It’s arguably England’s most scenic region, so beautiful it drew poets to its rolling hills and gentle lakes. But when beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that beholder is more interested in Peppa Pig, you can’t just rely on the Lake District’s natural beauty to keep the whole family happy (for long).
FOLLOW THE RABBIT TO THE WORLD OF BEATRIX POTTER
Before Harry Potter, there was Beatrix Potter. Potter herself spent many a childhood holiday in the Lake District before penning her much beloved tales of Peter Rabbit and friends. The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowess-on-Windermere is therefore a must for fans of Peter and Potter.
The World of Beatrix Potter is aptly named. Upon entrance you are transported into the imagination of Potter. Here, Peter and his friends are brought to life and children of all ages can get a taste of life in the pages of Potter.
But this is no museum. Here, children are handed activity books and much of the ‘exhibits’ are interactive and touchable. We’re here during school holidays and while there are many children, there are more adults, possibly more excited to reacquaint themselves with their childhood friends.
Having lunched on the shores of Lake Windermere, we’re ready for afternoon tea, but as anyone with a toddler knows, planning a meal stop with one can be like sending troops into battle. Distractions have to be at hand, the meal has to meet with a fickle palate and your own needs were likely left behind at birth. Thank goodness for the Tea Room. Crayons and Potter colouring pages are on hand and the food caters perfectly to the little ones without losing a sense that you are dining just steps away from Peter and his friends.
But do beware of the gift shop. While your children may be happy with a cuddly toy, you’ll likely splash out on special edition books and crockery.
PRAM FRIENDLY WALKS
Exploring the Lake District is best done by foot. So when you’ve got a toddler, you may feel like you’re missing out on some of the most stunning sights in England.
But with over 40 pram friendly routes across the Lake District National Park, it’s actually quite easy to see the best of the Lakes on foot.
To just name a few:
- Friar’s Crag in Keswick takes you on a circular route along Derwentwater, offering amazing views of the lake shoreline and the central mountain;
- Scout Scar near Kendal affords views from sea to mountains;
- Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge in the Langdales is a must for those seeking waterfalls (and refreshments).
GETTING ON THE LAKE
Ice cream in hand and some hot chips fresh from chipper packed away, we intend to do lunch literally on Lake Windermere. From the car park, we hop on a miniature train to take us to the Windermere Lake Cruises ticket office where we pick up a couples Freedom of the Lakes ticket.
Valid for 24 hours from first use, this gives us access to a full day of lake exploring. And believe me, it’s addictive! Looking out over the lush scenery, it’s easy to forget what time (or even year) it is. You can hop on or off depending on what tickles your fancy, amble about some of the gorgeous little villages (like aptly named Ambleside) and jump on the next cruise back.
There are refreshments on board too, so if you fancy a sneaky couple of glasses of wine, as you take it all in, you can!
MAKE POETRY EDIBLE
So your kids might not care who William Wordsworth was or what he created, but they might be swayed by the gingerbread on offer just around the bend from his gravesite. Tucked between St Oswald’s Churchyard and The Wordsworth Hotel, the little Grasmere Gingerbread Shop might not fit your whole family in one go, but its delights will keep your kids quiet!
Victorian cook Sarah Nelson invented Grasmere Gingerbread in 1854 and everyone from Wordsworth to Tom Cruise has been enjoying it ever since!
Want more information? Head to www.golakes.co.uk.
Where to stay?
The Ryebeck Hotel is a destination in itself, but if you can tear yourself away from its lovely views and outstanding amenities, you can easily explore its surrounds and be back in time for an amazing dinner. Read our review of the property here.
We drove to the Lake District from London in a car we hired through DriveAway Holidays. DriveAway Holidays puts you on the road to freedom. The leading self-drive specialists since 1988, DriveAway offers domestic and international Car Hire, Motorhome Rentals, Motorcycle Tours and European Leasing with Peugeot & Renault, working with the most trusted suppliers worldwide such as Hertz, Europcar, Thrifty, Budget, and Avis.
Read more about our DriveAway Holidays experience: Lunch at John Lennon’s place and other reasons to DriveAway.
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