A RELAXING weekend near to the city of Lancaster and with easy access to the Southern Lake District?

It sounded wonderful, and we opted to up the chill-out factor by staying at the luxurious four-star Lancaster House hotel.

There were two potential sticking points, however. One – Archie, our extremely energetic and excitable three-year-old son.

And two – my wife being 34 weeks pregnant with our second child, meaning any slight twinge or pang was sure to send us both into a minor panic at any time.

It didn’t have all the hallmarks of a relaxing trip away, but the location and accommodation ensured that was exactly what we got – even Archie.

We checked into Lancaster House on the Friday afternoon and were immediately impressed with the attractive reception area, modern facilities and friendly, helpful staff.

Part of the English Lakes Hotels group, this location is handily placed just a few miles outside the city of the same name, with the beautiful Morecambe Bay also within close proximity.

A drive to the north and you’re into the Lake District or across to the Lune Valley, depending on which you prefer, while the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty lies to the east.

In short, visitors are surrounded by stunning scenery in every direction, with enough to keep you entertained for a week if you have sufficient time.

After a stroll around the hotel and a quick thirst-quencher in The Sandeman’s Bar, we found our room for the next two nights – a Luxury Studio Suite, which suited our needs perfectly.

Situated on the ground floor, it spared my wife the prospect of any stairs, while the separate lounge meant the adults didn’t have to head to bed when Archie turned in at 7.30pm.

Before that, it was time to sample the culinary delights of the award-winning Foodworks Restaurant, which offers both British classics and tastes from further afield – but all using local fresh produce.

A ‘Sam’s Club’ kiddies menu and complementary colouring book kept Archie entertained/fed, and was a lovely touch from the restaurant manager. Meanwhile, my wife and I began with garlic button mushrooms and Morecambe Bay potted shrimps, which were both delicious.We plumped for the pan fried sea bass fillet and pork loin with herb stuffing next, which again were wonderful before we sensibly decided to keep desserts for the second evening of our stay.

After a fantastic night’s sleep for all concerned, we first headed to Lancaster the following morning.

This historic city has plenty to see and do - Lancaster Castle, where the Pendle Witch Trials were held, includes dungeon tours and heraldry displays, while Judges Lodgings, a Grade I listed building, is the former home of witch hunter Thomas Covell. Other highlights include the award-winning Lancaster Maritime Museum set in Georgian quayside buildings.

After exploring the city and castle, we continued our journey on to Morecambe before, tired from the sea air and our walk along the promenade, we headed back to Lancaster House to sample the hotel’s Sandpiper Leisure Club.

A specially-tailored treatment was just the job for my wife while Archie and I tried out the 50ft swimming pool, which incorporates bubble burst and fountain spray – great for even big kids. A steam room, sauna, spa and outdoor hot tub are also available, along with fitness facilities and the beauty salon.

Relaxed and recharged, we chose for to skip the starters, instead opting for a main course and dessert in the Foodworks Restaurant that evening. A lamb hot pot de-construction and sirloin steak were followed by a crème brulee and peanut and chocolate cheesecake as we ended the night with full bellies and ready for another great night’s sleep in our Super King bed.

After a fantastic breakfast, we headed east to the Forest of Bowland where we visited the beautiful villages of Caton and Brookhouse, and enjoyed the area’s captivating scenery. I’m ashamed to admit I knew little about the forest ahead of our visit, but am already planning a return to explore more of this delightful countryside.

A return to Lancaster House, around eight miles away, allowed us to sample lunch and a drink in the inner courtyard of the excellent Sandeman’s Bar. That was before we said goodbye to this superb hotel to continue our journey into the Lake District for the remainder of our break.

Lancaster House was the perfect base for such a trip, and left the whole family thoroughly relaxed – all four of us.

* Lancaster House, Green Lane, Ellel, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 4GJ

For reservations call 0333 2203189, email: reception.lancaster@englishlakes.co.uk or visit englishlakes.co.uk/lancaster-house

Nearby Attractions include Lancaster, Morecambe Bay, Southern Lake District, Lune Valley and the Forest of Bowland