“ Easedale Studio Apartment / Grasmere / Cumbria / Tel: 015394 88855 „
This summer we wanted a relaxing self catering break in the UK. The Lake District seemed a good place to go as it was only 3 hours drive and thankfully I'd also ordered some sun. After browsing the internet for good few weeks we found the Lake Lovers website and a reduced deal on Easedale Studio apartment in the village of Grasmere. From the website it had the one thing I wanted - internet and it was in a quiet location, the photos on the website looked nice and it was very centrally located in the Lake District for some exploring.
As we were going at the end of July it was premium pricing so came to over £400 with the £25 booking fee and £20 GHK. We had to head into Ambleside to collect the keys from the Lake Lovers offices on the Saturday which was a bit of chore as there is very little parking in Ambleside - especially on a Saturday (don't park in the Hayes Garden World car park or you could end up with a £10 fine and £50 clamp!). The directions to the offices we got when booking also didn't help us much as we were coming from the North not the South. We collected the keys about 3pm and headed back 4.5 miles to Grasmere village.
Easedale Studio has its own designated parking spot. The apartment is just one of the flats in the building belonging to Beck Allens. Do not park in any other spot other than for Apartment 6 or you will get shouted at by the guest house owner. Unfortunately the parking space is a precedent for what you're about to step into. It's very small; In fact so tight the driver has to climb out the passenger door (and back in the same way). This is after doing a 9 point turn just to get into the space of course.
As it was a self catering holiday we had done our shopping before hand. This meant we had bags of food as well as our luggage to drag up the 2 flights of stairs with keys needed for both the front door to the apartments and the flat key. Now I know this was a studio apartment but I wasn't really expecting the bedroom to be in the kitchen.
This apartment is incredibly small. In fact it's roughly the same size as my bedroom but contains the double bed, TV, kitchen (at the end of the bed), wardrobe, living area and thankfully the bathroom in a separate room. There is very little privacy so it was a good job I like my boyfriends company to last a week in there.
The smallness was actually the least of our problems. One of the first things we did was read the Guest Book. This pointed out the shower didn't work and the tight parking. We tried the shower which seemed fine until we actually came to use it and found it switched from boiling hot to freezing cold with no in between so was unusable. Luckily there was a bath but the cold tap just wasn't that cold no matter how long it was on so filling the bath took ages. The extractor fan didn't work which meant the whole apartment filling with the steam so it got incredibly hot in that little space.
One of the things I wasn't expecting was the freezer compartment in the fridge as we knew it didn't have a freezer. There was no oven though. It's surprising just how hard it is to cook with just a hob and a microwave but we made it work. Unfortunately we did put on the bigger hob ring, it would blow the electricity to the whole apartment. This meant phoning the mobile number for out of hours emergency help. As this happened on our first night we had £100s worth of food in the fridge going to ruin as no one showed up for 2 hours. The maintenance guy thought it was because of one of the lights. He then managed to smash one of the light shades all over the bed and floor which we were still picking up pieces of over the week. After he left we went to cook dinner again only to find the light wasn't the cause - it was the hob but we could fix it at the fuse box (in all seriousness, who wants to mess around with electricity on their holiday?). We planned to go to the Lake Lovers offices the next day (Sunday) with our complaints only to find the leaflets etc which state the offices are open EVERYDAY (it's even etched on the door) were only open 4 days a week which meant another trip there on the Monday. All they could do on the Monday was send out an electrician so at least we had 2 hobs again. The shower still didn't work and there was nothing they could do about the parking.
As I'd ordered sun for the holiday (fab weather in the mid 20s all week!), the apartment got really hot during the day so the windows were always open. There was a fan in the wardrobe so it was on all evening as it was too uncomfortable to sleep in that heat.
For self catering the apartment was well equipped. We did have to wash up regularly though as there was only enough cutlery for 2 and the knives weren't particularly sharp. Washing up liquid was provided as were dishwasher tablets for a non-existent dishwasher. We could have done with a pot though as most of our meals had to be cooked in the frying pan or in the microwave. There were plenty of plates, glasses and cups. There were just enough bin bags to last us the week - we had to change them regularly or they made the place smell with it being so warm. We also recycled all that we could with the bins provided in the car park (again dragging our rubbish down 2 flights of stairs).
While reading the guest book we did get a few handy tips. E.g. we found out that the kitchen table was in a drawer - just pull out the drawer = instant table. There were 2 wooden stools provided but the table was just so low. It wasn't that comfortable to sit at.
The apartment has 2 windows. There's one to the front which looks down onto the car park and trees and the other to the back which looks onto the river and the hills. I'm 5'7 and had to stand on tip toes to look out so if you are smaller you may not get any views at all. Grasmere is a lovely village and it's surprisingly quiet. There was only one night we heard some drunken singing but there was no noise from the others staying in the apartments other than hearing their doors banging as the came in/left or on the Friday for their switchover.
To make sure we got our GHK back we had to make sure the apartment was the way we left it. The vacuum was rubbish and wouldn't suck much up. The rug was absolutely filled with dust which I didn't realise until later in the week so that explained why I kept sneezing. There was nothing to clean the bath with. There was bleach for the toilet. The bed wasn't that comfy. The mattress was quite thin so could feel the wooden slats. The bed linen was also ripped but clean. There was a small TV on a movable stand so we could lie in bed. The info provided at the apartment said there were a limited number of channels but actually there were a lot of Freeview channels. The apartment did have a little character in that it had beams but my boyfriend wasn't impressed at all after hitting his head 3 or 4 times.
The apartment was definitely not suitable for the disabled or even the elderly. With the other apartments changing over on the Friday we met a family moving in and felt really bad for them as one member was an elderly gentleman. The family had to ask him to stay upstairs rather than keep climbing all those stairs to collect the bags. With the eaves in our apartment getting in and out the bath wasn't easy plus there was no handle on the bath.
So onto the one thing I wanted. Internet. When we were looking WiFi was one of our requirements. After or just before booking this disappeared from the website and I'm not surprised. I did take my laptop and although I could get onto the internet the signal was just awful so I had to reconnect every few minutes. I could get internet on my phone but you do have to be careful which sites you login to because I tweeted from my phone then found out my Twitter had been hacked and it was spamming Russian money making scams.
O2 had a full signal but T-Mobile didn't get any signal in the area at all.
Although I wouldn't recommend this apartment AT ALL, Grasmere village was actually a really lovely place. It was incredibly busy at times and filled with walkers but there were a few pubs and restaurants. We booked at the Jumble Room for the Friday night which we were glad of as it did fill up after we arrived. The apartment was also very centrally located in the Lakes so we took trips to Morecambe, Ambleside, Lake Windermere for a cruise, Wastwater near Scafell Pike and even took a drive on Hardknott Pass (steepest road in Britain at 33%). The area surrounding Grasmere was beautiful though with Grasmere Lake and Rydal Water then Thirlmere a little further north.
As it was self catering we did need to go to the shop a lot. There was a Co-Op not far away but it was a little expensive so I dread to think what the cost of that self catering break ended up costing. £400+ just for the accommodation (although in a nice area), was just not worth it. The 1 star goes to the great location.