There were 46 of us who set off from a soggy Gunton Church Lane at 7.15am, in the pouring rain. The rain had ceased by the time we paused for a comfort stop just after Kings Lynn. We stopped for lunch at Ferrybridge before continuing to Appleby Manor hotel where we would stay for the next 4 nights. Arriving early, we had time to unpack before enjoying a welcome cocktail on the patio in the sunshine. Our first impression was that the hotel was very grand and comfortable, this proved to be correct. The staff, the food and the weather were all excellent.

Our first full day was spent at Muncaster Castle where we were treated to an owl and raptor flying display, we then had a free flow tour of the castle which is a home as well as an exhibition building.

The next day we travelled to Windermere where we had a cruise on the lake followed by a ride on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite steam railway and finally a visit to the Lakeland Motor Museum.

Thursday took us to Keswick for free time to explore, on the way we enjoyed the spectacular scenery of Kirkstone Pass. Afterwards we were taken for a tour of the Lakes Distillery where we were split into two groups. One group were served complimentary tea or coffee whilst the other did the tour and vice versa. At the end we were offered samples of their whisky, gin and vodka (some did not want the samples but their lucky partners made sure they weren’t wasted!).

We were so pleased with the hotel, we had a collection for the staff which we presented to them at our final dinner, and thanked the owner-chef for a superb stay. Also, the group presented David and Rosemary with some bottles of excellent red wine as a thank you for another wonderful trip. Some say the best ever!