Recently, I took a trip with my boyfriend to The Lake District, where we were lucky enough to stay in the idyllic Laura Ashley Hotel, The Belsfield in Bowness on Windemere for 2 nights.
When I found out we were staying there, I was very anxious about what I was going to eat, as I always am when staying somewhere new, and thinking about going on a holiday or break. Unbeknown to me, my partner had rang and told them that I was gluten free, and I also tweeted them. Their response to my tweet was super re-assuring, since I couldn’t access any information online about gluten free food!
So, we arrived at The Belsfield, which is on the top of a hill, overlooking Windemere. The interior is nothing but furnished with Laura Ashley products, and what’s better is the second you walk in the door from the car park (which is free) you can see the most perfect view of Windemere.
On our check-in, we opted to book in for a gluten free cream tea before we went to our room, so in we went to this fabulously decorated restaraunt area, overlooking, yep, you guessed it, the lake. I mentioned to the server that I required a gluten free cream tea, and of course, that’s what I got! Oh, and we shared a bottle of prosecco with it too, not bad at all!
Two huge warm scones with jam and cream, one of the scones fruity, and one plain. Photos will never do them justice, and I had to check to make sure they were gluten free, as I honestly could not tell the difference! It was absolutely scrumptious.
We headed to our room and it was absolutely stunning, we had a great view, and there were a few little locally made treats in the room, such as bon-bons waiting to be eaten and a coffee machine, snazzy. One downside was the television. I stayed in a Mercure once and it had a proper fancy big telly in the room that had Apple TV on it, so anything with just freeview on it isn’t as great, but I’ll get over it. The hotel has a gym and a library room too, so it’s pretty awesome in different ways.
Breakfast in the hotel was nothing short of fuss-free! As soon as we went down to the breakfast room, we were asked if we wanted any toast, I asked if they did gluten free toast, and it wasn’t a problem at all for them! The breakfast buffet was very well maintained, with each individual item being put in it’s own separate hot box with separate tongs for each item too. I wasn’t sure if the sausages were gluten free, but I just opted for the standard scrambled eggs and bacon to have with my toast (I don’t eat a huge amount in the morning) but it was bloody lovely! Again we were sat by the window overlooking Windemere and the beautiful garden at the hotel.
Exploring Bowness on Windemere was just lovely, we went and had a walk around the lake and little village type bit nearby, visited the Beatrix Potter museum (which is superb for those of you guys with children). We also popped in a few shops to have a look at what there is to offer (A LOT of Peter Rabbit, fyi). A lot of the shops sold gluten free food such as shortbread, sweets and other confectionary, so something to nibble on in the hotel room. We didn’t really go far, as the weather was a bit drizzly, but we enjoyed our stay.
Before we left, we popped to the Award Winning Vinegar Jones, which has won a free from eating out award, quite a few times now. They offer gluten free fish and chips, and fishcakes too. I opted for the gluten free fish and chips, which is cooked to order, so you know it is fresh. They do gluten free all day, every day too, which is fantastic. The portion I got was very generous, especially with the chips. The fact I couldn’t finish them was a massive downside I feel. The batter was super crispy and had a decent flavour to it as well. Not as great as my local Fylde Fish Bar in Southport, but it was an option.
So they do offer white vinegar as their gluten free vinegar, which I was a little disappointed with, as I know Drywite do a Coeliac UK certified vinegar. It’s just not the same!
**Let me talk chippy vinegar with you for a sec, although vinegar you get in the supermarket is safe for coeliacs, chippy vinegar comes in a solution that you have to dilute, and most of it contains Barley Malt to flavour it, which isn’t a safe level to be deemed gluten free. If it was gluten free, I’m sure they wouldn’t sell a gluten free vinegar.**
Overall, this place is very nice to visit for a weekend, or a few days, and I DEFINITELY would recommend the hotel, for it’s incredible views, gorgeous decor, and the fact there was very little fuss made with eating gluten free there. I just felt like a ‘normal’ person with ‘normal’ dietary habits while I was there. Not a care in the world, no food anxiety, no nothing.
Thanks for reading!
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