The Lake District – Things to do in & around Grasmere


If you read my last post (which of course you all did) you’ll know that back in October my boyfriend & I spent a few days in the beautiful Lake District.

(If for some mad reason you missed that post – you can check it out here)

Anyway, I told you all about our cosy liddle hotel, all the food we shovelled into our faces and a wee bit about our cute little hire car but what I didn’t tell you about was all the fun shit that we did.

So here you go – another whole post all about the Lake District and the things you can do if you find yourself staying in the area.

Lake Grasmere Walk

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Walking is pretty much a given in the Lakes. It’s basically the reason most people head there in the first place, there’s just so much beautiful scenery to walk around and look at.

So of course we par-took in a few ‘hikes’ or lets be honest (considering my horrendous fitness levels) – strolls through the hills and around the lakes.

But whereas most holiday-makers in the lakes head out on a walk just for the fun of it, we went on our first one to calm, the fuck, down.

You see, on our first morning in the lakes we had a bit of a nightmare with the car. Having slept beautifully in our massive bed and enjoyed an alright full English downstairs in the hotel restaurant, we headed back up to our room to plan what we we’re going to do for the day.

We were both stood by the window admiring the view of the town and the hills behind when my boyfriend YELLED IN MY EAR THAT THE FUCKING CAR HAD BEEN HIT!!!!!

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I didn’t fully process what he was saying at first, I mean he had just burst my ear drum, but as he kept shouting and then stormed out of the room (to look at the car in closer detail) it sunk in that he meant our beauty of a hire car, that we only had 3rd party insurance on had been pranged. OH SHIT.

Oh shit indeed. However, if you read my last post you’ll know that this kind of was and also kind of wasn’t the case. Yes the car had been dented but we hadn’t done it. (scout’s honour!!!) It had happened before we picked it up and my distracted boyfriend had just failed to see the dent when he checked the car.

DOH.

So for three whole days we thought we’d dented the car and would have to pay out a shit load of money to get it fixed. Oh joy.

This meant that, on discovery of the dent, we spent that first morning huffing & puffing about how much it was going to cost us, wondering how we’d done it (driving through 6mm of water on the way here?!), looking at the hotel CCTV to see whether anyone else was responsible (IT’S THAT PRICK IN THE RANGE ROVER, I FUCKING KNOW IT), calling garages to see if they could fix it (luckily they couldn’t), calling both our dad’s to whine & moan, crying about only having 3rd party insurance & a £1000 excess and basically not enjoying ourselves one bit.

A. Woo. To. The. Hoo.

When we eventually calmed down and decided there was nothing we could do other than forget about it & try and have fun (wahhh £1000 excess!!!!!!!); we thought the best thing to do would be to go on a nice calming (and free) walk.

(Got there eventually didn’t I? God do I love a tangent…)

So off we trotted, on our first walk of the trip, as a result of a dented car and high blood pressure.

…And I don’t know about you but despite the hullabaloo with the car I think I still managed to look pretty damn good & particularly ‘Lake District’ ready in my new Topshop bobble hat and Jaded raincoat, dontcha think?

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It’s always good to blend in with the locals when you’re away – don’t you think?

Anyway, we spoke to the lovely ladies on the hotel reception and they gave us a map of Grasmere which we used for about 28seconds before I got my phone out and got on google maps. OH HEY CITY KIDS!

The walk is roughly 4 miles and therefore it’s a real gentle one to ease yourself in with. It’s also hella easy to navigate (you basically walk in a big old circle around the lake), it’s not too hilly or hard to do and it’s real purrrrdy too.

We started off walking through the town over a bridge and past a cute as they come wishing well – nawwww.

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We then followed the road for half a mile (?! Totally guessing, I have no comprehension of distance) before we turned off into a kind of wooded area and headed down toward the lake edge.

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There were lots of pictures on the way and there might even have been a selfie or two.

And then of course at that point it started to rain.

FFS.

But just as I was about to scream ENGLAND CAN YOU JUST NOT…the sun came out as well. And…as we all know, sun + rain = RAINBOWS!!!!

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It was just the most amazing thing to happen and I couldn’t believe our luck and I mean, not only was it beautiful to look at but now I actually kinda blended in, in my rainbow geddup!!

Well played Lake District, well played.

  We carried on around the Lake, stopped for a few more snaps on the way – I posed inside a tree at one point, not really sure why but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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…And before we knew it we were coming back around to the hotel again. We’d forgotten alllllll about our car woes, had felt the sun on our faces, the wind in our hair. We’d had an abundance of fresh country air in our lungs and basically felt hella brilliant.

