UNTIL I got married I never really paid attention to little touches in hotels.

As long as the room was clean and comfortable and the bar was open, the type of soap or number of free milks never really held my interest.

Planning a wedding changes that, suddenly centre pieces really are the centre of conversations.

And staying at the Wild Boar Inn in the Lake District you are reminded that the little details really can make a big difference.

There were fresh flowers throughout the spacious accommodation, the butter for bread at meal times was soft and spreadable as opposed to rock solid and impossible to use, and the staff always had a greeting and a smile when you passed them in the corridor.

That might not sound like a lot but, when combined with the bigger picture of fantastic food and drink, a relaxed atmosphere and spacious rooms, it creates an environment you want to be in.

The hotel itself sits a few miles outside Windermere but with a host of walks right on your doorstep to explore the area’s natural beauty.

That includes an enclosed 72-acre wood which provides a maze of paths occasionally leading to exercise equipment for those who fancy chin ups with their strolls.

The walk itself was enough exercise for us and the hour-long ramble round the grounds was rewarded with a drink in the hotel bar. With an on-site micro-brewery, beer drinkers can enjoy three types of Mad Pig ale, with the Seasonal Brew IPA being my recommendation.

Settling in beside one of several roaring fires, beer in hand, it is easy to sit back, relax and escape the world.

We managed to awaken ourselves from the cosy slumber to wander into the restaurant for an evening meal. Welcoming guests and outside bookings the Grill & Smokehouse feels more like a country pub than hotel dining.

The open kitchen, attentive staff and plentiful menu would make it worth a journey regardless of where you are staying. The menu has a game slant but there is enough choice for all tastes with the catch of the day – in this case hake and mussels served with a flavoursome spring onion mash – a hit with my wife.

I had opted for beef and stout pie with the only criticism that a pie is not a pie if it only has a top, as this one did. A pet hate of mine but not one to detract from the taste. We even had room to share a sticky toffee pudding, which was a wise move given the portion size.

A night cap and an early night meant we had plenty of energy to enjoy the spa facilities at the hotel’s sister site - Low Wood Bay.

Our mid morning swim was interrupted by an exercise class for the elderly, accompanied by an energetic soundtrack that was at odds with the tranquil setting.

We retreated to the Jacuzzi but the outdoor hot tub and 50m infinity pool, the main reason for our trip over, were closed for maintenance. A heads up wouldn’t have gone amiss but, when completed, the spa represents an excellent option, particularly on a wet weather day.

Fortunately for us the sunshine was out enabling us to make the most of the stunning surroundings with an afternoon walk and an evening in Windermere.

The return to the warm welcoming room meant a good night’s sleep was inevitable while the tasty breakfast, with a hot option menu and a continental buffet, hit the spot every time.

The morning brew arrived in a mug, not a tiny cup that you can’t get your hand round, and the staff were only too happy to top you up.

Another of those small things that combine to make this place a big hit.

And if those little touches have inspired, the Wild Boar does offer weddings!


Rooms at the Wild Boar Inn, Windermere, start from £121 per night for bed and breakfast rising to £202 per night for luxury rooms. Dinner in the restaurant can be added to the package.

The Grill & Smokehouse restaurant is open 12noon-5pm Monday- Saturday for lunch and 12.30pm-2.30pm on Sundays. Evening meal times are 6.30pm-9.30pm Sunday-Thursday and 6-9pm Friday and Saturday. Main course prices range from £15 for a burger to £36 for a 10oz steak while starters are from £5.

Visit www.englishlakes.co.uk for more details