Natalie Walker enjoys the views from the Keswick Country House Hotel
When going on a trip away, it is always nice to have company.
And at Keswick Country House Hotel, in the northern part of the Lake District, there are a few residential guests to keep even the lonesome traveller amused –rabbits on the lawns.
The historic hotel, built in 1869, has four acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and walkways, which has earned it a worthy reputation in the Keswick in Bloom competition over the last 10 years.
Part of its unique beauty is the carefree attitude of the many bunnies that hop around on the lawns, which is also used for croquet or putting.
As well as having natural beauty, the hotel has great historic significance, as it was originally owned by the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway Company and was built to coincide with the opening of the railway in 1865.
It has also taken over the old station house (which officially closed in 1972), converting it into eight superior bedrooms, each named after a famous painter.
The main hotel also has a selection of rooms, starting from just £64, which includes a three-course dinner and Cumbrian breakfast – a complete bargain, as the standard of rooms – and food is very high indeed.
We had the pleasure of staying in the Junior Suite, overlooking the gardens as well as the hills of the northern Lake District.
And our room was situated on its own private corridor, with only one other room, which provided a more secluded feeling to our retreat.
Dinner was a very pleasant experience, with an extensive menu which changes daily.
All dishes were elegantly served and well presented – and tasted just as good as they looked.
Service was very well organised, with our three-course meal being served all within an hour.
There is certainly plenty to do as Keswick is a bustling little town, with plenty of quaint shops and pubs to shelter in on a rainy day.
And for the more curious, there is The Puzzling Place, in Museum Square, which doubles as a unique gift shop and illusion centre. From wobbling about in the anti gravity room, to questioning your size in the forced perception room, you will question what your eyes are seeing.
At a price of £3.75 for 45 minutes, the centre is well worth a visit.
There is also the famous Pencil Museum, which offers workshops and tips on how to create the perfect landscape drawing.
The Lakes’ beautiful scenery is prevalent throughout the town, with several mini art galleries and shops.
No trip to the Lakes is complete without a venture up a mountain or two.
The best way to visit the surrounding towns and take a hike is to hop on the Keswick Launcher which cruises along the Derwentwater lake.
With stops to Ashness Gate, Lodore waterfalls and Nichol End, there are lots of opportunities to explore. Popular stops are High and Low Brandelhow and Hawes End, which leads to Catbells – a very pleasant climb.
Unfortunately, due to low water levels in high summer season, not all stops are available. But this will not stop the cruise being worthwhile.
An adult ticket is £9.95, with a child costing £5, or a family ticket of £24.