I don’t know about you but when you need to buy presents, I’m fresh out of ideas on what to buy for those special in my life. There are only so many boxes of chocolate, jumpers and socks you can buy before it becomes very monotonous.

So what do you buy for the people in your life that have everything? The ones who tell you they don’t need anything but you still want to get them something? I’m looking at you Dad! For me, this is where Red Letter Days comes to the rescue and perfect for last minute gifts for procrastinators like myself.

Red Letter Days was the first of its kind, pioneering the concept of experience day vouchers way back in 1989. Over the years it has transformed and now, you can choose from 6000+ variations of amazing gifts. Now surely you’d be able to find a special gift for that person in your life?

I tested out one of Red Letter Days more popular experiences, Boutique Escape for Two recently and transported myself to the Lake District for the weekend before Christmas season was upon me. Years ago, I actually went to Boarding School for two years near the Lake District. I visited Kendall and Windermere a good few times but had never been back since the early 00’s. At just under 3 hours drive, I forgot just how accessible it is from Glasgow. The Lakes are a beautiful part of England and the perfect place for some relaxation and exploration. Its been rather stressful the past few months and I desperately needed a break.

When I received my Red Letter Days voucher, all I had to do was log onto their website, choose from a list of participating hotels and contact them directly to book. Simple. Or was it?

Truth is, I did have issues booking the hotel of our choice, but the issues were not the fault of Red Letter Days. The hotel I chose, Storrs Hall in Bowness-on-Windermere, is a rather popular country mansion hotel, especially during weekends. I learnt the hard way upon trying to book, that only a certain amount of rooms are set aside for vouchers, completely understandable. I gave the receptionist a few dates to check for availability- none. For £40, I could upgrade to a deluxe room for my preferred date and that’s just what I did. If I wasn’t limited to certain dates due to work commitments, it would be a lot easier to book.

So with the hotel booked, we set off on the 3 hour road trip with a few road blocks on the way. En route we decided to stop off in Grasmere for Sunday Lunch, Ross being Ross researched local pubs and restaurants, deciding upon Tweedies Bar who served a Roast Beef Sunday Lunch platter for two. Roast Sirloin of Bowland Beef served pink with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and of course, gravy. That was me sold and the food did not disappoint. After lunch, we explored Grasmere a little more, stopping off Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread shop, a 17th century cottage which has been producing gingerbread since 1854.

Our hotel was a beautiful 1790s mansion, right on the shore of Lake Windermere. You couldn’t ask for a better setting. The hotel was full of beautiful art work, sculptures and full of history. Rooms are individually decorated and ours, which overlooked the front of the hotel, was incredibly spacious. We spent our evening after dinner in the hotel bar next to a log fire and in the morning, had breakfast in the conservatory overlooking the grounds. Delightful.

A Winter Escape with Red Letter Days
A Winter Escape with Red Letter Days

What we didn’t account for was after checking into the hotel and freshening up, we wanted to explore the local villages surrounding the hotel, everything was either closed or about to close by the time we arrived. Welcome to England on a Sunday. Why?! The amount of tourists flocking to the area were met with closed signs. I honestly don’t understand the logic behind it, especially in vibrant tourist towns.

But we were here for some relaxation and we did just that. Before we knew it, it was time for us to check out of the hotel making pit stops on the way home. I may have taken one too many photos of the ducks at Lake Windermere, but who’s counting?!

A Winter Escape with Red Letter Days

So when you have no idea what to get, why not choose an experience? Something they’ll remember. Something you can do together to make it all the more special. That is what its is all about, right?

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