Our Lake District experience

Alert :Long and possibly boring post!

The place which was the inspiration behind William Wordsworth’s poetry and Beatrix Potter’s lovely stories – Lake District. England’s Lake district also boasts of  Scafell Pike – its highest mountain, Wastwater – its deepest lake apart from one of the most scenic locales in the country. Lake District is also the birth place of Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy and it has the only Laurel and Hardy Museum in the world!

We had been planning to visit the Lake District since May 2005 but for one reason or the other – it just never worked out. So one day before the last long weekend in May, when we were deciding on where to go, Lake District was easily the first choice 🙂 Husband was keen on taking a risk, driving up there and finding a B&B or a hotel there or just driving back in case we could not find one. Though extremely tempting  – it was far too risky a strategy especially with a 3 yr old 🙂

So to cut a long story short, we were really lucky to find a B&B which thankfully had a cancellation and packed our bags and started off at around 11:00 in the morning on Saturday. A friend had recommended that we take a scenic route through the Yorkshire Dales, instead of the shortest route. Given what they say about the journey being as important as the destination, we decided to have fun on the journey as well, instead of going through the boring  motorways 🙂 Needless to say, it took us 5 hours to reach our destination – a journey which should have taken not more than a couple of hours on the regular route 🙂

Yorkshire Dales is a designated National Park , which is now a favourite destination for walkers, cyclists, horse-riders alike and for those who want to explore the lovely villages. There are lots of farm shows and duck races happenning.. We did not see any – but saw lots of hand painted signs with directions:)

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We drove on roads like these – much narrower in some places, passing people walking, cycling and even fishing 🙂 Notice the fence – almost all the fences we saw in the Dales and Lake Distirct was made of stones – and from what I could make out – it did not have any binding element like cement …

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The roads start narrowing to the point where if another car came by, it was near impossible to get by.. But we hardly saw many cars as this route was primarily used by the residents and not by tourists.

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We travelled up hills and down again – almost like a roller coaster ride 🙂 And here are some tired cyclists pushing their bikes up the hill..

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We stopped on the way, to see some sheep 🙂 or rather so that daughter could see some sheep, and as you can see it was extremely windy 🙂

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And finally, our first glimpse of Lake Windermere. We had arrived at our destination announced our Sat Nav 🙂 Apparently ‘mere’ is the name given to lakes

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We went straight to Bowness on Windermere, which is quaint little town with some very cute, very English buildings.. There were lots of swans near the lake and they were so extremely friendly – they would actually reach into people’s pockets 🙂

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And we then loitered around the lake soaking in the feel of the place..

 

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We ended the day with a bunch of brochures to read up and decide what to do the next day 🙂

The next morning was bright and beautiful. Sunny and totally welcoming 🙂 We decided to do the Cross Lakes Tour. We were just in the nick of time before the cruise took off. So we ran to the boat and jumped in. The cruise was wonderful, across the Windermere to Ferryside – only we were mistaken – we actually got on the wrong boat and it took us to Lakeside instead 😦 Thankfully, the boat was going right back to Bowness so we hopped back on and had another cruise – which was totally worth it – even though we lost 2 precious hours.. But as the weather was gorgeous and daughter was having the time of her life – we enjoyed it too 🙂

As soon as we reached Bowness, we realised that we had just about 15 mins before the boat to Ferryside took off and this time, we wanted to make no mistakes! So we grabbed sandwiches and ice-creams in record time and reached the pier – totally in time 🙂 I felt a little like something out of an Enid Blyton book – sunny weather, sandwiches, ice creams and all set for an ‘adventure’  🙂

 

 

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The Cross lakes tour that we took.

 

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This time thankfully, we set off in the correct boat to Ferryside. The Cross Lakes tour was supposed to take us by boat to Ferry Side, and then we had the option to walk or take a Mountain Goat(name of a bus 🙂  ) to Hill Top. Hill Top is where Beattrix Potter had a farm and where she is supposed to have written a lot of her stories, including some of her best loved works. I wish I could post some of the pics from here – but all of them have us in them 😦 What was I thinking????

We went from Hill Top to Hawkshead where again there is a Beattrix Potter Gallery. It was again a quaint little village. Again no pics 😦 The one thing I wanted to do was do the walking trail – but with my daughter and the time constraint- it just was not a feasible option, so we decided to use the bus transport instead – which was a wee bit embarrassing as everybody else on the bus was old and frail 😦 But we had our excuse of a daughter 🙂

Off from Hawkshead, we went toConiston , which is another village and lake by the same name. By that point in time, daughter was all sleepy dopey and tired. And we decided to head back to Bowness.

Then we entered the magical world of Beatrix Potter!! The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction has all the 23 stories by Beatrix Potter re-created! Its absolutely a magical experience. You could see Peter Rabbit being chased by Mr McGregor, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, being obedient little rabbits – doing what their mother told them to.

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And here’s Jemima Puddle-Duck 🙂

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It was such a magical experience seeing all the characters brought to life(almost)!  My daughter loved it and both of us loved it just as much! We cane off with souvenier photographs and a Peter Rabbit Book for daughter – which I have to admit I enjoy just as much 🙂

We spent the rest of the evening, exploring the little lanes of Bowness.. with it’s quaint old fashioned tearooms and pubs full of people enjoying the gloriously sunny day and ended the day watching the sunset and eating more ice creams 🙂 Next time, I want to go there for 5 days – at the least, do some walking trails and if possible stay in a caravan 🙂

The next day, we went to a Wild Animal Park..and returned home after that. But I am too bored of uploading pics(and I am sure you must be too – with this post).. so will do that another time – when I feel less lazy 🙂

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A trip that was not meant to be…

Till last Friday, we had no plans for the long weekend(last weekend).. We had been thinking of going for a couple of day trips at the most and had planned to relax at home on Monday.. Then somewhere mid, Friday morning, it struck us that it was the last long weekend until the end of August!

So then started the holiday planning in earnest! We settled on Lake District as we had been planning to go there for the last 4 years – with no luck.. So I started checking out hotel rooms or B&Bs only to find out that every single one of them was completely booked for the long weekend! Talk about popular destinations, eh?

After calling some 20 hotels/B&Bs – finally a nice man gave me the number of the tourist information – who apparently have the latest list of vacancies. Finally, late in the afternoon, after calling some more B&Bs – I found one which had just had a cancellation!

We still were not sure about it as the weather was supposed to be ‘partly sunny’ on Saturday.. We were not sure if it was worth thr trouble.. Finally, we decided to go for it and from that point on – it was a mad, mad rush, to get everything ready.

Thankfully for us, the ‘weather god’ was in a good mood.. We did not get any rains.. We travelled through some of the most beautiful landscapes that we have seen so far – more of it in the next post.

What I really wanted to talk about was the weather.. It’s no wonder that sunny days are so welcomed here in Britain.. Every person in the country must have been out, thanks to the brilliant weather.. Every patch of grass had people having impromptu picnics! We even passed a petrol station where people were sitting in a really small patch of green, sunning themselves! Pubs were full of people drinking beer, outside.. People fishing in every little stream.. Watching the sunset at 9:00 in the night.. Feeding swans and ducks.. Ice cream vans everywhere! We ate a lot of ice cream too! Daughter has finally mastered the fine art of eating ice-cream from a cone – without it dripping all over the place – she’s been having a lot of practise these days 🙂

We finally got back last evening, exhausted, but totally satisfied with our last May holiday.. That was one fantastic trip – especially for one that was so last minute!