Special events

Backgammon Championship in the Lake District

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The annual Lake District backgammon championship will be staged in March at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel and is likely to attract top players from around the country.

The Lakes event is being staged for the fourth time and now has the backing of the UK Backgammon Federation and the British Isles Backgammon Association.

One of the world’s oldest board games, combining skill and chance, backgammon is played in cafés across the Mediterranean and in the most exclusive of London clubs, with world championships staged in exotic locations.

Last year the contest attracted 16 top players from around the UK. The winner, Edinburgh’s Ian Hesketh, took the top prize after beating British UKBGF team captain Tim Cross in a nail-biting final game. Ian was the runner-up in 2014, when the first Lakes tournament was held.

The championship is organised by Cedar Manor owner Jonathan Kaye who learned to play backgammon when he was manager of Raffles nightclub in London. His dream is to see backgammon established as part of the café culture of the Lake District, as it is in Mediterranean countries, and he hosts a regular local backgammon club.

“The response to the championship has been fantastic and we are now recognised as one of the major tournaments on the UK calendar,” he said.

“But while we attract the top players, we also welcome people of all abilities. We’ve had some great surprise results in the past, and we will be very pleased to hear from any local players who want to take part.”

He added: “We have the best location, the best hospitality, and a great prize – the winner gets to come and stay here.”

The championship will be held on Sunday March 19.

Come and play some backgammon on the afternoon of the 19th March.  We would like all players to gather here at Cedar Manor from 11.00am for tea/coffee and the draw.  First round from 11.30am, breaking for lunch, then play to conclusion. This is a “fun” tournament with a Winner’s Prize of a 2 night break here at Cedar Manor and a small cash prize.

Pre-Registration is essential, we have a maximum capacity for 16 players only. The entry fee is just £25 which includes a light buffet lunch, tea/coffee and soft drinks all afternoon. 
£1 per entry fee will be donated to Lake District Charity “Nurture Lakeland”

Anyone interested in taking part should ring 015394 43192.

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Backgammon Events at Cedar Manor

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The popular Lake District backgammon club is re-launching, to bring a touch of the Mediterranean to Cumbrian winter evenings.

The first session will be on Thursday 9th February from 7pm at the Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere, which is also the venue for the annual Lakes backgammon championship in late spring.

That event attracts top class players from all over Britain, but the local club welcomes enthusiasts and beginners, insists the organiser Jonathan Kaye.

He’s been playing backgammon since rolling the dice during his time living in London, where for 10 years he managed the exclusive Chelsea nightclub, Raffles, frequented by celebrities and royalty.

“It’s a fascinating game, not difficult to learn, and knock-out tournaments like our annual event can be staged in one day,” said Jonathan.

“We had some real enthusiasts last year, from experts to absolute beginners, coming each month. It is not difficult to learn. Our 10-year-old daughter Elizabeth picked it up very quickly.”

Backgammon is one of the world’s oldest board games for two players. It is played across the globe, and is popular in the café culture of the Mediterranean and Middle East.

The Cedar Manor’s annual championship staged at the hotel is part of the British Isles Backgammon Association Backgammon Tour and Grand Prix.

Anyone interested should just turn up at (7.00pm) on 9th February.  

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A Challenge to Bloggers....

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A challenge to bloggers... win a free stay at our award-winning hotel

In the days when newspapers were printed, and delivered through your letterbox, life was pretty simple. Journalists were trained to write news stories, and when they developed expertise, they could write opinion pieces, about politics, war, food, travel...and hotels.

Now we are all citizen journalists, thanks to the internet. We are all telling the world our version of the news, on Facebook and Twitter, and anyone can set up a blog and start telling the world their opinions about politics, war, food, travel....and hotels.

As one of the most popular award-winning hotels in the Lake District, we've always been happy to welcome journalists. We don't expect them to be sycophantic, and say that everything's wonderful, just because they had a free night or two here. In fact, we're confident enough to believe in ourselves, and the quality of what we offer here, knowing that if they are fair and honest in what they write, it is likely to be positive.

And we understand that journalists are looking for an angle when they write their stories. Recently we hosted a writer who was exploring how easy it is to enjoy a holiday in the Lakes without a car. It was a good choice to be based here: we're just a few minutes walk from the train station, we have a bus stop outside our gate, and we have electric bikes that guests can use. The result was a useful and illuminating article and, yes, we enjoyed some compliments.

