“A boathouse bolthole with private lakeshore in stunning Lake District scenery; the ultimate romantic rental (sleeps 2, self-catering)”
The boathouse is basically one big open-plan space. Although the bedroom can be self-contained by closing folding doors to the living area, it seems pointless and would make the space feel very small. The queensize bed has super-soft white bedlinen and heaps of velvet, silk and linen cushions in bright copper, chocolate and woodland green. Silk curtains frame the French windows (we slept with them open) and there’s just enough furniture not to crowd the space: an antique armoire, a chair, wooden stools for bedside tables, and a couple of rugs. The living area is designed for 2: a battered leather sofa, a big cream armchair, a chic oak table, and a wood-burning stove for cosy evenings. There’s a great selection of DVDs (When Harry met Sally, Lost in Translation), but it's so isolated there’s no TV reception, and barely a radio signal; bring CDs and an iPod and there’s a system to play them. Candles and dimmable lights up the romance factor. The bathroom squeezes in modern white units, a chrome radiator and a spacious walk-in shower. Aromatherapy Associates toiletries are a nice touch. Throughout, electric radiators give instant heat if you want a quick blast, and Velux skylights provide additional light to the French windows. Walls are unadorned apart from a few scenic black-and-white photographs. Books of walks, an OS Map, a bird-watching book, local leaflets, a set of boules and assorted games provide activity suggestions. And there’s a rowing boat (lifejackets provided) waiting for you in the watery garage below.
The stylish oak kitchen is perfect for rustling up lazy breakfasts, suppers or gourmet meals using the River Café and Gordon Ramsay cookbooks. Small but well kitted-out with a ceramic hob, oven/grill, dishwasher, Nespresso machine and a fleet of cooking utensils, including blenders, a griddle pan and a casserole pot, it has all you need. Breakfast on the balcony is a must (bring a fleece for cooler mornings). Lunch and dinner could be at the picnic table under the trees, inside, or out on the terrace by the jetty. There’s a BBQ out here, too. Basics such as milk, coffee and tea are provided; i-escape guests will get a bottle of wine, too. You'll find kitchen essentials such as dishwasher tablets in the cupboards. Head to Penrith (20 minutes away) for supermarkets. Our choice would be Cranstons, a family butchers that’s opened a food hall stocking regional produce. Similar, but smaller, is the Taste shop at Rheged (12 minutes away); particularly good for cheese. The village store at Pooley Bridge, 5km away, is fine for staples. Restaurant-wise, the Macdonald Leeming House Hotel is walkable (1km) and has a lake-view terrace plus an elegant dining room serving dishes such as wild sea bass. For push-the-boat-out dining, there’s Michelin-starred Sharrow Bay, a 20-minute drive. Brackenrigg Inn (on the road to Pooley Bridge) does hearty Cumbrian dishes such as rump of Lakeland lamb, while the 18th-century Treetops Café and Takeaway in Pooley Bridge does great fish and chips.