Things to do
Our house is a nearly 100 years old: during its long years as part of a working farm, it was a barn, with stables for horses, cows and other livestock. It also had living quarters for workers and a large hayloft. The building was lovingly restored and renovated by us, the conversion to a residential building with our four rental apartments and a private home.
The garden is extensive, with plenty of space for children to play, climb (into the tree house) or make sandcastles and dig in the play pit. Next to that, there’s a pavilion with a barbecue and seating for 12 under cover, with plenty of scope in the rest of the garden for the grown-ups to find a quiet corner in which to sunbathe, read and recharge the battery.
What to do in the area
Saxon Switzerland is blessed with a fortunate geography, both in terms of the landscape that developed over millions of years and also its central location at the heart of three historically important cities: Dresden and Leipzig in Germany and Prague in the Czech Republic. If Dresden if a little over half an hour away by car or train and Leipzig a further hour beyond, then Prague is about an hour and a half in the opposite direction through Bohemia, an extension of the landscape that typifies the Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland National Park. Border controls ended in 2008, both Germany and the Czech Republic members of the Schengen Area of 26 European states that abolished passport control at their mutual borders.
Just beyond Dresden is Meissen, famous for its porcelain – the first European hard-paste porcelain ever made – and developed since 1708. Meissen is also part of Saxony’s treasury of fine palaces, castles and gardens.
Both Dresden and Prague have a vast array of cultural and historical attractions, a diverse choice of concerts, both classical and contemporary, excellent shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. For those travellers who wish to combine walking in the beautiful national parks and along the Malerweg (The Painters’ Way) with a city break in Dresden or Prague, Haus of Lords makes the perfect base. You can reach Dresden easily by car or train from the local station a little over 5 minutes drive or walk of 20-30 minutes from the Haus, or, for the romantically minded, paddle-steam boats cruise along the River Elbe each day, some with restaurant facilities, all with splendid views of the passing countryside before your voyage ends right in the centre and splendour of Dresden, the old town to the south, the new town to the north of the Elbe.
The local Bad Schandau pier to the ferry is a 15-minute walk from the Haus. You can take the ferry directly across the river to the main town and the starting point for the the slow boat and leisurely six-hour return tour to Dresden with dinner onboard or if you simply want a river taxi to the main train station. If you’re feeling more energetic, why not cycle: you can bike along the Elbe all the way to the Saxon capital past towering sandstone cliffs, through a lush landscape and some of the prettiest riverside villages in Germany. If you can’t bring your own bike, we have bicycles for hire at a modest price.
Besides the nearest towns of Bad Schandau and Koenigstein and a hill-top fortress that affords panoramic views that take the breath away, there are numerous Spas and clinics nearby that offer treatments and rehabilitation programmes. We can provide a steer for those interested in finding out more about spas and clinics, whether the intention is to be pampered or to enhance health through cure. For children, there is an adventure park and several lidos with giant slides just a short drive away from the Haus.
There are dozens of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, two lidos (Gohrisch and Cunnersdorf) and myriad trails, treks and footpaths to choose from in the Gohrisch area. Most of them afford magnificent views of Saxon Switzerland’s trademark sandstone rock stacks and cliffs that frame the landscape. Gohrisch holds official Spa-town status and boasts a certificate of superior air quality. The Malerweg, or Painter’s Way, 120km or so of trails that in 2007 were voted Germany’s most beautiful walking path, runs through the area.
… is 15 minutes away by car or bus (No. 244, from a stop just a two-minute walk from Haus of Lords). The small town of Koenigstein is worth strolling through on the way to what is a truly impressive hilltop fortress. The battlements rise from the sandstone cliffs that tower above the River Elbe. The first documented reference to the fortress dates back to 1233. Exhibitions take you on a tour of history, after which you can find a cosy corner in one of the old-world cafes and restaurants housed in the fortress buildings. If you are travelling to the area in the festive season, Dresden’s Christmas market is not to be missed and the historic, mediaeval Christmas market held inside the walls of the Koenigstein fortress is a must. www.festung-koenigstein.de
For families, there’s much fun to be had at the Elbe-Freizeitland adventure park on the banks of the Elbe. The list of thrills includes rock climbing for children, giant trampolines and go-cart racing.
This pretty little town is about 10 minutes by car or 20 minutes by foot to the ferry that crosses the Rover Elbe. This spa town has a fair few spas and clinics offering cures for a variety of conditions. The Thoskana Therme – a public spa with indoor and outdoor pools, various saunas, steam rooms and a restaurant – offers a fine day of fun and pampering. Those who seek a more luxurious experience should head to the Day-Spa at the town’s five-star-hotel, the Hotel Elbresidenz. Bad Schandau has a picturesque town centre with an historic church, market square and several alleyways of shops to wander through. A lookout tower perched high above the River Elbe can be accessed via a lift a short walk away from the High Street.
Saxon Switzerland has some 1,200 km of trails, treks and footpaths, and is the birth place of free climbing. Around 1,100 rocky outcrops are there to be conquered. Given that there has been very little written in English about the region and its walking treks and trails, we have collated some recommended tours for our guests. Our guides take you to beauty spots,and rocky outcrops through wooded hills that offer myriad opportunities for picnics, photography, painting, sketching or simply taking in the tranquility and beauty of the landscape and the rich sound of the woods. The starting point in all our potted tours is the Haus of Lords. The guides are available in English and are free of charge to our guests. You may also borrow walking maps of the area. You can find further information in English on the official website of the Saxonian-Swiss tourist board (www.saechsische-schweiz.de).
Experience the perfect combination of cycling and taking in the breathtaking nature in Saxon Switzerland. The Elberadweg, the cycle path that runs from the National Park all the way to Hamburg, follows the course of the River Elbe and affords fascinating views of the imposing rock formations of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
We have bikes for hire. If you bring your own bicycles, we have a lock-up shed for you to store them in.
Spas and therapeutic treatments
If its pampering that you seek, we may recommend Toskana Therme in Bad Schandau, with its indoor and outdoor pools, various saunas and its Liquid Sound Pool (www.toskana-therme.de). More exclusive is the Day Spa in Saxon-Switzerland’s only five-star hotel, the Elbresidenz in Bad Schandau. It offers saunas, ayuverdic massages, beauty treatments and much more. We are also more than happy to help to put you in touch with local beauticians, physiotherapists and clinics offering a variety of services and treatments.