This year for me seems to be all about the short break here in the UK. Long weekends and midweek stays on campsites and in hotels are a great way to explore your own country, the perfect way to get away and enjoy a holiday without being too expensive on time or money. One of those short breaks we had recently included a night at The Royal Hotel in Kirkby Lonsdale.
The hotel, in the heart of the South Lakes market town, is ideally placed for an away-from-the-crowds stay, yet conveniently located on the border between the Lake District and the Yorkshrie Dales – and as a walker and someone who likes the big views, I couldn’t ask for a better location.
I spotted in the hotel’s marketing literature that the hotel is great for anyone looking to follow in Wainwright’s footsteps – to “Wainwright baggers” who are ticking off summits as they aim to walk all 214 of the Cumbrian mountains detailed in Wainwright’s famous books in his series, A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. And while I’m no Wainwright bagger, I am a GetOutside Champion and I like nothing more than exploring new places and taking in the views. And if a hotel claims to be walker friendly then that is a definite bonus for me; I don’t need to worry about my attire or my desire for a hearty but unfussy meal!
We booked the “Muddy Boots” package; a dinner, bed and breakfast package that meant we effectively had two half days in the area. There is so much to do around Kirkby Lonsdale that 24 hours there isn’t enough to explore properly by any stretch of the imagination, but it does give you time to stop, relax, enjoy the outdoors and make a list for next time!
I’d spoken to the hotel in advance about parking as they do not have their own, and was advised to park in the market place carpark which is right outside the main entrance. It is free from 6pm to 8am, and you can feed the metre in the evening ready for it to kick in the following day so there is no need to get up early.
Check in was easy and our room, up on the second floor, was spacious and very comfortable. The first thing we noticed? The bath was in the bedroom. We couldn’t decide if this added a hint of luxury or if it was just plain odd; but it was a nice roll top bath and sitting in it I could watch random stuff on the tellybox so you know, not terrible! There was also a sitting area with a couple of low arm chairs, and the actual bathroom (which would have been big enough for the bath…) had a large wet room style shower and some L’Occitane products for us to try – including a bath bomb.
Once we’d settled in we headed back out to have a look around the town. We’d spotted a car park full of bikers as we arrived and so headed in that direction – to the Devil’s Bridge, which at one time carried the Skipton to Kendal road over the River Lune and dates from around 1370. Legend holds that the Devil appeared to an old woman, promising to build a bridge in exchange for the first soul to cross over it. When the bridge was finished, the woman threw bread over the bridge and her dog chased after it, thereby outwitting the Devil.
Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale.
Dinner was included in our stay (minus drinks), and we’d booked our table ahead of time so when we arrived in the restaurant for dinner there was a place reserved for us with our name on. It is an informal and dog-friendly setting with mismatching furniture in a rustic style. The hotel has recently been completely renovated, and you could tell that things were fresh and new, although they could do with adding a cushion or two to the chairs to make them more comfortable for dinner.
The menu sounded rather fancy but when the food came out we were pleased to be presented with the unfussy and hearty meals we were hoping for. I chose the whole seabass “en papillote” (thank you Masterchef for meaning I knew what that meant!) which came with chips, and Allister had the Lamb cutlets with mash. We ordered a side of veg to go with our mains as the meals seemed lacking in colour, and that was definitely a good move. For pudding we chose the sticky toffee pudding and the apple tart, both amazing. No photos as we were too busy eating, but I can assure you the food looked and tasted good. The service was attentive and friendly the whole evening and we left the restaurant suitably fed and watered after our day outside.
We slept well in our large bed and woke up the following morning to the expectation of an excellent breakfast. We were not disappointed; LincsGeek went for the traditional Cumbrian breakfast and I had the Eggs Benedict, and both were excellent. Apart from the cooked selection, which is prepared to order, there was also a small buffet table of cereals and juices that you could help yourself to. Checkout was not until a very reasonable 11am which meant we had a very welcome relaxing morning.
From our hotel we jumped in the car and headed back into the Yorkshire Dales, this time to White Scar Cave to explore inside the hill and then on to Ribblehead to take in the beautiful clear views before we headed south to continue our short road trip style break in Shropshire.
I guess when people read hotel reviews they want to know whether I would a) return to the hotel to stay there again and b) whether I would pay the going rate for my room? Well yes, on both counts. The Royal Hotel in Kirkby Lonsdale, part of the James’ Places group of hotels, was a lovely place to spend a night. We normally go cheap when we go away so it was touch of luxury for us, which is always nice, but it was relaxed and unpretentious which meant we felt very welcome and at home. It would be a great place for a long weekend as there is so much to see and do in the local area, and if you enjoy getting outside like we do you can do no better than base yourself on the edge of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales.
The Yorkshire Three Peaks (Pen Y Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough) from one spot.
Find out more about the hotel here: http://www.royalhotelkirkbylonsdale.co.uk/
I was provided with dinner, bed and breakfast at The Royal Hotel free of charge in return for a post here on Splodz Blogz. We really did have a lovely time!