Over the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to stay in everything from safari tents to hobbit holes. A shepherd’s hut might not sound quite as exciting and exotic in comparison, but this shepherd’s hut in the Lake District may just be one of my favourites. What this shepherd’s hut went big on was cosiness and comfort. And that is exactly what you want from a December staycation in the UK.
Waking up inside the shepherd’s hut each morning to the frosty, sparkly fields was one of the most magical things I’ve ever experienced. I knew the Lake District would be pretty in winter. But I had no idea that it would be quite this beautiful. So, without further ado, let me show you just how magical this shepherd’s hut in the Lake District is…
The Shepherd’s Hut in the Lake District
One of the things that pleasantly surprised me about the shepherd’s hut was just how cosy the bed was. For a sofa bed that pulls out into a double bed, it was stupidly comfy. You are guaranteed the best night’s sleep here, that’s for sure.
Hang on, no, the thing that most surprised me about the shepherd’s hut was how toasty it was at night. Anticipating the sub-zero temperatures that were correctly forecasted, I had shoved a million and one layers into my backpack. We’re talking merino wool and fluffy socks galore!
But I didn’t need any of them. I slept in just a t-shirt with a single duvet. I was, if anything, too warm. It’s like a furnace in there once you’ve got the log fire going! Plus, the shepherd’s hut is fully insulated with sheep’s wool making it snug, comfortable and warm.
Oh, and in case you still feel the cold, there is a thermostatically controlled electric heater too. Top tip for those that feel the cold more or just love being super snuggly: be sure to look under the bed for baskets full to the brim with more blankets and cushions.
So yeah, there’s no denying it, the shepherd’s hut is tiny. The one thing I noticed as soon as we entered the hut was that it was even smaller than it looked in the photos. Yet Susan, the lovely Airbnb host, manages to cram so much into one space without it feeling cramped or claustrophobic at all! Everything you could possibly need is in there. We could have easily just spent the whole weekend lazing inside the hut.
From playing cards and Top Trumps to Who Am I and general knowledge quiz games, there are enough games to keep you entertained for hours. We had a lot of fun playing Who Am I, in particular. Santa had Chris stumped for TIME. There are also a whole host of books to dive into, from The Little Book of Hygge to Lake District walking books, great for planning further adventures.
If the games and books won’t entertain you, the hut also comes with plenty of charging points and free Wi-Fi, perfect for cosy movie nights in. Whilst I’d advise steering clear of the Wi-Fi for a real off-grid experience, sometimes a gal just wants to binge-watch The Office. For a real festive getaway, I’d recommend a disgustingly cheesy Christmas film.
In the living area, you will also, of course, find the Hobbit wood burning stove. Susan kindly provides kindling, newspaper and logs for the fire. And when we ran out, she was more than happy to provide us with more to keep us warm through the cold winter nights!
Perhaps one of the loveliest touches of this shepherd’s hut was how lovingly stocked the kitchen was. From a free breakfast of wholemeal muffins and real butter to a fruit bowl brimming with bananas, apples and oranges, there is no chance of getting hungry here.
Venture further into the cupboards and you will also discover gluten-free cornflakes, muesli and vegan muesli, Weetabix, Scottish oatcakes, beans, salt, pepper and vinegar. The fridge is also filled with milk, cheese and cordial! The tap water is non-drinkable, so Susan provides plenty of bottled water to keep you going throughout your stay.
Whilst there aren’t any cooking facilities, aside from a toaster, microwave and electric kettle, you can certainly knock up a quick breakfast and lunch here. Plus, part of the fun of staying in the hut is trying out all the local pubs. But more on that later!
However, the best part was that knowing it was my birthday, Susan provided me with a birthday card and a bottle of wine in the fridge ready for my arrival. Talk about the most special of touches! It really made our stay here just that little bit more special.
One of the things that most people fear about camping or glamping is the washing and toilet facilities! Well, fear no more, because this shepherd’s hut has a bloody lovely loo.
