Disclosure: We were provided with accommodation at The Quiet Site for the purpose of this review however all opinions are my own.
At the start of our half term week we were invited to stay in a Hobbit Hole at The Quiet Site near Ullswater in the Lake District. The boys had an in service day so we were able to head north early on the Friday to make the most of our weekend in the Lakes.
The Quiet Site
The Quiet Site can be found in Watermillock on the west side of Ullswater. Situated between Penrith and Keswick the site is within easy reach of the M6. As the journey only took us an hour and a half we decided to spend a few hours at Whinlatter Forest before making our way to the site.
Our accommodation was available to check in from 2:30 pm but it was actually about 4 pm by the time we arrived. After a friendly welcome we were shown to our Hobbit Hole home for the weekend, and a few things about the site and the facilities were explained to us.
Our Hobbit Hole
There are 15 Hobbit Holes built into the hillside at the top of The Quiet Site with a lovely view over Ullswater to the fells beyond. The site also has camping pods, plus pitches for tents, caravans and motorhomes. The Hobbit Holes are underground living spaces with room for 2 adults and up to 4 children.
Inside you will find a large sleeping platform which fills one end of the space, a bench seat, a toilet and wash basin, and a small ‘kitchen’ are with a fridge, microwave and kettle. There are also some shelves for storage, along with space under the bench and sleep platform where you can put other luggage.
We were impressed with the amount of plug sockets, most of which also had USB charging points. There are two small shelves with sockets above at either side of the sleep platform which I thought were a nice touch – the Hobbit Holes have obviously been well thought out and designed with modern campers in mind.
The Hobbit Hole has underfloor heating which kept it toasty warm all weekend – if anything, our only complaint was that it was too hot! When we arrived the heating was already on, and although I turned it down a lot before we went to bed (and got up and turned it off completely in the night) it was still roasting. Being in the hillside and well insulated the Hobbit Holes obviously hold their heat exceptionally well – we definitely didn’t need all the extra clothes and blankets I’d brought with us expecting it to be cold!
I wasn’t entirely sure how sleeping in the Hobbit Hole was going to go. Toby and Gabe are not renowned for being the best sleepers, although actually they have both improved a lot over the last year or so. They had managed OK when we stayed in a glamping pod in Coniston earlier in the year so although I was hopeful we would manage and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
There was plenty of room for us all on the sleep platform, and it’s so big that you could easily figure out sleeping arrangements that would work for you and your family.
I was planning on putting the boys in the middle with Barry and I at either side but they both decided they needed to sleep right next to me so we ended up with Toby by the wall, then me, Gabe and Barry at the other end. I had brought some fleece blankets to cover the cushions under us, and then we all had sleeping bags. If you don’t want to bring your own bedding then linen packs with duvets and pillows (and towels) are available to hire from the site for a small fee.
I found the sleeping arrangements quite comfortable and the boys both slept well, especially after a particularly late night on the Friday. Barry struggled a bit more as he could only get comfortable on his back, but then that made him snore which earned him a poke from me! It’s certainly as comfortable, if not more so, than sleeping in a tent.
One of the really great features of the Hobbit Hole is that it has a toilet (complete with Who Gives A Crap recycled toilet roll like we use at home) and a small washbasin. You still have full use of the toilet block on site but it is so handy (particularly with children) to have a toilet you can use right there in your accommodation.
The Quiet Site Facilities
I did have a shower in the toilet block while we were there too. It was clean and warm (there’s nothing worse than a cold toilet block) and the water was lovely and hot. There are also washing up facilities in the toilet block along with three family bathrooms, with full size baths, and a family shower room.
The Quiet Site prides itself on it’s eco credentials and looking around it’s easy to see why. The water is heated using solar thermal panels and a biomass boiler, they have their own reed bed water treatment plant which provides the water used to flush the toilets, there is a recycling centre and the site even has it’s own Zero Waste shop! You can read more about all the Green initiatives on the site here.
