We all know that there are some wonderful things to do in the Lake District National Park. It is after all, an exceptional example of nature’s playground, with the fells to hike, valleys to explore and the shores of the lakes inviting you to take to the water for a swim or boating trip.
At Low Wood Bay, you’ll find that we’ve gone that extra mile in terms of outdoor activities. As well as the outdoor spa facilities for those who want a bit of R&R whilst taking in the spectacular views of the Langdales, there’s also the Watersports Centre which offers pretty much all you can think of in terms of boating, paddleboarding or even wake surfing.
Many of our guests yearn for something more to bring them closer to the natural world, and that’s why we’ve teamed up with Lake District Falconry to offer intimate hawk walks in the Lake District, allowing participants to get up close to birds of prey and even have them fly to their outstretched gloved hand.
We first started working with the falconers and their birds at The Wild Boar Inn, where our 72 acres of woodlands make the perfect tree canopy cover to see the raptors fly, swoop and dive in a natural environment.
And so we decided to help create a falconry centre here on the shores of Windermere, using Low Wood Bay’s extensive grounds and the backdrop of spectacular Lake District scenery to offer ‘hawk walks’ for guests and visitors.
Sessions start with the experienced falconers introducing one of the raptors, allowing participants to wear a falconry glove and have the bird of prey perch on their fist. This is followed by the opportunity to fly the hawk to and from the glove with expert guidance from an experienced falconer.
General manager at the spa Mark Needham says: “We’re very lucky to be able to offer our guests some of the best views across Windermere here at Low Wood Bay. So what better place to allow them an even closer step to nature by trying their hand at falconry.
“During the hawk walks, there’s a chance to take on the role of the falconer, donning the gauntlet and calling the birds to you. It’s a great way to experience the unique bond between these birds and humans. We have a number of hawk walk packages to choose from, including options to make a day of it with spa usage and a two-course lunch or afternoon tea.”
As an integral part of the sessions, participants also learn about the behavioural habits of the birds and watch one of the hawks perform a simulated hunt using artificial prey.
Stephen Lea from Lake District Falconry says: “It’s great to add such a spectacular venue for our exclusive hawk walk experiences. Low Wood Bay guests can get to know our beautiful hawks and immerse themselves in their world against the spectacular backdrop of Windermere and the Lakeland Fells.” Find out more book your falconry experience.
If culture and heritage are you thing, why not combine your stay in North Lancashire with a day trip from Lancaster House Hotel to Leighton Hall?
Set within the Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Carnforth, the history of the hall goes back nearly 800 years and there is plenty to explore. Our receptionist Carolyn paid a visit on a ‘big day out’:
I’d always thought Leighton Hall with its gardens, tearooms and activities would be well worth a visit, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Nestled in wide expanses of picturesque rural land, the history of the hall goes back to 1246 but the welcome and tour of the beautiful manor is by no means dated.
The hall is still home to the current owners, Lucy Gillow Arthurs and Daniel Arthurs, whose ancestors have lived there across many generations. They have been kind enough to open their home to the public to share their history and vast collection of art and furniture.
From the warm welcome at the gate, the customer friendly tour of the hall and its grounds and the delicious home-made cakes and drinks in the café, we immediately felt relaxed.
Unlike so many other country estates and rural houses open to the public, Leighton Hall has ‘no ropes or boundaries’ in it rooms. Guests are encouraged to sit down in the Gillow dining chairs and to feel the quality of the bird’s eye maple wood in the bedroom furniture of Lady Reynold’s bedroom.
The tour starts in the grand entrance hall, and you immediately see the magical ‘flying staircase’ beneath which nestles a beautiful Daisy table. The guide tells the history of some of the paintings and the clock displayed here and talks about the mystery of the Daisy table.
The tour talk was delivered in a friendly, chatty manner and we had the opportunity to ask questions as we went along.
There’s plenty of time too to admire the antique pieces of furniture positioned around the rooms, with explanations as to whence some of the pieces were sourced, or what they were used for.
