(5 minute read)
Lottie Gross, an experienced travel writer, has spent thousands of nights in hotel rooms over the last decade whilst writing for the likes of The Telegraph, The Times and The Independent, many of which she has visited alone.
As a regular solo traveller, she really knows what those adventuring on their own really want and need from feeling welcome, included and safe – especially as a female traveller, to fair pricing for solo travellers and unique experiences. Her insights will give you an idea of how going solo at Another Place could look.
Solo travel in the Lake District is richly rewarding – big views, brilliant walks and outdoors adventures aplenty. But it can be a little daunting for some, too. Anyone without hill walking or map-reading experience might shy away from tackling some of the magnificent mountains that bring so many here each year, and adventures on the water might seem foolish to pursue alone. But this is where Another Place comes into its own.
Set on the banks of Ullswater lake, the region’s second largest body of water at seven miles long, the hotel offers a luxurious and – more importantly – adventurous way to see the eastern Lake District in all its glory.
Here’s what you need to know about solo travel in the Lake District at Another Place:
1. You can go open water night swimming safely
I have never been a strong swimmer, and I’ve always held a small piece of contempt for open water ever since I was a child. Years of sailing and capsizing on the River Thames when I was young cemented my dislike for being in cold, wild waters. And so it was a surprise to me that, as I lay back with my head on my orange float and looked up at the moon, swaddled in cloud but desperately trying to peek through, I was enjoying myself. I felt almost relaxed – almost, because it was just eight degrees celsius in Ullswater lake that Friday night, and my extremities were beginning to freeze.
Another Place employs highly experienced swimming instructors – think Olympic champions and English Channel relay swimmers – to help guests enjoy the water safely. You get a full cold water swimming briefing, all the necessary equipment provided (wetsuits, gloves, hats and water socks), and a cosy dry robe for warming up afterwards. The night swimming is utterly invigorating and, best of all, it’s done in a group so you can meet new people at the same time – ideal for social solo travellers.
2. Or try paddle boarding or kayaking on Ullswater by day
If you’d rather see the lake during daylight hours, join the paddleboarding tours that leave from Another Place when the weather’s right. You’ll get all the gear you need, plus your board, and head out with a group to explore the lake’s shoreline from the water with an instructor looking out for you.
You’ll spot dinghies and windsurfers zipping about on the water to the south, and enjoy all those towing fell views from a new perspective.
3. There are walking maps and wellies to borrow
Walking is one of the most popular pastimes in the Lakes and it wouldn’t be a trip to Cumbria without a wander along some of its favoured footpaths. Beginners might favour the circular walk that leaves from the hotel and takes in some of the Ullswater Way and enjoys magnificent views over the lake from the surrounding hills – pick up the map from the front porch as your guide. Or you might choose to tackle one of the more famous nearby fells, such as Hellvelyn. There are walking maps in the porch for this excellent hike and wellies to borrow should you need something sturdier.
If you fancy something different altogether, just ask at reception: many of the hotel’s staff have hiked numerous hills in the area and beyond, so a little local advice will get you a long way. Just be sure to let them know where you’re going just in case.
4. There are adults-only spaces for peace and quiet
While Another Place is a family-friendly hotel, you needn’t worry about being surrounded by kids all the time. The cosy Library room at the front of the hotel, with its plush sofas and plenty of books to borrow, becomes an adults-only space at certain times so you can sit back and relax without disturbance. Plus, the indoor heated pool has adults-only times, too, so you can have the lanes all to yourself to do a little practice for those night time swims.
5. There’s a great choice of restaurants
Solo travel can be empowering but solo dining can occasionally be intimidating. Fortunately, Another Place has several ways to get around the anxious table-for-one conundrum. Firstly, there’s always room service – you can get snacks and entire meals delivered to your room if you don’t fancy facing dinner in the restaurant. Or you can pick up a pizza from the Glasshouse and eat it by the lawns overlooking the water. The Living Space offers a casual dining environment and a simple but effective menu – think comforting pastas, expertly-seared steaks and a host of excellent desserts (don’t forget to try the sticky toffee pudding; it’s thought the sickly-sweet dessert was invented in Ullswater). But if you do want to go all out, leave your hiking boots behind and head to Rampsbeck where you can embrace the lakeside views and a three-course feast of local fish or moreish lamb on their ever-changing seasonal menu.
6. There are shepherd’s huts for extra privacy
One of the greatest assets for solo travellers at Another Place is its collection of shepherd’s huts that sit scattered throughout the gardens. While the stylish, cosy hotel rooms make for a lovely retreat, it’s the shepherd’s huts where solo travellers will thrive, as you needn’t be confined to just a room. In these, you can spend afternoons sitting out on your private patio with the firepit blazing for extra warmth (there are skewers and marshmallows in the fridge), or you can hunker down in the copper, roll-top tub for evening soaks (these are especially rewarding after a night swim).