Stratford & the Lake District

For the second half of my parents’ visit to the UK (part 1: Cornwall), we meandered NE up towards the Lake District, stopping first at a good halfway point in Stratford for a night to see the cute Tudor-era buildings and the most outstanding performance of a Shakespearean play at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

A few of the Tudor buildings for you!

We saw King Lear, with Antony Sher playing Lear – absolutely phenomenal. It’s the only performance I’ve seen at the RSC so far, but it’s not too far from Oxford, so it could even be a day trip. No photos allowed during the performance, but here’s a quick interval shot of the set-up.

My parents went to Shakespeare’s birthplace before the theatre – their verdict seemed to be that it was a little interesting, but pretty overpriced.

We stayed in an incredible home through Airbnb; it was an entirely oak-framed farmhouse with a cute little puppy and a rogue peacock wandering the yard outside (not theirs!). Here’s the listing if you want to stay (or just admire the beautiful home).

And after the long drive, we all made it to the tucked-away little lodge near Grizedale Forest. This was the first time my parents and Jack’s met each other and we had about 4 days altogether for hiking, cooking, games, pubbing and boating on the Lakes.

On day 1, Jack took us up to Tarn Hows, between Ambleside and Coniston, for a short walk around the little tarn at the top. About 2 hours if including the walk up, map details here.

Tarn Hows is also near Beatrix Potter’s farm, and many others. Look at this shy little guy, thinking he was well hidden behind the tree trunk!

Our intrepid guide, taking us around the tarn and figuring out what’s next…

Tracing the OS map and working out timings, we realized that we would just have time to break away for a more serious climb on our own from Coniston up to the peak of the Old Man, then down through the fells along a long ridge. We left about 2 pm, really far later than we would normally take off, and speeding up and around, were back at the Black Bull Inn, pint in hand, to meet our parents at 7.

Climbing up the Old Man of Coniston (803 M)

Every, everyday for this guy.

Jack in a windsweep, navigating one of the less trecherous stretches of the ridge. Other points, if you don’t know where you’re descending, turn into long prows of unstable, rocky ground.

Admiring the view

This guy, at the end of the rainbow

Walking back along the ridge.

Enjoying these! Old Man Ale (I mean, fair enough, look at those grey stripes!) and a Coniston Oatmeal Stout. By the way, though we use it far less these days, we’re both on UnTappd if you are (here’s me, and here’s Jack).

Stunning Grizedale

Next day: visit to Grizedale Forest & a series of family pictures!

The Mears & me

Two generations

The Deerys & Jack

Love the pokey baby pines & the cold fog sweeping across the forest.

How do people get started in mushroom foraging? Seriously. I’d love to go through the woods the day after heavy rainfall and pop a bunch of beauties off the forest floor for a good risotto or soup, but I’d never be brave enough. Too much mimicking going on amonst the poisonous fungi. If anyone’s gotten seriously into it though, where did you start? With one or two known types and out from there?

The moms on a little walk ahead

Throughout Grizedale there are hidden sculptures – more than 40. Here’s one.

From a bit higher…

Jack and my dad at the top of a tiny peak, pointing out the mountains closest to us…

… and going through the trail of our climb the day before.

 

The full span

Our last full day was cold & rainy, but we’d reserved it to visit Robert Fletcher’s wildlife studio in Satterthwaite to see his art and his birds of prey. Meeting this Eagle Owl was pretty incredible.

Feeding time (see the tiny chick in his claw?)

Keeping an eye on us

Look at that pupface!

And in the afternoon, exploring some of the lakeside towns:  Ambleside, Windemere and everything in between, out on the boat.

New pals! Our last full day.

Lake Windermere

And sadly, the end of the trip, getting dropped off in Windermere to take a series of trains back to Oxford.

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One thought on “Stratford & the Lake District

  1. Pingback: Tripping Through the UK – Part Two Stratford-Upon-Avon and The Lake District | Something Up Her Sleeve's Blog

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