Over the week of my 30th birthday, Sharon booked a week’s holiday to The Lake District in an attempt to see the last few days of my 20’s in relaxation mode! Starting off as a secret, Sharon simply put the postcode into the sat nav and off we went! Some 4 hours over the expected 5 hour journey due to traffic problems we finally arrived in the Lake District!
We’ve never explored The Lake District, and to be honest the north of the country never really attracted us (apart from the most north location; Scotland – one day!). We’ve always headed to the west country as that’s where we’ve felt most at home, so the north was completely alien. Saying that, I did genuinely believe The Lake District was a lot lower than it was so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out how north it was – it’s certainly made me re think the north of England.
Arriving on Saturday afternoon (eventually), we explored our accommodation for the week; which was a gorgeous lodge in a quiet little village called Crook in Kendal (yes, the home of the mint cake). You knew you were in the middle of nowhere as your phone signal instantly died – it was bliss.
After unpacking, we got on with a quick food shop, had dinner, and then took ourselves off to bed after the long journey. The toddler did amazingly (and surprisingly) well with the journey. There were a few treacherous parts when we were stuck in traffic and literally not moving a millimetre which made entertaining the toddler tough but with the help of snacks and Nemo we got through it (and the traffic).
a home from home
This holiday was only the second time T would be sleeping in a “big bed”, the first time when he was a year and a half, but at that point I was “still” breastfeeding so I could get him to sleep easily – this time round, we thought, would require a lot more effort, however we, again, were pleasantly surprised.
Like home, bedtimes consisted of a cup of warm milk, two stories, and then a cuddle, but this time it was in bed as apposed to our arms in a chair. Once asleep we would then sneak out and he would be gone for the rest of the night – often spread eagle. With the help of a bed guard (as the cabinets next to his bed were a little dicey corner-wise) he remained in his bed. It couldn’t have worked out better and has actually lead us onto converting his cotbed into an actual bed (where’s my baby gone?).
As with every holiday, the day after the long journey is always the sleepy day where we explore the local village and then relax with a roast at the end. Saying that, it started off well with our tour of the local town of Kendal but then the hike up to visit Kendal Castle probably didn’t match the criteria of “chilling”, although the views were spectacular (even with overcast skies) so was well worth the journey.
Oh! And it may have been my birthday – so in addition to a wonderful roast we had for dinner, my wife plied me with my favourite (holiday friendly) breakfast (salmon and scrambled eggs) and told me that I’m getting my very own GoPro! I’m so excited and certainly felt very loved indeed.
Monday was the official start of our holiday adventures, so we started with a trip to The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness. Little did I know that Sharon is actually really into Beatrix Potter, so she was especially excited to visit. The attraction is a gorgeous walkthrough venture through the stories of Beatrix Potter with lots of interactive stories throughout as well as history lessons on Beatrix Potter and the local area.
Growing up, I wasn’t really into Beatrix Potter but I admit that it was really special and something worth seeing if you visit. We haven’t introduced T to Beatrix Potter yet, so T was just happy to be out looking at all the interactive animals!
After the tour we the had a wander round Bowness, and whilst the toddler had a kip in the buggy we did some shopping and had a cheeky ice cream with a view of the Lake!
We kept the Beatrix Potter theme going on Tuesday and took ourselves to our first National Trust location in The Lake District with a trip to Hilltop; the home of Beatrix Potter.
Travelling on our first ferry of the week to get there, this gorgeous village in ‘Near Sawry’ is home to the stunning 17th Century Farm house owned by Beatrix Potter and is one of the few homes that still looks the way that would when the occupants had the property for themselves!
After our tour of the house, we had a quick look around the gorgeous gardens and then took ourselves off for what felt like a hike around the village and surrounding hills. This is where we found wild streams and even more stunning views. I honestly didn’t like landlocked counties before this holiday – I often needed sea to enjoy a view – but this place was something else. The country side is so raw with stones jutting out of the ground and lumpy greens, and you’ll be hard done by trying to avoid luscious landscape.
Tuesday was also the day that the weather turned and became a proper summer holiday. What was meant to be a week of rain turned into all day sunshine – leading to the wearing of shorts on the last two days!
