Peter and Potter { England Part 3 }

The third and final stop of our grand England tour was the Lakes District. The landscape began to change as we travelled north, water appeared, lakes and inlets with hills on either side, so different from the Peaks but with the same vibrant green and views full of character. 

Our accommodation was right up the street from Beatrix Potter's house with a beautiful view right over Esthwaite Water. The grounds were lovely and we spent some time having fun on their playground before heading into the local village Hawkshead. The village is beautifully kept and lively with Peter Rabbit and all of his friends peeking out of every shop window. The buildings are all white with black trim and the cobblestone streets lead you to treasures down every lane and around every bend. We stoked up on food for the night and headed home to enjoy and evening of reading and rest. 

The next day we ate in the village and wandered around some more. Luckily I already own a substantial amount of Peter Rabbit paraphernalia so we spent our dollars on cheese and fresh bread and a slice from the widest cake I have ever seen - chocolate of course. We left the village and made the short drive to Beatrix Potter's home and spent some time playing and eating in a beautiful local park while we waited our turn to view the house. Due to the sheer numbers of people who come to see it every day, you have to take a ticket and come back at your assigned time. Being at her home and in her garden is bought her world alive for me. You can see her inspiration all around you. The softness of it all, the colours and the life that buzzes there. While we sat on a bench under a big tree we even had a little robin approach us as if it had flown directly off the page. It hopped around and took our crumbs, so inquisitive and so sweet and you couldn't help feeling that Beatrix herself had these exact experiences. The inside of the house is quaint, with scenes from her books all around. She had three writing desks positioned throughout and beautiful keepsakes displayed. You could feel the warmth in that home and how happy she must have been there. It was really special for me to see Finley take it all in, we have read Peter Rabbit from when he was a little baby and he really felt the magic of being there.
That afternoon we took our a little row boat on the lake. I always fall in love with Levi a little more in these scenarios, watching him row us around and the fun we have together as a little family. Pictures really don't do the lake lands justice. It is a vibrant, incredible place and you barely want to blink in case you miss some piece of beauty that comes into view. 
The next morning we woke to pouring rain, which could hardly disappoint as it is all part of the true English experience. We enjoyed the rest before setting off for our afternoon sailing and hoping for better weather. To get to Lake Windermere we took a little ferry across and the skies had cleared enough by the time we got over there that we could sail that day. Levi loves sailing and this was a bucket list experience for him and truth be told we should really just have let him go alone. In my excitement for experience I didn't really consider that boats and 1 year old's don't go together that well and despite a nice time I was happy to step off the boat in the end. Levi and Finley had a great time though and I loved seeing Levi doing something that he loves. 

For our last day in the lakes we didn't make any plans but just decided to see where we ended up. By chance Levi had seems some ruins the day before so we drove there and found a sweet little cafe that had some delicious homemade food. We followed a path from there up to the Claife Viewing Station which is such a interesting little spot and has incredible views over the lake. The history of the place is really interesting. We learnt the the lakes district was one considered very wind and uninhabitable and it wasn't until people started to see real 'outlooks' as they do art. Then people flocked to the lakes to see the beauty that it held. One cool feature of the station is that the windows are lined with coloured glass and there are additional handheld pieces that are allow you to see the view as if in different seasons. It was a great little morning. From there we drove to Wray Castle another interesting place and different place. Wray Castle was built in 1840 as a residence but when it was handed over to the National Trust in 2011 it had no furniture so they turned it into an attraction for kids. Inside the house the rooms have been themed with all sorts of things. A whole huge Peter Rabbit section, a foam pit room, camping room, dressups etc etc. There was also an excellent natural playground outside, set back in the woods. We explored outside and the house pretty thoroughly and all had tonnes of fun. When we were done at the castle it was time to make away back to London so that we could take off on the plane early the next morning. 

The Lakes are a little piece of green, wet, magical heaven. It feels like the past is preserved there and that it is going to stay that way for a long time to come. I'll have to check next time I'm there : ) 

Our trip to England was all that I dreamed of and more. To have ten distraction free days with my family and to spend them in such beautiful places, places that I'd dreamed of visiting and mean so much to me - it was bliss. If we can find our way into a situation where we could live there, I'd take it up in a heartbeat. Thank you England - it was magic. 


