Friday, 21 June 2013

Cumbria has something to suit every mood.

"Hi ho, Hi ho, it's off to hike we go..."  Well, not necessarily.  There's an assumption that a trip to Cumbria means hiking and the outdoors, but that doesn't have to be the case.  Whatever your mood, Cumbria has something to offer to suit you perfectly.

Grumpy?


From 26 - 28 August 2016 Lakes Alive will have something to cheer even the grumpiest of souls with its new annual free family friendly festival - it's centred around Kendal (growing from the ashes of the awesome Mintfest).  There are lessons in drone flying, creating clay murmurations and the chance to experience a virtual bird hide - c'mon, admit it, you want to have a go don't you?  The full line-up of events and activities is here - what are you waiting for?

If it's big name comedy you're after then check out places like the Brewery Arts Centre and the Sands Centre in Carlisle, both of which attract the very biggest names in comedy so there's bound to be something to tickle your funny bone.

Throughout the year Taste Cumbria run a series of fabulous food festivals, and who doesn't love good food?  You can check out their events right here, and if you're still feeling grumpy after all that then fear not - there are usually plenty of amazing local microbrewers at the food festivals so you can drown your sorrows if that works better for you.


Happy?


"The hills are alive..." and where better to dance for joy than right on the top of one of the many fells?  You don't have to hike Scafell Pike for the best views; if you fancy something a little lower then try Gummer's How for spectacular views of Windermere, Hampsfell for glorious views of Morecambe Bay or Loughrigg for a hike with a decent pint at the end of it.

Sleepy?


Just not in the mood to do anything much?  Then hop on a boat and let someone else do all the hard work for you.  There are excellent boat trips to be had along Coniston, Ullswater and Windermere all of which will allow you to chill out and drift through the landscape, usually with a drink in your hand.  But don't doze off or you might miss something important!

Sneezy?


Hayfever suffer?  Then worry not; the Cumbria Coastal Way stretches for 182 miles taking you from Lancashire to Carlisle the long way around.  There are dunes, cliff walks and plenty of paddling to be had and, most importantly, the fresh sea breeze is a little easier on the symptoms than the pollen laden inland routes.  The coastal railway is perfect for returning you to base if you fancy a linear walk, or you could stop along the way to explore seaside towns like Grange-over-Sands or Whitehaven.

Doc


There are so many outdoors pursuits in Cumbria that your health will improve without you even noticing it: walking, cycling, swimming etc. etc. etc.  We all know that exercise if great for our heart, lungs, joints, bones and pretty much every other part of our anatomy, plus physical activity is also great for your mental health so get out there and get active!  Exercise is also important for helping burn off some of the calories from the excellent Cumbrian food provided by the many artisan cafes, restaurants and delis.

Bashful?

Not a fan of crowds?  Me neither.  Sometimes it can be hard to find peace and quiet, especially on some of the more popular fells so here's a couple of tips for escaping the crowds.  Firstly find an unusual route; Helvellyn from Thirlmere is a much quieter route than the routes from Glenridding (for example) and secondly start out later in the day.  Come 4pm the fells are pretty much deserted even in the middle of summer when it doesn't get dark until 10pm; we're rarely on the fells much before 11am and by the early evening we have the place to ourselves. Bliss.

Dopey?


There are plenty of museums in Cumbria where you can learn about the county and its wonderfully varied history: Barrow Dock Museum will tell you about the industrial past and has some amazing models of ships.  The Ruskin Museum covers the story of Coniston including all you'll ever need to know about Ruskin & Campbell while The Museum of Lakeland Life fills in any gaps that might be remaining.  Lastly my personal favourite, The Pencil Museum in Keswick.  I absolutely LOVE this place; the name completely undersells it and it merits far more than a "oh it's raining so we may as well go there" kind of visit.  Just go, trust me, it's quirky, informative and downright fabulous! (They were sadly badly flooded during Storm Desmond and are still waiting for the building work to finish, but watch this space, for they will be back soon!)

Romantic?



If you're looking for a romantic break without the kids then this is definitely the place to be.  You're spoiled for choice when it comes to romantic getaways but those nice folks at Trip Advisor have listed the top 10 most romantic hotels in Cumbria for us.  Of course there are dozens more, most of which will offer you breathtaking views, a truly personal service and wonderful locally sourced food that's hard to fault.