Arrive, if you can, at sunset. Move quickly through check in, throw your luggage in your room and, if you must, tidy yourself up a bit before heading down for dinner. Book, beg or bribe your way to one of the many window tables and then, wine in hand, watch as the colours of an ending day dance across Lake Windermere and reflect back on The Ryebeck.
You’ll need time then to experience the dinner menu. The Ryebeck’s chef, Chris Lee, takes advantage of the produce of the region, taking it to another level. Even just the bread and butter served while we’re waiting for our mains has us fighting over the last piece. After a risotto that is both rich and delicate, we worry that our toddler is tired and doubt she’ll make it through dessert without causing much commotion. So the staff kindly send the desserts to our rooms, where after almost scraping the plates clean, I hop in the bath with a cup of Farrer’s tea before bed.
The curtains are drawn, but glimpses of sunlight creep in. Just enough to tease us with another sunny day in the Lakes. The sun makes an already incredible view sparkle and it seems even our toddler is enchanted (and she’s rarely enchanted by things that are neither playground nor Peppa Pig related).
She is sitting in an armchair biting into an apple when I open the curtains. She jumps to the window seat and presses her face to the window. She stays that way until her stomach gets the better of her and demands breakfast.
It is then that we remember the gastronomic splendors of last night so hurry from our Grand room, with its stunning view, to see what breakfast has in store for us.
We soon realise lunch will not be necessary. We start with cereals and fruits and then opt for the vegetarian hot breakfast. And it is big. Staff tell us they like to give guests a good start to the day as many will likely be trekking through the national park. We’re spending the day in the nearby village and on Lake Windermere, but smile as though we too will be walking off the calories.
The Ryebeck has all the charms of a grand country house, but it has none of its airs. The rooms (both public and not) are beautifully furnished but still welcoming. And that is Ryebeck in a nutshell: beautiful yet accessible, both formal and friendly.
When we finally farewell The Ryebeck, we are refreshed, ready to face the bustle of London and the looming return flight to Australia. But we don’t leave empty-handed. Our cameras are packed with photos and our hearts (not to mention our stomachs) are full of happy memories.
For more information, head to www.ryebeck.com.
We drove to the Lake District from London in a car we hired through DriveAway Holidays. DriveAway Holidays puts you on the road to freedom. The leading self-drive specialists since 1988, DriveAway offers domestic and international Car Hire, Motorhome Rentals, Motorcycle Tours and European Leasing with Peugeot & Renault, working with the most trusted suppliers worldwide such as Hertz, Europcar, Thrifty, Budget, and Avis.
Read more about our DriveAway Holidays experience: Lunch at John Lennon’s place and other reasons to DriveAway.
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