‘Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Ring, ring.’ The telephone shrilled loudly, calling my attention to its summons as I was having my quiet time. I picked up the phone, and a nice-sounding lady asked whether we could help with arranging a golden anniversary break for her parents. Now, I liked the sound of that. In this day and age, it is always lovely to hear about couples who are celebrating their long and happy marriages.

So, what could I suggest for a surprise gift for this happy couple? I asked the lady what she thought of a midweek dinner sail package with two nights bed and breakfast at our establishment and a four-course dinner on board a yacht. She thought that sounded quite good; but when I told her that the yacht was only 32 feet long, she suspected that her mother might feel a little seasick with the rocking motion.

lake windermere, blenheim lodge, bowness-on-windermere, lake district
Cruise Lake Windermere. This photo of a ferry cruising Lake Windermere was taken from one of lake-facing bedrooms at Blenheim Lodge, Bowness-on-Windermere.

I then suggested a dinner buffet cruise with a live jazz band on Lake Windermere instead. (We are talking about a larger ferry here, so the craft would remain more stable on the water.) The lady thought that this idea sounded much better.

So, now we had sorted a potential dinner cruise on Lake Windermere. Next, we talked about where her parents could dine on the other night. No problem. There are lots of places to eat within  2-5 minutes’ walk of our guest house, and we could help her parents book a table somewhere.

But how could the lady surprise her parents with this getaway gift? She did not want to ask them when they might be free in order to book some dates with us, in case they got an inkling of what she was going to do. ‘Well,’ I said casually, ‘How about a voucher?’

I explained that we could tailor make a voucher for her parents. She could specify the room she wanted them to have, and pre-order chocolates, champagne, cake and flowers for their arrival. Meanwhile, I could organise a voucher for the dinner sail for them. We could set the B&B voucher to last 12 months, which would give her parents ample time to use it before it became null and void. ‘Oh, that’s a good idea,’ the lady said.

blenheim lodge, bowness-on-windermere, lake district
One of the rooms the lady was interested in booking for her parents’ golden anniversary was The Fairfield, our largest room with lovely views to the north of Lake Windermere which can be enjoyed whilst lazing on the antique daybed.

Over the years, we have sold a number of bed and breakfast vouchers which seem to have worked a treat. For the giver, it takes the stress out of trying to guess or find out when the receiver would be free to go away for a few days or more. For the receiver, it gives him or her up to a year to use the voucher at his or her convenience. At Blenheim Lodge, we take care of the rest. For example, if the giver had specified a cake and flowers with accompanying messages at the time of buying the voucher, we make sure that those items are in situ for the guests’ arrival. There is nothing for the giver to do, but to enjoy the act of giving.

Some years back, Hubby and I contributed towards a present for his parents’ golden anniversary. We wracked our brains for a suitable gift but there is the usual problem: by the time our parents celebrate their golden anniversaries, they will already have in their possession all that they require by way of material goods. So, what could we give them? Well, the ‘kids’ clubbed together and bought them a 2-night getaway at a very expensive hotel near them because they no longer like travelling too far afield from their own home. It went down a treat.

So, for anyone out there who is still thinking of what to get someone, young or old, for a gift, do consider the benefits of buying a voucher. A romantic break or a quiet retreat away from the hurly burly usually goes down a treat with most people. And if you are canny, you could always book a surprise getaway gift for that special someone that includes your getting away too! How about secretly organising a Valentine’s weekend away and your loved one? We will help you plan it to get it just right for you both!

blenheim lodge lake district
Get away from it all. Take as many tea breaks as you like! Two inviting cups of tea sit next to an information guide about the numerous things to do and places to see in the Lake District. 

Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com

Email: enquiries@blenheim-lodge.com

Phone: 00 44 (0)15394 43440