We love going on holiday to the Lake District with our two young children – we’ve been at least once a year since Toby was born. All our previous holidays have been in cottages but when I won a two night stay in a glamping pod we were very happy to try something different. So what did we get up to in our 48 hours in the Lake District?
Zog Trail at Grizedale Forest
With only two nights in the Lakes we wanted to make the most of our time away. We knew we couldn’t get into our accommodation until 3 pm so we decided to fit something in on our way. We’ve been to Grizedale Forest with the boys quite a few times before – the last time was when we did the Gruffalo Trail back in 2017.
The forest now features the Zog Trail – you can just walk around the trail looking at the boards that are placed regularly along the route, or you can pay £3 for an activity pack that gives you tasks to do along the way, and includes stickers and a Zog mask.
It was just starting to rain when we arrived so we ate our packed lunch in the car (we nearly always take a packed lunch on days out to save money) before setting off around the trail. It was a bit soggy but the boys still enjoyed it, and for once didn’t complain about getting a bit wet!
Glamping at Coniston Park Coppice with the Caravan and Motorhome Club
From Grizedale we headed over to Coniston Park Coppice, a campsite on the side of Coniston Water run by the Caravan and Motorhome Club. The campsite has pitches for caravans, motorhomes and tents as you might expect but also offers glamping pods, Airstream caravans and camping pods as part of their Experience Freedom holidays.
I had won a two night stay in a glamping pod in the BlogOn raffle at the beginning of May and as Toby had a few INSET days tagged onto his half term we thought it would be a good time to make use of our prize.
When we arrived at the campsite check in was quick and easy, I was given the keys and a map of the campsite, and shown where our glamping pod was. There are 10 glamping pods at Consiton Park Coppice and they are all together in one area of the campsite. It was quiet when we were there though, and only one of the other pods was occupied.
The pods are quite small but they do have everything you need for a few nights away. I have to admit we were slightly surprised when we arrived as it wasn’t very clear from the pictures and description on the website that there is only one room in the pod (and a bathroom). I was expecting a separate bedroom but in fact the double bed pulls down from the wall in the living area, and then there is a bunk above a sofa which converts into a small single bed.
You can just see in the picture above that there is a table which is stored under the sofa. To the right there is a small galley kitchen which has a two ring gas hob, a sink and cupboards with plates, cups, glasses and pans. You also get sharp knives, utensils, a kettle and microwave and there is a small fridge in the living area.
There was also a disposable BBQ which you can use on the brick stand outside, along with a full set of BBQ tools. Unfortunately we didn’t really have BBQ weather, and as we were only there two nights chose to eat out both nights. We did have breakfast in the pod though and it had everything we needed. There was also a table and chairs out on the decking but unfortunately the weather wasn’t really nice enough for us to make use of them!
Despite the small space we actually all slept well. The double bed was a bit too soft for Barry’s bad back, so on the second night he slept on the bottom bunk and Gabe slept in the double with me. The only downside to it all being in one room (and it not being warm enough to sit out in the evenings) was that Barry and I ended up going to bed at the same time as the boys. For a couple of nights though it was fine.
The bathroom, and particularly the shower, were surprisingly spacious given the size of the pod. There’s even a fancy rain shower and it was lovely and hot when I tried it too. All the bedding is included in the price with the glamping pod and you can pay extra if you would also like towels. Although we had towels on our booking they had been forgotten when we first arrived (probably because they had been added on after our initial booking). It was no problem to get them when we mentioned it to the staff though.
The campsite itself had a couple of toilet blocks, a small shop, and a children’s playground where the boys enjoyed burning off some energy before bed on our first night. My only slight complaint about the site was that there didn’t seem to be a huge amount of grass about. I know a lot of caravan and motorhome owners prefer hard-standing pitches but the majority of the site seemed to be gravel and felt a bit car park like. It does look a bit more grassy on the website so perhaps it does get a bit greener later in the season.
On our first night we ate out at The Wilson’s Arms in Torver – the food was plentiful, tasty and reasonably priced. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in the area.
Coniston Park Coppice is in a great location for exploring the Lake District and that’s what we did on our second day there.
Wray Castle is a National Trust property on the banks of Lake Windermere. Despite the name it isn’t actually a castle – it was only built 180 years ago by a wealthy surgeon from Liverpool! The property is now empty which means the National Trust have been able to fill the rooms with exhibitions and lots of fun activities for children.
The boys enjoyed playing snooker with Daddy, dressing up, pretending to go camping, and even following in Peter Rabbit’s footsteps and stealing carrots from Mr McGregor’s garden. There was loads to do and I’m sure we’ll be back again for another look sometime.
We left our car at Wray Castle and took the short walk down to the boathouse where we ate our packed lunch by the lake before catching a ferry over to Brockhole on the other side of Windermere.
