A Rural Retreat In The Lakes ‘n’ Dales
Saturday, 3rd March, 2018
I love living in the city, everything is so close by, there are so many options when it comes to coffee shops, restaurants and bars and you never run out of things to do… unless you’re broke (LOL). However there just aren’t enough green spaces in Manchester so we decided to take a break away from city life and head off on a road trip to the Lakes ‘n’ Dales to explore the countryside and get some much needed fresh air.
Our plan? To stay 2 nights in an incredibly cosy and homely cottage in Low Bentham, pull on our walking boots, clip in the dogs lead and discover some stunning walks.
On the way from Manchester to Low Betham we stopped off at Williamson Park, Lancaster. It’s known for the iconic Ashton Memorial based in the middle of 54 acres of park land. The weather may have helped but the park was beautiful with huge open spaces, a butterfly house (which we couldn’t go in with the dog), Meerkats (which we spotted In an enclosure whilst walking through the woods), a café and shop. So it pretty much has everything you would need to spend a day there along with a couple of kids play parks… and a few elderly ladies with dogs on their electric scooters. We must have walked for just under 2 hours, exploring the memorial, trekking through the woods and strolling through the open park land with the frozen over lake.
From there we made our way to the cottage in Low Bentham, just at the Edge of the Yorkshire Dales. We wanted somewhere to stay that was in-keeping with our rural weekend. So the box was ticked when we came across ‘Sunnybrook cottage’, a renovated 2 bed stone cottage with a wood burning fire, incredibly beautiful open stone feature wall and private garden and parking/garage.
The photos on the Airbnb don’t do the cottage justice but what I also didn’t expect was a surprise planned 3 course dinner made up of my favourite meals which my boyfriend had planned for our anniversary and the host, Rebecca had kindly made from scratch ready for us to prepare. Along with this was a bottle of prosecco, fresh bread from the local bakery and home-made plum jam which was delicious! The thoughtful touches from the host definitely made our stay that extra bit special!
Our plan for our first day was a trip to Windermere to meet up with a friend for a pup-date. We took a mini hike up to Orrest Head Hill with the dogs which has incredible views of Windermere on a clear day. We then went to visit the Laura Ashley Hotel which is stunning, dog friendly outside and has the most incredible view across the lake however, as it’s winter there was unfortunately no seating outside for us to get afternoon tea! Luckily the great thing about Windermere is that as it’s such a dog walking tourist town, a lot of pubs and cafes are dog friendly so we stopped off at The Angel Inn just at the top of a hill. Dog friendly both inside and outside and serves a mean ass sandwich
After a mini hike and lunch in Windermere we then took a 25 minute car ride out to Sizergh Castle Estate, a National Trust stately home and gardens at Helsington, Cumbria. Rather than exploring the gardens (dogs aren’t allowed in the house) we took the nature trail which led us over incredible wide open fields, across a farm, through a quiet woodland, across a sheep path and up into the hills with incredible views. The estate also has a café and shop so again is another great place to spend the day. There are multiple walks which you can pretty much get lost and still end up on another trail.
After exploring the quaint town of Low Bentham we wanted to find somewhere on the way back to Manchester where we could finish our long weekend away with our last ‘big’ walk. We found Towneley Hall on the map which is about 45 minutes from Manchester and has stunning historic house and 400 acres of beautiful parkland. There’s also a dog friendly café and shop which made it a great pit stop on the way home!