A short stroll from beautiful Lake Coniston, Red Dell Cottage is the kind of holiday cottage that resets family stress levels to “chill”. It’s accessible (no stairs, ramp up to the door), well-equipped (dishwasher, washing machine and drier, microwave, TV, DVD, wifi, logs for the fire) and because it’s country-cosy, rather than Grand Designs-esque wetroom-chic, there’s none of that “don’t touch that!” posh-house parental anxiety.
The cottage has a comfy lounge, a small garden and sleeps up to five (in three bedrooms: two doubles; one single). It’s one of a clutch of self-catering Lake District cottages run by Coppermines (www.coppermines.co.uk) - some quainter, some more scenic, some swisher (outdoor hot tubs and private jetties, dontchaknow) but few located more perfectly for low-hassle family fun.
The lovely village playground is just over the road, and the village centre (with its shops and several decent, family-friendly pubs) is a mere five minutes’ toddle away. Head off in the other direction and, six or seven small-person-paced minutes later, you’re right on the breathtaking banks of Lake Coniston, where you can hire bikes and boats, take a cruise on the National Trust’s Victorian steam gondola, eat at the (very nice) Bluebird Café or just wander up the shoreline and find a shady spot for a splash and a paddle.
In the summer, Coniston’s teaming with serious walker types (proper boots, skipole sticks, sensible kagoules and all) who are heading for the rocks of Dow Crag or the heights of Coniston Fells, but there are also plenty of lake-shore walks and trails for the smaller and less intrepid of boot. Older kids will also love the brilliant mountain-bike trails in Grizedale Forest Park and the waterfall-strewn hike to the chocolate-box views of Tarn Hows. And if they moan at the steep bits, you can remind them that, once you’re back, the chippie’s only a minute’s sore-shinned stumble from your cottage’s front door.
Mumsnet stayed at Red Dell Cottage, courtesy of Cumbria Tourism