We have tried to make Bracken Howe the best possible Lake District experience for larger groups - more like staying at a friend's country residence than hiring a holiday let.
Bracken Howe is a five-bedroom property of genuine quality and elegance. Modern, but with many of the original elegant Victorian features retained and restored. High ceilings and large rooms reinforce the feeling of spaciousness. The quality of the property and the facilities on offer were independently assessed by ‘Visit England’ in April 2017 and Bracken Howe was awarded its highest Five Star Gold rating.
Bracken Howe was built in the early 1880s, constructed of local stone and green slate. The house had been owned from new by the family of Miss Thompson, former headmistress of the local school. Some of the original features were bought with the house e.g. the service bells in the kitchen, the roll-top bureau in the dining room and the clover leaf occasional table. The original single-glazed windows are a feature of the house as are the geometric Victorian tiled floors and striking pitch-pine staircase.
The house is centrally located at the end of a private cul-de-sac off a quiet one-way residential street close to the centre of the village of Ambleside. In the words of one guest, Bracken Howe is an “…amazing home, in an ideal location…”. In the garden at the rear of the property you can sit on the balcony (or in the hot tub) enjoying a panoramic view of the mountains or alternatively, within a few minutes walk, you can be in the centre of Ambleside, with all it has to offer.
We strongly recommend that guests take advantage of the wonderful location of the property. Ambleside is one of the region’s most popular towns, with so much to offer and set right at the heart of central Lake District, boarding the north shores of Lake Windermere.
Ambleside’s activities include boats (large and small) on Windermere, England’s largest lake, including for example a steamer trip, or there is rowing, canoeing, sailing and motorboats on the lake. For other activities in the town there are: tennis courts, miniature golf, local bike hire, climbing, walking, cycling and water sports. There are also organised tours and regular buses to explore the surrounding areas.
For a rainy day, a few minutes’ walk from the property is Zefferelli's multi-screen cinema to take in a movie, which could perhaps be followed by a meal at their own well regarded vegetarian restaurant. On selected evenings you can also listen to a Jazz band at Zefferelli's while having a drink or a meal. The Ambleside Climbing Wall and Bouldering Cave is a 5 minute walk away and the Cafe Altitude is a great place to watch the action or enjoy the skyline of the surrounding fells.
It's no secret that the Lake District has some of the best places to eat, from Michelin standard food to simple dishes that showcase the region's top local produce. For dining and drinking, there are plenty of pubs, restaurants and cafes within a few hundred metres of the property. If you would prefer a take-away meal back at Bracken Howe there is choice of Chinese, Thai, Indian and English food within a few minutes’ walk.
There are many nearby walks around Ambleside, directly from the front door of Bracken Howe. This includes the Fairfield Horseshoe which is visible from the garden and is a one of the great high-level Lake District walks while Loughrigg Fell, directly behind the house, is a wonderful medium level hike. An even more straightforward walk, directly from the property and taking in two lakes, is along the western bank of Rydal Water then along the shores of Grasmere and back along the eastern shores of both lakes taking in the history of Wordsworth at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount, before returning to Bracken Howe. With all these walks, along the way, you will find great places for eating and drinking.
In short, much of your holiday could be spent in and around Ambleside, without using your car. If you do want to use the car, however, it will be much rewarded as about twenty minutes’ drive takes you: west to Coniston Water; north to Keswick; south to Hawkshead; or east to Ullswater. Even closer are: Langdale Valley (west); Grasmere (north); and Bowness-on-Windermere (south), which are all about ten minutes’ drive from Ambleside.
To summarise, using the words of another guest: “An elegant house of a bygone era with every modern facility and convenience.”
You can take a tour around the house by visiting YouTube and typing in 'Bracken Howe' or alternatively search www.youtube.com/watch?v=M36U_iif1nU (As part of our policy of continuous improvement some decoration, fixtures and fittings may have changed since the summer of 2014 when the video was made but the clip will give you a real flavour of the house and the setting.)