A wonderful weekend in The Lakes that is wheelchair accessible too

Like many, lockdown persuaded me to explore my own country more, sparking interest in a long weekend in the Lake District, frankly I can’t believe I haven’t been before! Having researched, it turned out The Lakes are rather accessible, so a family weekend was to be had.

The Coniston Inn

After a scenic drive we arrived at The Coniston Inn, dog and electric scooter friendly, not to mention in a great spot nestled on the shores of shimmering Coniston Water, with a great expanse of private fabulous fells to explore – our pup was delighted. There were ample places to park and flat grounds so mum could scoot straight through the doors, check in and into the lift to her spacious accessible room.

After settling in we met in the restaurant, with step free access it was a breeze, the mix of tastefully patterned wallpaper, exposed brick and terracotta painted walls juxtaposed with the wooden panelling and floorboards, made for a cosy environment. Mum was delighted with her perfectly cooked steak and chunky chips. After a good night sleep we were woken by an excitable pup with a good memory – there’s lots of land to roam outside, back for breakfast, a hearty Cumbrian affair, we may have slipped a local Cumberland sausage to pup and we set off to Wordsworth Grasmere, a real treat for literary enthusiasts such as us.

Wordsworth Grasmere

The unique visitor attraction received a 6.5 million Lottery grant to make it accessible and it really shows. We all watched the insightful film walking us through the Wordsworth history before stepping back in time to 1799, by entering the original Dove Cottage where William Wordsworth lived with his wife Mary Hutchinson, their children and sister Dorothy. Replicas of original musings destined for famous poetry, with markings and crossings out lay on tables in the dining room, whilst scattered flour at the foot of an opened recipe book beckon the visitor to believe they have walked into a household of the living. The childhood ragdoll waiting on a bed, made from a stuffed handkerchief pulled together at the neck and hands with blue ribbons add to believability.

Mum could only explore downstairs of the listed building, however she could enjoy a vista similar to what the Wordsworth’s would have seen from a dedicated viewing platform. The main museum in contrast is contemporary with slick signage throughout displaying quotes from the man himself “Let nature be your teacher”, “there are in our existence spots of time,” as well as authentic relevant artifacts and luckily we caught a few live renditions from two enthusiastic storytellers recounting renowned poetic lines. A quick go at writing with a feather quill and it was time for the café, a selection of gooey cakes and Farrer’s coffee, the UK’s oldest coffee and the one Wordsworth would have drunk, whilst we recounted some of the fun facts which we learnt, such as Wordsworth inspired the formation of the National Trust; he astutely wrote that he thought the Lakes would be a place of national interest.

Bassenthwaite Lake Station restaurant

Lunch was booked onboard the actual train featured in the 2017 film ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. Needless to say doggies and wheelchairs are welcome. An easy glide through the train carriage to a private compartment at the rear of the train, we perched on the plush comfy chairs and ordered from the diverse menu. Mum was delighted with her festive brunch bowl featuring a tender turkey escalope, pig in blanket and fried egg, whilst we shared a Cumbrian sharing platter, an exciting spread of Baked Torpenhow Brie, chicken liver pate, Cumbrian chorizo and salami, home cooked ham, Cumberland sauce glazed chipolata sausage, house chutney, piccalilli, crisp salad and baked bread and Butter. Somehow I managed to squeeze in a sticky toffee pudding, well when in Cumbria! Directly opposite the stationary train station is a nature reserve which usefully has scooter friendly boardwalks.

Hawkshead

The next day we had planned a Windemere Cruise, both wheelchair and dog friendly yet sadly a problem with the vessel prevented us from setting sail that day, so instead we explored the pretty village of Hawkshead. The bijou village historically frequented by Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, where cars are banned making scooting around even easier, is well worth a visit. We parked in the large carpark in the outskirts then stopped off for a pot of tea in Ginny’s Teapot before buying up local cheeses, bread, mint cake and more in The Honeypot specialist foods shop.

Last stop before heading home was lunch at Brew Room, a warming jacket potato, homemade soup and a round of loaded chips, a hearty mix and match in a cosy establishment with a nice selection of tea and coffee. We passed some quaint giftshops and couldn’t help but to buy a Wordsworth tea towel depicting the iconic ‘Daffodils’ poem, which along with our fond memories we could take home to remind us of a truly wonderous trip we’d like to revisit.

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Yasemen Kaner-White

Food & travel journalist, lemon expert and eternally curious

One Response

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