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Lake District - need advice to make this a really special holiday

16 replies

emmaij · 19/02/2003 19:27

I have just booked a week's holiday in May in the Lake District in self-catering accomodation close to Derwent Water. I've never visited the Lake District before and was hoping to learn about some special places to visit from those of you that had.

What I'm after is: cosy, rustic pubs, a couple of great restaurants for a special evening meal, some none too taxing walks (I'll be eight months pregnant) and some fun places to take dd to. (She'll be aged 2)Any of you know this area and can give me some hot tips?

Thank you...

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chatee · 19/02/2003 20:45

Carlisle-the great border city...Tullie House museum(although not for 2 year old really)The castle in carlisle is great though.Some lovely villages around carlisle with great pubs that do fabulous food

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chatee · 19/02/2003 20:45

Carlisle-the great border city...Tullie House museum(although not for 2 year old really)The castle in carlisle is great though.Some lovely villages around carlisle with great pubs that do fabulous food

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chatee · 19/02/2003 22:03

Trotters Animal farm near Bassenthwaite
Aquarium in Maryport

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AliH · 20/02/2003 11:19

We go to Derwent Water every year in Nov and July (timeshare), and our Dd, now 3, has been going since aged 3 mths. Here are some of the things we have done:

Rheged Centre, just off M6, about 20 mins from Keswick, has a play barn area (the only one we have found outside of Penrith). Good cafe, and some interesting shops as well there.

Beatrix Potter exhibition in Bo'ness on Windermere. About 1/2 hr from Keswick. A MUST DO visit for your dd. Excellent exhibition (that sounds stuffy, I mean that all of the Beatrix Potter characters are in settings at little one's height), good cafe for lunch, and if it's quiet, they let you go round twice. Maybe combine with a walk down to the lake, take lots of bread for the swans and ducks.

Keswick Launch - boat trip around the lake. Buy a hop on, hop off ticket. You can get off, and have a gentle walk around to the next boat stop. Ask advice at the ticket office on which stops to get off at.

Aquarium of the Lakes, Newby Bridge.(Bottom end of Windermere). Good fun, lots to look at. Combine it with a train trip, which stops at the Aquarium.

Priests House, Caldebeck. Fantastic scenic drive high up into the mountains, for lunch. The Priests House is great food, lovely setting and a great village to stroll around.

Bassensthwaite lake is a gentle walk, as is Buttermere.

I believe that there is a good pool in Penrith - never used it. There is also the Oasis Park in Penrith (I think it may now be part of Centre Parcs)

Keswick itself is quite nice for a stroll around - some nice tea shops, and Friars sweetshop is good.

Ambleside is also good to stroll around. Lucy's on a Plate is good to eat, and welcome children.

The Horse and Farrier at Threlkeld is a great place to eat (rustic pub). It gets really booked up though, so book before you go. About 10 mins from Keswick on A66.

Carlisle is good for shopping, but a bit of a trek. We visited Whitehaven (on the coast) in July, but were disappointed. The tall ships were there, but even with this, we found it hard to find anything to do.

If you want an amazing drive for scenery, try Honister Pass. There is also a slate mine worth a visit on the pass, it's very high. Lots of little tea shops in villages on route.

Is this enough! Enjoy you holiday, we love it, and look forward to our next 80 years of visiting. We never get tired of it.

