Recently it’s felt a little like Paddy & I have been ships passing in the night, with equally busy work schedules, dissertations and social lives. When we’ve managed to spend any time together it’s been a quick couple of hours grabbed here and there, usually tired and grumpy after a long day at work or stressing out about something or another. Making the most of the time we do have together has become a priority, be it jam packing our days off with day trips or heading out for a date night straight from work, so when the stars aligned and we had more than one consecutive day off together we jumped at the chance to head away for a night.
Our location of choice was Keswick in the Lake District, and more specifically Highfield Hotel. Being a relatively straight forward drive from Glasgow yet boasting the unbeatable allure of somewhere new it made for the perfect break from our usual busy schedules.
Originally built in 1885, Highfield benefits from the beautiful big, bright bay windows that hold a very special place in my heart. Being a Victorian building you would be forgiven for expecting a room that wouldn’t look out of place in a period drama, however the recent refurbishments have created a bright, airy space that makes the most of the building’s history whilst also bringing it in to the current century.
When first arriving in Keswick we were met with the dreary, wet weather that we Brits know as “summer”, so we really got to make the most of the room when drying off from the rain to get ready for our dinner. I could have sat in front of that window for hours just soaking in the view over the valley towards Derwentwater, it really was something else. I imagine that the sunrise & sunset must be just spectacular, if the clouds ever lift!
Being a bit of a fidgety sleeper – or at least so I’m told – I really appreciate a generous bed, especially when it’s comfortable too! Comfortable is probably the best way to describe the room, although a bit warm overnight it was a lovely spacious base for our time in Keswick and had everything we could have wanted for a night away. Even umbrellas, which were definitely a necessity!
Whilst I think the views alone are worth the visit, Highfield also provides convenience in it’s handy location, a short walk from both the town centre and the water. Luckily, it also has it’s own private car park which is definitely a must if you’re travelling to Keswick by car as parking elsewhere seemed scarce. As we were only visiting for a night we had decided to stick to the Keswick area, but should you fancy seeing more of the Lake District on the whole it’s just a few minutes drive from the A66 making it ideally positioned for getting around.
Before heading to Highfield I’d been doing a bit of reading in to what to expect at the hotel and it appeared that the restaurant came very highly recommended. Now, you know me, and you know my love for food, so Paddy and I had really high hopes for our dinner that evening. Luckily we were far from disappointed and instead were left feeling very satisfied and very full.
At first glance the menu was a bit intimidating in that it wasn’t something we would have usually chosen for ourselves, which I think was further demonstrated by the fact that we were quite clearly the youngest at dinner, and in a way we did feel a bit out of place, however the attentive staff and mouthwatering dishes soon cleared any doubts we may have had.
In order to really make the most of the experience, I decided to venture slightly out of my comfort zone and chose wood pigeon as my starter. The meat was a little tough but packed with flavour, and the chorizo & potato accompaniment was the perfect partner. Paddy opted for a chicken liver pate, which is a firm favourite with both of us, however felt that the serving was slightly out of proportion with a huge helping of pate with not very much bread to match.
Now, our main courses were a real highlight of our time at Highfield, and we’ve been raving about them since we arrived home. Not being huge fans of fish we opted for the meatier choices, lamb for myself and beef for Paddy, and they really were something else. Much like the starter, the meats were packed with flavour and oh so tender. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the ratatouille accompaniment the beautifully buttery potatoes more than made up for it.
By this point we were just about ready to roll in to bed, but I never say no to dessert, and so after a quick break watching the rain draw in over the valley from our table we settled on our dessert choices. True to form, Paddy had the sticky toffee pudding which was unexpectedly light, whilst I went for the white chocolate mousse. Again, both of our choices were perfect and rounded off the meal brilliantly.
After such a brilliant evening meal I was a little dubious as to how breakfast would fare in comparison, and whilst it was your pretty standard hotel breakfast fare it went down a treat. The best way to prepare for a day of exploring is definitely by packing yourself full of beautiful buttery pastries, local Cumbrian sausages and gorgeous smoky cheese – all washed down with a generous helping of tea, because Britain. Some hotel breakfasts can be stale and uninteresting, not exactly how you’d want to start your day, but despite not being quite as show stopping as our dinner it certainly was not the case here.
All in all, if you want a little touch of Cumbrian charm in your life then Highfield is the place to be. The Lake District is one of my favourite places in the UK, and somewhere I’ll return to time and time again. I’ll be sharing a bit more of what we got up to in Keswick next week, but in the mean time you can check out the Highfield Hotel on their website.