Drawers and cupboards doors are opened to reveal the insides of many curious pieces collected over many years. Many are Gillow manufactured but there are some contrasting French pieces showing marked differences in their design.
Some were highly practical in their use and would have been used on a daily basis. Others were used to house intriguing collections that family members acquired on their travels and showed off to visitors in days gone by.
In the music room, we were encouraged to relax and take a seat whilst discovering the history of the room and renowned performers who have entertained the family and their guests in the past. The cosy drawing room and its bay window extension allow for a moment to enjoy the countryside views too.
A visit upstairs to the principal bedroom of Sir James and Lady Reynolds reveals a very different style of furniture which was not made by the Gillows. The highly ornate bed, matching wardrobes and drawers give a contrasting vibe to the furnishings of other rooms.
There is small, intimate chapel in the hall where the family used to go to pray and attend services in the privacy of their own home.
We also got a peek at the servants’ quarters downstairs: seeing all the bells to summon staff to the many different rooms around the house was quite an eye opener. Learning each bell’s individual tone to respond to the correct room must have been a nightmare.
Following the very informative and entertaining tour of the hall, we were treated to a highly skilled falconry display. The recall demonstrated by one of the birds would make any dog owner envious, instantly responding to the trainer and returning to the ground on command.
Our day was brought to a satisfying conclusion with a trip to the tearooms where you can enjoy a drink and snack on the homemade cakes, either sitting inside or outside in the sheltered courtyard area.
The hall also has a lot to offer children with its Teddy Bear Hunt competition in the summer, a play area and a maze. There’s a trail to find tree faces, an area to indulge in brass rubbings, an insect hotel and bee corner too, or you and your family can simply take a gentle stroll through the beautiful woodland area or take some time to admire the walled garden.
For further information or to organise a visit during your stay at Lancaster House Hotel, go to www.leightonhall.co.uk
Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa is on the shortlist for the 2023 Cumbria Tourism awards as a leading wedding venue in the Lake District.
The venue first ventured into the mainstream wedding industry over 30 years ago.
With panoramic views of Windermere and the Langdale Pikes as a spectacular backdrop for unrivalled wedding photographs, and event capacity for up to 280 guests, its reputation as a wedding venue continues to grow.
“The hotel service is fantastic, the views of the lake are absolutely stunning and there is a really relaxed, laid-back vibe about the place that instantly puts you at ease.”Lorna & Matthew
The wedding co-ordination team at Low Wood Bay is always looking for ways to improve the big day experience for a couple getting married, and the time they spend with us either side of that.
We maintain strong, sustainable working relationships with a host of high-quality local suppliers to ensure couples have access to a wide-ranging choice in food selection, florists, photography and entertainment.
Bespoke, customised options include menu choices at no extra cost, 4-tier wedding cakes, our novelty beer boat and Lazy Susans fashioned for woodland themed celebrations.
“Couples state that when booking their wedding, it is about their interactions with the team and the wedding coordinator assigned for the planning process and wedding day itself. We thrive on the chance to offer our couples a range of optional extras and finer details to ensure their big day is unique.”Rachel Baines
The venue has a private wedding area managed within the resort so couples and families do not need to pay for total exclusivity of the hotel.
We also have over 10 different room types to fit all the diverse requirements of our wedding guests. Options include The Winander Club, lake and fell views, balconies and roof terrace access. Our wedding co-ordinators work closely with couples to organise inclusive packages and keep prices competitive.
The spa facilities and thermal journeys at Low Wood Bay are another key benefit for wedding couples, their friends and families to enjoy during their stay. Our indoor and outdoor thermal facilities and invigorating spa packages are designed around relaxation and rejuvenation to allow that little extra luxury to mark the big occasion.
Wedding breakfast menus and options include additional creations from our in-house executive resort chef, including a full 3 course wedding breakfast menu featuring over a dozen different types of canapés, 11 starter options, 17 main courses and 11 desserts from which to choose.
