Lake District

Lake District
Lake District


Showing posts with label National Trust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Trust. Show all posts

Summer Blooms at Hill Top Farm

With everyone heading back to school this past week and the rain coming down relentlessly outside my window, it really does seem like summer has indeed come to an end for another year. However, since I'm still not officially back at uni until the beginning of October, I'm very happy to pretend otherwise for the moment. I'm also very pleased to report for the first time since I've been at university in the North West, this summer I feel like I've finally taken full advantage of the fact I live within such close proximity to the Lake District.

As I've said before, the Lake District isn't an easy place to manoeuvre around on public transport at all, which has really limited the number of places I've been able to visit in the past. However, now that I have my car I've been able to explore the area a lot more and I've finally been able to visit somewhere I've always wanted to see: Hill Top Farm, once the home of childrens' author Beatrix Potter. As a toddler I'd had the Tale of Peter Rabbit read to me so many times that I knew it off by heart, so it was a dream come true to experience the place that inspired so many of her stories.

I did take quite a few photos of the interior of the house, which is more or less exactly how Beatrix left it when she gifted the property to the National Trust in the 1940s. However, they didn't turn out quite how I wanted so I think I'm going to have to save the inside for another time. Nevertheless, Hill Top's beautiful garden had just as much to offer on the day of our visit, particularly as it was in full summer bloom. As you'd expect from any garden owned by the National Trust, it's magnificently landscaped and immaculately maintained.

As it happens, this past 29th July marked the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter, so I really don't think I could have picked a better time for my first visit to Hill Top- though I do hope it will be the first of many!

What have you been up to this summer?

Lake District || A Day at Tarn Hows

I may have been home in Northern Ireland for this year but it hasn't stopped me finding my way back to the North West of England as often as is physically possible, mostly thanks to Ryanair and that €1 flight to Liverpool I managed to nab in their flash sale!

Since my last Lancaster post I've managed to pay another two visits, with my last trip actually ending up coinciding with a visit from one of Carlo's friends from school. So, the two of us, plus said visiting-friend and a few of Carlo's friends from home decided to mark the occasion with an amble around Tarn Hows near Coniston in the Lake District. This is going back nearly a month ago now when it was still more or less winter and there was still plenty of snow on the mountains; for sure one of the best things about visiting the Lakes around this time of year.

Before this day I'd never been to Tarn Hows before, or even heard of it. It had been one of the boys, Carlo's friend, Neil who had suggested it and very kindly offered to drive the five of us there. Much of the trail is deep, rich forestland, not unlike that which covers much of the Mourne Moutains I love so much from home. It circles around a central tarn, or small lake which stems off into little streams and at one point even feeds into a rather magnificent waterfall. By the time we'd finished our walk I'd been utterly enchanted by the whole place. It's now easily one of my favourite Lake District spots.

Apparently the land was once owned by author, Beatrix Potter who used the royalties from her books to purchase a great deal of what is now the Lake District National Park in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of developers. She would then eventually pass on much of the land, including Tarn Hows, to the National Trust who have worked to preserve the area and its wildlife ever since. A fantastic legacy if you ask me!

Interestingly, on our travels we came across a few fallen trees that were stippled with pennies. None of us had ever seen anything like this before and at first we were baffled. However, after a bit of googling we discovered they were wishing trees, and the equivalent of tossing coins into a fountain. Apparently the practice began in old folklore, when it was believed that if you were ill, embedding a coin within a tree would take the illness away.

Have you ever seen a wishing tree?


A Wintry Walk || Mount Stewart, Co. Down

Um, so I have a bit of exciting news...(!!!) After years of desperately longing for one, this Sunday past I finally took the leap and got myself a digital SLR! I'm so beyond thrilled it's ridiculous, and despite my little Nikon Coolpix camera having served me so well this last year and a half on Alphabeth, I can't say I'm the least bit sad to see it go! *sassy wave*

For anyone who's interested, I got the Canon 700D after hearing some good reports and I'm genuinely so chuffed with it! Today was the first time I'd had the chance to use it- albeit with just my little kit lens- and it's just such a massive improvement from my Nikon, I could cry. 

