The handwritten inscription reads ‘To Peggy, with love and best wishes for a happy birthday, Molly’ - it’s dated 1929.
The book, The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, sits alongside early editions of Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers and Bleak House on a shelf in the ladies room of The Wild Boar Inn, in Windermere. Even the bathroom reading material in this place is historic.
The shelf sits next to a faded tapestry from 1832 and a number of aged black and white photographs. I love this place. I love the history that seeps out of its pores. My husband and I have escaped for the weekend, our batteries seriously in need of a re-charge, and the lakes is proving to be a good choice.
The Wild Boar Inn is nestled in the hills; close enough to take advantage of the bustling town of Windermere, and far enough away that we can sit out on the private porch of our suite and enjoy the uninterrupted sound of the wind whistling through the trees.
That first day, we set out to enjoy everything the inn has to offer. We order drinks and spend a couple of hours reading books in baby-soft leather wingback chairs in the bar, blow off some cobwebs with a walk to explore some of the inn’s 72 acres, and then refuel with a delicious afternoon tea before raiding the inn’s DVD collection and heading back to our suite. At dinner that night we enjoy hunks of bread slathered in smoked butter while we choose from the wine list, then nibble on hot smokey pigs in blanket while we peruse the menu. The house-special smoked steaks seem an obvious choice for the main course - and they don’t disappoint. The smiley and helpful staff are on hand with personal recommendations and we top off a wonderful meal with apple crumble and custard - real comfort food.
The next day we decide to sample a little of what the lakes has to offer, booking in for a clay pigeon shooting class with local instructor Mike Coates. Mike meets us at a special shooting area carved out in the inn’s woodland and takes us through the basics of what we’ll be doing in our one-to-one tutorial with him. Mike is a wealth of knowledge on the subject of shooting, having worked as an instructor for the past ten years. He also has a few hilarious tales to tell which help put us at ease before we pick up our guns for the first time. We quickly become addicted to the thrill of seeing the clays explode over our heads as Mike guides us through the process of shooting and, before our hour-long class is up, we’ve moved onto multiple targets. What a blast. Literally.
I wear the small kick-back bruise on my right shoulder with pride that night as we head out for dinner at the nearby Waterhead Hotel & Restaurant, where our table has a beautiful view of the water. The wild mushroom and thyme arancini starter is delicious, with a satisfying texture, and the chicken and garlic risotto cake main course is a big hit, but it’s the baked goats cheese and chive souffle which is the highlight of the night and is honestly one of the best things either of us has ever eaten.
The next morning, back at the inn, we sample fantastic waffles and the inn’s signature full english before we check out and head back to the city, thoroughly rested and rejuvenated.
Save our room, we’ll be back.
For further information, visit http://englishlakes.co.uk/