We do not charge any extra for offering a choice of 3 different options per course for guests to select. From pan fried fillet of seabass to a slow cooked shank of Lakeland lamb, the result is the curation of a high-end, appealing, wide-ranging and gluten free menu which offers both traditional and alternative dishes, including vegan and vegetarian options.
“A special shout out to the chef and his team, I have never had so many people comment on how good the food was at a wedding before.”Bride and Groom, Victoria & Joe
Our novelty ‘beer boat’ has become a real talking point as an alternative way to serve drinks during the wedding day celebrations. The boat is hired and filled with the couple’s choice of drinks from which guests can then help themselves – a modern alternative to a free bar. This is available throughout the wedding breakfast and evening reception.
One of our biggest wedding events was in 2022 when we catered for 250 guests, including a pre-wedding dinner for 70. The wedding breakfast itself saw over 500 individual canapés initially served, followed by 680 separate dishes moved from kitchen to table over a 2.5 hour period – 45 of which were adapted so suit individual guests’ dietary requirements. From breakfast to evening buffet, over 230 staff hours were worked by the team.
The summer months of course are always busy and in August 2022 we broke our record for the most weddings in a single month – 15!
We are continually reviewing the scope and value of our wedding package offers. Another key consideration is the cost of living and rising prices which everybody is facing. We want to make Low Wood Bay more accessible for lower budgets so as many people as possible can have the venue firmly in their sights as the place to celebrate their big day.
From an environmental and sustainability point of view, wedding parties can choose a venue in Low Wood Bay that uses hydropower as a source of electricity and wherever possible sources goods from local producers.
“The wedding team was an absolute joy to deal with. They helped make our memorable day even more special.”Bride and groom, Stephanie & Chris
Call our wedding co-ordinators team today on 015394 39479 and find out how they can make your wedding day a little extra special.
As a Lake District wedding venue, Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa has become a highly popular choice, and perhaps the biggest driver behind its success is the endeavour and attention to detail of our wedding co-ordinators Rachel Baines, Lucy Newton and Ewelina Jozwik.
The venue’s wedding team helps couples from all over the world to plan their big day, tie the knot and start their married lives with unforgettable memories. We have looked after brides and grooms from a host of international backgrounds, couples from nearby Ambleside, from London, and from far flung countries including India, China, America and Australia.
Flexibility is the key, with the team able to prepare and dress the venue to cater for wedding parties of 20 or large-scale ceremonies for nearly 300.
“We have the experience to create intimate wedding days for a couple’s nearest and dearest, or larger ceremonies with hundreds of guests. We give couples the flexibility to plan their big day, mapping it out precisely as they wish.”Rachel Baines
“Your team were faultless, helping with any queries and questions without hesitation. They were all on hand whenever we needed them, even the day after the wedding.”Bride and groom, Victoria & Joe
“I really enjoy putting all the stationery, décor and final details together in the run up to and on the wedding day. When working together with our couples, I love the planning process and being able to use my creativity to ensure their day is exactly what they imagine it to be. It’s so rewarding to the see our couple’s faces light up when they view the room before their guests come in and see that their vision has come to life.”LucyRachel Baines
“Personally, I love standing at the top of the Gallery with the bride before her music starts and she walks down the aisle. There’s nothing left to plan and the last 18-24 months of organising have built up to this 10 minutes of nerves and excitement and trust that her dream day is about to begin. Building up a relationship with our couples is so important and I love that moment when they look to me to guide them to their first step down the aisle. No matter how many times I do it, it always makes me feel proud of them.”
“The best part of my job is the satisfaction of helping couples create their dream wedding. I get to witness the joy and happiness of the couple and their families on the wedding day. Seeing all the planning and hard work come together to create beautiful and memorable events is incredibly rewarding.“Ewelina
Lucy graduated from university with a degree in Business & Tourism management and was looking to start a career in weddings or events.
“I saw an advert on the website for a wedding & events assistant and knew this would be perfect for me. Following a great interview with the weddings manager, the role was offered to me and I quickly worked my way up to a wedding & events co-ordinator position – I haven’t looked back since!”Lucy
After attending a friend’s wedding when she was 18, Rachel knew that she wanted to be a wedding co-ordinator so got in touch with the weddings manager here at Low Wood Bay for some advice.