Now, though, we are getting requests from bloggers who want to come and stay here, and not all of them realise that they need to offer something in return. Their blogs have professional-sounding titles, they claim to be authorities on food, hospitality, travel etc, though we can't see how many actual readers they might have. Unlike a journalist who comes from the Times or the Birmingham Post ...or the Westmorland Gazette.

And then – nothing. No article appears. No words seem to be written or published. We think there's something a little dishonest going on here, and we know that other hoteliers are experiencing the same disappointment.

So we're running a little competition. We're offering a free stay here, for a couple of nights, with dinner, for a blogger and his or her partner. You can check on our website to see what the value of that is likely to be.

What we want in return is to see the blog that you are writing for, to have some evidence that your work is being published, and a guarantee that you'll honour your part of the bargain by publishing a story after your visit.

We can promise the very best in hospitality. Check the comments on Tripadvisor if you need to be convinced. Better still, come along and meet us, and stay with us, enjoy our garden, the walks from our door, the food in our restaurant. We're looking forward to hearing from you, if in return you can prove you are:

  • Relevant to our business
  •  Can identify our target market
  • Have an established readership that meets our demographic
  • You have followers on social media
  • You have a plan to promote us in return for a fantastic stay.
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Autumn Blog

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This autumn has been the most beautiful and spectacular we’ve ever known. Day after dry day of clear skies, mild temperatures, and blessed relief from the blustery winds that often come to strip the leaves off the trees too soon.

Instead, the still air has allowed the gardens, woodland and roadside trees to show off their glorious colours, and our guests have been loving the spectacle.

They have also been enjoying long days on the hills. Autumn is a very good season for walking in the fells, when the bracken is dying down and the crowds have gone back to school. Until the clocks changed, there was the chance to fit in a really substantial walk at a reasonable pace, and be rewarded with the clearest views of the high mountains.

Before we get too poetic -  treat the fells with respect at all times, but especially now the days are growing shorter. We have plenty of experience, and maps, to advise our guests, but we heard of one party in another valley who forgot about the clock change – and also forgot to pack a map, a compass or a torch. Guess what? They had to be rescued by the volunteers from the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team.

We are keen supporters of the mountain rescuers and admire their dedication – and good humour – when faced with situations that could be avoided. Genuine accidents are another matter; all those who have been helped in emergencies will appreciate the value of the MRT.

So we were pleased to be invited to the launch of a book, a crime thriller set in the Lakeland fells, that’s going to help the Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue team, with a percentage of all sales donated to their cause. It’s called In the Cold of the Night, and we’re not going to say who did it!

We’re also hoping to attend a special open day in Windermere where our good friends at Epixx are going to show off the latest in high-tech home movie and audio-visual systems, with some spectacular mountaineering and snowboarding films. It’s a preview for the Kendal Mountain Festival later this month.

We know some of our guests will be heading there. Others come specially for the switching-on of the Christmas lights in Ambleside (November 19) with the traditional parade of Chinese lanterns, and a new German-themed Christmas market here in Windermere (Dec 10-11). In fact, there’s just as much to do and see here throughout the winter as there is in the traditional holiday season, and we are happy to support Cumbria Tourism’s new drive to showcase the Lakes as a year-round destination.

However, we do need a break ourselves! So we will be closed from Sunday 11th December reopening on Tuesday 27th December; before then, and in the new year, we look forward to seeing old friends and new.

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USA Today

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Our friends across the water

We have a lot of American visitors and we know that they appreciate what we have here at the Cedar Manor.

They love the notion that we’re an “olde worlde” place, with a country-house façade and an interesting history. But they also love modern conveniences and all the latest in interior design. So they get the best of both worlds here

Now we have proof of their appreciation. An American print and online news magazine has listed us in its top ten of “adorable English inns and cottages”.

USA Today, a multi-platform news and information media company with nearly eight million readers daily, chose our award-winning hotel in a round-up of English cosiness and charm.

“With a masonry facade, pitched roof and white-trimmed windows, the Cedar Manor Hotel is the very picture of grandma’s cottage,” says their reviewer. “All that’s missing is a curlicue of smoke rising from the chimney.

“The 10-room country house dates back to the 1800s, and its cathedral windows (including some stained glass) have been well preserved. But rooms are far from fussy and include an even mix of antique furnishings like oak wardrobes and modern additions like pendant lights and iPod docks. An elegant little coach house is available for rent as well.”

