Holiday Heaven, Holidays

Holiday Heaven: White Cross Bay, Ambleside, The Lake District

Like many people from all over the world I ADORE the Lake District, it is one of those places where you can simply be and that’s ok. In our busy modern everyday lives, you very rarely get the opportunity to just be, to not rush about, have a million things to do and commitments to keep. The Lakes take that all away the moment you arrive.

Driving up from Nottinghamshire takes a good few hours, but as the journey progresses you can feel the tension easing from your shoulders, your tongue remove itself from being pressed against the roof of your mouth and your jaw relax. The scenery surrounds you and almost hugs you welcoming you into this new place of being, it’s quite simply heaven on earth.

Now yes during the summer it is very touristy but that doesn’t detract from the shear beauty of this amazing place. Even when you’re in the hustle and bustle of Windermere you still feel the sense of tranquillity and calm that this place bestows upon you.

My favourite place to stay is White Cross Bay, a caravan/chalet park just outside Ambleside. It really is special, the chalets and caravans are lovely, impeccably clean and the setting is right on the shore of Lake Windermere. If you’re lucky enough to have your own boat, you can moore and launch it here too. There are privately owned chalets and caravans, but everything here feels inclusive, it’s a real family friendly place. Having stayed in both the Chalets and Caravans I can tell you both are equally lovely!  My preference is actually the caravans purely because you’re generally a little bit nearer the centre of the site.

The facilities here are great there’s a lovey swimming pool, not huge but perfectly sized for the demand of the place, a small shop selling essentials and souvenirs, the LOVELY Boathouse restaurant for a very special evening meal, a fast food outlet serving pizzas etc, a Bar with live entertainment in the evenings and even a small arcade. Not only that but the outdoor facilities are great too! A fantastic children’s play area and as I said the marina is beautiful. Another great thing about White Cross Bay is they will allow you to bring dogs* (*selected accommodation only and limited numbers) and there are some stunning walks especially in the springtime when the Bluebells in the woods on site are spectacular!

From White Cross Bay you are perfectly situated to explore everything the Lakes have to offer! We’ve been all around and found some breath-taking views and places to stop and have a coffee and cake! The traditional hotspots such as Windermere and Coniston never loose their appeal though and going on a Windermere lake cruise is like a tradition for us now! The Chocolate dipped ice creams from the parlour near the boat drop off are also amazing and a MUST whilst you’re there!

If you’re self catering or just want to pick up a bite to eat the supermarket Booths in Windermere is lovely.  It’s clean and a really nice place to shop,  there’s lots of special treats and what’s great is they’re not too over priced.  We always go here for our holiday food shopping.

One of my favourite, more secluded and out the way places to visit is Tilberthwaite Ghyll. It is down a very narrow single track road running along the side of a VERY steep mountain with a sheer drop off. The Herdwick sheep roam freely around here, and you can get some lovely pics from the car! When you finally arrive at the end of the lane you’re greeted by an amazing force (Waterfall). It’s such a lovely place to stop and have a picnic, walk the dogs and paddle in the force, you can explore up the slate mine and the views from the top are truly amazing.

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We’ve visited so many places; Windermere, Coniston, Kendal, Bowness, Grasmere, Ullswater, Wastwater and Hawkshead to name but a few! We’ve also hired boats on Windermere, travelled aboard the Steam Gondola on Coniston Water, visited The Lakes Aquarium, I’ve even been on an experienced rider Horse Riding Trek up the mountains overlooking Lake Windermere (which by the way was absolutely AMAZING!).

Hawkshead was a revelation when we discovered the Hawkshead Relish Company! Wow they do some seriously scrumptious stuff! Their Hawkshead Relish and savoury jellies are absolutely divine! I love them so much I even order their products direct online!

There quite literally is so much to do and each time we come to the lakes we’re discovering more and more things and amazing places to visit!

Come rain or shine the Lake District has something to offer everyone, the atmosphere of the place changes with the weather but never in a bad way.  The rain brings glistening new beauty, the mist and fog more intrigue and in a thunder storm there’s nothing more spectacular that watching the lightening over the lakes!  The sun sharpens the views casting deep shade over the sides of the mountains and highlighting the peaks but no matter what the weather this place is certain to grab your soul and never let go!

So if you’re planning a UK holiday I most definitely recommend White Cross Bay
and The Lake District!

Beside the Seaside

Beside the seaside: Cromer, Norfolk UK

Situated on the East Norfolk coastline Cromer is a really lovely seaside town.

Our 1st visit here was all too brief and we plan to return again very soon. There was a lot to see and do in Cromer, when we first arrived we headed to the main shopping area and quickly discovered an array of lovely shops all selling the obligatory souvenirs.

We headed on toward the seafront where we were greeted with the breath taking view of Cromer Pier. Knowing that Cromer is famous for its crabbing, my partner and eldest were very excited to have a go and catch themselves some crabs. Sadly when we walked down to the pier we discovered that the day we chose to go was some sort of competition day and that everyone in the universe was crabbing off the pier. There were crab lines all tangled up all over the place and for a first attempt it wasn’t ideal. I later found out it was the World Crabbing Competition part of the Crab and Lobster Festival!

At the end of the Pier is Cromer Lifeboat Station, it’s really good in that you can go in and look around, see the lifeboat close up and get a real sense of the life of a lifeboat person. My partner and eldest went in first as unfortunately due to the nature of the place children in pushchairs or babies in baby carriers are not allowed. I then went in after with my eldest, I couldn’t get over how big the lifeboat was! I had no idea they were so big, very impressive. We had a look around the RNLI shop and made a few purchases including a Cromer Lifeboat RNLI teddy bear for George.

After another stroll around the pier we decided to go a little further and find the Henry Blogg Lifeboat Museum only a short walk away.  On our way we discovered a surf school and lovely local market!
The museum is really nice; it is totally accessible and has interactive elements which are great. It’s not huge; we were in and out within about half an hour but we thoroughly enjoyed our time here and I would certainly recommend a visit.

When we left the museum we stopped to watch the sea and the big ships passing in the distance. All of a sudden looking towards the pier where we had been only half an hour earlier the lifeboat launched! It was amazing to witness, however the shout was sadly a real emergency, as far as I know a fishing vessel had got into difficulty. As we watched the Lifeboat disappear it gave me a real sense of respect and gratitude to those people who volunteer their time to the lifeboats and risk their lives to save others. Amazing.IMG_6271

We stopped to have lunch in the extremely popular Rocket House Café which was really lovely. It is situated just next door to the Henry Blogg museum and was absolutely heaving! I had a Cromer Crab sandwich, my eldest a Cromer Crab wrap and my partner a sausage sandwich. All our meals were delicious but if you plan to visit make sure you get there early for a table!

After lunch the weather turned and we were forced to abandon our promenade walk for shelter in the arcades. This was George’s first experience of an arcade and he loved it! All the pretty lights, things moving and people bustling about, there was just so much for him to look at!

Like I say our visit here was far too short and we will most definitely be back!

If you would like to donate to the RNLI please visit my Just Giving page