Got a few days off before Christmas this year? Wondering what to do? Midweek hotel breaks make for a really good value autumn getaway. When only having a week off, a midweek break means there are days either side for packing, preparing and travelling. All in all, a very affordable and relaxing way to spend a week off. And where better than visiting the UK’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lake District.
Lake Windermere with its various places to make a base and visit along its 11 mile length is ideal. Easy to travel and with so much to offer. As little as 10 years ago, even the South Lakes used to take a significant drop in visitor numbers meaning services, attractions and some accommodation closed for the winter but this is not the case anymore. This area is now a 365 day a year location to visit and although the autumn and winter months are quieter the same facilities are available, you just get a bit more room to see and visit them!
So onto a super offer. Newby Bridge Hotel overlooking Lake Windermere has an extremely enticing late 2 night autumn deal. It’s only available when booking direct and from just £110 per person for 2 nights enjoy 3 course meal on the first evening, a full Cumbrian breakfast each morning, a complimentary cruise on Lake Windermere and full use of the private leisure facilities on site for the duration of the stay. Call to book direct 015395 31222 of visit their website, http://www.newbybridgehotel.co.uk/rates/special-offers-and-breaks. Be quick, this offer is only valid for stays until November 4th 2017.
With more restaurants and food suppliers and producers taking advantage of the wonderful landscape for food production to the new Bay Cycle Way opening, it’s the time for Grange to step away from playing second fiddle to Cartmel and become the short break and holiday destination label it so deserves and warrants.
The town has the best of many worlds starting with the Victorian architecture which is so evident lining the Morecambe Bay coast. The front and prom areas have grand buildings which frame this town and make it so distinctive from the other coastal towns in Cumbria. Behind the Victorian splendour is Cumbrian countryside, farms and the Lake District fells and visitors to Grange are never far from any of them. Small villages surround the town with Cartmel being the most famous for food and fast paced horse racing.
Grange takes advantage of being one of the major towns in Cumbria in terms of transport links, road, train and bus, whilst keeping the spirit of an independent business and its own identity. This makes the town a place to visit and stay whatever the weather and whatever the time of year.
And Grange’s newest bed and breakfast, Bay Villa, appears to be popular whatever the season too. This luxury B&B is practically full booked until November, just the odd night here and there available in between. But the 365 day destination of Grange is an excellent choice for a pre Christmas getaway and has such easy access to and from the M6 along with the added bonus of the train service. Bay Villa can be booked online via http://www.bayvilla.net . Rooms from £110 per night including breakfast.
With a choice of quiet roads, bridleways and tracks, the Lyth Valley is cycling heaven whether on a road or mountain bike. Located between Kendal and Bowness, he valley has rolling hills, a few steeper climbs and plenty of flat routes making it an enjoyable region to explore by bike for novices through to sportive lovers.
The southern Lake District and Cumbria is well known for its great cycling terrain. Bring your own or hire a bike and travel the lanes, bridleways and forest tracks providing great exercise and a swift, quiet and enjoyable way to see the countryside.
Being between Kendal and Windermere choose to experience just the valley itself, head over to Bowness and Windermere for a taste of the higher fells via the stunning Gummers How or choose the Kendal area and through to Northern Lancashire.
A great ride and especially at this time of year the spring, is a very leisurely and achievable for all, 13 mile route. http://www.exploresouthlakeland.co.uk/downloads/Route-4—Lyth-Valley.pdf. The daffodils may have gone but the damson blossom is still in full bloom and the area is looking greener than green. Although just a 13 miler, there are plenty of places to stop for “refreshments” along the way!
Once more, it is a region that still has availability for accommodation in the form of B&B’s, hotels, inns and self catering. Hotels are now equipped for cyclists more than ever offering not just accommodation but also plenty of space for kit and secure storage.
In the Lyth Valley there is a very affordable but packed for of facilities Damson Dene Hotel. Refuel thanks to tasty, hearty food and rejuvenate in the private leisure facilities, chill outside in the gardens with views over the valley. Visit http://www.damsondene.co.uk for more details.
With the weak Euro against the pound, the tourism industry is hoping for a bumper year for UK holidays.
