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Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

Toronto, Canada
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Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

My husband and I are travelling with 2 kids, 6 and 3 and planning to go to lake district in middle of July. We would like some advice as to where to stay (which town?). We would like to stay in a scenic place, not too crowded but close enough to attractions which are child friendly like lakes, steam train rides, picnic spot etc. not too much walking planned. We have contacted a lot of B&Bs but can't seem to choose the location to stay.

Thank you

Barnard Castle...
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1. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

Exclude Carlisle (too far away and not much of intrinsic interest there). Assuming you have a car it could be any of the other three, though my choice would be Keswick - the rest of the lakes is nicely accessible from there and it isn't (in my opinion anyway!) as pricey as Windermere.

Whangarei, New...
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2. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

have to second the previous poster, Keswick has my vote , much less hectic than Windermere. If you have a car, nowhere is beyond reach including a trip on theRavensglass & Eskdale Railway, a delight for the kids. From a scenic perspective, Keswick also rates well above your other options .

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

we are in a dilemma ...can't seem to choose between two bed and breakfasts in Keswick....Ouse Bridge, Bassenthwaite Lake and Briar Rigg near Keswick town.

Have you seen both b&bs....do let us know which one is better to stay in?

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4. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

Normally, I wouldnt dare suggest the south Lakes in summer, as its so busy, but if you want steam trains, I'd be inclined to suggest somewhere like Ambleside. Which is a lot closer to the Ravenglass railway and the Lakeside railway than Keswick.

Edited: 19 June 2011, 15:48
London, United...
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5. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

In your scenario with two young kids and being first timers (I assume) then somewhere like Ambleside or Windermere will be better. You will have access to more of the attractions and the kind of things someone who wants to get a flavour of the area would like.

A few to think about - there are plenty more:

1. Combined lake/steam train trip from Lakeside or Ambleside Pier (you can go either way, from one to the other). At Lakeside there is an aquarium you can visit and there is a hotel where you can have tea outside on the lawn looking over Windermere.

2. Picnic at Fell Foot Park at south end of Windermere (this is opposite Lakeside above) - very nice views and you can also hear and see the steam train mentioned above. I come here to picnic often with my children - every now and then you can catch a glimpse of military jets flying as they test and train only a few hundred feet above the lake. This happened on my last visit a couple of weeks ago - fantastic sight.

3. Picnic at the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole. This is between Ambleside and Windermere. They have adventure playgrounds at both 2 and 3 above for your little ones.

Comfortable places to visit nearby:

1. Tarn Hows beauty spot.

2. Wray Castle.

3. Hawkshead Village.

4. Grasmere Village.

1, 2 and 3 are reasonably close together.

Just bear in mind that unless you go somewhere like the Western Lakes it will be busy everywhere. The Western Lakes aren't in my opinion, suitable for tourists looking for a Lake District experience, particularly those who are not keen walkers or do not have a car.

Keswick often gets mentioned as the place to be based and it undoubtedly is for those who are looking for the best mountain views and walks. However, for first timers Ambleside and Windermere are usually more suitable. (Ambleside actually has a smaller population than Keswick).

You could do day trips out to Keswick, Ullswater and Coniston from Ambleside and Windermere - all can be reached in under or around 30 minutes by main roads and bus routes.

BTW - if you have a car then there are lots of places you can go off the main routes without having to get out and go walking which offer superb views.

Whangarei, New...
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6. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

Agree with most of the above except the access to Ravensglass. I note the OP hails from Pakistan so he will understand when i say the road from Ambleside to ravensglass is Englands equivalent of the Khyber pass. Not everyones idea of an afternoon drive with the kids. Timewise the drive from Keswick to Ravensglass via the west coast is no longer than from Ambleside. I dont intend to be flippant, however someone from Pakistan may be well used to military jets flying overhead ?

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7. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

All I would say is that Pakistan is a very big country and just because it happens to be in the news at the moment it doesn't necessarily mean there are military jets flying over every area of it on a regular basis.

Also the Ravenglass run is mainly through a wooded area with little else nearby other than Muncaster Castle.

And driving the passes via Little Langdale may not be easy for a tourist who needs to prepare themselves for 1:3 gradients, switchbacks and sheer drops as well as very narrow sections of road. (I took friends from London on the passes and didn't realise that my friends wife found the sheer drops very scary). Confident drivers can tackle the passes but I have frequently seen people panic on gradients - most recently when an elderly driver almost burnt out his clutch on the switchback near Hardknott Fort as he kept slipping back.

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8. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

6. Its not that hard, I've walked up and over the Hardknott pass, and it really isnt as bad as its reputation suggests and saw no cars have any problems, apparent from confusion on the drivers face's at seeing someone walk it.

Edited: 19 June 2011, 21:43
Mold, United Kingdom
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9. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

I hate to say it because i'm a northern fells person at heart but southern lakes, Ambleside, windermere, coniston and even Hawkshead are definately the place with young children or elderly persons. your kids sssare young enough to like Beatrice POTTER WHICH WOULD BE TRIPS TO hAWKSHEAD AND NEARBY hILLTOP... and of coarse their are the windermere cruises.

Cheshire
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10. Re: Where to stay-Keswick,Kendall,Windermere,Carlisle?

I do agree with other posts and my choice would be Keswick.Why?

Keswick has a small town,lots of Guest Houses,B&B"s,hotels,shops/outdoor shops,cafe"s,restaurants,cinema,bike hire,tourist information centre,theatre,rowing boat hire,boat trips,good walking area,two parks which have outdoor entertainment,fish & chip shop,historic houses and gardens,museums ect.

I also agree with others,Ambleside is lovely and you can get a local bus from Keswick to Ambleside.There is local transport from Keswick to Windermere.Don"t miss out on a boat trip on Lake Windermere.Windermere does get busy in high season.

Some sites to view-:

www.keswick-launch.co.uk

www.trottersworld.com

www.keswicktowncouncil.gov.uk

www.honister.com

www.theatrebythelake.com

www.derwentwatermarina.co.uk

www.pacethepeaks.co.uk

www.pencilmuseum.co.uk

www.thebondmuseum.com

www.carsofthestars.com

www.goape.co.uk

If you like walking,recommend Derwentwater Circular walk,Latrigg,Whinlatter Forest and Catbells.

If you need walking guide in Keswick- www.pacethepeaks.co.uk

Enjoy your visit.