Featuring an amazing amount of wildlife with many species local to this area, family Jester had a marvellous afternoon visiting The Aquarium of The Lakes. With so much to do and look at it was easy to lose track of time, so well worth the entrance fee, especially with the £6 off with a MyCumbria Card.
We spent the whole time cooing over fluffy creatures check out the tiny mice, wowing at all the underwater life & handling creepy crawlies one pooed on Daddy, we even got time to sit down and do some colouring in - Arthur’s ‘best’ bit, with the Bat ladies from the guest exhibition.
There are many interactive parts to the Aquarium, including a huge diving bell, with an underwater view of some big scary animals, it was a little unnerving seeing Jaws coming up close, I have always been scared of that movie! The close up detail was amazing.
We loved the different treasure chests around the place, our favourite was the fancy dress, but I’m not saying anymore, so you can explore them for surprises yourselves!
We made sure we completed the monthly quiz sheet, which is a fabulous idea as it got us reading every board, notice & sign we came upon, and doing so learnt much more about the world we live in and how to protect it, including information on local conservation groups. There is also the added bonus of a medal in the gift shop for each sheet handed in, which of course was worn with pride by Arthur!
The Aquarium itself doesn’t have any refreshments available, but on stepping through the exit there is the option of a cafe, restaurant, vending machine, ice cream cart, even a hotel with different dining options across the car park. Time it right and you may even get to see one the steamer boats or trains!
We love the Aquarium, there is something new every time we visit and thoroughly recommend it as a fun filled family day out, whatever the weather!
Written by Kelly from Ambleside
What a great experience we had at the newly reopened Beatrix Potter Museum or ‘Peter Land’ as Arthur, our 4 year old fondly named it, from start to finish the whole family excitedly explored, finding something amazing in every nook & cranny, even in the undergrowth!
The price for a family ticket is very reasonable and most certainly worth every penny. But using our MyCumbria Card we saved £3.50! Don’t forget to pick up a free worksheet at the entrance to the museum, as it adds an extra fun way to learn a little more. It was nice to see families working happily together to get the sheet complete.
It all starts seated in a small darkened room with a huge picture frame on the wall, once the magic entrance door closes the frame comes to life with short video about the life and works of Miss Potter, then another magical door opens, taking you onto woodland path in ‘Peter Land’.
There are multilingual screens throughout the museum explaining the stories. The scenes are so beautifully crafted the whole world feels real, with the delicately orchestrated piped music and other excited family chatterings throughout, it’s impossible not to be totally enchanted by the whole place, we all were, even Daddy Andy!
Make sure you visit the walled garden, which is part the way around the museum, where produce is grown, including the special radish Peter ate. We sampled the homegrown delights from the very commendable healthy menu in the family friendly cafe, which were just yummy. We even managed to feed our fussy eater!
Towards the end of the exhibition there is a fantastic interactive room with activities for all ages, including a movable map of the area with local landmarks and Potter facts, it was fun to see where we’d been and see houses of people we know. Arthur and I particularly enjoyed the touch screen colouring pictures and puzzles on the walls.
The final walk through the greenhouse (make sure you take time to look for all the little creatures in there) takes you into the well stocked gift shop, it was very hard not to leave with a bag full of Potter themed goodies. You can even paint your own figure or have your picture with Peter to take home.
We had a magical time here and would recommend it to families with children of all ages, even if you haven’t read all the books!
Written by Kelly from Ambleside
Ok so being a newly-wed, I thought that I’d take my lovely husband on a day out… So we set out for Lakeland Segway on the Graythwaite Estate in the South of the County (near Newby Bridge) for a tour of the estate and our introduction to our ‘Segway Smiles’.
Our guides and training gurus were Rob and Phil who had the ability to gauge the confidence and competence of the group in the 20 min training session. We learned about how a Segway works with microprocessors that control the tilt of the platform that you stand on to keep it level, and that the shift of your weight forwards will propel you forwards, shifting the weight to your heels to slow down or stop. When the Segway is turned on, you are continually balanced by it. Steering is a bit counter intuitive as you push the handle bar from left to right unlike a bicycle, motor bike or quad bike. You do quickly pick up how to manoeuvre in the practice area and are soon zooming around, turning figure of eights and dancing around the others in the group.
