John and I have just returned from our annual July trip to England. Each summer, we visit a region of the English countryside that we have yet to explore and pay homage to various far-flung country houses and dream-inducing gardens. These hops across the pond bring us so much inspiration that we then carry into our interior design schemes and pour into our product creations.
A highlight of our recent jaunt to the UK was a visit to the fabled Lake District, tucked into the northwest region of England. Impossibly green (even in the country’s current sun-kissed drought), the Lake District is populated with numerous postcard-perfect lakes surrounded by hills and valleys.
I hadn’t visited the area since my childhood—and John had never been—so we booked two nights at the Laura Ashley Hotel The Belsfield, housed within a wonderful, period-era Italianate former villa high above Lake Windermere. And, yes, the hotel is part of THAT Laura Ashley group, but there is not a speck of the wonderful floral Ashley patterns that were such a part of my childhood at the hotel. Today’s Laura Ashley is much more clean lined and modern with nods to British tradition. And The Belsfield perfectly mirrors the current Laura Ashley vibe with pale colors and modern, but comfortable furnishings paired with stunning views onto the hotel’s large garden and the sparkling lake that sits at the bottom of the hill. We sipped cool Aperol spritz cocktails, supped on updated British cooking, and lolled about under the summer sun.
But enough about the hotel.
The other highlight of our Lake District jaunt was the visit to fabled children author-cum-illustrator Beatrix Potter’s cottage home, Hill Top. John and I woke up early, caught the passenger ferry that traverses Lake Windermere (the car ferry has been out of commission all summer), and hiked the few miles to Hill Top along paths that carried us through flower-filled meadows and past rose-draped stone churches and cottages.
Now overseen by the National Trust (which Potter played a large role in creating), Hill Top is a cozy, quite dark cottage with a vest pocket-sized garden that attracts heaps of visitors. We waited for our timed visit and then poked about Hill Top. We loved the wallpapered ceilings, the intimate charms, and the well-worn and tatty quality to the furnishings.
Viva Beatrix Potter…
Now, enjoy the tour through our photos!