Over 100 glorious holidays
Liz told us:
"We have been Bondholders for 15 years and have visited most of the UK and overseas sites, all of which we have enjoyed in different ways. As soon as we had taken our first week with HPB, we realised just how liberating this style of holiday was going to be for us. No more worries about the standard of the accommodation, helpful and friendly management, locations in areas of outstanding natural beauty, and the knowledge that everything from the outset will be stress-free. This is the best investment we have ever made.
“In March 2011 we were among the first visitors to Merlewood and were immediately smitten. The style and decoration of the main rooms are very much in keeping with the period of the mansion, and the apartments are sumptuously furnished with comfort and elegance in mind; really impressive.
"Our week away in Cumbria was such a success we have returned on six subsequent occasions and have never been disappointed, either with Merlewood or the surrounding area. Whether you wish to walk, visit stately properties, amble around gardens or even just shop, it is all there and, quite surprisingly, not always far from Merlewood itself.
"To describe just one day… We had a leisurely breakfast looking down over Morecambe Bay, while watching a deer meander its way down the side of the nearby field. This was followed by a visit to the Historic Houses Association’s Levens Hall, not far away, with its world-famous topiary garden: truly splendid. We did, of course, make time for a delicious lunch in their restaurant. In the afternoon we drove down to Cartmel for a browse around the shops, and then back to Grange for a delicious cream tea. Perhaps it should be added that a diet might be in order after a one-week visit! We rounded off the day with a swim and three games of table tennis, all of which my husband won, a normal occurrence I’m afraid.
"If you enjoy walking then do try the walk up and behind Merlewood’s grounds through the woodlands, past the ‘hospice’, a strange little building on the highest part of the local fell, Hampsfell. This is not what you might expect! It was built by a local worthy many years ago to provide a modicum of shelter. The hospice offers splendid views over the surrounding countryside and the vast expanse of Morecambe Bay. Then on down to the pretty village of Cartmel. After a tour of Cartmel Priory, which is really enjoyable as well as informative, the village pubs and cafes await.
"If you’ve visited Cumbria before you will know that finding a walk to do is easy; there must be hundreds! If, like us, you sometimes enjoy the benefits of a National Park Ranger-led walk with a group then they are available too. Sometimes though, it’s just nice to park the car and walk off with a trusty Ordnance Survey map and discover new areas of the countryside, fells or walks beside one of the lakes.
"Close to Merlewood is Sizergh Castle, a National Trust property with a nearby farm shop; definitely worth a visit. If you are a member of the Historic Houses Association then as well as Levens Hall, Holker Hall is a must, and like many attractions it’s within a half-hour or so’s drive from Merlewood. Then there are of course the Lakes, which provide a lovely day out. If the weather does turn against you then make use of the many museums which often have hands-on displays to enhance the experience. Families will find Beatrix Potter-themed attractions a must, and also the nearby motor museum which includes a special separate building dedicated to the exploits of Malcolm and Donald Campbell in their world speed record attempts on land and water. The area is also rich in memories of Wordsworth, with several of his former homes in the Grasmere area.
"But do make time to enjoy Merlewood itself. There can be few things nicer than taking your coffee or a glass of wine and sitting on the terrace to look at the view down to Grange and the Bay, or just to sit and read in such a lovely setting. I think you can be certain that we’ve loved our visits to Merlewood, and like other Bondholders we have spoken to, we have always felt so very welcome at Merlewood and very well looked after by site manager Marion St Quinton, husband Howard and all the staff. Even after seven visits we know there remains much to see and do – we can’t wait to return!"
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