Since I was off work today, on what happened to be the first clear day in weeks, my grandparents and I decided to and pay a visit to a National Trust property, Mount Stewart. We had a lovely afternoon strolling around the grounds, followed by a cup of tea and some sandwiches in the car. It was a really nice, relaxing mid-week break, even though I did keep forgetting my lens cap wasn't attached to my camera strap and kept hurling it onto the ground every time I took it off- that's a habit I'm going to have to get out of!

Hope you've all had a fantastic start to December! x

A Lake District Photo Diary || Rydal & Ambleside

Sunset at Rydal, Lake District, Cumbria.

Following on from my last Lake District Post 'A Lake District Photo Diary | Windermere & Grasmere' after finishing up in Grasmere, we hopped back on the 555 and headed to Rydal. We were planning on taking a walk around Rydal Water, one of my favourite areas in the Lake District, but before setting off we made a quick stop at a little pub called Badger Bar for a drink and a bit of a rest. It was getting to that time in the evening just before dusk, the 'golden hour' when the light is just beginning to fade and casts a beautiful golden glow over the landscape. 

A signpost at sunset at Rydal Water, Lake District, Cumbria
Rydal Water in the Lake District, Cumbria

Refreshed and refuelled, and not wanting to miss the last of the daylight, we quickly finished our drinks and headed down to the lake for a quick wander. We didn't manage to stay for too long as by this stage the sun was setting quite quickly and we had to make sure we were back at the bus stop on time.

Rydal Water in the Lake District, Cumbria
Sunset at Rydal Water in the Lake District, Cumbria

After about an hour by the water we actually had to make a proper dash for the bus which we only just caught by the skin of our teeth, and made our way back to Ambleisde where we were staying for the night. We had booked a guesthouse called Lakes Lodge, which I really can't recommend enough. It wasn't a luxury hotel by any means, but it was really clean and cosy, set amid Ambleside's tall grey slate townhouses.

One thing I really liked was that in reception they had a shelf full of about 50 DVDs and we were allowed to choose as many as we wanted to watch in the little TV in our room. 'About Time' was in there which is probably my favourite film ever so we picked that one up and ended up watching it the following morning.

Rydal in the Lake District, Cumbria
Breakfast in Bed at Lakes Lodge, Ambleside, Lake District

Once we'd left our bags and got settled in our room we set off in search of something to eat. We were both kind of feeling Italian food and we had seen that an Italian restaurant called Dodds had gotten really good reviews so that was our first port of call. You can't book a table in advance there and it was really busy so we had to wait about half an hour before we were seated. However, all-in-all it was definitely worth the wait. The food was incredible, so incredible I didn't even think to take a picture before tucking into my carbonara... But trust me, it looked as good as it tasted!

Another thing I thoroughly appreciated about Lakes Lodge was the fact that we had a huge choice of breakfast which was included in the price of the room and then for an extra £5 you could have it brought up to your room which we decided to do, and it was genuinely amazing.

Bridge House, Ambleside, Lake District, Cumbria
Ambleside in the Lake District, Cumbria
Reading on the bus home

Since we'd had quite a busy day the day before, we decided to take it easy and spend the day around Ambleside. We basically just pottered around the shops and stopped at a cafe for quite a large lunch. I ate soooo much the whole week I was in England, I'd missed British food so much! We also had a quick peek into Ambleside's Bridge House- if you've ever been there you'll know that a quick peek is all it really takes! Bridge House has become kind of an iconic symbol of Ambleside. It's a tiny house built over a bridge made up of just one very small room upstairs and another one downstairs. It's owned and maintained by the National Trust, and is one of their smallest properties. While we were there the National Trust guide was telling us all about its many uses over the years, and it once actually housed a family of eight, which is absolutely crazy!!

Just before we caught the bus back home we called into another bookshop to pick up some "provisions" for the journey home. Carlo bought himself a copy of 'Moby Dick' and I bought 'Cider with Rosie' by Laurie Lee. I'v nearly finished it and I've adored every second, it's definitely going onto my ever-growing list of my all time favourite books! I was really sad to have to leave the Lake District, I can't wait until I'm finally back in the area again!

