Sound the alarm, January has finally finished!!
This means two things, 1) Dry January is well and truly over *raises one of those glasses which effortlessly holds an entire bottle of wine* and 2) the countdown is now on for half term. Is it a coincidence that these two events coincide? We think not… the former certainly helps with the latter, however we should warn you that this is only a temporary fix, which is why we’ve dedicated this month’s blog to surviving half term.
We know as well as anyone how tiresome the thought alone of entertaining the whole family for seven days straight can be, forget actually achieving it, so let us do the hard work for you as we walk you through some of our favourite activities, eateries , events and places to stay this half term…
Good Grub and Plenty of Pubs!!
Infamously known for its tropical climates, planning any outdoor activities in advance in the lake district can seem ludicrous, however we like to think we’ve found the solution… The promise of a British country pub at the end, with roaring fires for the dogs, hearty pies for the foodies and plenty of ale for parents, is enough to bait the whole family. Throw in a pool table or even that magic word (WiFi) and we’re really onto a winner! On our very own doorstep sits the Old Man of Coniston in, you guessed it, Coniston (25 minute drive, 9 miles from Graythwaite Estate). This walk can very easily be scaled to meet the abilities (patience and will power) of your group, with options to start from Coniston Village or closer to the top from the free Walna Scar Road car park (if you are starting from the bottom the school in the village offers very cheap day parking and all monies go to a good cause!).
You can make the hike as long or as short as you wish, scaling the full four peaks in the horseshoe or just nipping up the Old Man and back. Along the way there are three tarns to admire, as well as panoramic views across to Lake Coniston and Windermere and as far as the Isle of Man on a fine day from the top!
For a shorter but still picturesque walk we can recommend the family favourite Tarn Hows on the other side of the village. The ducks and cows provide excellent entertainment for little legs.
This website has lots of useful details https://www.lakeswalks.co.uk/walks/old_man_of_coniston/and we highly recommend our godsend, the app Lake District Maps Offline which is an interactive OS map with GPS showing your live location (very useful for times when you don’t want to ask for directions or wish to settle a navigational family dispute).
Back at the bottom you have the choice of three cracking pubs! The first (the one to go to for the shortest walk back) being the Sun Inn above Coniston. As suggested by the name The Sun Inn overlooks the picturesque village of Coniston. An excellent pub with lots of character including stone walls, oak beams and a bar made from local slate. Dogs are welcome and there’s a pool room for those requiring extra entertainment. Pub grub is a plenty, we recommend the pies! And for those interested in their history there’s a newly built Boat Room which shows the Sun’s association with Donald Campbell and his attempts to break the speed record on Lake Coniston. Back down in the village lies The Black Bull Hotel. Having been in Bradley family for the past 40 years it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing and are a hit with us locals! Log burner, tick, dogs welcome, tick! For the Real Ale enthusiasts, The Coniston Brewing Co. opened and started supplying their Real Ales in 1995 and is run by Ian, the Bradley’s son and his team. Last but not least there’s an old faithful Robbie’s situated directly across from the Black Bull in the centre of the village. So should things be a little tense after dragging certain family members up a fell you can sit and lovingly admire them from the peace and quiet of the opposing beer garden.
For more local walks, suitable for little legs, see our blog https://graythwaite.com/5-of-the-best-lake-district-walks/
I’d rather be inside!
If you love to be outdoors but detest the thought of exerting yourself and your family up a hill then fear not, we have alternatives for you! Whilst the promise of pub grub and cosy fires may not have convinced you to hike up a hill, there are plenty of hill free options on Graythwaite’s door step too!
For those of you hoping to achieve a full day of activity with minimum effort may we suggest Grizedale? Grizedale Forrest sits behind Graythwaite Estate (23 minute drive, 7 miles) and in all honesty could entertain the whole party for a week with ease! Mountain biking and the adrenaline inducing Go Ape are the well-known favourites but throughout half term they have some specials lined up too! Stargazing on 14th, 15th& 28thFebruary (booking essential)as well as the new interactive Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon glow trail. Turn up at the visitor centre or have a look online to find out about the bike trails, bike hire, walking trails, play area, café and picnic area all available here. Oh, and dogs are welcome too!
Should the unpredictable Windermere weather still be planting seeds of doubt don’t despair, we have indoor activities in Cumbria too! The Theatre by the Lake in Keswick is what it says on the tin and we would argue the most picturesque theatre we’ve ever seen. Even if you avoid the outdoors like the plague, you’ll struggle to resist stretching your legs along the shoreline of Derwentwater. Throughout half term Theatre by the Lake have a selection of shows on for the whole family to enjoy. Why not make a day of it and explore Keswick? As well as multiple fells and lakes this market town boasts a delightful collection of cafes, pubs, restaurants and shops, most of which are dog friendly. On Thursdays and Saturdays, the main street is filled with the local market, flogging everything from food to frisbees! For mountain biking enthusiasts Whinlatter forest is next door, so if you’ve got a mixed group you can split off and find something everyone enjoys.
A full day out!
If you’re looking for something indoors a little closer to Graythwaite Estate, then we can whole heartedly recommend Brockhole just across the lake. There’s no shortage of fun and games for everyone at this Lake District National Park Authority run attraction. And what’s more, all profits go towards keeping it special for future generations, so that’s your good deed of the day done! From 14thFebruary they have the free Art Exhibition: Landscape and Language Lost and Found, a celebration to mark the 85th birthday of landscape charity Friends of the Lake District.
