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Lake District in Half Term - how bad will it be?

(31 Posts)
TinyTear Fri 14-Oct-16 14:23:03

Going to the Lake District for this half term for a cottage big family holiday thingie...

I will be hiring a car and driving there - considering I don't have a car and haven't really driven in the UK (since a week in Cornwall ten years ago) how bad will it be?

I drive in the continent every holiday and am an ok driver, and have coped with Sicilian drivers and German ones and Portuguese ones...

DH says the roads will be horrible and steep and narrow and windy...

True? or overreacting?
I am shitting myself a bit to be honest...

ParadiseCity Fri 14-Oct-16 14:30:04

Not true- there are a few roads like that but easily avoidable. Most places are accessible by bus so if a bus can get through so can you! It will be fine (and gorgeous).

Mozismyhero Fri 14-Oct-16 14:33:58

Not true at all. Where are you going? Lakes in Autumn is beautiful.

Shockers Fri 14-Oct-16 14:36:26

The Lakes in autumn will be stunning. We've been in this half term lots of times; whereabouts are you staying?

TinyTear Fri 14-Oct-16 14:37:10

Yay and phew! thanks

we are going to Windermere as the MIL is from there.

One big drive will be from there to Kirkby in Furness and back to visit family.

I've never been so I'm half looking forward to it (not to spending a week with the MIL grin)

MegBusset Fri 14-Oct-16 14:37:50

Roads are fine apart from one or two passes (eg Hardknott) which are easily avoided!

Have fun... I love the Lakes, we're going next summer.

TinyTear Fri 14-Oct-16 14:38:43

we are talking the train from London to there and then hiring the car just for 5 days, not the full week.

EleanorofCastile Fri 14-Oct-16 14:42:08

In my experience, driving in the lakes is lovely. The A roads are lovely and smooth, wide and emptier than most of the rest of the UK, and I have only been in May half term or August!

We hired a car (from Penrith, and stayed in Keswick but drove about quite a bit) in August and for peace of mind definitely pay the extra to get your excess reduced if you do need to make a claim - but this only because the car hire firm will scare as the costs of the excess are so high (I think you can take out your own insurance for this which would be significantly cheaper than what they charge, but we forgot to look into this before we went). If you are sticking the main roads it is probably the easiest place that I have driven in the UK.

There are of course some roads which are narrower but nothing as bad as some lanes i've encountered in Devon. Take it slowly and pull in to the passing places if you feel pressured to drive faster than you'd like to - although most people seem quite happy to pootle along. I think the worst thing about driving in the lakes is not being able to property enjoy/being distracted by the scenery if you are stuck behind the wheel!

TinyTear Fri 14-Oct-16 14:42:34

From my DH's plans I think he wants to go for a walk in the 'Coniston Old Man' so we would drive there for the walk...

I guess after doing Sintra windy roads and Canada in slowy winter I will be fine!

(just getting nervous from being the 'other' side of the road and having 2 DC in the car... only drove with both in the car for one week's holiday once before)

TinyTear Fri 14-Oct-16 14:43:38

Thanks all! making me feel better about it!

Lindy2 Fri 14-Oct-16 14:45:13

We are going to Windermere too. We go every Oct half term. The roads are fine. There are some up through the hills but you don't have to use those if you don't want to. They have beautiful views though if you can brave it. Enjoy your holiday.

Eolian Fri 14-Oct-16 14:45:44

It's fine! I live here (only since two years ago) and for the first time in my life I actually enjoy driving. Beautiful scenery, not much traffic. Yes there are some narrow roads, but just take it easy.

Shockers Fri 14-Oct-16 14:47:27

The roads will be fine, and pretty quiet, other than in Windermere itself and directly around it.

Try Homeground cafe in Windermere- it's great!

TinyTear Fri 14-Oct-16 14:50:25

Thanks all!

ParadiseCity Fri 14-Oct-16 14:51:15

Does your DHL drive? If I was spending the week with MIL AND doing all the driving I'd be pretty hacked off...

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Fri 14-Oct-16 14:59:50

Going straight to Windermere is fine, all A road, IIRC. Windermere to Coniston not too bad. Just try and get used to driving more at the nearside of the road of the narrower ones. I worked that way for years. A colleague of mine used to say you could tell who the locals were, cos they all had moss on the side of their cars from getting that near to the walls.... You'll be fine, but no advice on the MIL alas smile

TinyTear Fri 14-Oct-16 15:20:30

He does, but doesn't have much experience. i wouldn't want him to drive with me AND the DC in the car...
I have been doing all the driving on holidays and I used to own a car before moving to the UK. He never owned a car or drove that much

10 years ago in Cornwall he drove to the places in the morning and then I drove the rest of the day and just those small bits were tough on me grin

we might buy a car in a year or so, and he wants to do a course of lessons before then (good)

In Cornwall the locals were the ones who whizzed past while I bumbled along...

TinyTear Fri 14-Oct-16 15:21:07

At least the MIL will be driven by the SIL... I won't want anyone else in the car

GeorgeTheThird Fri 14-Oct-16 15:24:44

Just have a good look at the map and see which roads you would prefer to avoidratherthan slavishly obeying the satnav. You'll be fine.

rookiemere Sat 15-Oct-16 17:40:54

We go to the Lake District quite often and were in Cornwall in the summer.

Lake District roads much, much easier than the Cornwall ones, which were often just about wide enough for one car and lead to several interesting moments.

Ferguson Sat 15-Oct-16 19:59:00

Get the Ordnance Survey 2-1/2inch maps, four cover whole of Lakeland.

If DH wants to walk the Fells, the seven Wainwright books cover the 214 Fells.

For pre-practice he can do 'virtual' climbs of many:

www.wainwrightroutes.co.uk/

Depending on the age of children, Beatrix Potter locations are good; boat trips on some lakes, particularly Windermere, Ullswater, and Coniston Water that has the Victorian steam yacht "Gondola"; standard gauge steam trains south-west of Windermere, and further away in the north-west is the Ravenglass Eskdale narrow gauge railway:

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola

ravenglass-railway.co.uk/

www.lakesiderailway.co.uk/

Smaller walks around Ambleside include Loughrigg Fell, Wansfell, the circuits of Rydal Water, or Grasmere.

Coniston Old Man has easy tracks up, and a lot of industrial archaeology - copper mines, and quarries.

Wigeon Sat 15-Oct-16 20:06:01

We were in the Lake District this August during school holidays and it was fine! Quite busy on the roads right around Ambleside, but honestly we didn't feel stuck in traffic the whole time. Maybe because we are used to v heavy traffic where we live in Hertfordshire (also live v close to the M25 which is obvuoslyn horrendous at times). But as soon as we got out of Ambleside it didn't feel crowded at all.

TinyTear Sun 16-Oct-16 11:37:21

Thanks again everyone

Dowser Mon 17-Oct-16 12:08:48

Don't know where oh got his information from. Driving in the lakes is a doddle. I did it in June /July
I've had to step up to the plate as dh can no longer drive and believe me I'd drive anywhere in the lakes compared to big cities.

I drove along the kirkstone pass. No problem.
We just had shit weather. Lake Windermere on our last day....cold!

TinyTear Tue 18-Oct-16 07:51:11

Probably from his 35 year old memories of being a child there on holiday in an old car and old roads
grin

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