Eating in the Hobbit Hole
Back to the Hobbit Hole… As I mentioned earlier there is a small fridge, a microwave and a kettle but no other cooking equipment is provided. Because of this we decided we would eat out both nights we were staying in the Lake District, but we took everything we needed for breakfasts, and to make packed lunches to take out with us.
There is a bench seat in the Hobbit Hole but it’s worth noting that there isn’t a table so you might want to take your own if you are planning on eating inside. I actually hadn’t thought to take a table but luckily our car has a folding table under the floor in the boot so we always have that one with us. There is a picnic table outside (which had really ingenious seats that fold up when not in use so they don’t get wet) but when we were there it was too cold in the mornings for the boys to eat outside.
As well as the picnic table, outside each Hobbit Hole has a covered veranda with two deckchairs – perfect for star gazing – and an area where you can use a disposable or small BBQ. We didn’t really have the weather for using the outside space much but it would be great in the warmer months.
As I said we ate out both nights we were at The Quiet Site. The first night we went to The Sun Inn in Pooley Bridge. It’s worth noting that at the time of writing there is no bridge at Pooley Bridge as it is being repaired after flood damage last year. You can park on the west side and walk over on a footbridge, but as it was going to be quite late and dark when we came out of the pub we detoured via Penrith which meant it took about half an hour to get there rather than 10 minutes. The food was delicious though and definitely made up for the journey!
On the second night we ate at the Brackenrigg Inn which is less than 5 minutes drive from the site. Again the food was lovely and I would recommend it if you are looking for somewhere to eat close to the site.
The Quiet Bar
There is a pub onsite too. The Quiet Bar is open all day but only serves drinks in the evenings. Unfortunately we didn’t really get a chance to make the most of it as the boys were shattered after two busy days in the fresh air. I did pop in for a coke on the Saturday night just to see what it was like and I wish I’d been able to spend a bit more time in front of the cosy log fire.
There is also a room off the bar with lots of local information, maps, leaflets and so on, and off this you’ll find a children’s playroom with table football and air hockey, and a play area with toys for younger children.
Outside there is a children’s playground which the boys enjoyed exploring before we left on Sunday. The adjacent play field was a bit wet and muddy when we were there but I’m sure it would be a great space for playing and running around in better weather.
Zero Waste Shop
The onsite shop is Britain’s first zero waste shop on a holiday park. It sells essentials such as bread and milk, along with things like cereal, pasta, rice and other dried goods – all with no plastic packaging. They also have a selection of plastic free toiletries, along with some gifts and toys. I was quite sad we had brought everything we needed with us and didn’t need to buy anything!
Food on The Quiet Site
The onsite pub doesn’t serve food but there is a catering van, The Saucy Sausage, which was open for an hour each evening serving a variety of different sausages with mash and peas. It was also open for 2 hours in the morning with a full selection of cooked breakfast items. I’m not sure if it is a permanent fixture so if you are travelling out of season it might be worth checking it is going to be open.
On that note, The Quiet Site is open all year round and knowing how warm the Hobbit Holes are I wouldn’t hesitate to visit in winter. I bet it looks lovely in the snow!
On the Sunday we had to check out of our accommodation by 10:30, although you can arrange a later departure for a small fee. With two small children, 10:30 is plenty late enough so after packing up the car and having a last look around the site we made our way down to Ullswater to throw a few stones in the Lake before heading home in time for lunch.
We had a lovely weekend in our Hobbit Hole at The Quiet Site. We have been saying for a while that we should take the boys camping (we have a tent in the garage that hasn’t been used since before they were born) and although this was a lot more luxurious than a tent it has shown us that they can definitely cope with a few nights away on a campsite.
The Quiet Site is in great location to access most of the Lake District. It is definitely family friendly, and lived up to its ‘Quiet’ name – we weren’t disturbed by any noise while we were there. I’m sure we’ll be back again some time to see more of what the site and the area have to offer.
Prices for the Hobbit Holes range from £70-£130 per night. You can find more information and book online on The Quiet Site website.