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.