When we invited our parents for a weekend in the Lake District we didn’t give much thought to how we would spend our time. We were confident that they could not fail to be impressed by the scenery, particularly as one of them had only been to the area once, 30 years ago. One thing was sure, with two willing but less sprightly seniors, a middle-aged dodgy knee and a car that didn’t perform well on hills, it was clearly not going to be a high altitude experience.
Searching our memory banks for places that did not involve heights or excessive walking, our first stop off the M6 was the ever-reliable tea room at the National Trust’s Sizergh Castle.
Here we sandwiched an hour’s stroll around the garden and shop between morning coffee and lunch. Heading north via the scenic route our next stop was Galava Roman Fort at the head of Lake Windermere in Ambleside.
We stumbled across this several years ago with the aid of an OS map (as otherwise you wouldn’t know it existed). It’s a fascinating place, with quite extensive, albeit low level, remains. It is a flat site with good access for buggies and has large, bright interpretation panels. There is no parking on site, but we parked a short, flat walk away at the nearby local rugby club which has an honesty box system.
By this time tea and cake beckoned. Consulting the map we remembered that it was possible to park in a school car park in Grasmere, close to a selection of tea shops. Happily we managed to park there and dived into the nearest cafe, followed by a short stroll to the Wordsworth graves and Daffodil Garden, not forgetting the famous Gingerbread shop.
Sightseeing done for day one, we retired to the lovely Ivy House at Braithwaite for the evening.
Day Two saw us head to the Ullswater Steamers for a round the lake tour – an excellent way to see beautiful scenery with minimal effort! It was a little chilly and more than a little breezy, but the boat had a cosy cabin which allowed good views of the passing scenery and lots of deck space for the more hardy among us.
A hot coffee during the 15 mins at the Genridding terminal was most welcome.
An hour’s drive but we’d been previously and knew that it would be an ideal place to visit. The house was as interesting as ever and the garden was full of bluebells and apple blossom. We also had a look at the impressive Cockermouth wall of fame. Amazing to think how many eminent people came out of one small town.
The next day it rained. We were heading home but an indoor option was required for a leg stretch and a coffee before hitting the motorway. It had to be Lakeland at Windermere. Perfect for a mooch, a coffee and, of course, fabulous cake.