One of our most popular rural wedding venues near Windermere has appointed a new specialist to organise its weddings and events for couples getting married. Amy Smethurst has joined the team at English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues as The Wild Boar wedding co-ordinator.
Having worked in the hospitality sector in a front-of-house customer service role for over 5 years, starting in waitering and latterly as a duty manager, Amy was itching for change and new challenges.
She had always been fascinated by the wedding scene and so when her brother announced he was getting married, Amy immediately volunteered to organise his big day. Little did she know that this would result in a change in career direction.
Thankfully, Amy did a great job – the siblings are still talking to each other at any rate! – and the experience inspired her to apply for the role of The Wild Boar weddings co-ordinator when she noticed the job advert online.
“I was a bit hesitant to apply at first,” she explains. “But I knew I had strong customer service skills and the ability to build a rapport with clients, plus the experience of organising my brother’s wedding was genuinely exhilarating, especially when the caterer pulled out at the last minute due to a freak injury!”
Amy’s first job was to get up to speed with all the weddings at The Wild Boar for the 2023 season, some of which were already in advanced stages, whilst others needed to be accelerated to ensure everything was ready in time.
One of the most important aspects of her initial induction and training for the role was to work in partnership with the wedding team at nearby sister hotel Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa.
She has organised around a dozen weddings in the 2023 season thus far, with the biggest event catering for 130 guests and the smallest, an intimate family wedding for a small group of 11.
Better still has been Amy’s response to the ongoing challenge of spreading the word about what The Wild Boar has to offer for wedding parties and couples.
She recently attended the Lakes Weddings showcase event, sharing a stall with her wedding co-ordinator colleagues from Lancaster House and Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa. And has also been heavily involved in the planning and delivery of a ‘Wild Wedding Suppliers Brunch’ at the venue.
Amy’s ability to communicate clearly what the venue is all about has resulted in the booking of an increasing number of ‘show arounds’ for couples seeking out the best place in the Lake District to get married. A complimentary Wild Boar afternoon tea may just have been a factor!
“We’re not in competition with each other though,” explains Amy. “Each of our venues cater for very different demographics and clientele in terms of wedding planning. At The Wild Boar, we very much embrace the ‘wild’ theme and a certain inclination for the more quirky, informal and outdoorsy elements of what couples are looking for as part of their nuptials.
In fact the success we’ve had this year has been very much to do with teamwork and the support I’ve had, especially from the team at Low Wood Bay who gave me the chance to train with them and help out with some of their events to pick up handy tips and experience.
The new job was perfect for Amy’s home life too. Whilst trying to break into the wedding organising side of hospitality, she was also looking to move to Kendal with her girlfriend. The new job has allowed her to do so and she passed her driving test in the nick of time the week before starting the job.
Amy is already receiving some heart-warming feedback from couples who have recently tied the knot at the venue:
Where do you go if you fancy a slap-up Mrs Miggin’s breakfast in the Lake District?
Fell walkers seeking to fuel themselves before tackling a full day’s hiking might want to take a little detour to The Wild Boar Inn to experience arguably the most sumptuous and varied breakfast in Windermere.
Those who have braved the night camping or glamping may decide to eschew the embers of the previous night’s barbecue and head out to Crook to tuck into a big breakfast fry up at the hotel too.
And local residents, families and friends in the South Lakes may choose on a whim to pop out for a breakfast get together, working up (or walking off) an appetite with a stroll around the 72 acres of woodland in the hotel’s grounds.
The breakfast menu at The Wild Boar caters for everyone’s palate, from a traditional full English through to a varied platter offering delicious sweet and savoury mouthfuls.
From 8:00am each weekday morning, The Wild Boar Inn’s culinary team is up, ready and waiting so serve not only our guests but also non-residents seeking a bit of breakfast adventure.
The centrepiece of The Wild Boar Inn’s popular Lake District breakfast offering includes everything you would expect: Cumberland sausage, locally sourced back bacon, slow cooked tomatoes, grilled flat cap mushrooms, Bury black pudding, baked beans and a choice of eggs, plus the option of the less than traditional hash browns – an influence perhaps from the US.
For the more adventurous looking for a meaty start to the day, there’s steak and eggs featuring an in-house smoked medallion of beef fillet with duck egg and wild mushrooms and hollandaise.
There are menu options for the more discerning eye too, such as treacle cured salmon with wholegrain rye bread and scrambled eggs or Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire Cheese Rarebit with smoked streaky bacon and fried duck egg.
From lemon curd French toast with vanilla bean mascarpone and toasted hazelnuts through to wild mushrooms, spinach and poached eggs on sourdough, there’s something for everyone to savour.
Many of the hotel’s breakfast servings are gluten free dishes, with vegetarian options including a Potato Rosti with wild mushrooms, baby spinach, poached egg and hollandaise sauce. There is also a delicious selection of artisan breads and croissants.
The full English breakfast can mean slightly different variations depending on the diner and indeed the chef. To this writer, it’s sausage, bacon and eggs as the staple, with the side addition of mushrooms, grilled tomato and fried bread. The coffee needs to be served hot when the breakfast arrives, but the real key is that the eggs are still warm when served.
Others will demand the inclusion of black pudding of course, and perhaps a side ramekin of baked beans to boot.
Historically, the tradition of the full English breakfast anecdotally goes as far back as the 1400s, with the country’s gentry maintaining the idea of hospitable Anglo-Saxon cuisine and practices. They developed a reputation for tremendous breakfast feasts for family, friends and visitors passing through.
Those foundations were fortified on the country estates and the concept of a hearty morning meal before the landed gentry went off to hunt. The Victorians made the idea into a more formal affair, and a chance to display their social status and wealth, before the Edwardians established the main constituents of the full English fry up.
It was in the early decades of the 20th century that the nuts and bolts of the English breakfast fry up we know today started to become the standard across the country. This is around the period where the idea was no longer exclusive to the wealthier in society. Indeed the full English breakfast was rapidly embraced as a wholesome, filling way to start the working day. By the 1950s, it was commonplace across all areas and walks of life.
Today at The Wild Boar Inn, it’s fell walkers, hikers, ravenous campers and glampers and local residents who seek us out on a casual weekday morning for a hearty breakfast trip out from Windermere.
And breakfast here does not always have to be a social occasion – indeed it’s part of our cultural fabric to sit with family, friend or partner and perhaps not utter a single word as you scan the newspaper (or the ubiquitous mobile phone!) as you ready yourself for the serious business of the day ahead.