Tuesday, 8 December 2015


The sign says it all - Brew Brothers Kendal
I'm interrupting our scheduled #LakeDistrictBid blog to bring you a special blog about Cumbria.  As you will have seen on the news we've been hit with some pretty dramatic weather and the clean up operation for many households will last well into the new year.  The floods have been truly devastating, but we are bouncing back and many of the businesses in Cumbria are open and raring to go - what would make this whole thing even more devastating is if people stopped coming here, stopped staying in local hotels and and stopped buying from local businesses.

CUMBRIA IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS - yes there are still a few roads out (click here for local travel info), but you can still get around and towns like Kendal, Keswick, Grasmere and Cockermouth need you to go visit and do your Christmas shopping.  There's plenty of parking and everyone will be very glad to see you.

I'm turning over the rest of today's blog to 24 local businesses.  Why 24?  Well there are 24 doors to open on an advent calendar and these businesses represent 24 doors you can open in Cumbria right now. Some are tiny independents and some part of bigger chains - who are all OPEN and ready to welcome you with open arms!  (And even if you can't get to us, many of the businesses will do mail order and would really appreciate your support!)

EDIT: If you're a local Cumbrian business and you're open please feel free to add your details & a link in the comments section. :-)

1.  Brew Brothers in Kendal - the absolutely perfect spot to put your feet up in the middle of your Christmas shopping and enjoy a well earned coffee and a cake.

2. Podgy Paws in Keswick - Everything you've ever needed for your pets and so much more.  They do mail order so even if you can't get there in person you can order over the phone.

3. Herdy - really - who doesn't love Herdy?  Their shops in Grasmere and Hawes are open for business as usual, but their shop in Keswick bore the brunt of the floods in the town and isn't open yet - BUT the good news is you can order online.  No excuses!  :-)  UPDATE! After a HUGE effort by the Herdy team and loads of support from local volunteers, the Herdy shop in Keswick is now open on a cash only basis. Yay!

4.  Yew Tree Barn in High Newton - an Aladdin's Cave of perfect pressies and an awesome coffee shop.  Just off the A590 near Lindale.  Love it, love it, LOVE IT!

5. Keswick Boot Company - in (wait for it) Keswick!  They're just finishing a spot of mopping up and helping other businesses who were hit in Carlisle.

6. Maya Maya in Kendal - yes Kendal was hit badly but pretty much all of the shops there are open, including this little beauty!

7.  The Lakes Distillery - a fine distillery and possibly my spiritual home (SPIRITual - geddit? Oh never mind!)  :-)

8.  Netherdene Country House - an absolutely beautiful B&B in the heart of one the the most beautiful parts of the Lake District - open and ready to take your bookings for 2016!

9.The Taste Cumbria Christmas event in Cockermouth will be going ahead this weekend - there will be stalls, events and plenty of fun.  Do pay them a visit to stock up your Christmas larder!

10.  Iridium in Kendal is *divine* - lots of perfect pens and super stationery -and plenty of friendly advice too!

11.  George Fisher in Keswick - one of the most iconic shops in Keswick and fully open.  They've got everything you could possibly need for the fells, loads of independent advice AND you can shop online!

12.  Grasmere Chocolate Cottage - one of the big problems on the roads is the fact that the route between Keswick and Grasmere alongside Thirlmere is out and the detour is ENORMOUS.  That's not going to stop these folks though - oh no - they are cycling and walking to work to keep their small business open.  The very least we can do is go and visit them or order a few goodies online.

13.  Threlkeld Village Hall Coffee shop - a community venture - if people stop passing then people stop dropping in for coffee.  All the money made here goes directly back into the local community so please, when you're whizzing along the A66 to get to Keswick, take a wee detour and go and say hello!

14.  Pandora in Kendal.  I stopped by there today and took Steve in.  I pointed out a nice bangle.  I'm hoping Steve was taking note....

15.  The Bridge Hotel in Buttermere stands next to a bridge and a lake and it's STILL open for business.  It always gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor and the location is hard to beat - a perfect retreat from the chaos of everyday life.

16.  K Village in Kendal - free parking for the whole of December and they've offered their spare shop space to any local businesses who need somewhere warm and dry to set up - gotta be worth a visit?

17. Keswick Brewing Company - proper beer, properly brewed in a properly pretty place.  They're still brewing away at full tilt and have a lovely shop which is well worth a visit AND they do mail order!

18.  Heidi's Grasmere Lodge is a perfect splash of colour in one of the Lake District's most popular villages.  Beautiful accommodation with home made cakes on tap - what's not to love?

19.  Armstrong Ward in Kendal is directly opposite Booths (which is also open) and stocks a brilliant range of gifts and toys AND has a fab little cafe downstairs.  They also had the best Christmas trees in Kendal.  Just saying...

20.  Cotswold Ambleside is part of a bigger chain but don't let that put you off - they still employ lots of local people and are an important part of our local business network - plus they are huge supporters of the amazing Mountain Rescue Teams who have done so much spectacular work these past few days.

21. Beales - a wonderful department store right in the heart of Kendal.  They have SO much to choose from over 3 floors so you can easily give someone the slip and nip off to buy their pressie!

22.  Keswick Mountain Bikes - a truly green shop in every single sense of the word - just check out their paintwork.  Christmas isn't Christmas without a new bike and the folks here will be happy to give you all the advice you need to properly ensure you get the bike that is best for you.

23.  Living Home - a small independent retailer tucked away in the Westmorland Shopping Centre in Kendal - beautiful oak furniture and some lovely little stocking fillers too!

24.  Toy Shop Cockermouth - traditional toys and a never say die attitude.  They were severely hit with the floods, but they cleared the floor and flung open their doors the very next day.  Go and see them, buy some proper toys this year, and support a real stalwart of local businesses.

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