It’s great to see families loving staycations again. For the last 20 years, more and more families have been going abroad to Europe for their summer holiday and year on year the UK market has been decreasing. Now there is a resurgence it’s great to see and even more so in the Lake District.
The UK of course does have a downside in the weather but what the UK lacks in sunshine, it makes up for in activities and good old fashioned fun. The Lake District is especially suited to families with its vast choice of activities. Firstly there are the fells. Walking and taking in the spectacular scenery in the Lake District is not only good exercise but it is free. Other activities in Cumbria and the Lake District are Muncaster Castle, the World Owl Trust, Ravenglass Steam Railway, Lake District Coast Aquarium, Puzzling Place and Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick, Beatrix Potter Museum and cycling tours at Grizedale Forest. A trip to the Lakes isn’t complete without a boat trip. Windermere, Coniston, Ullswater and Derwentwater are the main lakes for boat trips. It gives a different perspective on the fells from the water than on land.
The Euro is not the only reason UK family holidays are predicted to increase. The awareness of climate change and the impact of flying on the environment is something that is making families think twice about going abroad. A return flight from London to Barcelona for example produces half of tonne of carbon dioxide per person. That is an awful lot when compared with a return car journey from London to the Lake District which creates a 10th of a tonne of carbon dioxide. Once a family has realized what good they are doing for their children’s future, money saved and most importantly, how much fun can be had on a holiday in the UK, it is sure to make the UK tourism industry flourish once again.
So, to conclude, Who needs the hassle of travelling abroad, waiting around in depressing airports and arriving at disappointing destinations, when you can choose a place, where you and the children can arrive and leave, when it suits you, where the language is English and the hospitality is second to none.
Where to stay family friendly?
The Langdale Hotel & Spa in the Langdale Valley Lots to see and do, walks from the estate as well as cycling routes.
It’s going to be feeling a lot like Christmas in Grange over Sands on and from December 3rd for 70th Grange over Sands Christmas Extravaganza takes place along with the official turning on of the lights.
This full day extravaganza that is due to be a grand day out for the whole family from 10.30am until 4.30pm with Bongo balloons, face painting, fairground rides, Santa’s grotto, rodeo reindeer, hog roast, owls, indoor cafe, Zumba dancing, raffle, hot roast chestnuts, chocolate tombola, school carol singing competition and much more.
Possibly one of the most beautiful and dramatic Christmas trees in Cumbria is located in Grange over Sands. A 100 feet tall Wellingtonia tree located on Yewbarrow Terrace will be adorned with lights.
Due to the size of the event and all the activities and attractions three venues are being used, St Charles Field, the Methodist Church and Victoria Hall where there will be the Mayor’s Christmas craft fair 10am to 2pm. Onto the evening and the venue for the switching on of the lights will be Yewbarrow terrace from 6.00pm. Santa of course will be there along with the mayor of Grange to do the official switch on. The night will be finish with carol singing.
For visitors attending the event Grange over Sands is a lovely place to make a weekend break of it. Villa right on Main Street in the heart of it has rooms available for Friday 5th and Saturday 6th at a rate of £250 for the weekend based on 2 sharing including a full Cumbrian breakfast. Visit http://www.bayvilla.net for more details.
For years, staying in a pub or inn was not in any way appealing let alone of any quality, most definitely not a place for families or in fact anyone that wanted peace and quiet and a nice smelling room. The smell of smoke and beer would waft into the bedroom, not pleasant at all. But the benefits were the being able to get food and beverages and all round value for money.
A combination of refurbishment and since the implementation of the smoking ban has propelled pubs and inns into some of the top places to stay throughout the country and no more so than in the case of the Lake District. The Lake District National Park is home to some of the best pubs and inns in the UK. With great produce on their doorsteps and the vast amount of micro breweries, local food and ale is in abundance and of the highest quality. They also happen to be some of the nicest and oldest buildings steeped in history with a wealth of character.
