Lakes reopening a welcome boost for all

Few places in the country can be looking forward to Monday more than the Lake District.

Many people can’t wait to get back outdoors and to re-visit favourite haunts that have been denied them during the last 15 months of lockdowns and restrictions.

From Monday, May 17, pubs and restaurants can open up for indoor dining, hotels and B&Bs can offer overnight stays, groups of upto 30 can meet outdoors and six people, or two households, can meet indoors. Upto 30 can attend weddings (though sadly the dancing is still on hold for another month).

The full re-opening of our favourite bars and restaurants is a welcome sign the life we knew before Covid-19 is slowly resuming. That’s particularly important to a county like Cumbria. The home of the Lake District is far more dependent on tourism than most other parts of the UK and welcomed 48 million visitors in 2019.

Cumbria Tourism Managing Director Gill Haigh said: “Tourism businesses across Cumbria have consistently gone above and beyond to safeguard their customers, staff and communities. Now they’re ready to get back to doing what they do best and what they love – providing fantastic memorable experiences for their guests.”

Day trippers’ oasis

Hawkshead is one of our top Lakes destinations (spoiler alert, we do have family connections!). Its quaint streets and honeypot shops offer an inviting oasis to day-trippers or those staying for longer.

Like everywhere in the area it’s been hit hard by the lockdowns and is now hoping for a successful – and uninterrupted – summer season.

Poppi Red is a popular cafe and boutique shop that can’t wait to get going at full speed again. Since April it has been doing all it can to welcome – and keep warm – visitors to its outdoor area.

Owner Kim Merrick said: “The lockdowns have been really hard, but since we reopened people have been coming back. I think they just appreciate the chance to again sit down with friends and have a coffee.

“The weather hasn’t been too kind but we’ve a marquee and brollies, and installed heaters and offered people blankets; basically doing everything we can to make them feel welcome.

“But it will be great to welcome people inside the cafe again. We’ve been working hard on the interior to make it more of an experience for people. We created a little beach area, because people haven’t been able to go away. We’re also firing up a pizza oven outside to offer something a little different.”

Inside the treasure trove shop at Poppi Red

Welcome change

Also opening up again from Monday, are the Hive rooms nestled above the cafe. It’s been a stop start beginning for this new venture which has had to be closed more than open due to changing restrictions. Now it’s looking forward to showing off its bespoke, individually-styled rooms to guests looking for a welcome change of scene.

Lake District welcome back: A bath at the Hive, Hawkshead

Visitors can relax in high-quality surroundings at the Hive


Down the street at the village’s Chocolate Factory, chocaholics can once again take their pick from the myriad of sweets and treats in the store or book for the fun-filled family workshops.

Andrew Wilson said: “As more businesses are allowed to re-open we expect the numbers of visitors will increase for all. We’re hoping that the remaining restrictions will be lifted in June. Then we can enjoy a summer season that’s much more like normal.”

Hawkshead is also the setting for Beatrix Potter’s stunning historic home Hill Top, which is re-opening its doors to the public again from Monday. Advance booking is now available so that numbers inside can be carefully managed to ensure Covid safety.

Lake District welcome back

Hill Top is a popular Hawkshead attraction


Right across the Lakes we’re seeing welcome signs of life. On social media too there are plenty of reminders of what we’ve missed. Photos are great, but we want to enjoy views like this in person!

Many of the Lake District’s quirky attractions are back up and running.

And after all that time locked down, it’s great to be able to get back out on the fells.

→ We’ve written previously about some of the great businesses based in Cumbria.