Well, I've been back at work for just over a week and my Lakes holiday already seems like a lifetime ago. You've all probably guessed bynow, but the Lakes are one of my favourite places in the UK - the scenery is stunning, there's so much to see and do, you can get chocolate dipped ice creams and, most importantly, its super dog friendly.
This was a double-date of a family holiday; myself, hubby and Missy with my sister, her hubby and the two sprogs: 3 year old Felix and Inkling who was 11 weeks at that point. It was a challenge to the world - can we make a successful holiday that catered for small children, a dog and four adult nerds? In short, yes, yes you can!
Kick off was in Keswick and we found a lovely little American-style diner for lunch. We got lucky as, being a big party, they sat us upstairs and we literally had it to ourselves, which is great with a hyper three year old trying to speak to everyone at once and a dog who really just wants to stretch out over half the floor. We didn't spend a lot of time there as it was very busy and we wanted to get checked in. We had decided to try an AirBnB as getting a caravan/lodge that would fit us all in the first week of the English holidays was impossible, and managed to find a beautiful cottage half an hour away by Cartmel (home of sticky toffee pudding). The cottage was everything we'd hoped - spacious enough for all of us, but still cosy.
Tuesday was Windermere, we had to start off with the real tourist day. This was probably the only day that wasn't really Missy-friendly, but we worked around it by having the boys look after her whilst we girls did the Beatrix Potter Attraction and then m brother in law bravely volunteered to sit with her in a nice pub whilst the rest of us went to watch the Where's Peter Rabbit? puppet show, with a break in the middle where we all had fish and chips and ice cream by the water's edge.
I had a brilliant time - around the exhibition I explained all the stories to my niece and tried to get my nephew to enjoy Peter Rabbit. He seemed taken with Jeremy Fisher, but at 11 weeks, it's hard to tell - still, plenty of time! My sister rekindled her love of Mr Tod who then became something of a mascot-come-devious trickster for the rest of the holiday.
|Missy striking a pose at Kendal Castle|
Wednesday was our 'quiet' day. The BIL desperately wanted to go fishing, so the hubby and I left them to it (having studied marine biology, I have served my time when it comes to fish farms!) and went to the StottBobbin Mill. An English Heritage site, we got in free without Historic Scotland passes and were pleasantly surprised by how fascinating the whole thing turned out to be. We joined in on the tour and Missy was very well behaved for the whole tour, not being fussed about the noise of the mill as we watched the demonstrations of how they made the bobbins and showing little interest in the other dogs on the tour. It's nice to see people making use of the dog friendly attractions, and there was plenty of other dogs for Missy to say hi to by the time the tour finished.
After the mill, we went for a walk around the reservoir there (well, tried to, but got lost and the access laws in England are very different from home, so we gave up after Missy had burned off some energy chasing bunnies). Then we popped over to Kendal and had a look at the castle there and had a late lunch whilst sheltering from the rain before exploring the town centre then heading back.
The last full day was taken up by the Lakeside Motor Museum and the Lakeside and Haverwaithe Railway. This was a suggestion of my brother in law and, as my sisters family are very into steam trains, we decided to get the combo ticket and do both. It was all dog friendly and we had a nice quiet morning looking around the museum which is full of an assortment of cars and motorbikes. Having only a casual interest in cars, I enjoyed myself, but there was plenty more to watch/read for more avid fans.
Now, the website says you can walk to the railway but, with a toddler and a baby in a buggy, I would not recommend the route as most of it is on the road with only a line of white paint to help protect you from the traffic!
However, the short walk was worth it and we got to the railway. It's not a long journey to Lakeside from Haverwaithe, but its long enough to feel like you've gotten your money's worth and to have an experience. We ate at Lakeside and ended up having to split up from each other as nowhere allowed Missy in and, after running about with two small kids, my sister really needed a sit down and relax (note, if anyone working at Lakeside ever reads this, you're missing a trick, make one of the cafes dog friendly and you'll make a fortune!). So the hubby and I had hotdogs whilst looking out over the very scenic views of the water and shared a little with Missy.
To finish the day, we went into Cartmel. The hubby and I had already explored it on a morning dog walk so we knew to park at the priory and we found the local play park for Felix. We'd hit that point of knowing that it was the last day and no one wanted it to finish, so we decided to eat out for dinner and try some of the sticky toffee pudding.
It was perhaps the best sticky toffee I've ever had!
Friday was going home day, so we decided to milk it for what it was worth and went to the Old Hall Farm - a little vintage ice cream farm. Farms are funny places for dog owners, some are really happy to let them in and make a huge fuss when they see them, and others are like 'no dog shall pass!' and view them as sheep murdering monstrosities.
Fortunately, this was the former. Whist the pamphlet from the information centre indicated it was dog friendly, I hadn't really been able to find out any more than that, so it was a relief to realise that she was welcome everywhere on site. It's a labour of love attraction, and we had a lovely time mooching about and catching bits of the activities and tours as and when they suited us. Missy was obsessed with the pigs. She's seen cows before, and chickens and ducks and sheep and even alpacas, but not pigs. Every time we passed them she would drag us over and stand up against the wall of the sty to gaze in at them and, silently, give them her hardest stare. Frankly, under that gaze, I'm shocked they didn't turn to bacon and start frying themselves!
Felix was very unsure of the shire horses - they were much too big for her and, when one cheekily threw water over an unsuspecting (and subsequently very startled) Missy, decided she much preferred the little horses. And the engine shed.
Well, it was her holiday too, and if she wanted to look at engines that suited me just fine. We all stopped for ice cream (well, it would have been rude not to) and then decided that it was time to head our respective ways home.
|I'm not sure whats worse, my handwriting or the sketch!|
A wonderful time had by all - and seeing as my sister is already planning next year's repeat trip for us all, I'm not just saying it!