Glad you like it!

The listing came in a feature article highlighting what’s small and beautiful about Britain. “Some travellers come to England to play king or queen for the day, explore vast ballrooms, see crown jewels, and stand on a tower and shout, lower the drawbridge!” says writer Maria Teresa Hart.

No, Maria, no ballroom or crown jewels here, and certainly no drawbridge!

“But then there are others who prefer things on a smaller scale. Those travellers want to visit the England of rambling cottages, ivy-covered gardens, and pubs down the lane. If you’re in that latter camp, your hunt for a little storybook cottage is over.” Ah, yes, Maria, you found us.

USA Today, launched in 1982, aims to deliver high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. “An innovator of news and information, we reflect the pulse of the nation and serve as the host of the American conversation — today, tomorrow and for decades to follow.”

Along with the eight million daily readers, they have more than 22 million mobile app downloads. So we’re very pleased indeed to be included in this listing. And if you’re reading this today, on USA Today – come on over. We’re having a very pleasant summer.

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Cateys Night in London

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The hard work of our staff, and our determination to offer the best welcome possible, has meant that we have won a few awards over the last few years. We have awards for “best small hotel”, for the excellence of our interior design, for the high customer service standards of our staff, and for our care for the environment.

And so we’ve been privileged to attend a number of award ceremonies, here in Cumbria and beyond (and yes, each one does mean that Caroline should have a new dress!)

But we felt very proud indeed this week to attend the Cateys, at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. This was to recognise the individuals, teams and businesses shaping the hospitality industry. Organised by The Caterer magazine, since their inception in 1984, the Cateys have cast a spotlight on the industry’s highest flyers, strongest performers and hottest brands. Over more than a quarter of a century, they have become a byword for quality, class and achievement, the awards that everybody wants to win. No wonder then that the industry refers to them as its Oscars Night.

And we were there, among three shortlisted for the title Best Independent Hotel. It was a wonderful gala night, hosted by Claudia Winkleman, where we saw Jill Stein and TV-star Rick Stein receive a special award, and we were fed by Simon Rogan and his team from l'enclume and Claridges, who worked with the Grosvenor House banqueting staff. What a meal! We had a divine starter of pea puree and crispy pork, a fish course of smoked eel with mackerel, and a main course of lamb. We won’t forget this in a hurry.

The winners were Longueville Manor, the most highly rated of all Jersey hotels. It is the only AA Five Red Star hotel  on the island, and clearly worthy winners. This was our first time at the Cateys and so we felt proud and privileged to have made the shortlist and to be runners-up.

Now it’s time to come back down to earth. But spending evenings such as these, in the company of the very best providers of hospitality, can only help us improve even further. We’ve come away inspired and determined to maintain the very highest standards and the very warmest welcome to you all.

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Summer showtime in the Lakes

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We’re just back from Holker Hall where we spent a couple of hours at the delightful garden festival, one of a whole series of summer shows that are within reach of us here.

Holker Garden Festival has the very best of gardening, countryside, food and crafts, magnificent show gardens, glorious horticulture, artisan produce and fine craftsmanship, combined with show stopping entertainment and celebrity guest appearances, over three days.

Less spectacular, but no less beautiful, are the Holehird Gardens only a mile away, the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society. These are open every day until October, and it’s a very low-key place, seldom crowded, but with 10 acres of gorgeously kept gardens to enjoy.

Our other favourite summer events include the small but perfectly formed Coniston Country Fair in July, and the massive Westmorland County Show in September.

But the best of all has to be Ambleside Sports, always staged on the last Thursday of July at Rydal Park, about five miles north from here (and on the bus route). This is one of the oldest and most traditional of the Lakes’ summer events, marking its 130th birthday this summer.

There are craft stalls and local produce for sale, a beer tent, and plenty of opportunities to eat Cumberland sausage, but the sports themselves are the real attraction. There are fell races – a short dash up and down a steep slope, and a gruelling nine mile chase of the Rydal Round, over all the summits in the Fairfield Horseshoe.

There are track races in the central arena, and also grass cycle track racing with a spectacularly exciting event called Devil Take the Hindmost. And there’s Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, a very stylised and elegant form of the sport in which the participants are required to wear traditional costume. White leggings worn under embroidered shorts, with a singlet. We think Jonathan would look quite fetching, but he comes up with an excuse every year.

This year they are staging the first-ever women’s world championship in Cumberland wrestling and we hear there’s some serious training under way.

