Back in England, we stopped for a short visit to the city of Liverpool. We found an affordable airbnb for two nights in the city centre which included secure carparking. Our room had a cosy little window area which was perfect for working on the blog and taking in the city views at the same time!
We had one full day to explore the city. We tackled the city on foot and found ourselves wandering around the streets, spotting the sculptures, wall art, and buildings. Liverpool was an easy place to walk around and had a good mix of old and new architecture…
We also spotted a few great sounding pubs/shops following the English tradition of putting two or three random words together.
For lunch we treated ourselves to the infamous Gregg’s sausage roll (something made known to us by the internet hit LadBaby). It did not disappoint, and made for a very affordable meal.
Of course, you could lose yourself in the Beetle mania…
But the real highlight for us, had to be the ‘lambananas.’ The iconic Super Lambanana was just down the street from our apartment…
At the gateway of the Lakes District stands the historic Leven’s Hall which is home to the world’s oldest topiary gardens. This definitely warranted a visit on our travels (even though it wasn’t National Trust so we had to fork out some money). I have always been fascinated by topiary, kindled from an old favourite picture book in the Fern Hollow series by John Patience. So, we eagerly arrived in the morning and almost had the impressive grounds to ourselves. As we first walked in there was a plaque for ‘Garden of the year award 1994’ from some random association… After a brief moment of thinking we may have been duped out of some quid, we wandered through and saw a few gardeners busily trimming the hedges (a never-ending job) and amongst the ancient topiary hedges were an array of flowers attracting lots of butterflies. There was also a lovely orchard which provided us with a cheeky morning tea apple. The gardens were beautifully designed and worth the cost (even if there was a lack of rooster and other animal shaped trees).
Just down the road was a National Trust attraction, the picturesque Sizergh Castle and Gardens. This was a very popular spot. Our trusty memberships saved us £4 on parking and £24 for the admission price. The castle doesn’t open until 12pm (and we had arrived at 11:30am) so we started with a walk around the beautifully manicured grounds. When 12pm rolled around, we decided to head to the café for lunch instead – which was now relatively quiet as everyone was filing into the castle. After lunch, we decided against going through the castle, feeling satisfied with our short stroll around the exterior and headed towards the lakes instead.
We stopped at the south of Lake Windemere, utilising the Fell Foot National Trust carpark (another £4 savings). This was a perfect spot for an afternoon tea break. We sat on the lake edge, read our books, soaked up the afternoon sun and gave into the ducks wanting to be fed by sharing a few of our grapes with them (breaking them into small gulp-size pieces). We had the ducks eating off our shoes…
Walking into our cosy little cottage later in the afternoon, we were welcomed with an arrival basket which included some ‘homecooked’ scones and goodies. Although, later that evening when we were stocking up on supplies at Aldi, we were a bit suspicious on the authenticity of the baking. Nevertheless, it was a tasty little welcome, and one of the best equipped airbnbs we’ve stayed in.
The next day we drove to a nearby lake, Buttermere. The weather was a bit overcast and windy which made the lakes look uninspiring, but we still enjoyed a nice walk around the lake and through the countryside/forest.
We decided to spend the walk hunting for mushrooms, toadstools and fungi which turned into quite a fun way to wander around the lake.
The next morning was Kadin’s birthday! It was a real treat when we were greeted with spectacular weather. After a relaxed morning, we set out for a day in the Lakes District. On our drive, we pulled up on the side of the busy A66 to admire the mirror-like Bassenthwaite Lake.
We made use of another NT carpark in Keswick (£7.50 for all day parking) and headed straight for the lake and enjoyed a scenic walk with a packed lunch in the sunshine.
We also spent some time wandering through Keswick village, where we bought Kadin a birthday present. There was a pencil museum in town …but wasn’t an appealing place to spend such a beautiful day (maybe a back-up plan for a rainy-day trip).
On our return walk along the lake we saw the progress made by the farmer on his tractor since we’d last walk past – our photos showing three hours of work:
We then celebrated Kadin’s day with a birthday cake. It was created with a Thomas the Tank Engine cupcake mix (which was on special at Aldi for £1.30 and included the icing and decorations). We had to use a Pyrex dish in the absence of a cake tin – but it turned out pretty well. Flashed up with some birthday sparklers, we had a little picnic celebration by the lake complete with hot chocolates (kept warm in the thermos provided by our airbnb).
After our picnic, we drove to one of the most photographed pack horse bridge in the Lakes District, Ashness Bridge. It’s pretty narrow and feels a bit scary to drive over. But the locals showed us how it was done – while we were taking photos a tractor and trailer crossed the bridge (with only millimetres to spare).
Further up the road we enjoyed spectacular views over Keswick Lake.
About 2 miles from Keswick is Castlerigg Stone Circle. This is argued to be one of the most dramatic stone circles in Britain. Castlerigg is one of the oldest (3000 BC) and best of all… free! We decided to check it out, thinking it sounded like a better opportunity than some of the more touristy places (i.e. Stonehenge, which we have heard is very crowded and costs £20 each) and we weren’t disappointed. We were able to find a free roadside park and there were only about a dozen other visitors while we were there, meaning, we were able to get a photo of the circle without crowds of tourists. The panoramic views of the surrounding Helvellyn mountains and lush green countryside gave this place a magical feeling…
We then returned to our cosy little cottage where we had a birthday dinner by the fireplace.
Have fun at work!