Day 120: To the Lake DistrictJune 15, 2017 in the United Kingdom
Long day of driving today! We left our apartment around 9:30am and hit the road heading south-west towards the Lake District, supposedly one of the prettiest areas of England. It was a long drive of a couple of hours, and we didn't stop anywhere en route aside from refuelling. Although we were sort of doubling back on ourselves (the Lake District is not too far from Liverpool where we'd been a week earlier), it was about the best time we could fit it in.
We got to the main town of Windemere around 12pm, and then headed down to Lake Windemere where the town of Bowness was located. The lake here is the largest of all the district's lakes, and several different cruise options run up and down its length. We decided to do the Ambleside return journey, which was about 45 minutes each way up and down the north side of the lake.
That boat left at 1:15pm, so we grabbed some lunch first of fish & chips of course. Had a look through the shops (mostly expensive tourist stuff, as the town seemed 100% tourism based) before hopping on the boat and setting off. Thankfully it wasn't raining, though it was very windy out on the lake and thus still quite cold.
Nice journey up to Ambleside though, and since there was a licensed bar on board we both enjoyed a drink. Unfortunately we didn't have time to hop off and explore Ambleside, as of course our parking was set to expire in about an hour, so we'd have to hurry once the boat docked.
As a side note, parking drives me absolutely crazy in this country! You have to pay for parking literally EVERYWHERE, and it's either "pay for x time in advance" or "ridiculously expensive flat rate". It's extremely rare that you just park somewhere and then pay per hour when you get back or something. And of course, most machines take coins only, no cards. And they don't take the new 1 pound coins either. And no, they don't give change either. Feels like a business that's massively ripe for disruption like with Uber and taxis, because the first parking meter was invented in the 1930s and almost nothing has changed. Crazy.
Heading back out of Windermere, we drove northwards to the small town of Grasmere. This was just as touristy as Bowness and Windermere, but smaller and less crowded. It also seemed to have normal shops in addition to souvenir shops, which was quite nice. There's a famous gingerbread shop here which we visited and grabbed a six-pack, even though neither of us are particularly fond of ginger. It was very nice, once you got used to the spice of course!
Had a little walk around and a coffee in a cafe, while it drizzled rain for a little while. Headed back to the car via William Wordsworth's grave - he's buried in the local churchyard here as he was a local and lived here most of his life I think. Certainly many of his poems were about the area, and it inspired him quite a lot. Or so I've heard - I'm not really one for poetry!
Late in the day now, and we drove northwards again to Troutbeck and our accommodation for the night. We were staying in a multi-room B&B, run by a man from Wigan whose accent I picked as being "Manchester-ish". Unpacked and relaxed for a while before heading out for dinner in bucketing rain that had rolled in. Sadly for us the pub across the road had no tables free, so we drove about 5 minutes back up the highway to another pub. Thankfully there was space here, and we had a nice pint and food, though there was a noisy group of old men next to us. Talking about politics, great.
Back home where we crashed what felt like early but actually wasn't - as we approach the solstice the sun isn't setting until nearly 10pm! Very strange.Read more