We have recently returned from a week in the South Lakes with some school friends. Having had not visited the Lake District since a child, I was very excited to rediscover a place I had held so highly in my memories all these years.
Being Summertime the cost was always going to be a factor. This trip was in addition to our main summer holiday, plus we have already been to New York this year, so there wasn’t big bucks left in the budget for this holiday too.
After a little shopping around (at times my stinginess really does come into its own) I managed to find us a weeks accommodation for £79 per family. I know! Oh, the only thing was, we had to sleep in a tent.
The site was run by Haven with both static caravans and plenty of touring fields on offer. We decided to head right off the grid for the week and go in the non electric hook-up field, which was either brave or stupid depending on what day you asked me. The site itself is extreemly well kept, and packed full of fun things to do. Both the indoor and outdoor pool were big hits and the play areas offered hours of fun for all the children we had with us. The bar and children’s disco was one of my only disappointments. The carpet in the bar was so sticky that a few of us nearly fell over at times when we went to take a step forward and our shoes just wouldn’t move, and the kids club staff just didn’t as interested in the children as they had during our recent trip to Parkdean Pendine Sands, which really was a shame.
I would certainly return to Lakeland for a camping holiday as the value is excellent, especially as your pitch fees include entertainment passes and access to the extremely well maintained shower block at no extra cost. However I have to say that I would be reluctant to book a static caravan on the site as the cost for those, compared to the facilities on offer, is just too high during the peak season in my opinion.
Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway & The Lakes Aquarium
One of the things of my list from day one when planning this trip was a ride on the steam train. Departing from Haverthwaite station we took the train to Lakeside, the most southern tip of Lake Windermere, for a visit to The Lakes Aquarium.
The train, costing only £18 for a family, was a wonderful trip back in time. The girls adored being on the old train and took great delight in the beautiful views of the countryside. On returning to Haverthwaite we took a quick look in the engine shed (included in your ticket price) to learn about some of the old engines they are currently restoring.
The Lakes Aquarium was deceptively large, and kept us all entertained for a good few hours. Home to more than just marine life (the snakes did give me the fright of my life), there is a great little quiz for the children to complete as the go round for which they get a medal at the end.
Windermere Lake Cruises
No visit to the Lake District would be complete without a boat trip on Lake Windermere. We took the ‘big boat’ from Lakeside up to Bowness-on-Windermere, enjoying a great game of eye spy on the way that most of the deck got involved with, and then grabbed an ice-cream there before heading out on rowing boats. Now hiring two rowing boats and taking out 3 adults and 6 children onto Lake Windermere seamed like such a good idea, and now looking back it was amazing, but as we were on there, rowing away amongst the cheers and cries of children who couldn’t quite decided if they liked the idea or not, it was ‘interesting’ to say the least. Would I do it again? Yes. But you would have to promise me there was one large cold beer waiting for me when I got back to shore!
Needing a rest from all the high energy of the previous day, we decided our last excursion would be a trip to Kendall to stock up on some of their world famous mint cake to take home. This lovely town is so very beautiful and home to some of the most friendly locals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. It was the perfect way to end our week.
I’m so glad we took this trip. Leaving my husband at home and going away with two of the mums from school I have only know 9 months was a gamble, but one that most certainly paid off. Our children have made memories that will last a life time, and have cemented their BFF status forever more.
I cannot wait to do it all over again next summer!