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Take a lake break; It's a holiday destination for all the family - but MARI JONES leaves the kids at home to enjoy a short Lakeland break.


WE looked like a pair of the Bisto kids leaning into smell the wonder-r ful aroma of freshly baked gingerbread.

My husband and I had escaped to the Lake District for 24 hours, and our first moments of freedom from our two little monsters was spent in Grasmere.

I'd told my dearest I wanted to show him Wordsworth's grave, but really the prime reason for making the trip to Grasmere was to buy some of Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread.

My parents, who would disappear annually to the Lakes, always brought some back home with them. I loved its quaint parchment paper packaging and indigo blue coloured stamp which proudly declares: "None genuine without trademark".

Sarah's tiny little 17th century house is tucked away at the corner of the beautiful churchyard of St Oswald's Church, where William Wordsworth, his wife Dorothy, and children are buried.

Wordsworth, who lived at Dove Cottage in the village - it's now open to the public - had famously declared Grasmere to be "The loveliest spot that man hath ever found".

Grasmere Lake lies to the south of the village and the views are beguiling, even on a dank winter's day. We stayed at Fayrer Gardens Hotel, just outside the town of Bowness on Lake Windermere. The main selling point is its fabulous five-acre setting, with its panoramic views across to the lake.

There is nothing cold or corporate about the hotel - our lake view room was all about understated luxury, with its warm earth-toned furnishings, crisp white cotton sheets and big fluffy bathrobes.

We had a drink in the bar before a superb dinner. The head chef is Ambleside-born Eddie Wilkinson, who has been in charge for 17 years. His locally sourced menu changes daily, and there is an impressive wine list with a good selection of affordable wines.

After a good night's sleep breakfast was also a joyous affair because of the views, and it was a hearty start to the day with its locally sourced Cumberland sausages, bacon and free range eggs.

On our way to Lakeland's flagship store in Windermere, we visited The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness.

The attraction will delight most Beatrix Potter fans, as you'll discover her famous characters such as Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Benjamin Bunny all coming to life in the magical indoor recreation of her original Tales, complete with the sights and sounds.

The Peter Rabbit Garden, which opened in 2009, was designed by Chelsea RHS Gold medal winner Richard Lucas. He successfully recreated scenes from Beatrix's best-loved tales, which were inspired by her stay at her uncle's house, Gwaenynog Hall, near Denbigh Lucas has painstakingly rooted out the appropriate and traditional varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, after studying the original illustrations.

The garden really is a triumph and you almost expect Mr McGregor to be found working away on his vegetables in a corner of the garden, or Peter Rabbit sneaking in to pinch a radish. Admission for adults is pounds 6.75, and for children pounds 3.50, and it's worth every penny.

The Lake District is a place that lifts the soul, and what Wordsworth said about Grasmere could could have been used to describe the whole area.

FACTFILE ? Mari Jones stayed at the Fayrer Gardens Hotel, Bowness-on-Winder-r mere, where standard double rooms are from pounds 160, including three-course dinner and breakfast. Call 01539 488195 or click www.fayr-r If you want general tourism advice about the Lake District and its many attractions, dive into


TRANQUIL: Get back to nature with a break to Lake Windermere.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 29, 2012
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