January is traditionally a quiet time in the Lake District when business and attractions take the opportunity to draw breath after a busy trading season. It is a nice, peaceful time to visit and even if the weather is unkind there is still plenty to see and do.
You could start the day with a trip to Blackwell, one of Britain’s finest Art & Craft houses from the turn of the last century. The interior has been preserved exceptionally well and the house remains an internationally important icon of Arts and Crafts architecture.
It is a pleasure to look round and admire the wealth of detail, from the leaf-shaped door handles and curious window catches to spectacular plasterwork, stained glass and carved wooden panelling. The first floor is used for exhibitions and gallery rooms display local arts and crafts. You can enjoy looking round the house in its original layout and without roped off areas.
There are many places to chose from for lunch, in Bowness there is Fat Olives serving modern English and Mediterranean food and Café Latte with home made cakes to die for. Near the railway station in Windermere is the lovely Coffee Bar 7, perfect for a simple but perfectly prepared lunch.
If you want to venture out into the countryside, the Drunken Duck at the Barngates cross roads is highly recommended. This notable gastropub is a real treat with its own in-house microbrewery. All beers are named after the pet dogs (and cat) past and present.
The shops of Bowness, Windermere and Ambleside will easily fill an afternoon. If the weather is bad then head for the huge Lakeland shop full of things you never know you needed or Hayes, formerly a garden centre but now a sprawling indoor wonderland of homeware, toys, books, clothes and of course gardening.
A perfect way to round off the day is a trip to the charming Zeffirellis cinema in Ambleside. Attached to the cinema is Fellinis, a wonderful Mediterranean restaurant with food so good you won’t realise it is completely veggie. You can book a meal and the cinema together and enjoy the old fashioned experience of being shown to your reserved seat by an usher.