Windermere Lake Cruises
We used Windermere Lake Cruises – taking the Green Cruise from Wray Castle over to Brockhole which took about 15 minutes. The boat goes from Brockhole to Ambleside and then back to Wray Castle again. We paid £9 for each adult and £4.50 for Toby – Gabe was free as you don’t pay for under 5s. They also do a family ticket for 2 adults and up to 3 children.
The boys really enjoyed the boat. Thinking about it, I don’t know if they’ve ever been on one before! It was a bit chilly (and we got a bit splashed) but we had come prepared so didn’t mind too much.
One thing to note – this cruise starts and ends in Ambleside, so although you can get on at any point it actually waits for 20 minutes in Ambleside. This meant that on our way back to Wray Castle we had just enough time to get off and grab a quick coffee and cake in a cafe on the pier before getting back on the boat for the last leg of our journey.
Brockhole on Windermere is a not-for-profit attraction run by the Lake District National Park Authority. There are loads of different activities that you can do there from archery and laser clay shooting, to tree top nets, adventure playground, and boat hire. There’s also a large house with a cafe, shop and indoor soft play area.
We weren’t really at Brockhole long enough to explore it fully – due to the timings of the boats we only had just over an hour there. It was long enough for the boys to have a play on the playground and a quick round of mini-golf though. It was fairly busy, even out of school holiday time so I would imagine it gets really packed when it is the holidays.
Shopping and Dinosaur hunting in Ambleside
As I mentioned, we did get off the boat briefly in Ambleside before heading back to get the car at Wray Castle but we didn’t have time to get up to the town itself which is quite a walk from the lake side. So after we’d picked up the car we drove back to Ambleside for a bit of shopping before tea.
I love Ambleside – it’s one of the places in the Lakes that I’ve spent a lot of time and I just love the familiarity of it. I can’t mention Ambleside without mentioning The Apple Pie Cafe & Bakery. It’s owned by a Scouting friend of my parents – it’s grown massively since I first went there in the 80s though. We didn’t have time to stop on this visit but we couldn’t pass by without picking up an apple pie to bring home with us!
Next up was a stop to get Toby some new walking boots / trainers as he had outgrown the last pair he got. He’s not even 6 years old yet and is now wearing size 1 shoes! I dread to think how big his feet are going to get when he’s a teenager!
After a browse in a few of the shops (the boys don’t tolerate much shopping!) we still had 45 minutes to fill before the restaurant we wanted to go to for tea was opening. Then we spotted a dinosaur! The Rock Shop sells gems, crystals and fossils. There are also three different activities for kids – a gem pit, jewellery making, and a dinosaur fossil hunt. They cost £5 each or you can do all three for £10.
Of course Toby wanted to do the fossil hunt, but Gabe was scared by the loud dinosaur roars he could here coming from the room upstairs where it was. So we bought a new book that Barry and Gabe took outside to read while Toby and I did the fossil hunt. To be honest it wasn’t really worth £5. There were just 6 or 7 clues to follow in a quite small, dark room, but at the end you found a real fossil that you got to keep. Toby got a shark’s tooth in a little plastic box with an information card all about it so he was happy anyway!
Dinner at Dodd’s Restaurant
Before we left Ambleside we had our tea at Dodd’s Restaurant. I must have walked past here hundreds of times but I’ve never eaten there before. We arrived just as they were reopening for the dinner service and got a table straight away. The food is Italian / Mediterranean and it was delicious! Barry had a Cumberland pizza complete with sausage and fried egg, I had a chicken pasta dish, and the boys both had fish goujons and chips. The chips are worth a mention on their own – they were massive, and some of the best chips I think I’ve ever had!
For dessert I had sticky toffee pudding with apple pie ice cream – two of my favourite things together on a plate, what’s not to like! Barry had a chocolate and salted caramel tart and the boys had ice cream. The meal came to just over £60 all together, including a cider for me and soft drinks for everyone else which I didn’t think was bad at all. We’ll definitely go back next time we’re in the area.
Skimming stones and heading home
The next morning we packed up the pod (check out time is 10 am) then drove down to the bottom of the campsite where we could walk through another campsite to get down to Coniston. The boys had a fun 20 minutes throwing stones into the lake, while Barry tried to teach them how to skim them, before it started raining again.
A quick dash back to the car and then we were on our way home, tired and happy after an action packed 48 hours in the Lake District! There’s so much to do in the Lakes that I think you could spend 48 weeks there and still not fit it all in and I’m sure we’ll be back for some more adventures soon.
I’d love to hear if you have any favourite places to visit or things to do in the Lake District – although I think next on Barry’s wish list is definitely trying to get Toby up a hill!