Search This Blog

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

We scream for ice-cream

We love Abbots Lodge Jersey Ice Cream Farm. With sixteen flavours of creamy jersey ice cream to chose from what's not to like? Ice cream isn't free you might say - well no it's not, but it's cheap and at Abbots Lodge you get the added bonus of really good indoor and outdoor play areas where you can play for as long as you like for absolutely nothing. Bargain! Make mine a double mud pie..

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Wainright for beginners

Our little adventurers are 6 and nearly 4 now. We've done our fair share of pushchair walks and ambles around lakes, the time has now come to heighten their horizons! This afternoon they did their first ever Wainwright - a very short but steep hike up to Walla Crag above Derwentwater and Keswick.

There are 214 peaks in Alfred Wainwright's series of books about the Cumbrian Fells, we've been thinking that it would be cool to start off doing some of the smaller ones and get higher and higher as the boys get older. We've found two really great free resources on t'internet to help us with our mission - the first is which lets you register and log your peaks as you climb them, and the second is - a photo diary of one family's walks on the fells. The great thing about Stridingedge is that it has photos of all the walks and a little map of the routes used showing where to park, it also lists the walks in order of height as well as geographical location - very useful for those of us wanting to start at the bottom of the list! So here we are - Barney and George at 379 metres on the cairn at the summit of their Wainwright number1 - Walla Crag. Good work boys!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Monkey business

There's nothing our little monkeys like more than dangling ten foot in the air from a bit of cargo netting, so in honour of them and all the other cheeky monkeys out there this summer holiday, here's our list of five of the best adventure playgrounds you can visit for free in Cumbria.

5. Fitz Park Keswick
Newly refurbished and bang in the middle of town, Fitz Park is a great spot to let off some steam. Theres a zip wire and climbing frame for the older children, not to mention a scary dangle by your hands type roundabout for the daredevils. Little ones are well catered for with their own sandpit, climbring frame, roundabout, and boingy things. It's well worth a visit when you're in town..

4. Fell Foot Park
Fell Foot Park is situated on the south shores of Lake Windermere near Newby Bridge. The eighteen acre Victorian park has been restored to its former glory by the National Trust and makes for a great spot to picnic. In the summer you can hire rowing boats and the kids can paddle in the lake. For an extra cost you can take a boat trip from the park across the lake to Lakeside where you can visit the aquarium or even taken a trip on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite steam railway. The children's adventure playground has been done up in recent years and is hugely popular.
Photos from: and

3. Whinatter Forest
A fab day out for all the family can be enjoyed at Whinlatter forest park. For less than a pound the children can try out their map reading skills on the rabbit run trail which takes them for a half mile walk around the forest culminating in a great play area. Big monkeys are catered for here too with the Go Ape tree top course up above, and hungry monkeys need look no further than the gorgeous cafe Siskins in the visitor centre.

2. Bitts Park, Carlisle
We love Bitts Park, it's a perfect spot for a summer picnic, with everything the kids could want from a park. There's a water play area, an interactive sandpit, pirate ship for the little ones, and some more challenging climbing frames for the older ones, our monkeys love it.

1. Brockhole, Windemere
Situated on the shores of Lake Windermere between Windermere and Ambleside the visitor centre at Brockhole has been owned by the Lake District National Park Authority since 1969.
Children are well catered for at Brockhole with an amazing adventure playground, and all sorts of organised activities and walks all year round. See for more details.

So that was our top five, what's yours? Have we missed any great playgrounds? We'd love to hear from you, add your comments and suggestions to the end of this post. Monkey see, monkey do...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

A nice sit down...

If like me you're a fan of a good sit down, you might like to give an Eden Benchmark a try. The Benchmarks are series of 10 highly individual sculptures that double as benches and can be found in beautiful spots along the length of the River Eden from its source at Mallerstang to where it meets the sea at Rockcliffe.

The sculptures were commissioned to mark the new millenium and involved ten different artists who each had a different take on the landscape around them. So why not pack a flask, park your bottom, and enjoy a day out full of art, natural beauty, and not doing very much. Bliss...

Pictures and more information on the sculpture locations are available at