Never has a rainy week been so well spent!
After 14 months of little-to-no sleep the thought of travelling abroad filled me with dread. Exhaustion had taken its toll and I didn’t feel confident that taking a toddler on a flight would reward us with a relaxing holiday, only that it would be somewhere unfamiliar, hot and in a different time zone to try and settle our little one. So we decided on a break in the UK but, living in Manchester, I didn’t fancy an eight hour drive to Cornwall either.
So we booked the Lakes. It’s a short drive of two hours to The Langdale, a wooded retreat to the north west of Ambleside in the Lake District National Park. We had planned days out to Grasmere, Keswick and plenty of trips to Windermere to make the most of the lake, but it rained, for five days out of seven. And yet it was the most relaxing week.
The crap weather actually meant we didn’t have to pack lunches, snacks and all the other toddler paraphernalia and set off anywhere in a hurry.
Instead we meandered around the estate and made the most of a new play room with filled toys, including a Connect Four for the adults, an indoor pool and a restaurant with excellent children’s meals on offer. The portions were large enough, and tasted so good, that I finished off most of them myself.
When we had a couple of dry spells there was enough around the area to not have to make an effort to travel far. One morning we put toddler in carrier and walked alongside fields and a beck to Chesters By The River (amazing menu choice if you are veggie, plus epic cakes).
On the other non-rainy day we walked to the National Trust’s Sticklebarn pub, a dog-friendly, welcoming place which has tonnes of events, plus lots of outdoor space
Although we were in self-catering accommodation there were two local pubs to walk to for food Wainwright’s Inn (owned by The Langdale, but you walk off the estate to get to it and it looks and feels like an independent ye olde worlde pub) and The Britannia Inn at Elterwater.
Without a babysitter we were sat in most evenings, but the two-bed chalet was spacious with open plan living/dining area, TV and balcony. Plus an indoor sauna which was a treat for us after we had put our son to bed. In spite of the rain we enjoyed the view of the woodland surroundings from the veranda - making us feel like we were in a rain forest, which sounds naff, but the tranquility was priceless. It was thanks to the Lake District weather that the pressure to be having ‘great family days out’ lifted. And as it happens, the toddler slept and we got more than one lie-in, bonus!
You can check out the Langdale here:
Written by Natalie Mace
Natalie is senior content producer for a national radio station. She lives in Lancaster with her husband and two children.