We went to Hapimag Burnside Park apartments in Bowness in Windermere at the start of the summer holidays. We chose to go there because we don't quite think we can face the idea of going abroad with twin two year olds (a staycation is hard work enough!) but also I'm still a bit uneasy about foreign travel at the moment - the issues with airports / passports / covid put me off. The Lake District is far enough away from our home in York to feel like a holiday, but not too far. Our 'party' was me and my husband, the twins, and our two border terriers (the dogs came first, we didn't intentionally match the kids up with a dog each!)
The accommodation was self catering, over three floors with bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs, and an open plan living space / kitchen on the first floor. There are two more beds on a mezzanine but they would be for older kids. It's a great site, just a five minute walk in to the town, and has a little play area on site, and the staff are lovely. But being open plan and having cream carpets and sofas is a bit of a challenge! Once we'd put everything dangerous / breakable on top of the kitchen cupboards we could relax a little.
Bowness is a good base for day trips. We'd go hiking, paddling in the lakes, or to Grasmere/Ambleside for the day. There's a beautiful (and largely unknown) beach called Roanhead about 40 minutes away. We went four times in two weeks, it's the perfect beach - not too pebbly, nice and clean, little car park, very few people. We have a National Trust pass, so visited Wray Castle (nice grounds and cafe, but the Castle itself is disappointing), and Sizergh Castle - this has a lovely outdoor adventure area.
We didn't eat out much, but I'm delighted to report that there's an Aldi seven miles away from where we were staying - otherwise it was two weeks shopping in Booths, and as much as I'd love that we just can't afford it. There are some really nice gelato shops in Bowness too, for all the calories I was burning carrying around a pram-refusing giant toddler all day, I was putting twice as many back in ice cream.
We'll definitely be going back next year (it's actually a timeshare), but just for one week - we'll rent out the second. Two weeks was too long for the boys to be out of routine etc. They were sharing a double bed, which was cute for a few days but soon turned into bedtime refusal and 4:30am wake ups... all of which greatly added to my wine consumption. Maybe after that we'll be brave enough to go abroad? Watch this space. But I can certainly see that there will be more and more things we can do here with the boys as they get older. I'd like to get them kayaking and paddle boarding in the future and there's plenty of opportunities for this here.
Top tips for going here with young kids - take rightly coloured hats and tops - it gets very busy in some areas and you want to be able to see them. We had some brilliant trainers/sandals from Tu at Sainsburys that were good enough for hiking but also for paddling. And we had backpacks with reins, so they could carry their own juice/pac-a-macs/many, many snacks and I could stop them running in to the road. We also have a double dog lead (Ruffwear do a great one), meaning we can walking both dogs with one hand.
REVIEWED BY JEN
Yorkshire-based mum of two boy twins and two boy dogs!