Travel: Wild Boar Inn, Windermere

The Wild Boar InnThe Wild Boar Inn
The Wild Boar Inn
When choosing a wild weekend away, you can't go wrong with beer, smoking and guns.
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It may sound like a devil’s retreat, but in reality, a stay at the Wild Boar Inn, in Windermere, was a tranquil and tame family break – honest!The hotel, part of The Great Inns of Britain collection, takes its name from the local legend of Sir Richard de Gilpin, who bravely fought and killed a particularly ferocious wild boar.It comes as no surprise that the wild boar is a staple in the grill and restaurant’s menu, smoked to perfection in the smoke house on the grounds.

At times there was a smoky smell wafting through the cool, crisp spring air, providing extra proof of the menu’s authenticity.If this was enough temptation, you can even book on the hotel’s food smoking courses.Even some of the ale is smoked, as the hostel has its own microbrewery, where one of the brews is a smoked porter.There is also the option to experience real ale fermenting sessions under the expert guidance of a master brewer. The microbrewery keeps up with the wild boar theme, with ales named after the pig family. It must be noted the Mad Pig was a firm favourite with my other half.

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Clay pigeon shootingClay pigeon shooting
Clay pigeon shooting

After a very filling and delicious meal, we managed to escape magnetic pull of the roaring fire in the cosy bar and reception area, to explore the 72-acre woodland within the hotel’s grounds.Having perused the welcome pack in our room, I spotted the Wild Boar Inn’s woodlands history map, which gives you a full guide of the area.

I found it interesting to read the wood has a military history, being used for charcoal to make gunpowder and methanol explosives in the First World War and also for target shooting in the Great War, as shown by the former rifle platforms.Not wishing to stamp out its heritage, the hotel offers clay pigeon shooting or archery in the woodlands.

With a small child in tow, this was not an option for us, but The Wild Boar gym trail, consisting of eight exercise stations such as the parallel bars, ladder walk and balance beam, provided a fun work out for little legs.We were also entertained by a black cat who followed us for part of the way, even opting to sit with us as we rested on a seat sculpted out of trees. A little further on, above a small lake, wild deer also watched down on us.

After nearly getting lost in the woods when the sun went down, it was time to retreat back into the warmth and rip off the walking shoes.As we entered the inn from the bar area, we were hit by the roaring log fire cracking in the background. That certainly made us feel toasty again after a late evening amble.There was no mistaking the fact it was bed time for my eight-year-old stepson.He was highly excited about the fact he had a ‘make up table’ in his part of the room – maybe even more so than the children’s goodie bag he received, which included a balloon, colouring pack and chocolate.Us adults didn’t do so badly either, with white cotton dressing gowns for comfort. The room also had an LCD Smart TV and DVD player, with a range of DVDs at reception to choose from.

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The woodlands areaThe woodlands area
The woodlands area

The inn has 34 individually-styled bedrooms, with three categories of rooms available, priced from £118, classic bed and breakfast, to £406 for a luxury room, with dinner, bed and breakfast.Dinner, bed and breakfast rate includes a £32 per person allowance from the dinner menu.Guests also have access to spa facilities at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, just a few minutes away in the car.

The hotel is located just a short drive away from the centre of Windermere, with easy access to other parts of the Lake District.We opted to spend the afternoon in Ambleside after a brief climb up Helvellyn, taking in its wondrous views.With a young Tiger Woods for company, we enjoyed the miniature golf at Better Glebe Park in Windermere, where we were met with the lovely backdrop of the rolling hills.

For me, no trip to Windermere is complete without a boat ride on the magnificent lake. As we were in the prime location of Bowness, we opted for a 45-minute circular boat ride, taking in the islands, with Windermere Lake Cruises. It was a lovely sunny day, so we were more than happy to sit on the top deck and feel the cool breeze.

For more avid boat riders, there are other routes available, including a Freedom of the Lake ticket, valid for 24 hours. There is also a walkers ticket, from Lakeside, Bowness or Brockhole, to Ambleside, with a service to Wray Castle and a four-mile walk along the shore path to Ferry House.

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Food and the roaring fireFood and the roaring fire
Food and the roaring fire

The Wild Boar Inn Grill and Smokehouse, Crook Road, Windermere.Classic family room from £118 per night, bed and breakfast; from £178 for dinner, B&B. Feature room from £156, bed and breakfast; from £216 for dinner, B&B.

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