A Lake District Photo Diary | Windermere & Grasmere

Apparently I've taken a bit of another unintentional blogging break- whoooops. It only just occurred to me today that it's now the middle of October and I still haven't posted anything this month; not ideal! However, I'm back now with lots of (hopefully consistent) updates to share over the coming weeks. I might even try that thing they call "scheduling posts", that would be a first.

I've been getting the year abroad blues pretty badly recently. It may be something I'll go into more detail about at a later stage but at the moment it just sucks being so far away from everything I know. I never would have called myself a homebird before, but these last few months in Spain have been a very real challenge for me for all sorts of reasons. I miss absolutely everything about the UK: the people, of course, but also the food, the landscape, and just its general familiarity. 

A couple of weeks ago the yearning for home got a bit too much for me and I ended up booking some cheap flights and jetting back to Lancaster for a bit of a refuel. It was a brief visit, but a completely blissful one. It's crazy how much you appreciate the banalities of your normal everyday after you've been away from it for a while.

While I was in Bilbao I had been dreaming of a weekend in the Lake District, so Carlo and I planned a little trip there during my visit. We turned out to have great weather, even at the end of September/beginning of October, and it really was just exactly what I needed.

We set off for the Lakes early, though not quite early enough since we missed the bus we were supposed to get; but as is life. We just ended up getting the train instead and arrived in Windermere around midday. We hadn't really planned our trip too much apart from having booked a guesthouse in Ambleside for the night, so we decided to stay in Windermere for a little while and have some lunch. According to Trip Advisor one of the best places to eat was a place called Brambles Tea Rooms so we gave it a go and I definitely think it deserves a mention here because the staff were really lovely and the food was delicious! I'll surely be back again next time I'm in the area.

After our quick pit stop in Windermere we caught the 555 bus to Grasmere. The 555 service runs from Lancaster all the way to Keswick and stops at Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside, Rydal and Grasmere. You can get a day pass for around £10 or just over which allows you to hop on and off anywhere on that route. It's a really scenic journey and a really good deal if you don't have a car to get around the Lakes with.

Grasmere is my absolute favourite Lake District village out of the ones I know well enough. It's so beautiful and quaint and is full of lots of lovely shops and cafes as well as quite a few places of historical interest. The poet, William Wordsworth lived in the town for fourteen years and is buried there in the churchyard of St. Oswald's church. Grasmere is also home to the famous Grasmere Gingerbread Shop which sells gingerbread baked according to a special recipe invented by Sarah Nelson who began selling the gingerbread from her cottage home in 1854, where the shop is still located today.

Outside the Gingerbread Shop there's a spoon garden. It's a bit random, but definitely not in a bad way, in fact it really brightens up the shop's front. Visitors are invited to send the shop a wooden spoon they have decorated to be put in the garden, and each month a winner is chosen out of the newly planted spoons to receive a gingerbread mini hamper! It's a quirky idea but one I very much appreciate.

The Wordsworth graves, those of William himself, his wife, their children, and his sister are right beside the Gingerbread Shop and I always visit when I'm in Grasmere, out of fascination as much as the fact that they're set in such a peaceful location.

The graves look onto Grasmere's Daffodil Garden which sits over the river Rothay and was planted in ode to the poet. It's meant to be a visual representation of his poem 'Daffodils' ('I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud') and in springtime hundreds of daffodils bloom here. Unfortunately it was the wrong time of year for us this time!

While the garden was being constructed visitors were able to buy a paving slab with their name and home town or region inscribed on it to be placed in the garden. Carlo and I spent a while looking through them to see if we recognised any of the places. I found quite a few from Northern Ireland!

At the garden's edge there's a stone slab bearing the poem's final verse:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."

We spent the rest of our time in Grasmere wandering around the shops, including a bookshop where I went a bit overboard on purchases. In fairness, it was the first English bookshop I'd been in for a long time!

After Grasmere we headed on to Rydal, though this post has gotten a bit on the long side so I think I'm going to have to post a second instalment later this week.

Have you ever been to the Lake District? What's your favourite place there?
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