THE Lake District has always been a firm favourite of mine - whether for a relaxing weekend away or for a break exploring the stunning beauty of the National Park.

With so many picturesque bases to choose from, there’s always somewhere new to explore and fall in love with.

I’ve spent many a childhood camping trip in the Lake District, but my surroundings this time were far more luxurious.

We opted for the tranquil surroundings of the Wild Boar, nestled in the ancient Gilpin Valley, just a stone’s throw away from Bowness-on-Windermere.

The journey up through North Yorkshire and then into The Lakes is just as much a part of the experience.

With pretty winding roads and scenic views, the splendour of the area really lifts the spirits.

From the road, the Wild Boar looks instantly inviting. One of the oldest Windermere hotels, it takes its name from the local legend of Sir Richard de Gilpin, who is said to have bravely fought and killed the Wild Boar of Westmorland.

It’s a theme which runs through the hotel, with each room taking its name from a different type of pig - a nice touch which certainly brings a smile.

After checking in, we made our way to our suite, which was tastefully decorated in a country-chic style.

We’d already perused the menu and couldn’t wait to try out the extensive offering from the Grill & Smokehouse.

We were shown to a lovely table by the window - the perfect position as the low evening sun began to set.

Then it was time to choose from a whole range of delicious sounding dishes and our mouths were watering as we watched food emerge from the kitchen.

We opted for fish and chips and a divine cauliflower and cashew nut curry.

Both were delicious and left us eagerly anticipating what we would choose the following evening.

The menu includes something to suit all tastes and appetites, from a whole range of steaks and grill dishes to pies and pub classics.

After our finishing our mains, we had just enough room to take a peek at the dessert menu, opting for a yummy Duck Egg Custard Tart, served with a Yorkshire rhubarb sorbet, and Spanish favourite churros.

Our bellies full, it was time to head to bed before a full day of exploring the Lakes.

At breakfast, the options were equally as extensive, offering the full mashings for those with a larger appetite, breakfast baps, porridge and the usual continental spread.

A full day ahead of us, we decided to take the 21-mile journey to Keswick, taking in Bowness, Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere along the way.

There’s plenty to enjoy in Keswick and we fell lucky as it was market day.

After browsing the stalls and impressive selection of shops, we had a wander through the serene Hope Park, before landing at the majestic Derwentwater - ‘Queen of the Lakes’.

It really is stunning, the perfect tonic to the busy working week.

Next time, the 10-mile waymarked walk around the beauty spot will definitely be on our to-do list, along with taking in a play at the Theatre on the Lake.

Keswick is also home to the Derwent Pencil Museum, which exhibits 500 years of history of the pencil and still stands on the town’s original pencil factory.

After our jaunt around Keswick, it was time to make our way to another Lakes highlight, Coniston, where we ducked into a cafe for an afternoon treat.

After a scone loaded with jam and cream, we decided to take a walk down to Coniston Water. A great place to pause, breathe and take in the beautiful surroundings - or enjoy a trip on a Steam Yacht Gondola.

For those with an interest in heritage and history, Coniston is also home to Brantwood, the home of artist John Ruskin, plus the Ruskin Museum.

After a brief stop in Windermere, we made our way back to the hotel for a couple of hours of relaxation before our evening meal.

This time, on the recommendation of my other half, I went for the fish and chips, while he chose the Beef Cheek & Stout Pie, served with greens, mash and bone marrow gravy - and a sticky toffee pudding for afters. It was a thoroughly enjoyable two nights at the Wild Boar, which is ideally placed for a trip to the Lake District and a great base to take advantage of what this part of the world has to offer.

l The Wild Boar, Crook Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3NF. bookings: 0333 2203 108/ General enquiries: 015394 45225. Rooms and Tariffs: from £121 per room per night, based on 2 adults sharing a twin/double room and inclusive of bed and full English breakfast.