Back in 2015 we visited my family in California (which was before I started writing this blog). My cousin, Karl, said he was coming over and he really wanted to take Jack, his son, to the Lakes.
Well of course I am not one to just give advice when there is a weekend away possible – if there is a trip to be had then we are coming along. Now camping was an option but we didn’t want to scare the family off so opted for a Glamping experience instead.
A friend had recommend a place on the east of Windermere but it was not available (we will have to try another time) but we got lucky with Parkcliffe Campsite a few miles south of Bowness.
The night before my mum dropped my beautiful niece, Ruby, off at our house so we could spend the weekend together and then Friday afternoon we set off with Nigel and Ella joining us after school.
Everytime I go to the Lakes I am just blown away and it is so close to where we live that I vow to go more. This time was no different and as it was Karl and Jack’s first trip they were excited to see what we raved about.
We arrived at Parkcliffe and were shown to our Pods. They were terrific and the views from the verandas were priceless. So we unpacked the car, set up the beds (you can get them with beds included but they were booked up) popped to the shops for some supplies and a detour of a quick refreshment stop at The Angel Inn in Bowness. Purely so my cousin could have a pint of ale. We have been here a couple of times over the years and it is a lovely place for dinner or just a few cold ones.
We arrived back at the campsite just as Ella and Nigel arrived – both of them hungry. We decided on the first night to use the campsite bar for ease and were very pleasantly surprised. The food was quality they offered a decent range. They also had a range of meals at light bite sizes which was perfect as the standard were massive.
After dinner we explored the campsite, there was a little park, a little stream running through the park and a small hill/mountain behind. Now my little monkey turns feral when she goes camping and I love it, seeing her become at one with her surroundings. She decided to discard the shoes and go paddling in the stream – it was freezing but she didn’t care. Most kids had wellies on but not my ragamuffin. Almost an hour later she decided she might be a “bit wet and cold” so I took her back to the Pod to warm up whilst Karl and the other kids climbed the hill.
The rest of the night was spent with the grown ups chatting on the veranda sharing a few drinks and the little ones playing games and hosting their own talent shows inside the pods.
We woke up to rain, typical British Lakes rain. Incessant rain and not exactly the rain you feel like walking the hills in. So we headed to Bowness for a wander. After parking Karl was taken with an old fashioned sweet shop and went a bit crazy for all the sweets of his youth when he lived in the UK. The kids were thrilled as he tried them and realised his grown up taste buds had changed somewhat and didn’t have the same appeal. The kids obviously disagreed and vowed to finish them off throughout the day.
Lunch was needed so we opted for a quirky little café called the Easy Breeze a real gem of a place just behind St Martin’s church. It is open in the evenings with some entertainment too, however, lunch was all were there for and it was perfect. The staff were so accommodating and friendly and the food superb.
More ambling and meandering around the shops and then finally the rain decided to give us a break so we headed back to the campsite, donned the walking boots and decided to head up the hill behind the campsite again. This was probably one of the first times Ella has done a big hill, don’t get me wrong it wasn’t massive and she has gone walking with us before but we are aware that she might think it too high. However, having her cousins around her pushed her on and although she lagged a bit behind she got to the top and felt very proud of herself. We took in the view for a while and then headed back down to the campsite and time for the kiddies to head to the park.
More feral padding in the stream was on the cards – this time Ella managed to persuade her elder relatives to join her. They were absolutely soaking, if they could have swam then they would have. Ella thinking it hysterical to just sit in the stream. Eventually, though as I sensed she was turning blue we had to drag her out and get her dry and warm.
Just as we got her back to the pod the heavens opened again and with 3 hungry kiddies we opted not to try and cook dinner on the stove in the rain and wind but use the campsite bar again. Another good meal inside us the kids wanted to get back to the pod and continue their games.
Sunday morning and we woke to glorious sunshine. The lake was sparkling in the distance and the British countryside looked perfect. A quick bacon barm sorted for us all and we headed for some advise on a walk suitable for all ages (particularly a 6 year old).
We were recommended Gummers How just a 3 mile drive from the campsite. So we packed up and headed there and parked up. First time around we took a wrong turning so ended up walking through the woods which was gorgeous in itself. But didn’t offer us much in the way of views of the Lakes. So we headed back and realised it was a hill in front.
Jack and Karl steamed on ahead with Ruby but the Bennetts took our time. Our little girl’s little legs will only go at a certain pace and at one point I thought she was going to just sit down and give up but she did it. At the top there was a random cow who she thought must be Gummer. The view was incredible. Whichever way you turned it was just stunning so we went photo crazy and I swear there wasn’t a bad picture taken.
Eventually, we headed down and again the big kids raced ahead but we took our time and when we got back to the car Ella was super proud of herself. As were we of her.
We were not quite ready to say goodbye to the Lakes yet and had noticed that there was a National Trust – Fell Foot almost across the road so we headed there with the intention of hopefully hiring a couple of kayaks or canoes and getting on the water. Unfortunately, they were not for hire that day which was a bit disappointing but we soon got over it. Quick sandwich to see us on our way and a FREE CUPCAKE – yes FREE as the Lakes had just been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status and this is how Fell Foot were celebrating with its punters in a very understated but welcome way.
So we headed back home to be greeted by my Aunt and Uncle (who also live in California) who had come to collect Ruby with my mum so an nice bit of family time at the end of a gorgeous UK weekend was had.
The Lakes in the rain are amazing, the Lakes in the Sun are phenomenal and equal many of the places I have been on my travels . Note to self – they are only up the road – don’t leave it so long between trips.