“She told me to start from the bottom, work my way up and get as much experience as possible, so after shadowing her on a couple of wedding days I bagged myself a job on the hotel reception. Six months later I was planning small scale events and it all snowballed from there. I have been co-ordinating weddings now for over 7 years and it’s seen me through getting engaged, getting married and having a baby. Low Wood Bay has really become my second home.”Rachel
“I previously worked as a wedding planner in a small hotel and I sought the opportunity to work for a busy, larger wedding venue. The position at Low Wood Bay gave me the opportunity to develop the role with the facilities that are offered here, and I am really glad they did!”Ewelina
For more information about holding your wedding at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, please feel free to give one of our wedding co-ordinators an introductory call on 015394 39479.
Front of House Operations Manager at Lancaster House Lynn Porter took her children for a big day out in Lancaster at the Williamson Park’s Butterfly house and mini zoo.
It’s not always easy to find interactive activities which are fun, immersive and educational for your children, especially during the school holidays.
But there’s a little treat in store for kids of all ages at Williamson Park in Lancaster, where they can extend their science and biology knowledge in a little oasis of wildlife, thanks to the Butterfly House and mini zoo.
Once an Edwardian tropical palm house, families can now explore the building which is a maze of different habitats for a diverse range of butterfly species. And children can quickly learn about the life cycles of the butterflies, caterpillars and pupae, as well as catching a glimpse of exotic animals such as a marmoset, Koi carp or a tortoise.
“One of the most challenging things we found was trying to photograph the butterflies – it’s pretty tricky trying to get them to pose or be still for very long! But the kids were thrilled with the experience and it’s a great environment for them to explore and find out more about nature. All in all, they had a great time, and loved the mini beasts as well, although Arlo wasn’t that keen when a butterfly landed on him.”Lynn Porter
Angela Martindale probably didn’t realise when she got married at Lancaster House Hotel in 2016 that in half a dozen years or so her daughter Nicole Pilkington would in some ways be following in her footsteps.
Nicole is currently a wedding co-ordinator at our Lancashire venue which specialises in helping couples tie the knot with a memorable big day. So is it a coincidence that she landed her favourite job at the same place her mum got married?
Nicole had worked in a number of roles in hospitality before joining English Lakes Hotels in 2018 as a receptionist. From the moment she arrived she struck up a friendship with Lancaster House wedding organiser Lisa Ng and more or less from day one said she’d love to be involved in helping brides and grooms organise their nuptials.
As the venue’s reputation for wedding events grew, so too did the workload, and when a new job was created, Nicole grasped the opportunity to join the wedding team and has never looked back.
I suppose Mum and my step-dad Andrew’s wedding here influenced my thinking without me knowing it. But the idea of getting involved in co-ordinating other people’s weddings didn’t really hit me until I saw what Lisa did in the job and how rewarding it is.Nicole
Angela and husband Andrew speak very fondly of their wedding experience at Lancaster House too: “It was just the picture-perfect venue to host our wedding day and they tailored everything to our needs,” she enthuses.
“The atmosphere on the day was so relaxing and the staff genuinely friendly and super-efficient. It was the little decorative details and additions which made all the difference, extra special touches you noticed around the hotel.
“We stayed in the main Silverdale bridal suite that overlooks the beautiful grounds. The reception was held in the Dalton suite with bespoke design and natural light coming through the window. The team absolutely catered to our every need down to the final details and helped organise our wedding accessories on our arrival too.”Angela
Angela and Andrew’s guest list was around 60 and due to long travelling distances for some family and friends, quite a few took the opportunity to book a room and stay overnight in the hotel.
Lancaster House has around 30 weddings planned in the coming months of 2023, having successfully delivered 37 in 2022, some of which were held over from Covid related postponements. The venue has capacity for up to 50-60 such events each year and Lisa and Nicole are aiming to build on their successful working partnership and grow this side of the business.
