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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Is Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne eyeing Lake District hotel?

One of TV’s Dragons, Duncan Bannatyne, could soon be breathing fire into a Lake District hotel.

Duncan Bannatyne photo
Duncan Bannatyne

Well-placed sources in the tourism industry claim the rags-to-riches entrepreneur, a star of BBC’s Dragon’s Den, whose portfolio includes hotels, bars and health clubs, can’t seem to stay away from the area at the moment.

It’s fuelled talk that Bannatyne could be looking to add a Lake District property to his hotels in Somerset, Darlington, Hastings and Durham.

A brace of multi-million pound hotels are currently up for grabs in that corner of the Lakes, where the tough-talking Clydesdale-born Scot has been holidaying this week with some of his six children.

On previous stays, the 63-year-old philanthropist has stayed at the modest three-star Burnside Hotel and Parklands Country Club, Bowness.

He appears to have shunned the area’s much-lauded Michelin starred cuisine to take a typical family break and mingle with the masses.

It’s a stark contrast to Bannatyne’s own upbringing. His biography recalls how growing up, his mother could not afford to buy him a bike but positively encouraged him to work for one and pay for it himself.

Regardless of whether the latest visit is business or leisure, the owner of Bannatyne’s Health Clubs in Carlisle and Dumfries has clearly been enjoying quality time with the kids in Cumbria. He has taken to Twitter to share his thoughts with over half-a-million followers.

He ranked the Go Ape treetop experience in Grizedale Forest as “awesome,” gave Bowness restaurant Sutherlands “10 out of 10,” and praised the “great” fish and chips in Kirkby Stephen.

Go Ape tweeted back: “Huge thanks for swinging by Grizedale, Duncan! Glad to hear you had an awesome time!”

He also referenced a visit to Ullswater, waterfall Aira Force, Windermere and ate at Lazy Daisy’s in Windermere last night.

Remarkably, the man with a reputed net worth of £85 million was turned away from Bowness Italian restaurant Giotto Pizzeria last night because they were full by 8pm. With trademark understatement, he tweeted: “Turned away. Must be good.”

He doesn’t seem to have much luck sourcing Italian food in Bowness. On his last visit to the area in April, he slated another restaurant for poor service and food.

Bannatyne was unavailable for comment.

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