A Break in The Lakes

It's no secret that I love The Lakes. In fact, I love it so much that I faced my enormous fear of driving and whizzed down the motorway to spend a week there! We stayed in The Loft in Bowness, which was a perfect base for exploring the South Lakes or strolling into Bowness itself. It's an apartment within an old gentleman's residence, with a view of the lake and its own resident pheasants. If you're looking for a break in The Lakes I'd highly recommend it.

a basket of fudge in the window of a shop

Monday: Travel + Kendal
England was treated to a scorching Bank Holiday Monday, but thankfully Kendal was pretty quiet as we strolled. We stopped for lunch at Nina's Coffee Shop before heading over to Bowness, grabbing a box of Oreo ice creams, and joining thousands of other tourists at the water. 

Apparently the ice creams weren't enough, and that evening we popped out to buy chocolate then park up and eat it at the viewpoint up the road. We spotted a celebration cake reduced to 50p and it would have been a crime not to pop that in the basket too!

lyd stood in the doorway of allan bank wearing black dungarees and a stripy top
the art room at allan bank, a long table with old chairs in front of a wall of paintings
lyd jumping on a wooden bridge, wearing black dungarees

Tuesday: Allan Bank and Waterfalls
Allan Bank is a National Trust property with a difference. Rather than feeling like a museum, guests are invited to pour themselves a drink and get stuck into the books and arts and crafts activities on offer. They even have a full art room, equipped with pens, paints, and a stunning view over the hills.

After a quick mosey we called into the refreshment room for a muesli bar and an excellent cup of coffee, then sprinted back down the hill before the parking ran out.

From there we drove to Ambleside, where I'd seen a waterfall signposted but never followed. The walk up to the falls was a little strenuous, but beautiful, and totally worth it once we reached the top.

a geocache box containing pennies, cards, and papers

Wednesday: Geocaching + Tennis
I'd never been geocaching before, but now I'm a woman possessed! We did try to find one earlier in the week but stopped and ran off when we found a couple... ahem... up to no good. In the busy park. 

Thankfully there was no such couple as we raced around Bowness looking high and low for caches, and we managed to rack up 5 pretty quickly. It's funny to think that I could have walked past them hundreds of times and been none the wiser.

Renting the holiday apartment included use of its tennis courts, so after lunch we grabbed our rackets and tried to bring Wimbledon to Windermere. Sadly I spent more time running after the ball than actually hitting it; sports have never been my strong point.

wray castle with bright blue sky and big clouds behind it
lyd sits on the end of a pier overlooking the lake

Thursday: Yew Tree Tarn, Grizedale + Wray Castle
Before coming on holiday, the one thing I had decided to do was visit Grizedale Forest. I knew that the winding country roads would be a good challenge for me, but I pleasantly surprised myself and stayed calm. Our first stop was a walk around my favourite little tarn, where time seems to stop. My heart did too when I noticed a wasp hitching a ride on my leg! 

When we reached Grizedale we stupidly neglected to look at the map and just picked a trail, but it turned out for the best when we reached an odd key stuck out of the tree. Instructions told us to turn it and listen, and sure enough, the most beautiful but eery music drifted out through the trees. There were 7 in total, so we followed the trail, listening in turn. 

We had a quick picnic then drove on to Wray Castle, which boasts the most beautiful views of the countryside. It also has a brilliant playground, which this big kid just had to test out before walking through the grounds on the hunt for more geocaches. I ended up on a secluded bit of rock where I could look out over the whole lake and watch boats sailing across the water and jets zooming over it. 
After all that walking, we definitely deserved a treat, so on the way home we stopped for fish and chips and ate them in the car as we watched tourists take pictures in the park. They were the most disappointing chips I've ever eaten, but I couldn't let that ruin my day.

a cream sign reads 'the storytellers garden' in front of a hedge
a close up shot of a horse eating grass from my hand

Friday: Grasmere, Ambleside, + Troutbeck
After racking up a helluva lot of miles on foot and in the car, we decided to have a more chilled day and headed back to Grasmere to stock up on their classic gingerbread. If you haven't tried it before, don't expect a smooth biscuit! There's a spicy, chewy layer topped with crumbs. It's not my cup of tea so I strolled around the nearby spoon garden, Wordsworth garden, and the storyteller's garden. 

We called in at Ambleside for a caramel cookie doughnut from Greggs (6.5/10) then took a detour home through the tiny village of Troutbeck to admire the cute cottages. When I saw some horses leaning their heads over the wall I pulled over immediately and jumped out to feed them handfuls of grass and stroke their velvety noses.

I feel so grateful to have opportunities like this, to have a healthy body to walk around, and for once I felt like my mind was healthy, too. For once, anxiety was replaced by excitement and I actually felt confident and happy about driving, and I was able to make amazing new memories with my favourite person without fear and doubt spoiling them. 



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