New for 2020

3-Night Words by the Water in the Northern Lake District

Image of notebooks, colorful pencils on wooden table outdoors at afternoon. selective focus
Duration: 3 nights
Interests: Literature Festival Holidays
from £435pp

History, philosophy, politics, comedy - the Words by the Water Literary Festival has something for everyone. A glittering line up of thinkers, writers and commentators share ideas and stories which are both entertaining and thought-provoking. The Theatre by the Lake venue in Keswick lies on the shores of Derwent Water – a beautiful setting and just a short distance from our country house. There are over 100 events during the 10 days of the festival; the programme will be announced in January.

Holiday Highlights

  • A fantastic festival featuring a diverse range of stars 
  • Topics from philosophy to comedy
  • Let us organise your festival arrangements with transport to and from the festival site (by bus or boat!)
  • A selection of tickets to the festival

What’s included

  • High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
  • The services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • Coach transport to and from the festival
  • Good quality tickets for performances and festival sessions

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.


Transport has been arranged to pick you up from Derwent Bank at 10.00AM and return to Derwent Bank at 17.30PM. Please see below the events that are included in your holiday. You are then free to contact the festival directly and book any additional events you'd like to attend. https://www.theatrebythelake.com/words-by-the-water-festival

Salley Vickers

Laying Open the Human Heart

2.30pm | Main House 

In her latest work ‘Grandmothers’ novelist Salley Vickers explores how three women subtly alter when through their encounters with each other they discover that the past is always with us and that we go on learning and changing until the very end. "Vickers sees with a clear eye and writes with a light hand. She’s a presence worth cherishing in the ranks of modern novelists.” 

Karen Harvey

The Case of Mary Toft – Rabbit Breeder

4.00pm | Studio 

In October 1726, newspapers reported that a woman named Mary Toft was giving birth to rabbits …leading doctors travelled to examine Toft. By December she had been accused of fraud. Cultural historian Karen Harvey gives a detailed account of this astonishing story, exposing huge social and cultural changes in a time when traditional social hierarchies were shaken, relationships between men and women were redrawn, and knowledge of the body remade. 


Transport has been arranged to pick you up from Derwent Bank at 10.00AM and return to Derwent Bank at 17.00PM. Please see below the events that are included in your holiday. You are then free to contact the festival directly and book any additional events you'd like to attend. https://www.theatrebythelake.com/words-by-the-water-festival

Emma Smith

A genius and prophet: Is this Shakespeare? Well, sort of. 

12.45pm | Main House 

So much of what is said about Shakespeare is either not true, or just not relevant. Professor of Shakespeare Studies at the University of Oxford, Emma Smith, reveals some of the ambiguities of Shakespeare’s plays and their changing topicality. She explores the cut-throat issues of succession politics, religious upheaval and technological change that marked the Shakespearian period. 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


Derwent Bank

Close to Keswick and situated slap bang on the shore of Derwentwater, with the glassy lake on one side and the razor-edged ridges, humpbacked fells and muscular mountains of the Lake District on the other, beautiful Derwent Bank has been entrancing walkers since 1785. Extensive refurbishment and investment have seen this established walkers’ retreat transformed into a beautiful country house hotel perfect for people looking to explore the great outdoors. It’s also perfect for drinking in the views over a glass of something chilled on the terrace. With 41 bedrooms across the main house and garden rooms as well as a rustic ‘pod’ to sleep in, there’s plenty of space, along with a pretty orangery, large lounge and relaxed vibe. The lakeside land encompasses a formal garden, extensive lawns and mature trees. The emphasis is on enjoying the great outdoors and it’s all made super easy with walkers’ facilities from an inspiration point equipped with maps and route ideas to a boot room and drying space – this is the Lakes, after all. With views of Cat Bells and Grizedale Pike, the inspiration for adventure is never far away. Venture out from the house to head to the high peaks such as Scafell Pike, Blencathra and Helvellyn or stick to the lower slopes and lakes; Ullswater, arguably the most beautiful of the Cumbrian lakes, Borrowdale and Buttermere are all within easy reach.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s beautifully presented rooms or in the stylish outhouse where there are eight garden rooms with exceptional views for stylish, laid-back Lake District accommodation. In the main house, we’d pick room 12 for the extra space and stunning views over the gardens and Derwentwater. Alternatively, ask for rooms 46, 47, 48 and 49 in the outhouse, all first-floor garden bedrooms with their own glass balcony looking over the ornate formal garden and with views of the lake. There’s easy access to the boot room and orangery too, making these rooms a must to stay in. If you’re after somewhere a little more unusual to stay overnight, there’s a ‘pod’ in the garden that offers extra privacy, sleeps up to four and gives you a great story to take away!

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, formal garden, extensive garden, putting green, orangery, lounge and board games to borrow

After a day exploring the Lake District, settle in at our country house. Walk the pretty gardens, pause on the pier that juts out in to Derwentwater and look for the boats and ferry that sail on the lake. Try your hand on the putting green or at croquet. Grab a drink and sit on the terrace above the sloping lawns. Indoors, the spectacular orangery with its superb views, is the ideal setting for a bit of peace and quiet, or sink into the sofas in the large, comfortable lounge. Head to the bar for a great local ale and a cracking conversation with fellow guests.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea and cakes served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Derwent Bank is varied and eclectic but has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might tuck in to traditional Cumbrian fare from local river trout with samphire to a duo of local lamb. Look out for Eden Valley brie and red onion tart or Whinlatter Forest wild mushroom risotto. And to cap it all, Cumbrian sticky toffee pudding with English Lakes thunder and lightning ice cream.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

Derwent Bank hotel and Derwent Water area. Stills from drone.

Getting to Derwent Bank

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Angela Topping

Angela Topping is a former English and Drama teacher, who has worked in both FE and secondary education. She is a professional, widely published poet, and author of several books on literary texts. Her enthusiasm for literature is infectious. She is also interested in art, music and nature. A seasoned performer and speaker, she has appeared at literature festivals and given talks in a range of venues across the UK. She is outgoing and approachable.

 Further information about Angela Topping can be found on her blog at: https://angelatopping.wordpress.com/

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £20 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
05 Mar - 08 Mar
3 Literature Festival £435 Available Trip Notes Book Now
12 Mar - 15 Mar
3 Literature Festival £435 £405 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
Duration:
3 nights
Interests:
Literature Festival Holidays

3 nights from £435pp

New for 2020

...or call 020 3974 8865

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