If you are looking for a top venue for your wedding in North Lancashire, Lancaster House may just be the answer! Whether it’s to plan a smaller, intimate, close knit wedding experience with family and best friends or a larger scale celebration for up to 140 guests, our team can help you every step of the way with tailored packages, special offers and specific requirements.
Find out more here https://englishlakes.co.uk/lancaster-house/weddings/
call us today on 01524 585 175.
When you’re looking for somewhere to stay when visiting Blackpool, Lancaster House Hotel is the great base for you and your loved ones.
Whether you’ve decided to enjoy the unique sights of the renowned Blackpool Illuminations, or you’ve booked to take in a show at the Winter Gardens, it’s nice to know that you can quickly escape the hubbub and immerse yourself in the relaxed atmosphere of a spacious four star venue with its own health club, restaurant and grounds.
The hotel is in a great location, an easy motorway drive into the centre of Blackpool and is just 5 minutes from the centre of the historic city of Lancaster itself.
Before you head off into the bright lights and showbiz of Blackpool’s attractions, you can spend your time relaxing by our indoor pool facilities which include a hot tub, steam room and sauna.
Blackpool is bursting with life throughout the year, with its world famous tower and classic ballroom and of course its reputation for fantastic light shows and evening entertainment.
And there’s plenty for the kids to enjoy during the day too, with the zoo, the Sea Life Centre, Sandcastle Waterpark, Madame Tussauds and of course the Pleasure Beach amusement park always proving highly popular with families.
Blackpool is alive with holiday makers from May to September, enjoying the sunshine, the golden sands, the historic piers, amusement arcades and the nightlife. Autumn is a fine time to visit too with a host of fantastic family events which celebrate the town’s rich history for spectacular after dark shows in the lead up to Christmas and the new year.
November sees the annual visit of the Strictly Come Dancing contestants strutting their stuff at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Did you know that the town also plays host to the World Fireworks Championship in front of the promenade over four successive weekends each year?
And as well as the world renowned Blackpool Illuminations, there’s also the annual Lightpool Festival. Lancaster House Hotel is the ideal spot to make your home for a few nights whilst you make the most of everything that Blackpool has to offer.
The Blackpool Illuminations is close to the hearts of many families who have visited them each year from generation to generation. The display stretches six miles North to South down the entire promenade with the Golden Mile perhaps featuring all the latest innovations to the spectacle.
The illuminations have now been extended through Christmas until the early new year so that families have the entire festive period to enjoy them.
Another fabulous autumn event in Blackpool is the now well established Lightpool Festival which features a plethora of exciting installations, large scale light projections, street entertainments, performance artists and live music. There is also the Illuminated Tram Parade which is fronted by LED lit drummers outfit, Spark!
Halloween is also a special time to visit the town which always looks to make its mark on the traditions and history of the spookiest day of the year. There are Halloween events and parties across the resort for all the family to enjoy, as well as the ghost trains and trams, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon and the Haunted Hotel tableau in the Illuminations.
The Globe Theatre at Blackpool Pleasure Beach hosts the atmospheric Circus of Horrors show with rock music and burlesque acrobatics. There’s a child friendly version of the show in the late afternoon as well as the full throttle evening performances.
Blackpool lays claim to having the largest portfolio of attractions outside of London. With the convenience of high quality facilities, the Sandpiper Leisure Club, Foodworks Restaurant and the Sandeman Bar, Lancaster House Hotel is the perfect location for a short break near Blackpool.
Take to the water to immerse yourself in Windermere’s scenery.
Your hotel stay in the Lake District may not be complete without a leisurely cruise out on the water and Windermere is perhaps the most convenient in offering you some of the best scenery the national park has to offer.
With pick up and drop off points just a stone’s throw away from Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, jumping aboard one of Windermere Lake Cruises’ famous vessels allows you to get a different perspective and drink in the spectacular surrounding landscapes of the fells.
And feel free to be selective about the vessel of your choice: a modern launch may be your thing or perhaps the chance to step back in time on a lake steamer from a bygone age.