The most exciting spectator sport is the hound trailing, a kind of fell racing for dogs, who run for miles around the hills following a previously-laid trail of some foul smelling (but clearly attractive to dogs) substance. Betting is brisk, and the sight of the hounds chasing down the hillside into the arena is a thrilling experience.

We have information about all the different shows, so when you book to stay with us, do check what might be on during your visit. You might even be tempted to have a go if you’re a good sport!

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The Road is Open!

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We’ve been having a good year here at the Cedar Manor, very lucky not to have been affected by the winter flooding, and with a glorious spring that’s shown off our grounds and all the hills around us at their very best.

Our visitors have been up on the fells, out on the lake, and even out IN the lake (sincere apologies that we didn’t join you for that dip). The days have been warm enough to take afternoon tea on the terrace under the Cedar tree, and the nights cool enough to appreciate the cosiness of our lounge bar, and the warmth of our menus.

But what we’ve all missed was the road north. Yes, we could all get as far as Grasmere, and those who really had to would take the long detour via the motorway and Penrith if they needed to get to Keswick. But that was a mile too many just for some chocolate.

Yes, that’s what we missed more than anything else while the A591 was being repaired – shopping on Keswick market for the divine chocolates that we put in your rooms. Oh, we found perfectly acceptable replacements, but there was something really special about that drive past beautiful Thirlmere, the amazing views of the high fells as you drop down into Keswick, and the terrific range of stalls on the market. And the chocolate.

We missed our occasional visits to the Lakes Distillery at Bassenthwaite. We also missed the red squirrels, sometimes spotted along the road by Thirlmere. Are they still around? Have any of you seen them now that the repair work is finished?

It’s also been good to meet more of our Beatrix’s cousins. You’ve met Beatrix, the painted Herdwick standing under the Cedar tree by the hotel entrance? She’s one of 60 fantasy sheep installed as part of the charity fund-raising Go Herdwick project, and there are several more along the road from here, into Ambleside, at Rydal and in Grasmere. Now that the road is open again, we can meet her northern cousins. 

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Exciting News from Cedar Manor...

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Roll out the red carpet..it’s the Oscars ceremony

It is red carpet time, and another excuse for Caroline to buy a new dress: we have been shortlisted for the Oscars of the hospitality world.

The Cedar Manor is one of just three to reach the finals of the Independent Hotel of the Year category at the Cateys – the Caterer and Hotelkeeper awards.

We will be representing Cumbria and the Lake District at the grand award ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House in July.

The competition is fierce. Also shortlisted is the gem of the Yorkshire Dales, Yorebridge House, at Bainbridge in Wensleydale. Then there’s the Longueville Manor at St Saviour on the island of Jersey, one of Europe’s most celebrated getaway destinations.

But we are very proud to have reached the finals. Inaugurated in 1984, the Cateys highlight the hospitality industry’s highest flyers, strongest performers and hottest brands. The Cateys have become a byword for quality, class and achievement, the awards that everybody wants to win. The industry refers to them as its Oscars Night, and we are very excited to reach this stage.

Keep your fingers crossed for us. It would be lovely to have another trophy to add to our growing list of awards. And thank you, every one of our lovely guests, for your kind comments and feedback which are taken into consideration by award judges.

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Caroline's Marathon Blog

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Caroline runs 26 miles, and Jonathan runs a successful raffle…

It was another great day out in London when Caroline completed her second marathon and raised more than £2000 for the Calvert Trust.

Here at the Cedar Manor we are long-time supporters of the Trust, which runs challenging outdoor adventure breaks for people with disabilities. And while Caroline had the easy job of running 26 miles through the streets of London, Jonathan had the really difficult task of pulling out the winning ticket in our prize raffle.

The raffle was won by Mr Alan Whyte from Dunfermline. He and his wife Mary are regular visitors at the Cedar Manor. They won a two-night stay at the hotel with a bottle of Prosecco on arrival.

The winning ticket was drawn from a hat after Caroline had crossed the finishing line in London. “I was happy for the winner and would like to thank everyone who donated through my just giving page and the raffle for this worthwhile charity” she said.

Regular visitors will have seen one of our other ways of helping the Calvert Trust, by sponsoring one of the Go Herdwick fantasy sheep, Beatrix. She’s standing near the front gate under our Cedar tree and is one of 61 sheep which have been painted by different artists and stand in prominent places all over the Lakes.

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