Daish's Holidays review: Sunshine trip to Lake District was perfect UK staycation
I returned from an idyllic stay in the Lake District with a feeling of contentment that no amount of expensive locations or exotic travel could top.
I have to admit, Kendal was not on my bucket list but it is now most definitely on my must-return list.
One other small confession, the weather was absolutely perfect. Everybody we met couldn't help remarking on the glorious week of sunshine but then, everybody was so friendly we had to stop and have a conversation with everyone we passed so beautiful weather is always a great place to start.
My trip was organised by Daish's who specialise in coach tours. I hadn't been on a coach holiday anywhere since I was a child. Indeed, I hadn't been to the Lakes since then either.
Daish's know their travellers in a way few other holiday companies could challenge. Considering the target customer is over 60s and every single one of them had been away with Daish's before, they knew what they wanted and they got exactly that.
We stayed at the County Hotel, which has a glittering heritage all of its own.
A Grade-II listed building, the 41-bed hotel stands on a site where buildings have been recorded since 1611.
It was 1833 when a town map first named the building as an inn. Records from 1776 suggest the inn was known as the Lowther Arms, a name the building kept until the railway came to Kendal in 1832. It then went through several names until finally being named the County Hotel in 1910.Just a stones throw from the station, right in the heart of Kendal and with ample parking - you couldn't ask for a better location.The facilities include a bar and restaurant and ballroom. There is also live entertainment every evening including dancing, bingo, quizzes and games - all of which were very popular with our fellow travellers.
There is also the option to book excursions and day trips via the hotel.
It is officially two star but the service and staff were all five star. We could not have been made to feel more welcome.
The bar is very reasonably priced, the food is good and lots of effort has been put into making everything work well for people who have mobility issues or might run out of steam early.
Meals are as convenient as possible and the table service is fast. You select your three course dinner on the day and it is ready when you arrive at the restaurant. The puddings are well worth saving room for. Breakfast works in a similar way. There is no queueing for a buffet or trying to walk with dishes balanced in a busy dining room. The choices are wide but everything is brought straight to your table.
The hotel has been part of family-owned business Daish’s Holidays since 2019 and it was awarded a TripAdvisor 2022 Travellers Choice Award for the third year running.
Kendal is well known as the gateway to the Lake District and we made the most of its positioning with trips out every day. The town itself is well worth an explore and we had a great time enjoying a drink by the river and scrambling up hill to find the castle remains.
The best tips on holiday come from those who have already experienced something for themselves. Chatting to one couple over a glass of wine one evening, they told us about their adventures to Lake Windermere on a steam train.
They were fizzing with recommendations from their day so we decided to completely steal their idea and recreate it ourselves the very next morning. It did not disappoint.
The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway is run by a team who are not only steam enthusiasts but the friendliest bunch of train staff you could imagine. The polished wood, punctual arrival and absolute joy felt by everyone about that magnificent machine was a long cry from my usual experience of our modern railways.
The track doesn't go far - there was a huge historical fight just to restore a small section - but every second is enjoyable.
At the end of the line we hopped aboard a leisure cruiser and made the most of yet another form of travel where the journey itself is as delightful as the destination.
It was on that boat that I truly began to understand why so many people adore the Lakes.
I have a busy job, a busy family and a busy life. Changing that pace, surrounding myself with gorgeous places, wonderful people and a level of service that makes you feel like a VIP is good for the soul.
This was a holiday where the sense of joy didn't disappear the second I got back home. That glow from a wonderful experience is still there and I know most of our party felt the same.
You don't have to be young, energetic or independent to enjoy a perfect holiday. The whole aim of Daish's is to offer visitors what they need, suited to not only what they want but what will make them feel relaxed.
Another unexpected bonus of a staycation is the £2 bus ticket. Now that might not sound like a massive bargain when you are just travelling a short distance to commute to work each morning
When you are basking in the sun on an open top double-decker for 90s mins being chauffeured through some of the most picturesque parts of the country, it feels like the best deal ever.
Even more so for the vast majority of our group who waved their bus passes with huge smiles and hopped aboard with no cost at all.
Reasonably priced holidays that work for people over 60 who still love to explore but might need a bit of extra convenience aren't too easy to find. Daish's do it perfectly and that's what keeps their loyal customers coming back for more.
Staycations this enjoyable are good for the planet, the wallet and the soul.
FACT BOX: County HotelStation Road, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 6BTTelephone: 01539 722461https://www.daishs.com/lake-district/county-hotelWhat’s included in a Daish’s Holiday package:• Luxury coach travel or free hotel guest parking on-site• Convenient pickup and drop-off along popular routes• Breakfast and three-course evening meal every day• On-site entertainmentThe hotel is open to guests all year roundTariff 2023 (as at 25 May 2023), based on two people sharing a standard room:From £214pp self-drive/£234pp coach to £399pp self-drive/£419pp coachEarly booking and Kids Go Free discounts also apply.