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Mirehouse, near Keswick, Lake District

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Marina · 18/06/2004 11:37

We went here at half-term with the children - it's an old favourite of mine that I have visited many times before I had them...
Unfortunately the house was closed on the day we visited but it is small-scale, full of fascinating displays (the Spedding family, who still own it, have historical links with the Lakes poets and Tennyson) and very un-corporate and friendly.
The grounds are stunning. There are some formal gardens, but mainly the children can let off steam in woodland, playing in two lovely adventure playground areas, racing round a "steeplechase" or repelling invaders from a fort. A suggested Lakeside Walk takes you out of the grounds, past St Bega's Church, along the shores of Bass Lake and back up through more woods that are thick with bluebells in May. The walk is just about buggy accessible provided you can lift it over fresh cowpats!
Mirehouse has no parking of its own so you have to find a space in the Dodd Wood car park on the opposite side of a main road. It's pay and display and quite pricy, but a joint venture means you get a good discount on your Mirehouse admission ticket.
Dodd Wood (Forest Enterprise) has waymarked paths (some might be OK for an ATP, but we didn't risk our Techno), including one all the way to the summit of Dodd Fell. Could be a good "first mountain" for townie children like our ds. It also has a nice and very popular cafe, picnic seating, impeccable loos (incl disabled) and a well laid-out family loo/baby changing area. It gets VERY full on pleasant days...
Recommended. The car park is bustling but Mirehouse's grounds are extensive enough for you to get right away from the crowds almost immediately.

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