Untamed Beauty of the Peaks { England Part 2 }

Wow. England is truly beautiful. And the Peaks District is a sight to behold. We left London after a glorious three days of city living and drove 3 hours north to the Peaks, all hills with fields of green boarded by stone walls as far as the eye can see. The green is vibrant, the roads are extremely narrow and the life is quaint and picturesque. 

House numbers aren't really a thing here, it's more of a 'go up the hill, turn at the tree and you won't miss it' style of locating things, so after some back and forth and the spotting of a fallen sign we located our accommodation at Cressbrook Hall, nestled among the most beautiful rolling hills dotted with sheep. We stayed in a lovely cottage on the property and spent that first afternoon exploring the grounds before heading out for a true English Pub meal. The White Lion in Buxton was all we had hoped for, with a roast and Yorkshire Puddings we couldn't be happier. 

The next day we decided to venture out early on a walk to the local mill. About a quarter in we literally became bogged, the ground was so wet and muddy that is was impassable for our little tribe so we turned back, found another path, decided to follow it and see where we ended up. It turned out that this path led us to the hills across from our accommodation which unbeknownst to us had old train tunnels travelling through them. With no trains passing these days they have been converted into a bike path and made for a wonderful great walk. We sort of just keep going and going, the hills, the colours, the fresh air, the sheep, the tunnels were all mesmerizing really and by the time we made it home we really had had quite the adventure. After some lunch and a rest we drove over to nearby Chatsworth House which it has been said was Jane Austen's inspiration for the Pemberly of Pride and Prejudice. It is a grand old house. We walked the gardens first, they have a really fun rock garden which Finley and I enjoyed hiding him and a less fun Maze they we are pretty confident just didn't have a solution. The pool and fountain were in credible and all work through a pressure system which was installed 100 years ago. The property has a magic hobby farm and playground for kids and Levi and I tagged teamed seeing inside the house while the kids got the explore the farm. I really loved the farm. Finley was besotted by his guinea pig Tinkerbell which he kindly protected from his little sister and Prim loved the chickens which were the spottest I have ever seen. The playground was great, set in amougst the woodlands with a stream trickling through. We didn't have alot of time each to see inside the house so I walked swiftly through and was left with the impression that I was grateful not to live there! The house was so lavish, not a cm goes unadorned and nothing really says home, but rather museum. It certainly gives you am understanding of how the upper class lived and the sheer amount of work that went into maintaining that lifestyle. 

The next day we set off in search of THE Peaks and to recreate my very own Elizabeth Bennett moment. We found them without too much difficultly and made the little climb to the top where the view is absolutely breathtaking. It's a wild kind of place, a wonder really, so high and with rocks shaped so uniquely. It's a little errie being there, the wind picks right up and you really do need to watch your footing! Levi was a wonderful photographer and committed to getting the Elizabeth shot for me. It was so funny trying to determine exactly where she stood in the film and the angle of the shot, but he did it. And it really is more beautiful and perfect than I could have imagined. 

After some pie and cake it was time to head to the Pemberly of my Pride and Prejudice, Lyme Park. Now unlike Chatsworth, I actually think I could feel quite at home in Lyme Park! No one actually lives in this house, nor is it likely that there ever will. It's now owned by the National Trust and because of that everyone gets to experience a little of it's splendor. It is incredibly beautiful in every way. We took our time through the grounds and the rose garden and just soaked in the beautiful outlook of the magnificent house as we made our way around. We played croquet on the lawn which the kids loved and just soaked in the magic of 17th Century England. 

Our time in the Peaks was a dream come true for me. It was incredible to see for myself what authors I love have seen and really experience, like 'feel it in your bones' experience, a place I have read so much about. My imagination had not done it justice but now it is imprinted on my mind forever. 

We were concerned for the safety of those sheep precariously perched on that hill...

Chatsworth House - Inspiration for Jane Austen's Pemberly

Lyme Park - The Pemberly of the BBC Pride and Prejudice

My very own Mr Darcy.