Here we join Fern for her big day out as she took to the water on a solo adventure to enjoy everything the Windermere shoreline has to offer:
“Setting sail from the bustling pier at Bowness, I hopped on the steamer heading down to the Waterhead Pier at Ambleside. Bagging a seat on the upper deck, I was able to enjoy the glorious August sunshine and uninterrupted views across the lake and beyond.
“As we pulled away from the pier, I watched as a couple attempted to launch themselves from the adjacent pier in a small motorboat. They were zig-zagging towards the centre of the lake, perhaps unaware that they had the eyes of the whole lake on them!
“As we leisurely sailed towards Waterhead Pier, I watched people paddle-boarding, kayaking and swimming from the brimming shoreline of Windermere. The view was inspiring and watching them all enjoying the cool waters, I made a mental note to book myself in for a holiday paddle-board session the next day.
“Throughout the cruise, the captain offered up a series of interesting facts about the lake and surroundign area, including how Lillie Island got its name, tourism in the national park and how the founders of Lake Windermere Cruises were once fisherman. Who knew that not so long ago, you would have seen fishermen out on the lake rather than pleasure cruisers and paddleboarders?!
“The highlight of my day had to be as we slowly pulled into the Waterhead Pier, three RAF jets made their presence known with a low level fly-past low across the lake into the heart of the national park. It was a delight to watch tourists and locals alike rummaging for their phones to get a photo. I’ve been trying for two years and have only ever managed a blur!”
Where To Board A Windermere Lakes Cruise?
If you are a guest with English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, you can pre-book your discounted or special offer tickets before heading off to the piers at Ambleside or Bowness.
Windermere Lake Cruises has a range of ticket options from which to choose:
The ‘Red Cruise’ will take you from Ambleside jetty to Bowness and back.
The ‘Yellow Cruise’ from Bowness covers the south of the lake with fantastic scenery to match.
These two circular tours introduce you to some to the most secluded inlets and isolated islands, as well as the panoramic views of the fellsides rising up from the waters of Windermere.
The Freedom Of The Lake option allows you to spend a bit more time on the water and go a bit further giving you unlimited cruising on all routes for 24 hours.
Read the story behind Christmas Wreaths and find out how you too can join in the fun at Lancaster House with one of our workshops.
You probably wouldn’t associate learning about Christmas craftwork with a stay at a North Lancashire hotel.
But that’s a possibility now in the lead up to the festive season as the Lancaster House Hotel is offering guests and members of the local community the chance to try their hand at designing and making their own Christmas wreaths.
How much more rewarding would it feel when you hang your Christmas wreath up in the hallway or at the front door to welcome festive visitors, knowing that you created it yourself?
Well now you have the chance, learning from expert wreath designer and creator Alison Beacham from Lune Valley Home & Garden Florist.
The team at Lancaster House have organised the wreath making workshops with afternoon tea and a glass of mulled wine, so that participants can get into the Christmas spirit, share ideas and enjoy a creative, interactive afternoon together.
The hands-on, interactive sessions commence at 11am with tea and coffee as an easy introduction and ice breaker. Then our instructor Alison will lead you through the process of making your very own Christmas wreath.
The activity starts with a simple golden decorated ring as a base from which to build the wreath. Key plant materials in the step-by-step manufacture include spruce, conifer, holly and ivy, with the addition of cones, berries, eucalyptus and an ornamental Christmas bow.
Alison has over 35 years of experience of designing and creating these beautiful festive wreaths. She will demonstrate each stage of the process and be on hand to help participants get the best possible results.
You will come away not only with your own wreath to mark the day and make this Christmas a bit more special, but you will also have learned all the skills and techniques you need to make a different wreath every year – or for other special occasions.
These fun sessions conclude with Lancaster House’s own festive afternoon tea, and a warming glass of mulled wine to get the Christmas season off to a memorable start.
Christmas wreaths have long been a tradition in households up and down the country. Whilst serving as decorative and welcoming additions to household Christmas decorations, not many people know of their origins, meanings and purposes.
