Staying in the Lakes is always a treat, there are postcard pretty views and quaint but tourist-ready towns open for exploration. And all only an hour and a half drive from Manchester.

Earlier this year, before household mixing didn’t cause panic and before Covid-19 rules became the only topic of conversation day in, day out, my family and I spent a wonderful weekend in Windermere, at the elegant Birkdale House.

Birkdale House is a newly renovated five-bedroom Victorian property nestled in the Matson Ground Estate in the very heart of the Lake District National Park.

Birkdale House is quite literally as pretty as a picture and it offers everything you could possibly need for a break with family or friends. The property has been renovated to the highest standard, and has only been open to the public since earlier this year. The styling is superb, with modern features like oversized lamps and large extremely comfortable furniture and super high, super comfortable beds (it made me think of the fairytale the princess and the pea) fitting perfectly into the huge rooms, and ensuite bedrooms, all the while giving much more than an elegant nod to its Victorian heritage.

The basement cinema room at Birkdale House, Windermere
The basement cinema room at Birkdale House, Windermere

Some original features have been lovingly restored, like the breathtaking staircase and stained glass windows, and then modern facilities that make family breaks that bit easier added - like en suite bedrooms and family bathrooms, a downstairs bathroom and separate wet room, key code entry and fob keys for all entry points, and a brilliant heating system which sufficiently heated such a large house quickly.

With a perfectly presented country style kitchen stacked with excellent appliances and jam-packed cupboards with all you could ever need for a group stay, and a big utility room - which doubles up as a well-behaved dog’s bedroom, Birkdale House offers a very user-friendly and functional stay.

The House is located in its own private grounds, surrounded by immaculate gardens and an outdoor terrace – it’s peaceful yet practical.

You have the privacy and seclusion of the grounds for any outdoor games you wish to play, barbecues or other outdoors socialising, however it’s only a pleasant ten minute stroll to the lovely bustling village of Bowness on Windermere.

The dining room Birkdale House, Windermere
The dining room Birkdale House, Windermere

If you are like me and a walk into town to browse the shops and frequent the bars is more your thing, over hikes in the beautiful hills and countryside, I’d recommend catching a taxi back from the nearby taxi rank back up to the house. The walk back to Birkdale House is all uphill, so I can’t say it was as pleasant as the wander down, although it certainly felt amazing once I’d conquered the steep climb and made my way to the comfort of the sofa.

Staying with Darcie, my three-year-old niece, we decided to make the most of our family time together while not interrupting her bedtime routine, by pre-ordering food to be delivered to the house. This enabled a more relaxing meal time.

Lucy’s Inside Out Catering is readily available for bookings at Birkdale House offering a vast menu of hearty dishes, and complimenting sides. The catering service is a slick operation.

The snug at Birkdale House, Windermere
The snug at Birkdale House, Windermere

We ordered chicken stroganoff and beef in ale and a couple of side salads that were super tasty, along with a couple of freshly made desserts. The food was delivered at a pre-agreed time, and we just reheated the dishes in the foil trays they came in when we were ready to eat.

It was the perfect solution to keep the weekend relaxed - and more importantly keep me from feeling chained to the cooker. The food was made from local ingredients and it was lovely to have excellent restaurant style food, in the comfort of your pyjamas!

After dinner we made use of the movie/games room in the converted cellar.

The entrance hall at Birkdale House, Windermere
The entrance hall at Birkdale House, Windermere

While my dad tried to take over the gigantic 50” television with its surround sound set up, my niece was having none of it, and was excitedly dragging her grandad from the pool table, to the table top football game, and then diving on to the bean bag in front of the Disney film I’d found.

Although games/cinema rooms have never been a deal clincher for me when considering a property, this one is super impressive. With heaters and fridges and comfy sofas and chairs, it was the perfect room for our chilled out family evening - and would make an amazing party room, too.

The room is cleverly styled - vintage movie billboards were framed around the room keeping it in theme while cool and sophisticated. Bright lighting and cleverly designed windows make it feel light and airy, it was easy to forget you were in the depths of the basement.

With Bowness on Windermere’s ferry terminal only a ten minute walk away, the next morning we were up early.

The family bathroom at Birkdale House, Windermere
The family bathroom at Birkdale House, Windermere

We made breakfast early using our welcome hamper, which was packed with breakfast essentials and snacks, and then we made our way to catch some of the best Lake District views from the water, on the old favourite ferries that run.

We took a trip out to Ambleside and enjoyed a walk around the town, treating ourselves to handmade chocolates from the Old Bank House Chocolate Shop before heading back again with our supplies to relax in the sumptuous surroundings of Birkdale House.

The facts

Birkdale House, Helm Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 2NN

Visit or call 015394 45756

Dog-friendly property, sleeps up to 10 people in five individually designed rooms. Rates start from £3,675 for short breaks, week-long breaks start from £4,900 (equiv to £140 per couple per night)