Tag Archives: outdoor

Down with the kids at YHA Ambleside

15 Nov

Todd Crag Loughrigg Fell

If you’re not hardy enough to brave a tent in the Lake District in the winter, there can’t be much better value for money than the view from our room in the YHA Ambleside.

OK, so I admit when we woke up and first eagerly drew back the curtains, we were slightly deflated by the sight of a thick grey mist. But as we sat having our breakfast from the window seat in the dining area below, the cloud gradually lifted, revealing the lake and the surrounding fells.

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The light can constantly seem to change in the Lake District and the evening was even more impressive as we watched the sunset over the lake, with many of the hostel residents gathering outside to watch the natural light show.

YHA Ambleside

Another added bonus of the hostel is that the ground floor has its own pub. And as well as this pub having a corner of children’s books to keep little ones happy, you can also take your pint along the corridor into the large communal dining area, where there is plenty of space for them to wander about or do colouring and happy parents can almost, dare I say it ‘relax’?

 

The hostel is also within easy walking distance of Ambleside itself, which makes a nice change not to have to get in the car to be able to head off for a walk.

I’ve been lucky to spend family holidays in the Lake District since I was a child and was looking forward to taking the girls up Todd Crag on Loghrigg Fell  –  one of the first climbs I did as a child with my parents and grandparents.

 

For the children, the highlight was definitely the bunk beds – they packed themselves off to bed as soon as we arrived and had to be lured out again. They also loved the help yourself/all-you-can-eat breakfasts and could possibly have spent all day gazing at the treasure inside the Waterhead Shell Shop.

Tips: We have stayed before without children and not all rooms come with a view (as would be expected) so it might be worth checking when you book. Breakfast is extra, but we enjoyed it and the views from the dining room are fantastic. Self-catering facilities are also available in a separate area if you would like to bring your own food.

Find out more:

YHA Ambleside

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A Walk to The Drakestone

1 Sep

On the hunt for a picnic in the heather, we headed to Harbottle in search of The Drakestone.

A good old yarn always helps sell one of mum’s “walks” to the kids, in addition to the promise of a picnic – so they were intrigued by the tales of druids and healing powers that this ancient rock is said to possess.

 

A great guide to the walk can be found here:

Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Champion David Wilson guides you on a two-hour walk

Alnmouth Beach

28 Feb

Check out the kite skills:

We are pretty spoilt for beaches here in the North East. From the vast expanse of Druridge Bay, to secluded spots like Sugar Sands or the all-action Tynemouth Longsands.

But one of my favourite all-rounders is Alnmouth. Parking practically on the beach almost feels like cheating, and is especially handy when it’s just me and the kids. I can keep nipping back to the car for the kite, ball, blanket, buckets, spades, rug, picnic, change of clothes, and the rest of the paraphernalia you bring to set up camp for the day.

Gazing out across the white sand and sea, you get that desert island feeling – but just a few minutes walk and you are in Alnmouth – with ice cream parlours, pubs, fish and chips and the glamourous but handy toilet facilities!

The walk round to the village takes you past fishing boats and keep going you will come to a lovely play park.

Or walk to the left and there is a great walk along the beach, up over the sand dunes and back to the car park.

Visit Alnmouth

Random fact: not one for the kids perhaps but Alnmouth is home to the UK’s most haunted hotel…

Read about The Schooner Hotel and its resident spirits here

 

 

 

 

Charlotte’s Day Trip to Whitby

27 Dec

Charlotte’s holiday homework is to keep a diary, so she’s been helping me out on the blog this week. We tried to find out some facts I never knew about Whitby, including snakes and monkey puzzle trees…

 

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Whitby facts:

  • A monastery was built in AD657 by King Oswy of Northumbria. It became one of the most important religious centres in the Anglo-Saxon world under the Abbess Hild. She ruled over both men and women in a double monastery called Streaneshalch.
  • It is said that sea birds flying over the ruins of the abbey tip their wings in honour of Hilda while the presence of ammonite fossils on the shore at Whitby is explained as the remains of a plaque of snakes which Hilda turned to stone.
  • Whitby Abbey was the inspiration for a famous scary book called Dracula by Bram Stoker that was written 1897. Lots of people come to Whitby at Halloween.
  • Some people say there are 199 steps, some say 198 and others 200. so they say you have to try and count them for yourself!

 

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Things we want to try next time we go back:

  • Mummy would like a necklace made of Jet

Jet Shop W. Hamond says: Unlike most gemstones, Whitby Jet is actually fossilised wood, similar to our present day Monkey Puzzle or Araucaria Tree, which has been compressed over millions of years.

The colour of Whitby Jet is unique; its blackness is so intense that the expression ‘as black as jet’ has been a commonly used phrase for hundreds of years.

Queen Victoria had a necklace made of Whitby Jet

Read more about it here: Whitby Jet

  • Katherine and I want to bring our buckets and spades and go down to the beach and ride on a donkey in the summer.

Other facts we found out about Whitby:

  • By 1795 Whitby had become a major whaling port. The most successful year was 1814 when eight ships caught 172 whales.
  • The famous explorer Captain Cook learned how to be a sailor in Whitby and his ship the HMS Endeavor that he sailed to Australia and New Zealand was built in Whitby.

A Snowy Trip to Beamish

15 Dec

wp-1450026393246.jpg Our toes may be numb but what a lovely day we had in the snow at Beamish. While I think the unexpected snowfall and the trip to the traditional sweetshop may have been pretty influential – according to my daughter this was “the best time I’ve had while I’ve been six…”

wp-1450026413441.jpgMy gran was born in one of the Francis Street terraces, which were moved to the Beamish “Pit Village” from Hetton-le-Hole. Sadly my daughters didn’t get chance to visit with her, as she passed away last year. But we thought her birthday, this weekend, would be a nice way to keep her memory alive.

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And it did just that as, as soon as you step out through the entrance at Beamish, you enter into times past, wandering in and out of homes, shops and community buildings, all wonderfully recreated and helping my children to imagine what life was like for their great gran when she was a young child too.

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The site is vast and the kids loved the trams to take you from place to place.

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It was a bit breezy on the open top mind!

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This was our first trip, but thanks to the ticket lasting a year it was nice to feel you didn’t have to cram everything into one day to get your money’s worth.

 

Armed with my guidebook I have already started swatting up on my history and the remarkable collections on display all ready for our return visit.

 

 

A family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children costs £48.50. If we go four times in a year that works out as £3 each a visit, which I think is pretty good value for money.

 

To find out more and plan your trip visit Beamish

 

Cragside and the Labyrinth

30 Sep

Cragside is so vast, we are always finding new areas of the estate to explore. Spotted this good place for a breather before we got lost in the Labyrinth… enjoy the surprise if you find the middle!

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Cragside House & Gardens

Bolam Lake

18 Jul

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A natural playground, this easy walk round Bolam Lake has trees to climb, swans to feed and lots of places for hide & seek.
Free parking & a cafe.

http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=1894

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