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Marina · 20/02/2003 11:23

Quince and Medlar in Cockermouth for really gorgeous award-winning veggie cooking (25-30 mins drive from Keswick area); Sun in Bassenthwaite village (near Trotters, also highly recommended by us) used to do good food, have not been there lately; also think the Tullie House is fab and very child-friendly. Carlisle is generally a good wet-weather destination. Maryport aquarium is small but charming and they also do nice light lunches in the restaurant.
Going east from Derwentwater, there is a delightful, friendly pub in a village near Penrith called Melmerby (Shepherds' Inn). Pub grub not haute cuisine, but very welcoming of even small children. Over the green is the prize-winning Village Bakery with a huge range of wood-oven-baked bread, cakes etc.
Going south (a day trip from near Keswick but manageable) there are such delights as the Grizedale Forest Sculpture Park - for which you would need a back-carrier or an all-terrain buggy - and the Beatrix Potter experience, which I have never been to, in all honesty.
But if you are near Derwentwater and are lucky with the weather, taking the launch from Keswick to Hawes End or High Brandlehow and just pottering along the lakeshore on a sunny day has to be just the best thing. The path is pretty level and accessible all along the west shore and there is less road intrusion. Generally the whole valley floor of Borrowdale can be walked on the near level - and you can catch the bus back to where you parked if you are feeling tired. Alfred Wainwright thought the square mile of Borrowdale round Castle Crag was the loveliest in all England.
Another walk worth tackling is the round Buttermere, another stunningly pretty lake with a largely level path round it. This is about 2 hours in total, you'd probably need a back-carrier, but at the top end there's a farm with usually an ice-cream van, and at the village end there is a farm with entertaining bantams, guinea fowl etc and the excellent Bridge Hotel.
Phew...can you tell we go there a lot? Oh, and also Mirehouse on the east coast of Bass Lake. Nice small country house with Tennyson connections, pretty landscaped gardens and also a child-friendly destination.
PS Just in case: my parents would hot-foot it to the hospital in Whitehaven ANY time over the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. (And they live in Carlisle). PPS their ex-GP in Cockermouth (Dr Howarth and partners) is a good practice with v. nice staff.

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LizC · 20/02/2003 12:26

If you're looking for somewhere special for an evening meal, the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere does really lovely food, in a lovely environment (have drinks before and coffee afterwards sitting in the lounge by a big log fire). It is quite expensive though and probably not child friendly. Something you could do with your daughter is to take her on the Eskdale to Ravenshead railway, although it is a bit of a drive to get there (it's on the west coast - you could visit Whitehaven and Maryport on the way, although I find Whitehaven depressing).

We used to go the lake district walking every year before we had our dd. Haven't been back since being a family as we're not too sure what we'd do with dd (she's only 10 months at the moment), so all these tips of child friendly places are really useful. Perhaps I'll manage to get myself motivated enough to actually book a holiday (so far I haven't been able to get interested as I can't think of anything I would want to do that would fit in with taking a child along - bit depressing).

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elliott · 20/02/2003 13:05

Also a regular to Derwentwater area - AliH tells you all you need to know!
I second the vote for the Horse and Farrier in Threlkeld (our local when we visit) - there is also a park in Threlkeld for dd after you've had lunch in the pub(!), also the Mirehouse is good.
For walks, I suggest visiting the Castlerigg Stone Circle just outside Keswick - its good fun for running around with littlies and a beautiful spot.
Watendlath is also lovely (east of Derwentwater).
There is a 'leisure pool' in Keswick itself.
Enjoy - whereabouts exactly are you going? Maybe I'll see you there!!

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emmaij · 20/02/2003 19:08

Wow! Thanks everyone. That is fantastic. I can't wait. Just hope the weather is kind.

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emmaij · 14/05/2003 13:06

Just to say thank you for those suggestions, again! Just got back from a lovely holiday in the Lake District, which we adored.

Discovered one other little gem - Jumping Jennies cafe at Brantwood (John Ruskin's house) on Coniston Water. The best food in a beautiful setting. Combined with a trip on the steam launch made for a lovely day out.

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CumbrianLass · 26/05/2003 11:03

I'm sorry I missed this.

I'm born and bred in the Lake District. I'm Langdalian to my dying day

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suedonim · 26/05/2003 14:25

Is Langdale where the Three Shires is situated? If so, we know the people who run the hotel!

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CumbrianLass · 26/05/2003 17:27

The 3 Shires is in Little Langdale. My mother met my father there - she pulled her first pint ever for him ROTFL

I can't remember who runs it now - I'm sure my mother does.

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ks · 26/05/2003 17:34

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CumbrianLass · 27/05/2003 08:41

Honestly? I'd be surprised if you could find somewhere, unless there is a cancellation. I was brought up in a guesthouse in the Lakes and we were always fully booked a year in advance.

We often look at lastminute.com for offers at the Langdale Hotel, which is very pricey normally. We got a room for under 100 pds one weekend last June.

Also, the accommodation bureau in Ambleside might be able to help.

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ks · 27/05/2003 08:56

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CumbrianLass · 27/05/2003 10:45

Where are you staying?

I'm trying to find somewhere for the beginning of August but I think we'll end up staying on relatives' floors as, of course, the place is chockablock

The flight is cheap, but the hotels impossible to find.

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