In June 2017, we took advantage of WOW Air’s 5th Birthday Sale and bought one-way tickets from Toronto to London, UK for only $75 CAD per person. For the return flight, we chose to leave from Stockholm, Sweden for only $110 CAD per person.
Here is first of many blogs we will be sharing of this trip, #nextdeparturedoesuk!
As we were planning out our trip to England, we gave ourselves 7 days to discover London and other must-see cities. We came across the Lake District region. It is made up of mountains and hills that surround the multiple lakes. It lies within the county of Cumbria and also considered a National Park of England as well as Unesco World Heritage Site. It was also the home of Beatrix Potter, the author of Peter Rabbit books. If you need more information, go to www.golakes.co.uk.
The train is always faster in the UK. You can easily add 2 hours if going by car due to heavy traffic. We experienced both. We first went to Wolverhampton/Birmingham from London to visit family overnight. We took Virgin Trains from London Euston station to Birmingham New Street which took 1 hr and 25 mins. We were on the rush hour train around 4-5pm. It was so packed that we didn’t get a seat until the last 10 mins, so pick your times well when choosing to travel by train in London!
We rented a car for $60 CAD for 24 hours. It was an almost a 3-hour drive from Birmingham to Windermere, but very scenic. When we got closer to Windermere, lush green hills with sheep lined the highway. As soon as I started to think it seemed like peace and quiet, we drove right into the heart of Windermere.
As we entered we saw the crowds of people walking. Restaurants and shops were full of people. There was a little traffic in the tiny streets of the town. It looked like an original from where villages of Mt. Tremblant and Blue Mountain were inspired. We checked in at The Howbeck Hotel, which I highly recommend; check out our review below.
Where to Stay and Eat:
As soon as we walked in from our long day, we felt so comfortable. Check in was smooth as they gave us the registration form to fill out while we sat in the Lounge area that had a fridge we all sorts of refreshments can you could help yourself to. We got to our cozy clean room that was equipped with bathrobes, a rain shower as well as a jet bathtub. They had the comfiest bed to sink into. The next morning, the breakfast was included as there were assigned tables with your room name on it. We experienced a full English breakfast for the first time! It was delicious. There was a table with cereal, yogurt, granola, toast, spreads, and fresh juices that you could help yourself to. I highly recommend The Howbeck!
The Flying Pig
Flying Pig is a great little resto-pub that’s got a great atmosphere and yummy English food. We had soup and Homemade Chicken Liver Pate for appetizers, the beer-battered haddock, and the steak & kidney Higginson’s Short Crust Pies for entrees. We also tried their local beer from Jennings Brewery. The Flying Pig is a 5-minute taxi ride or a 20 min walk from The Howbeck. You can find their full menu at theflyingpigbowness.co.uk.
Things To Do:
Windermere Lake Cruises is a must-do and is the best way to experience Lake Windermere. It is similar to a Hop-on-hop-off bus but as a cruise. There are 4 different routes you can choose from or purchase the Freedom of the Lake to use it on all of them. These cruises come frequently throughout the day while you get off at different stops to explore. It also has amazing serene views as you ride along the lake. There is are announcements throughout the ride about the history of Lake Windermere and the surrounding buildings. With the short amount of time we had, we decided to stop at Ambleside. You can find full details on the cruise routes and timetables at their official website.
The city is a good 15 min walk from the port. As soon as you get there, the crowds of the city emerge. It is similar to Windermere with stone houses lined up with pubs and restaurants everywhere. It was a sunny hot day and there were people on patios everywhere. Lots of restaurants had signs saying it was dog-friendly. We had lunch at Daisy’s Cafe where I learned that a “butty” meant a sandwich. I had a yummy fish butty!
Since we were short on time, we didn’t get to do the 3-hour hike to Scafell’s Pike which is England’s highest mountain. We decided to hike the Orrest Head trail which is only a 25 min walk to the peak. My jaw dropped when we got to the top. The brilliant scenery of Lake Windermere on the left side and bright green hills with groups of sheep on the other side. I highly recommend this short hike if you are looking for some great views. If you are looking to find other hiking routes or suggestions for other outdoor activities, you can find it all at golakes.co.uk.
Even though 24 hours in the Lake District wasn’t enough, we did get to experience the overall vibe from the area. It is peaceful and green yet also luxurious and modern. I would recommend anywhere from 2-5 days if you like hiking, cruising, and biking.
If you’re planning a trip to England, and need help. Feel free to email me for consultation at [email protected]