Odourless and easy to use, the compost lavatory is way less scary than you may expect. The toilet has two chambers: a dry chamber with an electric drying fan extractor, to which sawdust is added, and a wet funnel-shaped chamber for urine. This is kept fresh by flushing with a jug of disinfectant and water. For longer stays of 2+ days, Susan will even service your loo to keep it fresh and sweet!
There is also a sink and shower in the hut. We were very surprised to find that even in sub-zero temperatures, the shower managed to warm up. It just takes some time so be patient! The shower isn’t that powerful and doesn’t get too hot in winter, but hey, to even get a shower whilst glamping is a luxury.
This shepherd’s hut in the Lake District is very different from other glamping sites I have stayed at in that it is not off-grid. Whilst none of the Lake District really feels on-grid, the hut is located on quite a busy country lane, so it can get slightly noisy.
However, aside from the occasional road-noise, you feel totally immersed in nature. We didn’t ever once notice the traffic. In fact, the traffic was drowned out by the gorgeous sounds of birds chirping around the hut. There are bird feeders beside the window, so you can watch the birds at close range, and will wake to bird song.
As the hut faces south-east, you will see the sunrise over the hills and the valley below. On clear nights, you’ll see the moon rise. Chris and I saw the clearest night’s sky of our life. It was essentially the textbook definition of romance.
There is a small seating area outside the hut with a table and chairs and a small fire pit. Whilst we didn’t use them, because frankly, it was fucking freezing, I am sure this is a lovely addition for summer stays. I’m envisioning al fresco breakfast enjoyed slowly.
Places to Visit near the Shepherd’s Hut in the Lake District
The local area is nothing short of gorgeous and the hut makes for a great base for exploring the Lakes. Whilst you can do a Lucy and Chris and drive hours a day around the Lakes, scouting out the best sights, I would recommend taking your time a little more slowly to embrace life in the hut and the local area too.
However, if you are keen to do a little more exploring, here are some nearby sights within a 40-minute drive of the hut.
Kendal: Kendal is an attractive market town with an eclectic range of shops, cafes, restaurants, and a lively Arts Centre with a cinema and theatre.
Windermere: One of the most famous lakes in the Lake District but for good reason. Surrounded by mountain peaks and villages, such as Bowness and Ambleside, Windermere attracts visitors from all over the globe.
Elterwater: Much-loved by locals, this quiet little village is the perfect setting for a peaceful lakeside walk.
Loughrigg Fell: Located on the outskirts of Ambleside, Loughrigg Fell is a hill that offers the most superb vantage point for the surrounding fells.
Grasmere: Another nearby famous tourist destination in Cumbria, described by Williams Wordsworth as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”.
Places to Eat near the Shepherd’s Hut in the Lake District
The Black Labrador, Underbarrow
Luckily, the nearest pub to the shepherd’s hut is an award-winning country inn. Only a five-minute drive from the shepherd’s hut, you will find The Black Labrador. A perfect mix of cosy and classy, The Black Labrador is the quintessential British gastropub.
In the mood for some hearty, winter pub grub, I went for the sausage and mash off the Specials board. Chris absolutely devoured his main too: poached and roasted chicken supreme with thyme fondant potato, asparagus wrapped in parma ham, smoked wild mushroom cream reduction. Delicious!
To celebrate my 23rd birthday, Chris booked me a surprise meal at Porto, a lovely little restaurant hidden down a small lane in Bowness-on-Windermere. Although it doesn’t look like anything special from the outside, the food here really was second-to-none. Everything is freshly made to order using the finest seasonal ingredients.
For starters, we shared mozzarella arancini and pan-fried chicken livers. For mains, I went for the 28-day salt aged 10oz rib eye steak with garlic and herb butter, confit mushroom, tomato and chips. Chris went for the lamb chump with ratatouille, goats cheese bon bon, Dauphinoise potatoes, cauliflower puree and jus. Can you sense a recurring theme here?
The Flying Pig, Bowness-on-Windermere
One of the best Sunday lunches either of us have ever had, I cannot recommend a trip to The Flying Pig enough. A traditional British pub, with the most gorgeous interior décor, it’s a great place to grab some pub grub or a Sunday roast, all whilst snuggled up by the fire.
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