Posts tagged Holiday
Visit: The Lake District

If you've visited the Lake District before, chances are you've stayed in or around Windermere - the most popular lake - but this month we stayed in the Western Lakes at a National Trust campsite in Wasdale. It took a windy twenty-five minute drive past the lake before we reached our bed for the night, but the views made the single track worth every pounding heartbeat and scrunch of the brakes. It was breathtaking. When we arrived, angry clouds were seeping in over the horizon and the wind whipped my hair as soon as I exited the car, but for me that was all part of the appeal; we felt like we were face to face with the elements.

Wasdale is famous for being part of the 'nation's favourite view' and if scenery is your thing (as it very much is ours), this is the place to come. Every second was a framed photograph; I could have snapped all day long and still every image would have had an element of magic in it.

Whilst we were over to the west, we decided to visit Muncaster Castle. Home to the World Owl Centre, a historic, haunted building, a maze and tea-room, it was a the perfect way to spend a day in changeable weather conditions. Well worth a visit, and very child-friendly.

One of my favourite things about our holiday was discovering new villages, tiny shops, hidden views, and none more so than the Honest Shop in Coniston. With the focus solely on local and homemade products, it was filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, local crafts and tempting cakes. We settled for some melting moments and a watercolour of a hare, but we could have purchased so much more. Do you have any shops like this near you? I don't know of any in my local area, but what a lovely idea.

Go Visit: Paris
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In response to my current obsession with the world's most beautiful city - see here and here - I have decided to post about my previous visits to Paris.  I first visited long ago with my parents and sister, but on that holiday the joys of digital photography did not exist.  I later visited in my final year of university on my backpacking trip around Europe with my sister and, periodically, a couple of friends.  We visited the main tourist sights but also took in a couple of off-the-beaten-track cafés and restaurants, although sadly I don't have many photos from these moments. My main memory of the Eiffel Tower is of how much space there is surrounding it.  It was the height of summer and the middle of the day, but we still managed to find a quiet picnic spot to take in the spectacular views of the structure.  We visited twice - once just as night fell and a second time in the middle of the day, and if you have the time and money, I would highly recommend doing both.  At night the atmosphere is incredible - the lights of the city twinkle in the distance and you feel as though you are a whole world away from civilisation. But the views in the day make a second trip necessary in my opinion.  They are vast.  Book online early to save excess queuing - you will still have to wait, but it won't be for as long.

paris1The Notre Dame was also a sight for sore eyes, particularly when viewed from the river.  I'm not usually a fan of boat trips; I prefer to meander the alleys and sneak into bookshops on my way around, but this was one occasion on which I was glad my sister had convinced me otherwise.  You can see the soaring cathedral from all angles too; perfect for photography (next time I go I'm taking so many more photographs!).

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The Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries were a highlight of the trip, and we returned many times to the gardens to soak in the Parisian air.  Similar to the Eiffel Tower, although the gardens were busy, there was always a quite spot under the shade of the trees that line the central pathway, or on rickety metal chair next to one of the fountains.  I'm not surprised that so many writers emigrate to the city with so many spots for pensive moments.

The final two images were taken at Sainte Chapelle - a beautiful Gothic building in the heart of Paris, sometimes overlooked for the bigger sights and sounds.  The stained glass is second to none; and I have seen a lot of stained glass in my time.  Do any of you have any Paris recommendations for my next visit?  We're thinking of spending our honeymoon there!

CC

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Go Visit: Lindisfarne and Dunstanburgh Castle
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Good morning! I hope you've awoken on this bank holiday to skies awash with sunshine.  If you're wondering how to spend your extra day off (assuming of course you have one) and are located in the North East, why not try Lindisfarne or Dunstanburgh Castle?  Today's post is the second Go Visit from our Easter trip to Northumberland - you can check out the first here.

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Lindisfarne started out life as an old fort before being moulded by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll into a spectacular Edwardian house; what remains is the latter, complete with a viewing terrace with views out to Bamburgh Castle and beyond.

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My favourite room is without doubt the kitchen (why is it always the kitchen?!) with its cosy wooden seating arrangement around the crackling fire and Mrs Beeton cookbooks strewn casually across the wooden table.

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There are hidden treasures in every room; from images of the householders, to decadent furnishings and piles of paintings.  Yet by far the most interesting thing about Lindisfarne Castle is that it is located on Holy Island and is only accessibly by a causeway that disappears with the tides.  Check here for tide times to make sure you don't get stranded...

Less than an hour away via a picturesque coastal route lies the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle,  Make sure you're kitted out for a walk, because the castle itself is an energetic 20 minutes away from the village of Craster, although the stunning coastline views make it worth the trek.

DSCF4706Walk to the top of the tower and cast your eye over the horizon that changes almost every moment with the weather; one moment the fields glow golden, punctured by the white coats of sheep; the next the waves are the stars, chasing the shoreline back to the edge of the grass.

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Dunstanburgh is owned by English Heritage, but National Trust members also get it for free. As Lindisfarne is also National Trust, they can quite easily form the outline of a frugal day out.

Have you visited either of these castles, or do you have a favourite place in Northumbria to visit?  Wishing you all a bank holiday filled with happiness, good food and the best of company.

CC x

April in Pictures
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April has been a month spent mainly outdoors; just as it should be!

(From top left) Barter Books - a bibliophile's heaven; chocolate Easter bakes courtesy of my mum; the views walking up to Lindisfarne Castle; framing the view at Dunstanburgh Castle; a spring-like fusion of floral colours; Hadrian's wall; beautiful blossom; a somewhat old-fashioned method of transport; a hazy holiday sunset.

What have you been up to this month?

CC x

Go Visit: Beamish
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Pretty much the entirety of the week leading up to Easter was spent in walking boots.  Mr CC and I went away to Northumberland and met up with some of the CC clan (of which there are numerous members...) for a few days of gorging on local produce, hiking over the hills and long overdue catch-ups.  It was bliss, and the sun shined every day!  We went to so many places that I'll be blogging about over the coming weeks, but first here is a day out with a different: Beamish.

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The 'living museum' close to Newcastle explores Northern life in the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s; it boasts a farm, a colliery, a manor house and even a town complete with shops where you can buy real items as if you had truly gone back in time.  If you read last week's post, you will no doubt have gathered that the 1940s farm was by far the favourite spot of Mr CC.  As we arrived at the farmhouse the scents of home-made scones wafted through the doorway and lured us into the heart of the 1940s home: the kitchen.

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The best part of it for me was the larder shelves; although they were intended to show a different era it was surprising how many dishes and pots I recognised from our own kitchen!

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The town came a close second to the farm.  Boasting a bakery, a co-operative store, a print shop, sweet shop and even a pub, the Edwardian street is the perfect spot to imagine what a pre-war Northern town would have been like.  Unfortunately we missed the morning's bread from the bakery, but Mr CC indulged in a pint of Beamish Gold in the pub and we contented ourselves with an ice cream!

We ended our day with a trip on the waggonway and boarded for a short steam ride through the Georgian landscape, watching the white smoke curl against the vibrancy of the blue sky.

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I would highly recommend this as a day out not only for history nuts like Mr CC and I, but also families as there are plenty of interactive activities - you can even take a ride on a tram if little ones don't fancy the walk!  One final word of advice: if you want the fish and chips, be prepared to queue.  The smell was overwhelmingly tempting, but we resisted as the queue snaked around the entire building...

Have you ever visited Beamish; what did you think?

CC X