Short break - Trout Hotel, Cockermouth.
PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 April 2017
Rebekka O’Grady enjoys a stay at the renovated Trout Hotel in Cockermouth.
Cockermouth isn’t a place you go to for glitz and glamour, but rather for community, unspoilt landscapes and a fair few places to get a decent pint. It’s a far cry from the Hollywood Hills, and that must have been exactly what Bing Crosby wanted when he visited the small Lake District town for a fishing break.
Over the years, the crooner would frequent the area, staying at the Trout Hotel. So when I was invited to stay at the chic establishment, I thought if it was good enough for Bing then it’s certainly good enough for me.
Although many a decade has passed since the American star would have been walking the halls, the hotel still remains at the heart of Cockermouth. First built in 1670 as a private residence for the Egremont Estate, the hotel has been owned by Nigel Mills for the past 20 years. Devastated by floods in both 2009 and 2015, Nigel and the team reopened The Trout in summer 2016, bringing with it a new interior design to the hotel and its elegant 49-bedrooms, as well as new menus.
Checking in to our executive room on the ground floor, the first thing I noticed was the stunning view of The River Derwent, famed for its trout and salmon fishing, out of the window. Second to that was the gigantic bed, plush with luxurious cushions and linen. I was looking forward to a night’s sleep already.
Before I could settle down in my pyjamas, we were treated to an evening dinner at the hotel’s Derwent Restaurant. One of three dining choices at The Trout, the Derwent Restaurant is the more fine dining option, with an excellent menu to match.
For starters, the pigeon breasts with fig and walnut salad (£9.25) and the duck leg croquettes with pak choi and plum sauce (£8.95) were both excellent, and my partner’s main course of ribeye steak (£22.95) was flavoursome with a creamy yet spicy peppercorn sauce. However it was my choice of roast duck breast with citrus and carrots, and creamed potatoes (£20) that was the stand-out dish.
After a peaceful sleep and delicious breakfast, we set off to the Lakes Distillery in nearby Bassenthwaite. Established by Paul Currie in 2014, the award-winning distillery is situated on a restored Victorian cattle farm and includes a visitor centre, bistro and shop selling distillery products as well as locally produced goods.
We learnt just how the distillery’s handcrafted Lakes Malt, Lakes Gin and Lakes Vodka is made on a fascinating tour with guide, Esme, before sitting down to enjoy a hearty three course Sunday lunch (£22.95) at the Bistro at the Distillery.
Maybe this is what Bing was after when he stumbled upon Cockermouth, a restful break full of fine food, drink and stylish surroundings. Well, that’s certainly what I found.