This was probably our busiest day, with an early-ish start at Haverthwaite Railway Train Station to catch a steam train to the area of Lakeside. If you didn’t know already, T is obsessed with trains – especially ones that actually go ‘choo choo’ – so this was a huge surprise and a real treat. T didn’t know what to do with himself when we were waiting to board and often got overwhelmed.
Finally aboard, we then arrived at Lakeside after the 30 minute journey and toured the local aquarium. The aquarium was a really decent aquarium considering it’s size from the outside which looked quite small, and what we liked most about it was that the majority of the tanks were fresh water fish; so it had a nice local feel about it.
As well as a few tropical and marine fish, it also boasts a really impressive ant colony that shows you the way ants work (although if you’re anything like me you won’t realise there’s no glass until after you find an ant on you!). It’s certainly not something I’ve seen before and was by far the area I spent longest in.
After the aquarium, we then took a small ferry to tour Footfell – our second National Trust location for the week – which was on a small island across the lake.
Footfell is a gorgeous country park that’s covered in sweeping lawns and places to relax and play, as well as housing several areas for schools and local community groups to come kayaking in or take part in rowing. There was also a large adventure park for little ones to play in and a couple of lovely trails to follow.
Nearing the end of the holiday, we kept ourselves busy and visited another National Trust Location – Sizergh Castle, which is a stunning medieval house still lived in by a local family. We got there early – before the house even opened – so we toured the grounds – which were immaculate to say the least. Once the house opened at 12 (to let the occupants vacate!) we had a stroll around the house, which is stressful with a touchy feely toddler but still interesting.
After the castle, we then popped down the road to the local farm and found ourselves on an hour long farm trail! Not that we minded, the toddler was still full of beans after a cheeky ice cream, seeing as it was a rather hot day, and we love a good farm!
This was a pleasant surprise as not only was the farm trail a good length and free to take part in, but the farm also produced raw milk and other gorgeous produce – which of course we took away with us!
Friday was officially our last day (booooo!) so we decided to relax a bit and take part in a couple of lake cruises that embark from Bowness and cruise up and down the lake – stopping at various points – as well as around the central part of the lake. We took advantage of their Friday deal which meant we could do all the tours for a fraction of the cost. This meant, if we wanted to, we could cruise around all day and the following day! Sadly, we didn’t do the latter but we had a bloody good time on Friday.
When we decided to do the lake cruises we were a little apprehensive of taking a toddler on board a ferry with little run around room, but he did really well and enjoyed pointing out lots of sights as well as chatting to some grannies that were taking part in their OAP special! I’m just glad he didn’t fancy using his skills from swimming!
When the ferry docked at Ambleside we had a brief look around the village and then promptly jumped into the nearest bay for a paddle!
Friday was most definitely the peak in the good weather and we left the cruises rather warm and tanned – even Mrs Pasty on the right. For Sharon it was the highlight of the week as the views were spectacular and even with a toddler it was incredibly relaxing.
And then it came to an end – our wonderful family holiday. The journey home was, as expected, a little slow as we were travelling during a bank holiday weekend but I don’t think it was as bad as the journey there. I’m not going to lie, I may have had a little sulk about leaving as I didn’t want to go and I felt there was so much more to still explore, but I guess it gives us a reason to come back!
My highlight was probably Wednesday as we managed to cram so much in and do a lot of our favourites things, but I can’t deny that the lake tour was something unique.
We know we were really really lucky with the weather – even the locals were saying so – which made this holiday extra special. I cannot recommend The Lake District more – it’s beautiful and there’s so much to see and do. Our pictures really don’t show you everything! It really is beautiful and idyllic.
For the toddler it was probably another normal week, but for us we saw him peak in himself during the week. He slept in a big-kid bed all week without issues and even started using the toilet (but more on that later!). He also moved along with language and had no issues trying new foods and adapting to a change in routine. We couldn’t have been prouder. I’m hoping he had a blast.
So where next? Who knows. We only have a few weeks before our first camping trip and first ever festival with our trip to Camp Bestival, but outside of that we have no idea – maybe back to the west country so it doesn’t feel like we’ve abandoned it for The Lake District (although it’s tempting).