In a really difficult start to the year, we’ve come up with 10 Things to do in the Outdoors,...
Here’s what to do over a weekend at Fair Rigg – a newly renovated 4-star, Gold award, large family holiday home in the Lake District.
The word ‘Rigg’ comes from the Medieval for ridge, and Fair Rigg occupies a truly enviable location on a ridge overlooking England’s most beautiful lake, Lake Windermere. This stunning property is one of the very best in the Lake District and it has just come back on the market as a holiday let following state-of-the-art renovation work. This beautiful large residence was built as a lakeside retreat. A place to do very little, to socialise, to be merry or to be quiet. Its rooms and gardens are designed for forgetting the clock, schedules and daily to-do’s. And today’s renovation allows just that. The stylish design and thoughtful fixtures and fittings are effortless. Today’s Fair Rigg embodies ‘the art of doing nothing’ perfectly, but for those who like a bit of a plan, here’s a weekend at Fair Rigg.
Not only has Fair Rigg enjoyed a wonderful renovation, with lots of beautiful new furnishings, fixtures and fittings, but Fair Rigg comes with lots of extras that can be booked in advance to ensure you enjoy a real home-from-home experience.
Stock up the kitchen with a grocery order from Tesco, who deliver to Fair Rigg.
The step-change from busy life to easy relaxation really starts at Ferry Nab where you can choose to leave the busy A591 that drops down into Windermere, through Ambleside and around Esthwaite Water towards Fair Rigg. Instead, slow things right down and take your holiday-goers on the car ferry crossing over Lake Windermere (signposted from the A591).
The ferry has been operating at its own pace connecting the eastern and western shores of Lake Windermere for over 500 years. She so loves trundling idly, showing off the yachts and motorboats that bob on Windermere, that it is only on Christmas Day when she has a day off. See here for further details on the ferry times.
Just minutes from disembarking from the ferry onto a narrow, windy road, arrive at Fair Rigg – an impressive, detached house with views overlooking the majestic Lake Windermere. Now it is time to slow down even more as you settle into this newly renovated holiday home.
Hopefully, you’ve booked into the Cuckoo Brow Inn to save on cooking and to avoid any more driving.
There is so much to catch up on on a weekend break with friends or family that we think your break should be car and stress-free. With lots on the doorstep of Fair Rigg, we’ve planned this weekend around exploring the local area on foot, bike or boat. And, from Fair Rigg, you have all three options right from your doorstep.
The western shore of Windermere is one of the most underexplored, especially considering it is so close to the hustle and bustle of Bowness-on-Windermere. Wander down the lane from Fair Rigg to join the lakeshore path, Windermere west shore walk. From here, there’s enough footpath to keep your party walking for 3-hours, with oodles of stone skimming, paddling, splashing and views of Lake Windermere.
Between Easter and 31 October, rather than return on foot hop on the Windermere Lake Cruises Launch to Brockhole or Waterhead, where there are bus connections back to Bowness, where you can use the ferry to return Fair Rigg. A trip on a Windermere Lake Cruises Launch is a must when staying at Fair Rigg. There’s no better way of slowing down and taking in the breathtaking scenery and fresh air than on a traditional steam launch. There are lots of picnic spots along the way, and Wray Castle is a National Trust property, so free for members and is particularly good for families. This is a flat walk and suitable for prams, bikes, scooters and walking legs of all abilities, from four-legs to little toddler legs. Another walk along Windermere’s western shore is shorter, turning at High Wray Bay, which is a great picnic spot.
For the more adventurous, head over to Bowness marina to hire a boat of your choice, SUP, motor, canoe, sailboat, and crew your party along the western shore, exploring Lake Windermere’s beautiful islands as you do. As well as parking on the gated drive for several cars, Fair Rigg has outbuildings with lots of space for securely storing bikes, dinghies, canoes etc, so bring any kit that you have with you.
When back at the ferry port, or even before you start your walk, there is a real hidden gem of an attraction that many people miss, though it is not for the faint-hearted. Or, this is what was thought when Claife Viewing Station was first built in the 1790s for the wave of first-ever tourists to the ‘wild’ Lake District. The viewing station has recently been partly restored by the National Trust, and there’s a viewing platform that you can climb to take in the same vista that so shocked Victorian visitors. In its heyday, the station was quite the entertainment attraction on Windermere, and the restored stained-glass windowpanes of what was once the drawing-room, with different colours to alter the view, was all part of the theatre. First-timers were advised to stand with their back to the view and were given mirrors so that they could take it in without being too shocked! There is a cafe here for if some of your party fancy a cuppa.
Keeping things local for your Saturday night at Fair Rigg, we’d recommend taking full advantage of the superb amenities. Fair Rigg was made for entertaining and socialising. If the weather is up to it bask in the generous gardens with patios, sun terrace, benches and garden furniture. Add to your alfresco experience by using the Kettler Charcoal BBQ as a smoker perhaps. Younger guests can have jobs as bar people and waiting on staff, whilst enjoying the enclosed gardens. There’s even a handy fridge/freezer and ice maker in the outdoor storeroom – just don’t forget to tip!
As we all know, all good parties always end up in the kitchen and this will certainly be the case with Fair Rigg’s brand new, impressive kitchen and dining area. Nothing is left to chance in this quality kitchen design, and we are in love with the state-of-the-art electric AGA that still has 2 traditional hotplates! For novices and cooking for large groups, we’d recommend a one-pot dish like a hearty sausage and veg bake or a traditional roast dinner. The novelty of boiling the kettle on the AGA hot plate never wears off. Chef’s aside, this huge space caters also for everyone; with a cosy TV, sofa and log burner area, breakfast bar zone and dining table.
And if the weather dictates an indoor party, then we can cater for that too here at Fair Rigg. There are 2 additional living rooms, as well as the kitchen ‘living room’, and these make for idea socialising spill out areas. How about putting the latest Sky Sports game on the ‘big screen’ in the main living room, which has been elegantly refurbished and the stylish window seats that look out across Windermere are the best in the house! The relaxed drawing room is a place to chat over a bottle of wine, take in the splendid views with a morning coffee or to lose yourself in a favourite book.
Today we recommend heading away from the pull of Lake Windermere and exploring Beatrix Potter land. Neighbouring Fair Rigg is Hill Top, the house that Potter made her home for eight years. Whilst here the children’s author who loved walking, explored the area on foot almost every day. There are some of the best gentle walks in this part of the Lakes and so we recommend that you take your pick. One of Potter’s favourites was to walk over Claife Heights to Moss Eccles Tarn, and this is a very short walk up Cuckoo Brow lane from Far Sawrey. It is a fishing tarn, and Potter used to paint whilst her husband fished and indeed the story of Mr Jeremy Fisher is said to have been inspired by the lilies on this tarn. It is a very peaceful spot and when the weather is dry we’d recommend taking a picnic and relaxing by the water’s edge with the local Herdwicks. If you want to keep moving the National Trust Moss Eccles Tarn walk is a great circular walk, where you can drop down from the tarn into the village of Near Sawrey. Here we’d recommend a drink in the famous Tower Bank Arms, which featured in The Tales Of Jemima Puddleduck. Hill Top is also just behind the pub, and free for National Trust members. It is one of the most important buildings in the Lake District and worth a visit when it is right on your doorstep.
The nearby Esthwaite Water is a trout fishery and they offer superb guided pike sessions, where you can enjoy a day on the water with an expert. Potter called Esthwaite the most beautiful of all of the Lake District’s waters.
Book a weekend at Fair Rigg and enjoy one of the very best private country retreats in the Lake District.