Video: The Pitch Residential Weekend at Low Wood Bay

At Low Wood Bay we recently hosted ‘The Pitch’ film competition residential for ten filmmakers who made it in to the final round of the competition. Continue reading

Review of Lancasters A Christmas Carol: “A Humbug worth tasting”

Tim Bell, General Manager at Lancaster House has been enjoying the spirit of the festive season in Lancaster.

In the ten years I’ve been here in Lancaster, I’ve watched with keen interest and excitement as the cultural scene and identity of our historic city has flourished. From a noticeable and admirable level of the arts back in 2003, it’s accelerated to a thriving music and theatre scene here in 2013 gaining national recognition and well-deserved accolades.

The Dukes, Lancaster from Google Streetview

The Dukes, Lancaster from Google Streetview

Without doubt, one of the catalysts and leading lights of this cultural surge has been The Dukes Playhouse. Established in 1971, the converted old church now has 3 unique theatres under its roof all complemented by the popular Gallery and bustling Café Bar. The Dukes has of course gained much of their national recognition for their annual Play in the Park which has been running for over 25 years and is now the UK’s biggest walkabout theatre show. We’ve been proud to co-sponsor this production over the last few years and even more proud that we’ve helped introduce some new fans to this national institution through our theatre breaks.  Continue reading

English Lake District – inspiring art

Jean Grazier begins our series of blogs from artists living and working in close proximity to our Lake District hotels. In December through to February we will feature one of Jean’s paintings in our Reception area at the Waterhead in Ambleside.

Lake Windermere from Borrans Park, very close to Waterhead

Displayed at Reception, painting of Lake Windermere from Borrans Park, very close to Waterhead

“I was born in Manchester and my interest in painting began early whilst at school. However, it wasn’t until retirement to the Lake District that I found the opportunity to renew my school-day passion for painting. Various workshops and courses were then pursued in order to develop my skills. My tutors included the late pastellist, Christopher Asheton-Stones and Tiana Marie who taught and supervised my O.C.N.W. course. Courses in botanical illustration at the Lakeland Horticultural Society at Holehird, Windermere, as well as at Higham Hall, contributed to my interest in floral painting”. Continue reading

Video: Artist Frances Winder at Low Wood Bay

About this video

Frances Winder, local artist from Kendal, enjoys the fleeting qualities of light and colour. In her work she always tries to grasp the internal qualities, the essential mood and spirit of place while increasingly exploring abstract, experimenting with texture and colour.

Frances is one of many artists who are currently exhibiting their work at Low Wood Bay as part of ARTober. A FREE one week interactive art festival at the hotel daily until 3rd November 2013, where you can see over 30 artists from across the country exhibiting various diverse artistic mediums from painting, ceramics, drawing and printmaking to sculpture, digital art and photography. Don’t miss the unique opportunity to purchase artwork from the artists themselves. With FREE art workshops, including Printmaking, iPad Art, Photography, Painting and Children’s Illustration.

You can also see a range of ‘live art’ being created during the exhibition. Tim Ingle, our resident web designer at English Lakes took the opportunity to visit the festival yesterday and spent some time with Frances as she started to create her next piece of work.

Light Up Lancaster – A Week of Special Events in the City

Light up LancasterVisitors from the whole of Lancashire and further afield flock to Lancaster for the city’s annual firework extravaganza at Lancaster Castle. The event which grows in popularity each year returns in 2013 with a full week of FREE ‘Light Up Lancaster’ events around the city. It is the perfect time to explore Lancaster both day and night.

To make the most of some of these fantastic events, consider booking a short break at Lancaster House hotel, just a short drive away from the city centre with prices from £88.00 Bed and Breakfast for two people (available at the time of publishing) with family rooms also available.

Light Up The Waterways

Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 October 2013
Times: 7.15pm, 8.00pm, 8.45pm

Commissioned by the Canal & River Trust, this is a free event for all the family to enjoy. Discover the stories and heritage of our waterways and their often overlooked ecology, with a series of acts by aerial artists, magicians, dancers, musicians and other exciting performance artists, alongside the Grade 1 Listed Lune Aqueduct. Although this is a free event it must be booked in advance on 01524 598500 as there are limited places.

Drawing Workshops

Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 October 2013
Times: 10am – 5pm

During the day there will be family-friendly drawing workshops taking place at St Nics – creating pieces of artwork to be exhibited at Light Up The Streets. No need to book – just bring the family and join in!

