Last month I travelled down to the Yorkshire Dales for a long weekend in celebration of yet another family birthday milestone. We stayed in a farmhouse in a little town called Kirky Stephen which is located just at the tip of the dales; we spent our mornings reading, our afternoons exploring the countryside and our evenings relaxing in the hot tub. Absolute peaceful bliss.
House & Grounds
With there being 12 of us in total, we rented out Brownber House for the weekend (not to be confused with Brownber Hall which is a B&B down the road). We were told to ignore the “private road” sign that greeted us as we turned off of the A685. So we did exactly that, and were greeted with a long quiet country road lined with uneven, looseley stacked rock walls. (In the morning we would later find out these enclosed sheep!).
The house itself was large and well kept. It had everything that we needed for a large family getaway: a big double american fridge, a lengthy 12-man dining table, a large games room and a six man hot tub in the back patio area. My favourite part though was the giant bookcase.
The grounds and surrounding area of Brownber House is exactly as you imagine the Yorkshire Dales being, extensive farm land and country roads. Sheep sheep and more sheep. Therefore, in the mornings I would just get up and go for a walk before breakfast. With the house situated at a T-junction, each morning I would choose a direction and walk down it until it was time to turn around and head home for some porridge. Each time I was met with vacant roads and fields filled with occupied sheep. The house is so secluded that you definitely need a car to get here and to get around, but it’s so worth it for the privacy and peace.
Day Trips Around the Yorkshire Dales
Penrith is actually located outside the Dales and falls under the larger umbrella of Cumbria – about a 35 minute drive from our house. The town itself is quite large and coming from Scotland, it’s where we first stopped off to go a big food shop. We returned to Penrith again as the weather was dreary and we thought a walk around the town’s local shops meant we could avoid most of the rain -it was also a great excuse to stop off for cake and coffee!
The town is quite large and has a great town centre with all the necessities. From high street stores to little individually-owned shops, you are sure to pick up something unique here (I picked up a postcard from the local butcher/deli shop for my scrapbook!). If the weather is on your side, you could visit the nearby Penrith Beacon monument, Norman Brougham Castle in the south or the prehistoric Mayburgh Henge!
Our second day trip took us to the cute little town of Appleby in Westmorland, located North East of the Dales and just before you hit the North Pennines. If you look closer at your surroundings you will actually find yourself right in the middle of a loop of the River Eden.
Appleby is a small little civil parish, so there isn’t a lot of touristy things to do other than discover your surroundings. For someone who often travels around Scotland visiting different villages and towns, it’s interesting to see how England do it. With it being February, a lot of local tourist attractions were closed for the winter (the tourist information centre ladies were very helpful!). Some of the options if you were visiting in the Summer months could be visiting Appleby Castle, a tour of Appleby Brewery or the High Cup Winery.
Lake District – Lake Windermere
By the time the third day came, we were fast running out of luck with the weather. But that didn’t stop us getting out and about. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
The Lake District is classified as a national park and attract global visitors to gawk at its winding lakes and rugged hills. On the particularly grey day we visited Lake Windermere, probably one of the most popular lakes in the park, the hills were barely visible through the dense mist and low cloud. Nevertheless, we made the most of our day.
Windermere offers plenty of water-based activity, including lake cruises and kayaking. However, our options were very limited because of the rain and strong winds. That being said, we were more than happy to wander around the main street before visiting the lake’s shores itself to get those all important photographs.
The Lake District is one place I will certainly be putting in my diary as a summer trip. I believe in travel all year round but it’s so annoying when attractions and activities are closed due to the low season.
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