We’ve just returned from a 5 day break in the Lake District. We stayed at the a rather nice lodge on the White Cross Bay holiday park which is right on lake Windermere. This is the second time we’ve stayed at this lodge which is owned by a friend of a friend.
The lodge (here’s the website with the lodge details) itself is really nice, it really feels like a home from home. It’s a 3 bedroom lodge with 2 bathrooms and it’s very spacious. As a family we really like a place that you can just relax in and this is definitely one of those places.
Outside on the large decking area there is a 4 burner barbeque, a 2 seater chair swing and a table and chairs to eat at. Everything feels very new. It’s kind of private too, the plot that the lodge is situated on isn’t overlooked and you can leave your car by the lodge for the duration of your stay.
Inside there’s a couple of guitars if you play like I do, some DVDs for when it rains (and a few umbrellas), giant badminton gear, books and guides on things to do and a lot more. It kind of feels like a second home (partly aided by the fact that it’s our second time there).
White Cross Bay has a swimming pool on-site, a bar/restaurant, shop, a couple of small parks and a rather nice marina. I can’t say that we made the most of the facilities as we were out most of the time and we’re not the kind of people that go in for karaoke in the local bar. We did go in the swimming pool once, be aware that you need to book to use it though, it’s not just a case of turn up and swim.
Between Windermere and Ambleside
As the lodge is pretty much half way between Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside it’s a pretty good base to move around from. There are buses running up and down the main road but I think you need a car to really make the most of your time in the Lake District.
Here are some of the things that we got up to on our short break…
I’d seen a friend of mine post some photos of a beautiful reservoir somewhere in the lakes to and he told me about Stickle Tarn, so that’s where we headed first.
The hike up to stickle Tarn closely follows a waterfall all the way up. A makeshift path has been built to help you get to the top but it’s by no means an easy feat. It’s incredibly steep in places and seems to be never ending. There were a lot of other people making their way to the top but not so many that actually made it. Decent footwear, some drinks and maybe a snack or two are recommended for this one. We had none of this things.
For the boys it was a breeze. They walked up like it was flat land. I could definitely feel it on my thighs though. Once at the top, the payoff is the pretty spectacular Stickle Tarn. This huge reservoir looks great in photographs and I do love an Instagram shot. You could carry on beyond the Tarn but we were pretty satisfied by that point and the boys enjoyed the climb more than the view.
Paddle Boarding on Windermere
Just down the road from the lodge there’s a water sports centre which offers water skiing, boat hire, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and more.
I’ve wanted to try paddle boarding ever since the last time we went to the lakes so myself and Ben opted for an hour of this. Meanwhile my wife and youngest son Max hired a double kayak (all in £60).
Although it was difficult going against the wind, we really loved paddle boarding. My reservations about falling in the cold looking lake Windermere were put to the test pretty early on but the wetsuit did a pretty good job of keeping me warm. We even managed to stand up a few times. The next time we go to the lakes, I’ll definitely paddle board again.
After paddle boarding and a spot of lunch we headed out to Rydal Cave. We parked up at White Moss and took a stroll through the woods. I have to admit that we had no idea which direction we were going in, there were a few signs but we quickly lost our way. With the use of my trusty compass app and Google Maps we found the cave after walking for around a mile.
The cave is pretty impressive, it’s huge. There’s water at the bottom with stepping stones placed so you can get into the cave. Bizarrely there are hundreds of fish in the water too, how on earth did they get there?
We took some photos, and headed up past the cave afterwards for some pretty impressive views of Rydal Water.
After a couple of days with a lot of walking we gave the boys a bit of a break and booked them onto Go Ape at Grizedale. Initially we were all booked to go on but Ben was feeling car sick after the drive out (he did recover but not quite in time for the 3pm slot that we’d booked). There are a lot of twisting, winding roads around the Lake District and if your kids get car sick, this is definitely something you might need to consider.
Go Ape is always entertaining, the kids loved it, although I have to say my neck was in pieces staring straight up at the kids for an hour.
There’s a large park, café and mountain bike hire at Grizedale if you want to make a full day of it. We were pretty satisfied with what we did though.
It’s worth noting that we didn’t need to go all the way to Grizedale for the tree tops, there’s a place at Brockhole just 2 minutes from the lodge but as we’d done that one before we headed for Go Ape to try something new.
After Go Ape we were pretty much done for the day and we headed back to the lodge to try out the BBQ and chill out for the evening.
Old Man Of Coniston
On our final day we drive out to Coniston to walk up the Old Man Of Coniston. We figured one last long walk would tire the kids out for the journey home.
Before heading up the mountain we stopped off at a local bakery and grabbed a little food to give us some energy for the walk (I wish I knew the name of the bakery, I’d love to link out to it). Coniston is a really nice little village with some great little independent shops.
We never made it to the top of the Old Man because we kept on finding amazing places to stop. The waterfalls along the way were met with some beautiful natural pools. We stopped at a few of these and the kids had a paddle, I even braved the water myself – all the way up to my neck!
After stopping at one natural pool for around an hour we continued up the mountain and stopped at the Honesty Cafe in the hostel at the top. This was a brilliant idea, there wasn’t a soul in sight and you paid for what you took. The carrot cake was rather nice and it was welcome after the long walk.
A little further up the mountain we went into the stream and navigated the boulders in the water, this was fun but everyone fell in at least once. Wet feet all around!
Finally, with the evening drawing in we headed back down to the car and stopped back off at the bakery we first started at. Only it wasn’t a bakery in the evening, it had been taken over by another business that made the most amazing pizzas. Just what the doctor ordered.
And that was the end of our midweek break in the lakes. An active holiday that we absolutely loved. We’ll definitely be back.
For a 5 day midweek break in August, the lodge cost £650. There wasn’t a huge amount of expense on top of this for this break. We also spent £60 for an hours paddle boarding and kayaking and a further £32 for the kids to tackle Go Ape. Beyond that it was just spending money (it is a little more pricey generally around these parts).
All in around £750 for the accommodation and a few activities.
Top tips for a great break in the Lake District
- If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking good shoes are a must
- Be prepared for rain. We’ve always been lucky but it does rain a lot. Don’t let it ruin your break, just take the right gear.
- Plan your days. I must admit I’m terrible at planning but it gets busy. If you want to do paid activities you’ll need to book in advance