Who would have thought staying at an in would be family friendly 10 years ago? Well they are now and with outside space for children to play as many pubs and inns have, they make for ideal family holiday accommodation. The friendly tag doesn’t stop there. What do you find quite a lot of in the Lake District? What do you see in front of near enough every real fire in every pub? Yes, four legged friends! The Lake District is and has been for some time now, very popular for dog owners and their dogs. Many Lake District inns that offer bed and breakfast rooms are also dog friendly, great news for all concerned. Owners can sit back and relax with great food and wine, Fido will get spoilt rotten with treats and belly rubs by the passers by and the staff!
So basically, inns and pubs with b&b rooms offer everything under one roof, one stop shops. Great for couples, great for families, great for dogs and the best way to enjoy everything that is local relating to where it is located, local food, local ale, local people.
Our pick welcoming everyone even muddy boots, children and wet dogs (!) – The Cuckoo Brow Lake District Inn and B&B at Far Sawrey on the western side of Lake Windermere. Local food and ales served daily. Visit http://www.cuckoobrow.co.uk/ or call 015394 43426 for more details.
Windermere in the English Lake District is such an easy and convenient place to visit but feels like a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. Being just a 25 minute drive from the M6 motorway, Windermere is of course a hugely popular destination whilst retaining its Lakeland charm and its accessibility makes it an ideal location for a weekend away. But a car isn’t a must for visiting Windermere. Having a train station that links to the West Coast mainline station of Oxenholme – the Lake District means a car is not a necessity to visit opening up this area to the widest of visitors. Those non car owners, those that wish to have a car free holiday or those wanting a more sustainable holiday are not hindered in anyway and can have as good a holiday as those travelling by cars. Businesses and individuals throughout Cumbria and the Lake District know how lucky they are to live and work in one the most beautiful locations in the UK and the preservation through sustainable practices and the lowering carbon footprints is essential to maintain the beauty for future generations to come.
Whether it’s for a romantic getaway or grabbing a short break away with the family, Windermere offers something for everyone and a brief list is described below.
Cruises on Lake Windermere
Take a cruise on Lake Windermere just down to Waterhead for access to Ambleside or up to the Northwern most point of the Lake at Newby Bridge. Sailing run all year round and enable views of the fells from a different angle as well as a relaxing and peaceful way to travel.
No matter where guests accommodation is, there are walks right from the front door. Orrest Head has a super vantage point where the full length of Lake Windermere can be seen along with views towards the Langdales, in fact Windermere is a perfect base for exploring any of the South Lakeland fells.
For the Thrill Seekers!
Being the adventure capital of the UK, the Lake District is fully geared up for a multitude of adventure activities including climbing, canoeing, mountain biking and ghyll scrambling and for all abilities. Novices in any of the above pursuits can be guided by professionals in a number of Association of Mountaineering Instructors accredited businesses.
Arts and Literature
Windermere and the surrounding areas have influenced writers and artists for years including Wordsworth, Ruskin and Ransome not to mention Beatrix Potter. Blackwell Arts and Crafts House is a must to visit along with Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin in nearby Coniston and Dove Cottage, the hoe of Wordsworth in nearby Grasmere.
Where to stay
Applegarth Villa Hotel & Restaurant is in the heart of Windermere, just a 2 minute walk from the train station yet with private, off road parking for car travellers. Rooms range from Deluxe to the new luxury hot tub suites. Rates from £140. Look out for the free dinner offer on rooms booked for 2 nights or more Sunday – Thursday.
Letting someone else do the driving, what could be better when having a holiday or short break in the Lake District? A high number of people choose to drive to the Lake District but why not let someone else do the driving during the stay and cut down on pollution at the same time?
If you can’t remember the last time you caught a bus what better way to hop back on it than one of the open topped buses which operate on routes such as Bowness to Ambleside and Penrith to Glenridding. Experience fresh air on the top deck and get to enjoy the Lake District before you’ve even arrived at your destination (please note, and of no surprise, these open topped services run in accordance with the weather being fine!).
The roads in the Lake District can get very busy but the very knowledgeable and competent drivers take all the stress out of getting from A to B especially when you’re not used to the roads. In areas in the true heart of the Lake District like the Langdale Valley, it is still possible to travel by bus on the 516 services which operates between Ambleside and Langdale on Saturday’s, Sunday’s, public holidays and 7 days a week during school holidays, a perfect bus trip to take during October half term.
