New Year this year

Coming from Singapore, the New Year event that my family and I celebrated was always Chinese New Year. This had the benefit of re-connecting with less closely related relatives or simply having an excellent reason for spending quality fun time with closer relations. When I came to Britain, I was surprised to find out that New Year celebrations take place on 31st December instead of 1st January, unlike home, when New Year celebrations take place on the actual New Year dates.

My understanding of Chinese New Year celebrations had always centred around the payment of respect to older relatives. This was the reason we visited them. Always, the younger ones visited the older ones; never the other way round. Thus, the youngest person in the family had more people to visit than anyone else.

Visiting family at Chinese New Year followed a ritual of first wishing our hosts a Happy New Year, and then by the young ones, especially children, receiving what we call red packets in which were monetary gifts ranging from the very tiniest amount to more generous wads of cash. We drank Chinese tea or cold drinks and ate peanuts and roasted water melon seeds. Of course there were other special New Year treats to eat too, although the availability of these varied from home to home. The best part came when the extended family gathered together for large feasts at my maternal grandparents’ on the second night of New Year.

A Chinese New Year treat. (Photo by Ariel, courtesy of http://la-kopi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10230&page=205.)

It was a bit of a cultural revelation when I first arrived in the UK and found out that the English New Year is celebrated so differently here. Instead of the family-based visits to older relatives, people went out carousing the night before. The principle of respect for our elders in Chinese culture that translates into paying them visits in order to wish them prosperity and health during what the superstitious might consider some of the most propitious dates of the burgeoning year is not present in the way that the English New Year is celebrated. Rather, people here seem to let their hair down, metaphorically speaking, during New Year, sometimes with family, but mostly with friends.

Of course there will be people who prefer a quiet New Year rather than a never-ending round of parties. If you are one of those people and want a peaceful place to relax during this hectic partying season, Blenheim Lodge is ideally placed for a tranquil getaway. Our 4-Star Bowness guest house allows you to be close to all the action you might wish for, but its hilltop location also lifts you up and away from the madding crowd within the space of a 5-minute walk.

The Dalesway, a pretty room with tranquil woodland views where you might hear an owl hooting at night and birds singing you an early evening lullaby. This bedroom is available during New Year and can be used for double, twin or triple occupancy.

We generally stipulate a minimum stay of at least 2-3 nights as the New Year period always coincides with a public holiday long weekend. The local shops, restaurants, pubs and attractions, including cruises on Lake Windermere, will be open as usual, so there will be lots to see and do in Bowness-on-Windermere. Like our little town, the rest of the Lake District will also be open, and there should be lots to keep visitors occupied.

The scenery ought to be spectacular during New Year. I love to see slender branches silvered with sparkling frost, and bright blue skies above snow-capped mountains. Imagine walking along the promenade at Bowness Bay and breathing in the crisp freshness of Lakeland air, whilst Lake Windermere glistens before you, bounded by tree-lined shores and high majestic fells. Does this not sound like a great escape already? But if you should hanker to explore the great outdoors, well, all is before you to experience: hiking; riding; climbing; mountain biking; sightseeing; boating; fishing; quad-biking; etc.

Explore the Lakes at your leisure on a New Year break. A couple on a walk at beautiful Tarn Hows during Winter. (Photo courtesy of www.cumbriaphoto.co.uk.)

This will be the 6th or 7th year that Hubby and I have opened Blenheim Lodge for New Year. This year, we will see the return of some previous guests to us for the long weekend and are looking forward to seeing them again. However, we still have some late availability for lovely rooms during this period, and have put up New Year offers where we have retained our 2011 prices which are bookable online and via email or telephone. Perhaps you might like to join us? If so, you will find a hearty welcome!

One of the rooms available this New Year is Claife Heights, one of our standard double rooms at Blenheim Lodge. This pretty bedroom has excellent Lake Windermere views and is named after the Claife Heights mountains, also visible from the room.

‘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

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