In the South Lakes area of the Lake District there is a wide choice of National Trust sites. Whether you’re a keen national trust property visitor and member or simply like to enjoy new experiences and gain knowledge along the way, the sites in this region are varied and there are ones to suit all, from galleries to houses and even Sticklebarn, a National Trust Inn. A full list can be found here https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/days-out/regionnorthwest/lake-district
Hawkshead is an extremely delightful village and makes an excellent base to be able to explore all NT sites in the Southern Lake District. Two in particular are Wray Castle and Hill Top.
Wray Castle is particularly good for families having rooms and events aimed at children and having been acquired in an empty state, it is not the usual national Trust property filled with antiques and paintings. What it does have is plenty to see and do and a wealth of character and intrigue. The tour around the castle is well worth taking part in.
Then arguably, the most famous of the Lake District National trust properties, Hill Top. Hill Top was once the home of Beatrix Potter. This 17th century farmhouse “is a time capsule of her life” along with the gardens that inspired so much of her work. Hill Top house is an extremely busy attraction with visitors travelling from Japan and America to see where one of the most famous children’s authors and illustrators lived. There has never been a better year to visit than this year, the 150th anniversary of the birth of this most talented lady.
Both properties can be reached by car or by ferry, The Windermere Ferry runs across the lake from Ferry Nab in Bowness to eastern shore for Hawkshead. The ferry can take cars and bikes as well as pedestrians and is quite an exciting and novel way to travel.
With this many sites with so much to see and do, it’s no wonder Hawkshead is a popular place to stay. The Cuckoo Brow Inn and Lake District B&B is within touching distance of Hill Top so is perfectly located, offers recently refurbished bedrooms and great local food and ales. Visit their website https://www.cuckoobrow.co.uk for more information.
Sunday June 18th is the date for the annual Lakes Classic Car Show organised by the Windermere & Ambleside Lions Club.
The Grasmere Sports Field will be a patchwork of both vintage classics as well as modern classic cars as well as motorbikes, tractors and service vehicles. It’ a great day out for everyone not just complete and utter car addicts! Choose to go along just to wander and admire hundreds of classic cars or classic car owners can register to bring their car. It’s only £5 per classic and that includes entrance for two people. Each visitor will receive a score sheet on arrival for rating on a number of categories. The cars receiving the most votes in each category will be announced at the end of the show.
Refreshments during the day will be from the fabulous Coffee Bug (a converted VW Beetle) and Bowness Bay Brewing with a pop up bar of their real ales and lagers brewed just a few miles away in Kendal.
It’s set to be a grand day out and all proceeds go to local charities. This year the funds will be divided between Blood Bikes and Langdale & Ambleside Mountain Rescue, both of which are extremely important to the local community as well as visitors to the area.
Register your vehicle for the 2017 event on the how website here, http://www.lakesclassiccarshow.org.uk/, where you’ll also find out further information for the day and directions if you are new to Grasmere.
Whether it’s just for the night, making a full weekend or short break of it or a holiday then Grasmere is a fantastic location with plenty of places to stay, eat and drink. Raise View is a luxury bed & breakfast in the heart of Grasmere with a private, off road car park perfect for parking classic cars safely. Their delicious breakfast will set visitors up for a day walking around all the cars. Visit https://www.raiseview.uk for more details.
Now in its third year the Langdale Cycle Trail from Ambleside to the Langdale Valley continues to be one of the most popular, easy to access cycle routes in the area. Great for moderate cycling abilities, simply for a leisurely ride out and great for families.
The mostly off road trail has opened up the beautiful Langdale Valley to those staying in Ambleside and vice versa reducing the amount of cars on the all too busy road and encouraging those new to cycling to get out and on their bikes.
To aid encouragement and for easy to navigate, detailed routes, the Let’s Ride website from British Cycling in conjunction with HSBC is the point. Previously under the name of GoSkyRide, Let’s Ride has everything from guided cycle events to groups, bike buddy opportunities and over 400 routes throughout the UK. Let’s Ride gives invaluable information on the type of terrain, bike required, level of difficulty, GPS routes and elevation.
The out and back route allows cyclists to enjoy a virtually road free bike ride from Ambleside, alongside the northern end of Lake Windermere onto Skelwith Bridge through the pretty village of Elterwater also the Burlington Slate Quarry before heading through Great Langdale, pass the Langdale Hotel & Spa before the half way point at the New Dungeon Ghyll car park, it’s then back via the same way to Ambleside. To view the route visit https://www.letsride.co.uk/routes/ambleside-to-great-langdale.
Accommodation can be found in Ambleside or in Langdale at the Langdale Lake District Hotel & Spa (http://www.langdale.co.uk). When staying in Langdale simply do the reverse loop or for a real challenge, go onto Grasmere via the Grasmere Trail.
Many people will know for a good few year now, you’ll find some great live music in Kendal but the quality and popularity of bands playing in the town keeps on increasing.
Kendal despite being a small town is attracting some huge names past and present yet continues to champion local and lesser known bands thanks to venues such as the award winning Brewery Arts Centre through to Bootleggers Bar.
Earlier this month the widely acclaimed Jamaican music producer and performer played at The Brewery, Lee Scratch Perry+The Mad Professor. Good Friday saw Big Country, the Scottish rock band play and upcoming events include gigs by the likes of Turin Breaks. In between find folk, brass bands, more rock, punk and renowned cover bands such as Fleetwood Bac.
Bootleggers is now firmly on the fixture list for both local bands and even the likes of 80’s legend Nick Kershaw who regularly visits and plays there. Bootleggers located on Finkle Street in the town centre, dark with great acoustics has long been a haunt for music fans and now find live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Be treated to indie, blues, ska and rock to name just a few.
Accommodation tip: Riverside Hotel Kendal. It’s the only hotel in the centre of Kendal with a restaurant, bar, and health club with pool & gym, just 2 minutes from Kendal train station with views over the River Kent and has parking. Have a hearty meal in the bar before the gig or choose to dine al la carte in the restaurant. Breakfast is included in the room rate along with use of the leisure facilities. Rooms start from approximately £88 based on 2 sharing including breakfast.
The new season of racing at Cartmel is always met with much anticipation and excitement but this year, even more so. The first date and weekend for racing annually is always the May Whit Bank Holiday. This year the event and entertainment is even longer with two additions to the calendar to be held at the racecourse although not involving horses. The two events start on Saturday 28th May with Simply Red and then Sunday 29th May with Jools Holland. These two prolific and talented acts is a great confirmation that Cartmel, the race course and the facilities are world class.
The whole village and surrounding areas buzz during any horse racing meet which have gathered momentum and is now attracting riders and horses from the top elite. The event itself always booked months in advance.
Cartmel is famous for its food and drink and whether you’re on the racecourse site for the events and racing or in the village, you will most definitely not go hungry an be treated to some excellent local produce from any one of the suppliers, producers and vendors.
Places to stay can be found in Cartmel village as well as the surrounding villages but also just 2 miles away in Grange over Sands. Great connections, transport and access by road, cycle or rail can be found. Choose Grange for even more places to eat and drink and better value accommodation. Bay Villa on Main Street offers luxury, views and a great breakfasts along with stunning bathrooms to sooth any aching limbs from walking during the day/night or cheering on the odds on favourite. Visit http://www.bayvilla.net to book and for more info.