Remember when you were growing up and the holiday park or complex always seemed gigantic?
That’s how it feels when you stay at Lakeland in Cumbria (even as a grownup).
It’s not because the park is particularly huge (it’s fairly big) – it’s because it has the entire Lake District as a back garden.
I fell in love with the Lakes a long time ago. And any of the 14 million people who travel there this year will probably give you a different reason why the area has captured their heart.
Here’s a list of my favourites …
The Best Pub Food in Britain
Picture this …
You’re coming to the end of a morning’s hike from your holiday home at Lakeland park, towards Bowland Bridge near Whitbarrow National Reserve.
The sun’s been warming your neck for most of your journey.
You’re onto your second bottle of water and you’ve worn out your camcorder battery filming the scenery along the way.
Your calf muscles are starting to ache in that way that gives you a real sense of outdoorsy achievement.
Above the rumbling of your belly, you can hear the stream trickling alongside the footpath, which has just 50 yards left until you reach Bowland Bridge – and the warm welcome of a country pub known as the Hare & Hounds.
Inside, the bare brick walls and stacked logs by the fireplace remind you that you’re in the real British countryside. Then the Sunday roast followed by a sticky toffee pud takes you out of this world.
That’s the walker’s version. And the food definitely goes down better after a knackering hike through the jaw-dropping surroundings in this part of England.
But you can get here from Lakeland by car in about half an hour – and there’s a big free car park on-site. I’ll probably be doing this next time.
Here’s some more amazing pubs in the region:
• Drunken Duck – about 45 mins away from Lakeland in the car. Try the cheese soufflé.
• Brown Horse Inn – roughly half an hour away by car. My brother loves the real ale they brew themselves.
• Jumble Room – such a quirky little place to enjoy a steak dinner and lunchtime full of laughs. Takes around an hour to get there in the car from the park and is right in the heart of the District. The perfect stop off point if you’re spending the day exploring.
The Best Camping Spots
Camping in the Lake District should be a definite must on your list of things to do! You can get some of the most amazing views from campsites in the Lake District. Wake up in stunning surroundings of England’s largest National park to a day of mountain walks, watersports, mountain biking and more.
A never-ending selection of family things to do
From windsurfing to paragliding – you’ve got plenty of activities just a Frisbee launch away from where you wake up.
But not everybody loves an adrenaline-pumping day out when they’re on holiday.
Personally, I’m a massive fan of the quieter stuff like country walks, picnics by the lakeside and star-spotting in the clearest night skies I’ve ever seen.
And that’s not even mentioning the main places to see in and around Lakeland.
Here’s a couple of must-dos if you’re travelling with a family (they’re easy and both local to the Lakeland park):
1. Windermere Lake Cruises – an open-top deck cruise across the largest natural lake in England. It can get cold (so definitely layer up) but you’ll hardly notice as you breathe in what feels like the freshest air of your life, and while you soak up some of the most cinematic views of this beautiful country of our (it is beautiful … when you holiday in the right places).
– 30 mins from Lakeland
– Last time I checked, it’s about £48 for the family
2. Wild Animal Park – you can hand-feed the giraffes, watch the big cats get fed by the zookeepers (these cats are BIG … I’m talking lions and tigers) and grab a full day of lifelong memories from this animal park just a swift drive west from your holiday home.
It’s known as ‘the ULTIMATE interactive animal experience’ – and that’s a fair tagline.
– 35 mins from Lakeland
– Prices are about £22 per adult and you can sometimes get in free when there’s an offer running (all you need to do is donate a pound)
One more thing …
If you’re travelling with kids and you manage to venture out to the north end of the District, please check out this little place called ‘Crafty Monkeys’ and let me know what it’s like in the comments.
From the website, it looks like an amazing place to take the little ones for a messy day of arts and crafts. Plus you can make your own pot to take home too.
I always loved the artsy stuff we do on the Haven parks with the kids – it’s so much fun to just not care about the mess and get stuck in. Crafty Monkeys looks like a very similar type of set up.