For those of you thinking Art Shmart my kids will never stand still long enough for me brush their hair let alone appreciate some (no doubt expensive) art…how about something a little more hands-on? From 15th– 22ndFebruary there’s midday Craft Activities for Families. Create a Brilliant Bug Hotel for just £5.00 per child.
Fill the whole day with mini golf, tree top nets, soft play, the cafe and gift store and save yourself from having to load everyone in and out of the car again jumping from one destination to the next!
If you’re looking for a one stop shop for a fun filled day out then look no further.
Another half term haven you can enjoy without breaking the budget is the newly re-opened Windermere Jetty! Throughout half term they have a variety of events from water babies (don’t worry, you don’t have to actually get in the water and get the children back out!) 9.30-10.30 on Wednesdays for U5sto Model Boat Club meet up on the designated model boat pond on Mondays and Thursdays. On Saturday 14th& 28th7-12 year olds canjoin the STEAM Squad exploring science, technology, creativity and innovation in the natural world. £5.00 per child.
Or, our personal favourite, save loading anyone into the car at all and embrace our Graythwaite motto, Escape, Experience, Explore, with a fun filled weekend at Graythwaite Estate.
Half term… but Graythwaite style…
At Graythwaite our aim is to give families and friends a destination that offers it all in one place, and we’re working hard to get there!
Let’s start with the escape; sometimes you just need to! A change of scenery, country air in your lungs and mud on your boots (let’s not worry about the muddy footprints that ensue, it’s not your floor after all, it’s ours!). Come on, imagine it… the breeze in your hair, the scent of the great outdoors all around you, the view from the top with nothing but fells and lakes for miles. That moment where you feel like the only person in the world. It’s breathtaking. Yes, there may be some less desirable scents as you pass the fields of livestock and sweat may trickle down your back as you curse yourself for scrambling up a Wainwright, lost for breathe, all in the name of sodding wellness, but we guarantee you’ll feel better for it! What about the children you ask? Well, Graythwaite Estate stretches a whole 5,000 acres so there is no shortage of lake fronts and wooded fells to explore and thanks to the Estate being private you are unlikely to be either seen or heard by anyone, let alone given judging looks, when your darling children instigate WWIII after little Jimmy launched a stick into Karen’s head Mum, Dad, it was an accident I swear… check out our Estate walks here.
As much as we may jest there really is nothing quite like getting back to nature with the whole family. Escaping the world of LED screens, Netflix and fighting over iPad chargers, trading them instead for imaginary stick sword fights, puddles that transpire to be far deeper than bargained for and those (not so) dulcet tones conversing through bahs and moos with the locals. We know how important those stolen moments are, which is why we are always working hard to develop our explore element at Graythwaite Estate. Which is where Graythwaite Adventure comes in…
No one does fun quite like the GA team! Their tuition and customer service are second to none, they make everything feel like fun, even the boring safety bits, and guarantee smiles all round whatever the weather!! Being a family run business, they know the importance of making everyone feel included and offer almost every activity to all ages, or at the very least an element of joining in. No one gets left behind. No matter how much they may want to be (with that sodding iPad). Family favourites include 4×4 off-roading (with an instructor to keep the back-seat drivers at bay), clay pigeon shooting (to let off some half term steam), archery and family bushcraft (to prepare the children for when you leave them* on the lakeside road in favour of driving back down the M6 in peace. *Please note this is a joke and we do not condone leaving your children unsupervised at Graythwaite, we have our own to deal with!). On a serious note, it’s really no surprise that Graythwaite Adventure were awarded Cumbria Tourism Experience of the Year 2019. Don’t just take our word for it;
Get in touch with the team today to book anything from an hour tuition to an action filled day on the land and lake!
And we fully appreciate the beauty of a holiday is the removal of chores, that’s why we’ve roped in the delicious Dude’s Dough to serve you fresh Neapolitan pizza’s on Thursdays & Saturdays through half term! For the rest of the week enjoy a homemade meal from the Farm Shop, supplied by local eatery Hazelmere or pop to one of our favourite locals. And at the end of the day, if you’re all still talking, we recommend sinking into the sofa in front of a roaring fire with a film and some homemade popcorn drizzled with Hawkshead Relish Sauce available from the farm shop, a shameless plug we know, but it’s all in the name of convenience.
Have we sold you yet? Good! We have a handful of cottages still available and have detailed them below. For last minute rates, to book or for any more information just give us a call on 015395 31248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
7th – 14th
- Can Brow (sleeps 2)
- Grassholme (sleeps 4)
- Bibby Lot (sleeps 6)
- Jubilee (sleeps 6)
- Field Head (sleeps 6)
- Groom’s House (sleeps 6)
- Cunsey (sleeps 8)
- Bassicks (sleeps 8)
- Holmewell (sleeps 10)
- Derwentwater (sleeps 4)
- Ullswater (sleeps 4)
- Crummock (sleeps 4)
- Coniston (sleeps 4)
- Thirlmere (sleeps 4)
- Buttermere (sleeps 2)
14th – 21st
- Grassholme (sleeps 4)
- Crabtree (sleeps 4)
- Holmewell (sleeps 10)
- Ullswater (sleeps 4)
- Coniston (sleeps 4)
- Thirlmere (sleeps 4)
- Loweswater (sleeps 2)
We hope this read has made the thought of half term slightly less daunting and provided plenty of inspiration, or at the very least brought a smirk or two to your face!