From The Blog, Hotel Reviews

Frankie goes to The River House, Clappersgate


I’ve thought long and hard before publishing this review as we like to be positive in all things wherever possible. However, after talking to a couple friends, they felt strongly that we should write our review of The River House in Clappersgate, Ambleside, to warn any other dog owners who selected the property simply because it looked stunning online and saw a ‘Yes’ next to a paw print.

Negative Welcome

Alarm bells should have rung as to how dogunfriendly this ‘beautiful’ riverside lodge would be when we received the following message as soon as we paid our deposit. However, as it did look to be in pristine condition, we didn’t worry too much about it.

“Properties that allow pets do so on the understanding that they are not allowed onto the furniture or into the bedrooms, are not left alone in the property and no sign of the pet is evident in the property or garden on departure and no nuisance or annoyance is caused to neighbours. The cost of any additional cleaning as a result of a pet will be deducted from the housekeeping deposit. There is an additional charge of £15.00 per pet per week.”

This is the most negative ‘welcome’ we have ever received in the three years we’ve been holidaying with Freya and, more recently, Frankie. However, our main question here was if there should be no sign of the pet is evident in the property or garden on departure“, why did we need to pay £15 per pet, per week!

To add insult to injury, on arrival there were dog hairs all over the mat in the front porch, along with copious amounts embedded in the huge rug in the sitting room, and slobber marks all down the windows.

Facilities at The River House

As there were no facilities to accommodate dogs, we’re not able to report under our usual headings. However, the contents of the property – which must have been stunning years ago – were neglected, shabby and in places, filthy.

The image on the website of the sitting room bore no resemblance to reality; no attractive sofas with cushions and throws, not even shades on the lamps. The images below give an idea of what would greet you if you’d booked The River House for your lovely getaway as we did.

When we eventually found The River House, we thought it was derelict; not just the building, the path leading to the door and the gardens were completely overgrown.
The rear of the property wasn’t any better!
The use of the patio area was reduced to the edge only; an overgrown tree had been completely neglected over the years and now almost fills the space.

The grubby net curtains in the sitting room were so old we were concerned they would tear if we closed them. As the owner was staying in ‘The Nest’, (literally situated in front of our floor to ceiling window), we kept them closed for privacy purposes. The bathroom had a glass door so if you sat on the loo, you were completely exposed to people in The Nest passing by, as again the bedroom had floor to ceiling windows. The bedroom curtains were also kept closed!

View from our sitting room window with the owners’ cars regularly driving past, although we were not permitted to park in the space next to our property.
The patio in front of the bedroom was in a poor state as were the lawns,
which hadn’t been mown with the grass a perfect height for harvesting silage!
Having brought most our food with us because of COVID, we then had to defrost the freezer before we could use it. The chairs in the kitchen were absolutely filthy.
And the image of the oven speaks for itself.

I could go on, and on… but I want to end on a positive note.

The Location

Ambleside, surrounded by its stunning fells, is well worth a visit and offers an abundance of dog friendly walks nearby.

Grizedale Forest hosts a myriad of walks for all levels; we also climbed Dodd Summit, one of the smallest Wainright’s, and Harrison Stickle (centre image) from National Trust car park. Frankie enjoyed the luxury of backpack travel as she was too young to walk far.

Also, if you’re visiting Coniston, we totally recommend you visit family run Herdwicks Cafe. We popped in for a cup of tea and a scone and loved it so much, we returned for various meals four times during our stay. Freya and Frankie relished all the attention, which was liberally bestowed by Herdwicks’ staff (not to mention the treats). Owner, Gemma, is a fantastic host and everything is done to ensure you feel welcome during these difficult times. Oh and the food is locally supplied and absolutely delicious!

The front of Herdwicks Cafe, Coniston, owner Gemma and Dad’s Sunday Breakfast

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