Light Up The Streets

Friday 1 November 2013
Performances from 6pm onwards

Take a stroll through the city centre for a unique evening art experience animating our beautiful buildings and squares. Discover new stories along the trail, with a string of music,
dance, theatre and film events. This is a self-guided evening; performances begin at 6pm, but you can arrive at any time and pick up a guide to the evening’s performances and installations from one of the stewards.

Light Up The Skies – The Fireworks Spectacular

downloadSaturday 2 November 2013
Activities from 10am, Fireworks at 8pm

Lancaster’s magical extravaganza of fireworks, which lights up the historic landscape and skyline of the city, is one of the finest displays in the north. This year the fireworks will again be fired from the roof of Lancaster’s medieval castle.

Although the main viewing areas are now fully booked, there are also many other excellent viewing areas throughout the district which do not require wristbands. Recommended areas include the Millennium Bridge, Williamson Park and Salt Ayre Sports and Leisure Centre. Salt Ayre will have a host of family-friendly activities including a fun-fair from 4pm onwards.

There will also be activities including workshops, guided walks and storytelling taking place throughout the day on Saturday.

Lancaster Music Festival – Something for Everyone

Growing in notoriety and popularity, the Lancaster Music Festival has just been named among the winners in the 2013 Lancaster Tourism Awards. The 5th annual Lancaster Music Festival takes place this weekend, 11th – 13th October.  With over 100 performances at over 30 venues, there’s something to meet every taste, whether your passion is blue grass, punk, rock, indie and pretty much everything in between. Most of the shows are free, as are the brochures. The city will indeed be alive with the sound of music.

Jay Diggins from Scorton, Lancashire

Jay Diggins from Scorton, Lancashire

One of the featured artists is local singer/songwriter Jay Diggins from Scorton, Lancashire – tipped to be an artist on the verge of his big break. Jay’s debut album, ‘Searching’, was recorded at his own purpose built studio in Scorton and launched on 23rd September at Lancaster’s Grand Theatre to co-incide with the start of an international tour which will round off in New York in January next year.  Continue reading

New Brewhouse at The Wild Boar

Tim (left) and Andy ready for brewing at The Wild Boar

Tim (right) and Andy ready for brewing at The Wild Boar

My name is Tim and I make beer for a living. This tends to get a pretty positive response from people and for good reason. I get to practice a craft (brewing) that I value deeply with the result being something that many people really enjoy.

That’s the thing about beer. Unlike medicine or vegetables, the people who consume it tend to enjoy doing so. It really does make people happy and I take great satisfaction from that.

Brew in the making

Taking a peak at the brew in the making

The new Brewhouse at the Wild Boar has been operational for nearly three months now and things are going well. After installation, we got straight down to brewing and the bar has been serving two ales made on the premises virtually uninterrupted throughout the summer. By all accounts, the offerings that have been made have also been well received and all parties are looking forward to continually developing the service and the beers on offer.

As for the beers, the idea at the Wild Boar was to have an ever-present house ale complemented by a seasonally variant, slightly more experimental offering. Mad Pig Ale, the former, is a 4.0%ABV cask bitter designed to be enjoyed on its own or with food. It can be characterized by its dry body and subtle hop additions that add intrigue to an easy-drinking, session beer.

Time for a pint of Mad Pig Ale or Hogs Head 54

Time for a pint of Mad Pig Ale or Hogs Head 54

As for the seasonal, the summer saw the launch of Hogshead 54, a 5.5% Imperial Pale Ale. Not one for the faint hearted, this beer takes a retrospective look at the brewing traditions of the 18th and 19th Centuries when this peerless style was exported all over the British Empire to satisfy the cravings of thirsty colonialists. Characterized by its strength and high hopping levels, Hogshead is named after the barrels that were used to transport the ales to India and elsewhere. In these 54 gallon vessels, the strong, hoppy beer would mature on the voyage and result in the magical elixir that one would consume at the other end of the journey.

While Hogshead has been a great success,with the autumn approaching it is time to start thinking about what will come next.

At the heart of this project was the desire to add to the value of what is already happening at the Wild Boar. For me, the Wild Boar is about balancing luxury, tradition and the potential of the beautiful surroundings to provide a unique package. With this in mind, the concept for the next seasonal is to produce a dark porter using malt smoked in the Wild Boar’s onsite smokehouse. The ideal accompaniment to rich, savoury dishes, this beer will be perfect as the weather begins to cool and the nights start to darken.

Cozy autumn nights at The Wild Boar Inn

Cozy autumn nights at The Wild Boar Inn

With provenance and setting at its core, the Brewhouse at the Wild Boar promises to be a long-term, positive addition to what is already a brilliant destination. Beer is very simple. We make it because people like to drink it. If we focus on exactly why that is, we shouldn’t go too far wrong.