More bonuses of buses:
They cut down on a significant amount of carbon emissions compared with the same amount of passengers travelling individually by car.
You can have a post walk pint or glass of wine with lunch when taking the bus in one of the many Lake District inns.
Add parking fees into the mix along with fuel and a family ticket or couple take the bus makes better money sense.
You can combine bus with bike travel as backed and promoted the the GoLakes Travel programme. Due to demand, there are now more regular bike bus services in the South Lakes than ever meaning the ultimate and super green combination of cycling and public transport can be enjoyed.
Supporters of green, sustainable tourism as a whole is The Langdale Lake District Hotel & Spa. Contact them for various tips of how to arrive without the need of a car. Rooms start from £135 B&B and save 15% when booking 30 days or more in advance by joining the Fan Club. Visit their website at http://www.langdale.co.uk or call 015394 38014 for more details.
Whatever the weather, Ambleside and Windermere can engage, entertain and be the locations for enjoyment for families of all ages during the 2016 summer holidays.
Starting over in Windermere and The Lake District National Park Authority Visitor Centre at Brockhole which always has a diverse line up of events aimed at the whole family. This July and August enjoy everything from birdwatching to bushcraft and survival skills, guided bikes rides to weekly Wordsworth Wednesdays for tiny tots. A comprehensive details and a full schedule of events can be found at http://www.brockhole.co.uk/whats-on/ with some events and activities being free.
This year is the year for any Beatrix Potter lover. This extremely talented and popular lady was born 150 years ago in July and Ambleside, Windermere and the surrounding villages and towns have events and activities on during July and into August to celebrate and mark her life. There’s film screening, exhibitions of her life and work both for children and adults with her botanical knowledge and creativity. There are tours, theatre productions and participation activitites, a schedule of all can be found via the National Trust here.
Thursday 28th July is where Ambleside is #theplacetobe. Ambleside Sports on its 200th year will be taking place on Rydal Park, just outside of Ambleside. This popular show has lots of traditional events such as Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, hound trails, cycling and fell races as well as trade stands, food, crafts and events especially for kids.
Look to the Rothay Garth Bed & Breakfast in Ambleside. Friendly and with private, off road parking, hearty breakfasts and both children and dog friendly too. Visit http://www.rothay-garth.co.uk for more information and to check availability.
It’s nearly time for the schools to break up and everyone is hoping the weather continues to be as good as it has been throughout the last few weeks.
Even Cumbria and the Lake District (sharp gasps of amazement) has been experiencing some fabulous weather and there has most definitely been more visitors milling around whether they are staying in the county of just having a day out in The Lakes.
A combination of the tightening of airport security, the result being possible lengthy delays through to the uncertainty due to Brexit and value of the plummeting value of the pound are factors for considering staying in the UK for your main summer holiday. Although holiday prices haven’t really increased, converting currency has made a large impact on the overall cost of going abroad. With it being easier now and more popular than ever to book a holiday to the last minute, it begs the question, could this be a bumper year for the UK staycation?
The level of service and quality of accommodation found in many European countries is second to none but UK accommodation is fast coming up to and exceeding it. Families shouldn’t discount as the accommodation for a holiday. Hotel stays with the family mean everyone gets to enjoy the break not just the kids. There’s no washing up, food is plentiful and with great choice for all and whilst a holiday abroad is tied to a full week or 2 weeks, staying in a hotel in the UK can be booked for just a part week if desired.
Cumbria and the Lake District has it all to guarantee every member of the family will be entertained and hotels are realising the need to entice families. The Tebay Services Hotel between Kendal and Penrith, super handy just off the M6 motorway, has done just that with superb family rooms specially designed with bunk beds and options for rooms next to each other for families with older children and a menu that appeals to children and adults of all ages too. Easily accessible from the M6 and with their sister businesses the Tebay Services 2 minutes away for toys, games and gifts and Rheged just up the motorway. Come rain or shine this hotel makes an excellent family base for exploring Cumbria, the Lake District and The Pennines.