A United Road Trip – Part 4 – The Lake District

This post is part of a series called The United Road Trip which is a 12 day roadtrip I undertook within the United Kingdom in September. You can read part 1part 2 and part 3 here.

Again it was hard to pack up and leave to continue the road trip. We’d been staying with relatives of Shelley in a small village beside the Peak District National Park, whose warm hospitality, puddings, and cosy evenings made it hard to want to leave. After sad hugs and goodbyes, we were off ready with maps and a compass for the Lake District.

We had chosen a secluded spot for our first night of camping in Wasdale Valley based on some great advice from the above rellys. It was remote and beautiful. We loved it.

Shelley getting excited

Our view entering the valley. Our campsite was right down the far end of the lake

Photo credit Shelley Hasseldine. It was my turn to drive that day. Apparently I make the peace sign when driving!

Once we’d established our campsite, it was time for a hike!

We hiked past the smallest church in England

It was quite steep hard work. We had to have regular breaks so Shelley could laugh

Some rock art and sun beams

The view at the top of the trail was AMAZING and the sense of satisfaction HIGH

Classic pose

Then it was back down to the campsite and off to the pub (only 50 metres from our tent) for a delicious dinner.

It was super hard packing up and leaving the next morning again. We both loved Wasdale Valley with its’ deepest lake, highest mountain and smallest church in England. But there were more lakes and sights to see. We took some more photos on the way out.

Our faithful steed

Moody goodbye

We had a fun drive going over Hardknot Pass after that. The road gradient is rated at 30% steepness with a rather narrow road. Good thing we had some swiss chocolate with us to ease the stress.

Eventually we arrived at our chosen campsite after visiting Beatrix Potter’s house and the Drunken Duck Inn for a pint. What a great name for a pub. I may have been a little tiddly during the tent set up. Located by Lake Windermere and Wray Castle, our campsite was literally in the woods.

The next day we hired bicycles and went to check out Lake Coniston. It was a magical day.

Photo credit Shelley Hasseldine

Photo credit Shelley Hasseldine, we went for a ride on this old steam boat around the lake

Photo credit Shelley Hasseldine, Captain Sacha

 We had to return the bikes as we’d only hired them for half a day. We figured we weren’t fit enough to handle a full day hire. But I’d forgotten how much fun cycling is and didn’t want to give my bike back to the campground! It was still early in the afternoon so we made our way to Wray Castle.

Stopping by a jetty on the way to the castle, what should we see but a pair of lovely swans

I looove swans

Another stop at a viewpoint. Shelley looks far too relaxed

Photo credit Shelley Hasseldine, A view over Lake Windermere

Finally made it to the castle!

We’d worked up an appetite by then. And I didn’t know it at the time, but this was my last English cream tea

A game of castle croquet made this day even better

We had woodfired pizzas at the campsite that night and drank red wine to celebrate our last night of camping in the Lake District.

Where we stayed (first night): A field next to Wasdale Head Inn
Price: £5 per person per night
Overall: Basic but the inn had a toliet and shower for camp use. Beautiful setting and super close to the all important pub. And no doubt much cheaper than the National Trust campsite further down the road.

Where we stayed (second and third night): Low Wray Campsite, Ambleside
Price: £18.50 per night for a small tent and 2 adult, and £5 booking fee
Overall: Run by the National Trust, this was a great campsite right on the lakeside. There were different types of pitches. We chose the coolest (woodlands), and there was a castle within walking distance. And pizza! What more could you ever want?

A United Road Trip – Part 3 – Peak District

This post is part of a series called The United Road Trip which is a 12 day roadtrip I undertook within the United Kingdom in September. You can read part 1 and part 2 here.

We left Bath feeling rather sad to go. The hospitality of Shelley’s cousin, Susan, had been rather amazing. The homemade caramelised onion and squash soup she had made us was honestly the best soup I have ever had in my life. I really must get the recipe off her. Not to mention she was a lovely and inspiring person to talk to.

We stopped by Bolsover Castle for a bit of break and leg stretch. Plus with both me and Shelley being English Heritage members, we were keen to take advantage of the free admission (entry is usually £9.50 pp).

That fountain was rather amazing up close

A leafy overview

Taken by Shelley Hasseldine. The castle gates

After fully satisfying our castle urges (and our stomachs), it was off to a little village just next the Peak District to stay with another of Shelley’s family. Both nights there I was held hostage and forced to read.

Taken by Shelley Hasseldine. My kidnapper – an eight year old girl named Steph who likes her bedtime stories

And this sweet whippet also participated in the kidnapping

For our full day in the Peak District we just achieved one attraction which was okay because it was the kind of attraction that deserved a whole day dedicated to it alone – Chatsworth House. The most popular country house in the United Kingdom, and possibly the second most visited attraction after Buckingham Palace.

The view coming through the estate driveway

‘Welcome to the House’

Taken by Shelley Hasseldine. The interior was divine

As was the exterior

I managed to convince Shelley not to steal the pretty rocks

A rather disturbing self-skinned man sculpture in the chapel. Very realistically craved. He is holding his scissors in his left hand

The inside of each room continued to be amazing. You can’t tell in this photo, but the violin through the open door is actually a painting

Shelley playing the piano. One of my best memories of the whole trip

One of the many excellent sculptures

The gardens were also very worth spending time in

Taken by Shelley Hasseldine. Another spectacular sculpture

The house with the Emperor Fountain in front

I would highly recommend visiting if you can. It will be an amazing day. Cost of entry is £21 pp. And visit the farmshop if you want to do some drooling to finish off your visit.

Our final night next the Peak District, we had the famous Bakewell Pudding and a walk around the local reservoir in Longdendale Valley. I could tell it was going to be difficult to continue the road trip in the morning.

Steph making an attempt to fill the reservoir