According to historians, you can trace the social importance of wreaths back to classical times as a status symbol. The Greeks used wreaths to crown the first Olympic Games winners. The Romans ensured that generals and soldiers returning from battle were garlanded with them in thanks for their military prowess and success.
Wreaths were typically made from laurel or olive cuts and they were often exchanged at certain times of year, notably at Kalends, the New Year festival celebrated by the Romans.
The tradition of making and hanging wreaths at Christmas time may have its origins from sixteenth century Germany, with the Lutheran custom becoming ever more popular by the mid-1800s. By that time, wreaths were pinned to the front door of homes as a ‘welcome ring’, often constructed from holly, ivy, pine cones and ribbons.
In that Germanic culture, the wreath was also a reminder of renewal and the unbroken cycle of the seasons, that although cold winter had come, it would soon be back to spring again.
All in a day’s work – A range of different careers in hospitality.
At English Lakes Hotels, Resorts & Venues, we have some great jobs available. It’s not just the obviously crucial positions, from a restaurant assistant or reservationist to a breakfast chef or customer service supervisor.
Hospitality roles are by nature highly varied with team members working in a range of diverse environments, whether it’s in food and beverage services or housekeeping, concierge and reservations.
And then of course there is a highly professional, qualified team of people to ensure our spa services run like clockwork.
Here we talk to Kiera Carrick, Spa Training and Development Manager at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa.
I’ve worked in hotels since I was in my early teens, after school and at weekends. I originally did housekeeping and turn down service and then progressed on to front of house and then worked as a head waitress. That was the springboard to a career in hospitality.
I’d always been passionate about the beauty industry and decided to take on a course in facials and skincare. I loved it so much I ended up staying at college to do NVQ Level 2 and 3 in beauty therapy.
Honestly no, not at first. It was never something I had even considered possible as a career until I started the college course and realised it was something I could see myself doing and enjoying.
Initially I did my Level 2 and 3 NVQ in beauty therapy. Once I got established in the industry, I’ve followed up by completing a range of courses with different brands over the years, including ESPA, Decleor, Elemis, St Tropez, CND Shellac.
When I became head therapist at Low Wood Bay, I did a ‘train the trainer’ ESPA course which has allowed me to be able to deliver ESPA training to our therapists in the spa.
Every day is different, there’s a lot of organisation and planning involved for training and ensuring I have all the equipment required and I cover everything I need to in the training session. I also try to make training enjoyable and fun whilst learning.
It’s very exciting to be assisting Kendal College in training students in ESPA with a pathway for them to come out with a qualification and employment at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa.
When I first qualified, I found it initially challenging to get into the industry straight from college, so I would have jumped at this opportunity that we are able to offer now.
This initiative is designed to ensure that newly qualified therapists have an earlier opportunity to gain experience and earn a professional wage.
I can oversee the therapists and see at first-hand how they are getting on with their ESPA training, ensuring they have all the tools and knowledge they need to go into the industry with confidence and excitement.
We’ve also started to specialise in certain treatments, with spa therapists completing Oncology massage qualifications through the accredited Jennifer Young Training School. Their training has included Level 1 and advanced cancer awareness, as well as holistic facial, hand, nail and foot treatments.
Everyone learns differently but I think the main thing is to not overwhelm yourself and come up with a way that helps you remember what you need to learn.
It might be something completely random and trivial, but it doesn’t matter if it helps you remember. Being a therapist is quite a practical role, and so gaining as much practical, ‘hands-on’ experience as possible is a key factor in ensuring that you feel confident and make guests feel comfortable.
We have a great atmosphere here – we all work well as a team to help each other and deliver the best possible service to our guests.
The venue and the hotel group as a whole has given me so many amazing opportunities to learn and develop my skills to get to where I am now. They invest in the staff and want you to excel and enjoy coming to work.
As a family business, the hotel group prides itself on flexibility, professional development and providing progressive, diverse career opportunities for staff, equipping them with the skills they need to succeed.