NATURE YOU ROCK!

Fancy doing this walk yourselves, I think, this is it here (ours might have been a slightly shorter version.)

Wordsworth Daffodil Garden & Grave

So as you may or may not know William Wordsworth spent a good deal of his life holed up in Grasmere with his fam-a-lam, bashing out some of that top notch poetry he is so well known for – I wandered lonely as a cloud – and the like.

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He and his wife are also buried in Grasmere and it means you can visit his gravestone at St Oswald’s church.

Of course we went and said ‘hello’ if that’s what you do at gravesides of famous people you don’t know. I know some people find graveyards creepy and scary but I find them very peaceful and a nice place to reflect on life ’n’ stuff.

I’m not personally that au fait with all that Wordsworth wrote but I’m aware of what a remarkable poet and man he was so it was interesting to visit his grave-side and be in his hometown. A place that must have bought much inspiration.

We then went via the Daffodil garden which has been opened in his honour. It was nice but I’m sure, in Spring when Daffodils are in season it would have been much prettier and brighter.

Both are free to visit so if you’re in Grasmere I think they’re definitely worth a visit.

More info about visiting can be found HERE.

Beatrix Potter World

After our walk & visit to Wordsworth grave we drove into Windermere for a look around & then onto the Watermill pub for lunch. After which we were at a bit of a loss with what to do.

We toyed with going to the cinema (there are independent ones in both Windermere and the next town on, Ambleside) but then we saw Beatrix Potter World and I couldn’t resist going in – even though I’m 27 and not 7.

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Y’see as a kid; me, my bro, my sister and the other kids that lived in our close ‘played’ Beatrix Potter. We’d each pick a character (my bossy older sister was always Miss Tiggywinkle and I think I was often Jeremy Fisher) and we’d pretend that our gardens were the houses each character lived in – we’d then make up stories and I think if one of our parents came out to shout us in for our dinner they’d unwittingly become Mr McGregor.

Nawww – I mean how cute were we as kids eh? None of this iPad crap. Nope, we were outside pretending we were hedgehogs, frogs & bunny rabbits.

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So yeah – Beatrix Potter was part of my childhood, albeit a part I’d not thought about properly for a long time.

But once inside Beatrix Potter world I felt massively nostalgic for all those summer evenings spent pretending to hop from lily-pad to lily-pad and I felt a bit sorry for Nicky (I don’t think he was that bothered) who didn’t have a scooby doo who anyone was or why I got so excited when we spotted Squirrel Nutkin or Peter Rabbit’s jacket in the garden.

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It was the perfect place to go for an hour or so, there’s a lot of thought gone into the displays and I particularly loved the strong smell of lavender that’s pumped into the centre, it felt really cosy and a bit magical.

A huge bonus about going in October was that the place was also totally empty and therefore we could explore in peace and at our own pace…rather than having to contend with annoying, hyped up kids. (This is an ideal place to take child just FYI.)

I think entry was £6 or something like that and you can check out the website HERE.

Windermere Boat Trip

Windermere Lake is a helluva lot bigger than Grasmere so if you fancy it, you can get a boat trip across it to different parts of the district.

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Sadly when we visited the weather was pretty terrible and therefore a lot of the boat trips were cancelled. The wind and rain was just a bit too harsh, the water a bit too rough and we didn’t really fancy bobbing about on the high waves!

I can imagine it’s a great way to get around though and it’s a fun activity for all the family.

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Instead we got to admire the rising water levels and look at some swans which was alright but I’d have liked to actually get out on the water.

You can look into Lake Cruises HERE.

Tarn Hows / Hawkshead Walk

On day two of our trip we decided to push ourselves a little further with a trickier and longer walk.

We drove down tiny country lanes and past flooded fields until we arrived in the beautiful town of Hawkshead.

We pulled up in a near empty car-park outside an ‘outdoor’ shop to buy Nicky another pair of wellies before the walk…

For some reason Nicky doesn’t ever like to buy wellies in advance even when it’s obvious he’s going to need a pair…like when we went to Secret Garden Party and he decided SUEDE Kickers were the best choice of footwear for a muddy field where a month of rain fell IN A DAY instead of wellies..

Which meant that I spent a whole morning searching the whole festival for a pair of wellies for him which we eventually found in a size too small. He bought them anyway and then ditched them as soon as we got home.

So obviously when we headed off for a rainy staycation in the Lake District where he would be walking in the wet a fair bit rather than get a pair of wellies beforehand he decided this time around that his beloved Nike Air Jordans would be the most practical choice of footwear.

Guess what? They weren’t.

