If there's one place we both love to escape too for a few days it's most definitely the Lakes.
With the past couple of years we haven't been able to get over as much as normal so we jumped at the chance of a winter break to Keswick. Now as many of you know from our travels neither of us drives so we often have our faithful band of chauffeurs to take us to our getaway. The Lakes is just a bit too far for a drop off from Whitley Bay so for the first time in a good while we were travelling on our own steam on public transport.
It felt so strange the pair of us waiting for our train at Newcastle Central Station ready to embark upon our Cumbrian adventure but as soon as the train pulled into the station we felt that pang of excitement and grabbed each other's hand. We had packed a picnic for our journey along the Tyne Valley towards Carlisle and within minutes of the train leaving the station it just felt so good to back on our travels, enjoying our snacks and taking in that gorgeous scenery around us.
Oh how we had missed this. Being February the verges were awash with beautiful displays of snowdrops and as always along the Tyne Valley there's such a sense of pride in the stations all offering an abundance of picturesque towns and villages and walks in stunning countryside when you alight.
We arrived at Carlisle on time to discover our train to Penrith was cancelled so we adjourned to the platform bar for a warming hot mulled cider and Lucy, who will never let something as trivial as a cancelled train disrupt our journey, investigated our options. Fortified by the cider we made our way with our luggage towards the bus station where Lucy had found a bus that would take us direct to the centre of Keswick. Joining a line of shoppers we looked slightly out of place in our walking garb and luggage but we're so glad of our means to Keswick.
For ourselves the journey is very much part of the holiday and our bus sped through villages we've never ever been through and we were treated to an amazing view of Skiddaw. It felt great to be back surrounded by the Fells and before we knew it we had arrived in Keswick. Our phones guided us to our home for the week and what a cosy bolt hole it was. But before settling in and being a Friday evening it was straight out for fish and chips. Top marks to the Kingfisher for having a gluten free fryer for Paul and a great veggie selection for Lucy.
Our cottage was almost bang in the centre of Keswick but so discreet and tucked away. It had a well stocked library of books and maps about the area which is always something lovely to settle down to reading by the cosy warmth of the fire.
Now going away anywhere in the UK in winter can come with its risks weather wise and our week was not exactly blessed with glorious sunshine but we certainly didn't let a bit of rain stop us but before striding out we explored on our doorstep. Wherever we go we love to visit other small indie businesses and Keswick has a real growing community of small indies.
One business we really wanted to visit was Conquer Trading Post which is a recently new edition to Packhorse Court located just off the Market Place. Conquer describes itself it's ethos as possessing a 'passion for design and the great outdoors and have built our business around the concept of giving back to the landscape.' For each purchase of Conquer goods 5% of the profits are donated to their charitable partners and our amazing and vital National Parks. The shop really does make such a connection with the Lake District and it's wonderful collection of hand made and sustainable products really are a glorious celebration of the great outdoors.
Photo Credit: CumbriaGuide.co.uk
Whenever we make a trip to Keswick we always call into The Orchid House which always sells such a fabulously curated array of home and garden wear and is always a birthday gift problem solver for ourselves.
Despite the rain the clouds did part for a time and took the Keswick Launch across to the other side of Derwentwater and enjoyed a glorious hike towards the village of Grange. It really was good for the soul to be out and as always the Lakeland scenery so spectacular. We enjoyed a reviving pit stop at the newly reopened Borrowdale Gates Hotel and views from the conservatory of the Borrowdale Valley made a wonderful companion to our tea and cake. It set us up for the rest of our walk and our return to Keswick.
Being non-drivers we very much take advantage of the great network of buses to get us around the area and within thirty minutes from Keswick you find yourself in the beautiful village of Grasmere and the walk from the Badger Bar around the lake to the village is always one of our favourites and a great walk too for families.
We certainly took advantage of our cottage's collection of Cumbrian reading and by the end of our week we felt fully immersed in the atmosphere of the Lake District. It really is such a very special part of the world.