Our commitment to workforce development includes support not only to help embed strong customer service and team working skills, but English Lakes also seeks to provide additional benefits to make a difference in terms of working hours, travel to work and offering accommodation where we can.
If you’re interested in working for us, take a look at the current jobs at English Lakes we have on offer.
“We have a great atmosphere here – we all work well as a team to help each other and deliver the best possible service to our guests.”Keira Carrick | Spa Training & Development Manager
When you take a hotel break in the Lake District, have you ever considered who might have visited or even stayed at the venue before you? Would you know if any historic figures or famous faces from the past have been in the very same room as you?
From royal visitors to filmstars, our venues have hosted a number of illustrious names over the years, including Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, the late King Hussein of Jordan, The Earl of Wessex and the current King Charles III when he was Prince of Wales.
So, the recent stay of Lucy Fleming was an opportunity to celebrate the venue’s historic movie connections, notably with that truly iconic film from the 1940s, Brief Encounter.
Lucy is the daughter of Dame Celia Johnson, who was resident at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa during the filming of Brief Encounter in 1945. We were thrilled to host Lucy and her husband Simon Williams, with the hotel as a staging post for their play, ‘Posting Letters to the Moon’, which was shown at The Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.
The play is a touching portrayal of life during the Second World War through the correspondence between the Oscar-nominated actress and her explorer and writer husband Peter Fleming, the brother of James Bond creator Ian.
It includes Celia’s experiences of working with Noël Coward which led to her starring role in the film. Peter Fleming was away for most of the war, and in his letters, he writes about his adventures working on deception in India and the Far East.
To mark Lucy’s stay over 75 years later, a framed and inscribed copy of a Brief Encounter movie poster was presented to her, and the picture has been mounted in the hotel as a permanent reminder of her mother’s residence here.
Celia Johnson was rumoured to have stayed in room 19 but to this day, no-one can quite be sure. She described the hotel and recalls a warming fire being made up in her room and the provision of a late breakfast after filming throughout the night.
In an excerpt of a letter written by Celia to her husband during filming, she writes:
“We are living out at Windermere in a frightfully comfortable hotel where we have fires in our bedroom, breakfast in bed, in fact every mod con.”Celia Johnson
She was chauffeur driven each day by Rolls Royce to Carnforth station and also for a day’s filming up in the Langdale Valley for one of the most famous scenes in the movie at Middle Fell Bridge, Dungeon Ghyll.
In her letter, Celia explains:
“Today being Sunday we went out to look for little bridges for the little scene on the bridge and went all round the lakes and up and down the hills and it was simply lovely. I didn’t know this part of the country was so beautiful.”Celia Johnson
Our former chairman Michael Berry mentions the film crew’s stay in his book on Lakeland history thus:
“Brief Encounter is one of Britain’s best loved films. Film crews bring an added buzz to all directly involved and indeed bring additional business to the hotel from the locals who are curious to know what is going on.”Michael Berry
Other films with which our venues have been involved include The French Lieutenant’s Woman from 1981 starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, Killing Me Softly, the 2002 thriller starring Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes, and Snow White and the Huntsman which starred Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron.
Lucy Fleming said:
“It’s been lovely for Low Wood Bay to be involved in our plans to bring our production, ‘Posting Letters to the Moon’, to Cumbria, and to explore the venue’s connections with Brief Encounter.
My mother, Celia Johnson, very much enjoyed staying at the hotel during the filming of the movie and travelling to Carnforth each day in a Rolls Royce, so it’s a joy to follow in her footsteps.”Lucy Fleming
In his book, Michael Berry adds:
“These brief encounters are all great fun and add an extra dimension to the life and work of the hotel team.”Michael Berry
So, if you’re settling in for your stay here at Low Wood Bay, especially if it happens that you’re booked into room 19, take a moment to seek out the picture on the wall in the reception lounge and think about life as a film star in residence back in an altogether different time.
“We are living out at Windermere in a frightfully comfortable hotel where we have fires in our bedroom, breakfast in bed, in fact every mod con”Celia Johnson