an eco-retreat with cosy lounge area complete with log burner.

It’s also important to scrub any thoughts that these trips mean eating ready meals out of packets. The quality of the food is all-important with home-cooked meals served using local ingredients as much as possible. You only need to bring any alcohol that you might want to drink (walking is thirsty work!).

Range of walks

There really are walks to suit all abilities and fitness levels across some of the most scenic areas of the UK. Very often two different levels of walks will be organised during the course of one weekend.

A Large Outdoors trip to the Lake District usually involves one group taking easier ‘non-summit bagging’ routes that explore the scenic gentler side of the Lakes, following shorelines and wooded valley routes. Meanwhile, a second group will set out to tackle the challenging higher peaks.

Large Outdoors walking group
Large Outdoors walking group

Recommended for… Solo travellers or anyone who enjoys the camaraderie that comes with walking in a group (without the hassle of finding your own route)

Be aware that… It pays to look at the grade of walk (the level of challenge and average distances covered) to be confident that you’re fit and experienced enough for a particular trip. It’s also important to ensure you have the right items on the kit list provided by the guide.

Sample weekend:  Large Outdoors is running a guided walking break in the Lake District from the 4th-6th September, costing £125 per person. This includes two nights staying in the comfortable and well-equipped YHA Caldbeck, a former shooting lodge nestling in the foothills of the northern fells; all meals apart from Sunday lunch, and two days’ of guided walks with a qualified guide.

For more information and to book visit www.largeoutdoors.com or contact 01653 740400.

5 unusual things to do this May Day Bank Holiday

Come rain or shine, don’t spend the May Day bank holiday catching up on boxsets or doing DIY. We’ve found five intriguing things to do over the long weekend…

Learn how to forage

Our woods, fields and hedgerows are a full-on tasting menu ready to be eaten! This one-day foraging course in Denbighshire, North Wales (plenty of others around the UK too) is run by professional foragers who will help you identify wild food including plants and fungi that you can (and can’t) eat, where to find tasty morsels in surprising places, prepping your finds and cooking up some inventive dishes. Fish and game preparation is also covered, with an alternative option for vegetarians/vegans.

When: Saturday 2nd May 2015

Cost: £60 per person

Booking/info: Visit www.originaloutdoors.co.uk/foraging-course-north-wales

Watch an archeological dig

At Birdling Gap and the Seven Sisters near Eastbourne, East Sussex, archeologists are exploring the site of the Crowlink coastguard station, established in the nineteenth century. The area was a favourite with smugglers and this dig is attempting to determine how the site was previously used. It’s a National Trust site so visitors (including dogs on leads and children) are welcome to come down for free and take a look.

When: 2-4pm 2nd, 3rd, 4th May 2015

Booking/info: No booking required but visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/whats-on/find-an-event (search for Crowlink Coastguard Cottages) for more info.

Canalway Cavalcade (c) The Inland Waterways Association
Canalway Cavalcade (c) The Inland Waterways Association

Join the Canalway Cavalcade in Little Venice

Little Venice in London will be awash with bunting and boats this bank holiday for the annual Canalway Cavalcade organised by the Inland Waterways Association. Enjoy the festival’s spectacle of pretty narrowboats along the canal, plus the real ale bar, morris dancing (it is May Day afterall!), little shops and tasty food stalls. We also love the sound of the illuminated night-time boat procession from 9.30pm to 10pm. The event is totally free.

When: 2nd – 4th May 2015

Booking/info: No booking required but visit the festival website for full details or follow on Twitter and Instagram @canalcavalcade

Improve your photography skills

This one-day workshop on Landscape and Wildlife Photography is ideal for beginners and those looking to improve their basic skills. Run by expert Mike Allen of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the course will take you through the technical aspects of your camera, through to composition and editing. You’ll be out and about doing practical work and enjoying the beautiful Twyford water meadows.

When: 10am – 2pm, Saturday 2nd May 2015

Booking/info: Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/events/2015/05/02/landscape-and-wildlife-photography for full course details and booking information

Visit a quirky museum

The UK is pretty good at museums! From the world famous attractions in London, to some of the smallest (and oddest) museums you’ve never heard of – think of a topic and there’s probably a museum dedicated to it somewhere on these isles! We like the Shell Museum in Glandford, North Norfolk, a genuinely intriguing and cute museum housed in a converted chapel full of curiosities and amazing artefacts. But there’s also the Pencil Museum in the Lake District, the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall, and museums dedicated to prams, locks and even dog collars (thanks to this Telegraph picture gallery!).

When: Smaller museums are often run only by volunteers so have limited opening times. Always check their website for full details (and don’t forget to support them by supplementing your entry fee with a donation!).

Enjoy the long weekend!