So once again I found myself searching for another pair of wellies for him & we found them in a huge outdoor shop, this time in a size (or two) too big. He’s like the goldilocks of wellington boots, perhaps the next pair he buys will be the right size?

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This is Nicky in his wellies & trackie bottoms (another great outdoor clothing choice) and his legs look all weird and munchkin like because he’s on a hill. And I laugh out loud every-time I look at this picture.

ANYWAY.

£10 wellies bought we asked the shop assistants if they could recommend any walks in the area. They gave us a leaflet which had a map and we set off for the Red Lion pub which is where the walk started. (FYI all the best walks start & end at pubs.)

We followed the directions – under the arch, down the path, over the bridge, up the hill, over the stile and across the bridle path (Nicky didn’t know any of the countryside lingo like stile & bridle path so I felt particularly smug and proud of my countryside roots! HK REPRESENTIN’) and that’s where we realised we’d might have gone the wrong way.

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GREAT.

Not ones for giving up or getting things wrong we retraced our steps and started again.

And it was all going well, we were pretty much on track and then I kinda effed it up by taking us the wrong way – well it was the right way but it was the ‘car version’ rather than the ‘walkers version’ – I was totes using google maps (again) as opposed to the leaflet which meant we basically followed the road rather than enjoying hills & fields & trees and stuff that the leaflet kept mentioning.

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OH WELL.

We soon got back on track-ish, headed through a proper thicket – dense forest that made us feel like we were in the film Dog Soldiers and we might get eaten by a Werewolf (!) and then finally after a lot of sweating and swearing and FOR FUCKS SAKE WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AGAIN from me, we made it to Tarn Hows and it was bloody beautiful.

IMG-20151118-WA000720151117_11031120151117_11150020151117_11302820151117_11135420151117_11280820151117_11320220151117_11281120151117_113059Yes it was raining, yes it was misty and grey and yes it was a little bit miserable but it was still beautiful.

Saying that, I can only imagine how much more amazing it would look in the summer with blue skies or a few weeks before when the ALL the leaves on the trees were just turning and you get those incredible fiery autumnal colours, rather than mainly brown dead trees.

The lake was really calm and totally still and I felt incredibly peaceful there. #absolutemindfullnesswanker

It definitely was worth all the effort.

 We continued walking around the lake and soon came across, what I reckon is like the forest version of the Love Lock bridge in Paris.

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A fallen tree with hundreds of coins embeded in it!! It was a mad sight but really quite cool. We popped a coin of our own in, in the hope that means will be head over heels for each other forever, naaaaaw. (sick bucket for one?)

And then we continued on our way (past a family with a pushchair, erm, are you fucking mad?!) and I got a bit David Attenborough taking pictures of this guy…

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And eventually we were starting to head back to where we started out.

It took us about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the lake, an hour(ish) to walk around it and then an hour to walk back to the pub. So 3 hours – not bad eh?

Naturally for that last hour the heavens opened and it poured with rain. No, it didn’t pour. It absolutely feckin’ chucked it down.

We arrived back in Hawkshead drenched from head to toe and pretty cold too. So we popped into the Queen’s Head pub for a Prosecco & a Ploughman’s lunch and to warm the hell up before heading back to the hotel to change.

Either way it was a great walk and I really enjoyed doing it. You can find our walk, or at least the one we attempted HERE.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

Once back at the hotel, changed into dry clothes and a little warmer we remembered that we’d promised our Northern housemate, Fiona, some Grasmere fudge – the girls is cray cray for it.

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Not ones to go back on a promise we trudged back out into the rain and down the road to the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop –

VICTORIAN cook Sarah Nelson invented Grasmere Gingerbread in 1854 in the English Lake District village from where it gets its name. A unique, spicy-sweet cross between a biscuit and cake, its reputation quickly spread and it is now enjoyed by food lovers all over the world. – Gingerbread Website

It’s the quaintest little shop and the staff all wear Victorian dress. It’s properly tiny too, you can probably only get 2 people in it at a time so thankfully for us, there was no-one else visiting at the same time.

We got some gingerbread, some regular fudge and some chocolate fudge and I can confirm that they were all blaaaady delicious. An absolute must visit if you’re in Grasmere.

Website HERE.

And that kids, is all the fun things we got up to in the Lake District. It was a really freakin’ good trip and I’m so glad we decided to go.

Despite the weather and the car issues it was really relaxing and I’m glad I’ve ticked this place off of my wanderlust list (it’s about 14 pages long at the moment).

I would absolutely go back in the future and visit some other of the towns and villages in the area.

Have you been to the Lake District? What are you favourite things to do?

Thanks for reading!

Harry x

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