Monday was a bank holiday for the Queen’s Funeral as “the nation has paid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II, with a state funeral and military procession”. “Scotland has joined in with a final farewell to the Queen”.
After pumping up her tyres we headed off to Emma’s house. It was a perfect day for a ride to the playground. Lachlan is always excited to try out a new one.
We tried to wear the kids out on the playground but the three of them seem to have an endless amount of energy. Emma was keen to give the bike a shot and did very well. Meanwhile, Eloise was more than happy to swap, rest her legs and get pushed along to Emma’s ducks.
Emma kindly let Eloise borrow her bike pram. While walking Lachlan to sleep in the afternoon Eloise jumped straight back in for another test ride.
By Tuesday we had almost got our lives back in order. Liam has the next week off work and is looking forward to spending time with the kids. Eloise had dance today, but the main objective was to prep the car, not a trivial task while trying to keep an eye on our Cheeky Monkeys.
In the afternoon the family dropped Eloise off at her dance class. She was telling Dad how much she loves dance class and that he better hurry up so that she was not late. Dad got to mingle with the Dance Moms in their natural habitat, discussing the up-and-coming Christmas dance show so he was mentally prepared.
With Eloise at dance class, the three of us headed straight for treats. Lachlan had his first oat babyccino in the wild and was having a great time.
After some fun with Lachlan we picked up the always enthusiastic Eloise and headed downstairs to the library to swap their weekly books over, an activity the kids take very seriously.
Super Mum found a children’s book about Greyfriars Bobby who we had met in Edinburgh. It was added to the kids’ pile, we need to get them more into the Scottish tales.
This morning, with the car already packed, we hit the road for our second UK road trip. Fingers crossed there is not a national petrol shortage this time. After a crazy last couple of weeks we needed to get away from the noise and headed south with no plans and no worries. Dad was looking forward to a bit more family time.
Before we had even made it to the border Super Mum was working overtime in the travel snacks department with high demands from the back seat bandits. Eloise is now at that age, “are we there now? Are we there now? What about now?”, a slight modification to the common phrase “are we there yet?”. We thought that the highly recommended Lowther Castle & Gardens was the perfect place for a break and to stretch the legs. As soon as we set eyes on the castle, we could tell it was going to be a good one. Eloise made sure that everyone knew she was the first to see it.
We made our way through the castle which did not have too much in it and explored the castle garden where the real surprise lay.
As soon as we started making our way through the garden, Lachlan noticed all the space and shifted up five gears and put on the afterburners, he had come alive!
We made our way through the enormous gardens when the kids had hit the jackpot…
A gigantic castle playground! Supposedly “the largest wooden playground in Northern England” as claimed by the oddly specific English lady.
This was an impressive one, 9.5/10.
Exhausted from the Lost Castle, we made our way back to Lowther Castle.
A kissing gate is a type of gate that allows people, but not livestock, to pass through. The normal construction is a half-round, rectangular, trapezoidal or V-shaped part-enclosure with the free end of a hinged gate trapped between its arms. When the gate is touching an arm it must be pulled or pushed to pass through… The name comes from the gate merely “kissing” (touching) the inside of the enclosure. It reliably forms a barrier rather than needing to be securely latched on each use.
We were excited to see a Squirrel Hideout and even more excited to hear that red squirrels were about. Perhaps we were finally about to see the elusive limited edition red squirrel. Sadly with Lachlan’s honking there were no squirrel sightings.
We all had so much fun at the castle and gardens, it seemed like an easy sell for lunch too.
While waiting for some well-deserved tucker, the kids were busy planning out our next few days. Eloise told us that she “loves holidays so so much because [she] gets lots of tomato sauce”.
Lowther Castle is a country house in the historic county of Westmorland, which now forms part of the modern county of Cumbria, England. It has belonged to the Lowther family, latterly the Earls of Lonsdale, since the Middle Ages. It is a fully managed ruin, open to visits by the public to the shell of the castle and some of the gardens since 2011. Additional work was completed since that time, most recently on the extensive gardens… In the late 17th century John Lowther, 1st Viscount Lonsdale rebuilt the family home, then known as Lowther Hall, on a grand scale. The current building is a castellated mansion which was built by Robert Smirke for William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale between 1806 and 1814, and it was only at that time that the site was designated a “castle”. The family fortune was undermined by the extravagance of the 5th Earl of Lonsdale, a famous socialite, and the castle was closed in 1937. During the Second World War, it was used by a tank regiment. Its contents were removed in the late 1940s and the roof was removed in 1957. The shell is still owned by the Lowther Estate Trust.
All exhausted we headed back to the car and pushed on to Keswick within the Lake District National Park. Dad was excited to check out some of the best outdoor stores in the world. There was no shortage of them and they would all put Paddy Pallin to shame.
The kids were in the market for a kite and they found just the store.
It was then back in the car and another hour further south along Windermere lake, the “largest natural lake in England. More than 11 miles (18 km) in length, and almost 1 mile (1.5 km) at its widest, it is a ribbon lake formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of ice at the start of the current interglacial period. It has been one of the country’s most popular places for holidays and summer homes since the arrival of the Kendal and Windermere Railway’s branch line in 1847”.
Along the way there was a lot of kite chitter chatter, Eloise was eager to learn how they work but was a little worried Lachlan may fly away. We arrived at Newby Bridge Country Caravan Park.
It was a nice cabin, they actually call them caravans here. We are not sure what they call Australian caravans, as in actual ones with wheels? It was back on the road to fill up the fridge for the children, it was a bit of a drive to the closest supermarket, it was actually pretty close to Barrow-in-Furness.