A Minimoon in the Lake District

Confused? A ‘minimoon’, or mini-honeymoon to use its full name, is up there with the many new wedding-related words I’ve discovered while planning the big day (it’s second only to ‘honeymoney’ in my list of favourites).

A couple of weeks ago I tied the knot, meaning for the last few months, in between all the table plan angst and lovely dress fittings, I’ve had the happy job of planning where to go on honeymoon. Seeing as I seem to spend most of my time at dealchecker gazing wistfully at pictures of far-flung climes (while working very hard, obviously), I realised that yes, this is a task I could get on board with.

Honeymoon scene
© L.Watcharapol

My new hubby Paul and I planned to go on the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand, but we decided to postpone it until later in the year to coincide with the Southern Hemisphere’s summery weather.

However, we still wanted to get away somewhere straight after the wedding. Enter the delightfully named minimoon.

We quickly decided on the Lake District, as our minimoon destination. The Lakes are Paul’s favourite place in the world, and as I tended to dominate the wedding plans, it seemed only fair. It’s all about give and take, this marriage thing.

Overlooking Lake Windermere
Overlooking Lake Windermere © Richard Bowden

Because we like to see as much of our chosen holiday destination as we can (read also: make things needlessly difficult for ourselves), we opted to stay in three different hotels in the Lakes.

Number one was the Langdale Hotel in Great Langdale, near Ambleside. Here we were lucky enough to stay in an upgraded room, boasting a myriad of luxuries I never knew I needed, but now can’t seem to live without. These included a heated floor in the bathroom, a bath sitting at the foot of the bed and a button to turn on the shower from the bedroom. Very swish. Now I’m back at home, I’m grumpy about having to stick my hand in the shower to switch it on. The very idea!

Langdale Hotel
Room 104 © Langdale Hotel

I could bang on about the beautiful room, or the delicious food, all day long. But to the seasoned hikers out there, yes I know, it’s all about the walking.

If you couldn’t tell from my tone, I’m somewhat of a novice walker (over fells, I mean. Day-to-day walking I handle fairly well). Having prepared by applying the best part of a box of plasters to my feet, we started off slowly on day one, with a gentle stroll to the Old Dungeon Ghyll for a drink. I had a lovely time – apart from the sleet. In May – I know!

The following day the weather was kinder to us, with bright sunshine for our walk to Skelworth Bridge. Again, this wasn’t too taxing, but we rewarded ourselves with a bowl of chips anyway.

Troutbeck, Cumbria
Troutbeck © Phil MacD Photography

Our next hotel was the Mortal Man, a pub and inn in Troutbeck, dating back to 1689 with Wordsworth and Coleridge among its venerable former guests.

After a walk through the Troutbeck Valley, with stunning scenery made even lovelier by the fluffy lambs leaping around joyfully, we took part in the pub quiz and were triumphant, coming in third! True, there were only six teams, but we were still pretty pleased with ourselves.

Walking in the Lake District
Me in the Langdale Valley

While staying in Troutbeck we embarked on our longest walk of the trip, over Wansfell Pike to Ambleside and back. By this point I was getting into my stride and wishing I had a hiking stick to feel more at home with the seasoned hikers.

I found the town of Ambleside to be right up my street, with no end of pretty little cafés and a quirky independent cinema. We even managed to get in a bit of shopping. OK, it was outdoor shop after outdoor shop rather than my preferred kind of retail therapy, but I still had fun browsing padded jackets and fleecy socks – perhaps all that clean air was going to my head.

The Noble Room at the Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite
The Noble Room © The Punch Bowl Inn

Our last night was at the Punch Bowl in Crosthwaite, where we were thrilled to learn we’d been upgraded to their penthouse suite. This was a fabulous room with two baths, two sinks, lots of lights to play with and to top it off, I found a repeat of the Great British Bake Off on the massive TV.

Naturally I was reluctant to leave for a walk, but am very glad I did. For our last walk of the holiday we followed the hotel’s advice and clambered to the top of Gummer’s How, with amazing panoramic views over Lake Windermere. It also provided a bit of a giggle – poor Paul, striving to achieve the correct pronunciation, ended up unwittingly mimicking the receptionist’s Northern accent. She took it in her stride though, and gave as good as she got with a fake Southern accent right back at us. We got told.

Gummer's How, The Lake District
Paul atop Gummer’s How

After a delicious three-course meal at the Punch Bowl on our last night, we sadly packed up our hiking boots and set off home the next morning.

If you’re currently planning your nuptials, I would definitely advise you to consider a UK break for a minimoon, or indeed the whole honeymoon. If you’re living in an urban area you can tend to forget just how beautiful the scenery can be elsewhere in the UK, and the endless rolling green hills and sparkly lakes (yes they did sparkle, we did get some sun!) of Cumbria provided a model backdrop to a relaxing getaway. Just what you need after hectic wedding preparations and the exhausting/wonderful day itself.

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Tips and advice on getting great value travel - from one of our dealchecker alumni.

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