Shoreside fun in the Lake District

I shared our family hiking experiences during our Lake District trip in my previous posts (see here and here) – but we also enjoyed some fabulous days at a slightly lower altitude. I loved spending time lakeside with the beautiful fells all around. We were lucky to be based right in Keswick in the Northern Lakes, and it was just a ten minute walk to the shore from our accommodation. We enjoyed several strolls by the peaceful water.

Alex and Sophie were completely content scrambling on the boulders and rocks along the beach. While we were there we suddenly remembered that we’d scrambled in exactly the same spot four years ago! So here they are back in 2014:

And now quite a bit bigger in 2018:

Despite the lake water being absolutely freezing, the kids were insistent on paddling and getting wet – so they stripped off, donned their crocks and got soaked!

There was a small inlet where the water was marginally warmer, so the went right in – looking for fish and trying to get completely submerged! I’d rather them than me!

We returned to the lake at sunset one day and it was so still and calm. I could look at this view for hours:

Another lakeside treat was the beautiful Aira Force falls along Ullswater. We enjoyed a fabulous morning wandering around the woodland along the river to the waterfall. Alex and Sophie enjoyed more scrambling and climbing:

The falls themselves were impressive and it was well worth the climb to the top to see the views from the pretty bridge at the top.

Back in Keswick, we were tempted to the little Keswick Museum and Art Gallery by the posters around town promoting a Chris Bonnington mountain climbing exhibition. As soon as we arrived, the children were immediately occupied at the colouring station, decorating lake district animals and wildlife!

We eventually dragged them away to explore the museum – their highlight was the bizarre and extremely impressive stone lithophone – a huge musical instrument made of local stones and slate!

(The Chris Bonnington exhibition was also excellent if you are in the area!)

We, of course, had to get out on a boat while we were in the Lakes! My parents were passing through the area on the way to Scotland, so they spent a lovely day with us around Derwentwater. We took the Keswick Launch around the lake, stopping at tiny jetties on the shore. The landscape was so pretty – the location for many film shoots (including recent Star Wars films)

We opted to get off at Lingholm so that we could visit the estate made famous by Beatrix Potter. The jetty there was being repaired, so we had a lovely ramble through the woodland to reach the kitchen and walled garden. The children were, of course, drawn straight back to the water for stone throwing and scrambling!

The kitchen gardens at Lingholm were credited by Beatrix Potter as her original inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Were were clearly in the right place!

The garden was really pretty – and clearly very productive! There were information panels around the garden detailing Potter’s visits to Lingholm and the influence it had on her stories. It was well worth a visit – and the cafe was absolutely delicious. If you visit – go at lunchtime!

A more unusual trip during our week was a visit to the Great North Air Ambulance. Don’t worry – no-one was injured! But our lovely friend Jo is a consultant anaesthetist who is part of the crew! She offered to show us around their Penrith base. Luckily when we arrived, they weren’t out on a call, so we got to see the helicopter.

Alex and Sophie were fascinated – and their toys got the full experience too! Thanks Jo for the visit!

Another reason for us to visit Penrith was to visit Matt’s cousin and aunt who are lucky enough to live there. Their house is the white one you can see in the background in this picture:

Alex and Sophie loved visiting the horses and highland cows in the neighbouring fields!

We spent a wonderful evening exploring their incredible kitchen gardens (even more productive than Lingholm I think!).  The children volunteered to water the fruit and vegetables – and ended up having the most enormous water fight! And they are now desperate to get a hammock for our garden!!

Here we are with our Lake District family!

We’re already working out when we can get back up there.  It’s the perfect location for an active holiday – and for us, it means we can combine visiting family and friends with walking and water fun.  We’ll be back for more as soon as we can.

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