Autumn in the Lake District
Shearings coach trips are very reasonably priced & the single supplement was only £5/night. You have to accept an early start and quite a wait at the interchange while your luggage is moved from one coach to another. All you have to do is wait. There was food and hot drinks available at Shearings’ Stretton interchange. Good idea to have a book with you.
We were at Windermere hotel by lunchtime so I went on a lake cruise to Ambleside. The next day had an included visit to Kendal & a shopping outlet. The church building is the 2nd largest in England we were told & worth a visit. The town was interesting to walk round but I wasn’t that interested in the shopping outlet. The next day had an optional trip to Coniston but you had to book it at a given time because there was one coach only. I went to Keswick on the double decker bus from just across the road from the hotel. The railway station is by it. The view from the top deck is great. I got the bus from Keswick to Penrith,Penrith all the way to Workington via Keswick & then back to Keswick. The views from Cockermouth as you go to Keswick are stunning but I had got a front seat. I felt like offering to clean the windows as they were so mud splashed which rather spoiled the views from some seats
The full day included trip was to Grasmere, Ambleside and Keswick. We had time in Grasmere to see the church & Wordsworth’s grave plus the gingerbread shop in the old school house. It’s very tiny, the gingerbread is a cross between a biscuit and a cake. Ambleside was pleasant for a quick look around. It was market day in Keswick so I walked past the stalls to the lake and then finished at the Lakeland Pencil Museum. We learned about the wartime work rolling maps of enemy territory to be hidden in pencils & given to aircrew or sent to POW’s. Managers sneaked back at night to work in secret for Q branch which is supposed to been the inspiration for Q in the Bond films. The pencils were used for graphics in films like The Snowman. A diamond decorated pencil was on display – the Queen has the other one for the Diamond Jubilee. You can buy a replica for £199 – there’s an idea for a few stocking filler presents.
The weather was very good with outstanding views of the mountains plus the autumn colours were still lovely. The passengers were mainly retired people as you would expect in November but there were some younger. The coach driver was very good letting people off early if they wanted to walk on their own or go on a lake cruise instead of going straight back to the hotel. If you have an English bus pass you can use the buses free as at home. The tourist office opposite the hotel had bus timetables. The Mountain Goat office is a few yards further on. I also enjoyed a visit to Lakeland kitchen store and a big supermarket both by the railway station and bus stops.
It was half board at the hotel and the food was good most of the time but the service is rather slow. The room was comfortable although I was given one with a window that didn’t shut and cracked glass at first but there was no trouble about changing it. The rooms in the annexe are quite a way from the dining room and lounge with steps and fire doors but Shearings do warn you there might be problems if you have limited mobility.
There is a lounge which got very crowded. One night there was a singer and another night a pianist. There is free wifi but only in the lounge.
We didn’t leave until lunchtime on the last day so there is time for another look around. I found there was a little too much free time. Coming back from Keswick for lunchtime meant there wasn’t much time to go out again before it got dark. The light intensity seemed to fail not long after 3.30pm. I think it would be better to go to Kendal by service bus for a short time and use the rest of the day for another bus ride (expensive if you don’t have a pass I was told by people without an English bus pass).
Prices were dropping to £99 for a similar break just before Christmas which is incredible value as you also get a £25 voucher for food or drink.
Overall a very good short break.
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Shearings Coach Holidays