From this, Rob and Phil led us on the tour, taking us over hazards and obstacles, encouraging us to trust the Segway so that we could have the speed limiter taken off on the second half of the trip. (The first half we were travelling at 6mph and the second half, a heady 12 mph – and to be honest, it’s fast enough to feel a buzz of excitement!) We went off road, up and down hill and spun round as well as having knowledgeable guides about the private estate who were also able to answer every question we could think to ask about the Segways.
Groups of eight are the norm for a tour and we were with a group of six other people that we didn’t know. It was so easy to get on with everyone as the shared experience of the Segway just made us laugh together.
The weather was fine but cool on the day we went, and as you stand still on the Segway platform, you aren’t generating your own heat - so we wrapped up warm, gloves a must as you feel the wind chill.
I know some people think they’re strange things and that’s probably because they are. However, you just can’t help yourself, you get giddy and totally drawn in by the Segways – the only thing to do is book an Adventure Tour to indulge your newly acquired Segway confidence.
Sandra (Newly-wed) Cultural Tourism Project Manager
Having not been to the cinema for quite some time, I was very excited at the sound of a discount at the multi-plex in Workington, and it was all I needed to encourage me to visit!
Their 2 for 1 offer for MyCumbria card holders, certainly makes it very worthwhile, and leaves you with enough extra change for sweets!
Not only was this my first time at the cinema for a while, it was my first time seeing a film in 3D. And I chose an epic, with Titanic enjoying a re-released in 3D to celebrate the anniversary of the tragedy.
So I took my Mam, sister and some friends for a girly night out with Leo & Kate.
Plaza Cinema itself is located on the outskirts of Workington within Dunmail Park, so there is plenty of free parking (again another plus point!) It has 6 screens and shows a wide collection of films every day of the week, and has an Independents Day on Wednesday’s showing a variety of the best independent drama, documentary films, world cinema and digitally remastered classics.
We paid for our tickets which are £5.50 for adults, stocking up on 3D glasses at £1 a pair (these can be used again at the cinema) and headed over to the confectionary stand. This took a while as there was a lot to choose from - Ice creams, drinks, nachos, even a bar for an alcoholic drink if you fancy! We stuck with chocolate & ice cream on this occasion and plenty of it. Then a quick loo stop before we settled down for the 2 hours plus that is Titanic. Luckily the seats are very comfortable with lots of leg room, otherwise this could have been hard work given the length of the film.
Seeing Leo & Kate certainly brought back some lovely memories from the first time around, and I’ll admit I cried a little at the end (even though I have seen this film a million times!) There is nothing quite like seeing a film on the big screen and I enjoyed the 3D experience immensely. I’ll certainly be keeping my glasses to make another trip soon, and making the most of the MyCumbria offer. What a great way to cheer up a Monday : )
West Cumbria Tourism Executive
We carefully planned our time at the wild animal park as there is so much to see and we didn’t want to miss a thing, especially animal feeding times. You can plan your day in advance with the website as talks and feeding times are available online.
First was the tallest animal on the planet (no not daddy (6ft5inches) with its majestic head and long gait and distinctive patterns. We tried to recognise each giraffe from its markings displayed on the website. We think we spotted the heart shape marking of Walda and the colossal size of Tibor.
Then the most mischievous, the Hamadryas baboons sacred of the ancient Egyptians also associated with sun worship were most certainly lapping up the spring sunshine and having family fun. They caused monkey mayhem in with the rhinos and giraffes but the keepers have a secret trick a handy water pistol (don’t get ideas boys!!!!!).
Watching the real giants of the park move around we are given the rare sight of one of the worlds most endangered species, the white rhino accompanied by little “Indiana” who was born to the park in November 2011.
Leaving Africa we make our way to Australia and Madagascar and a bit of lemur and wallaby spotting and emu feeding (please check your feed bag for instructions on which animals are permitted to be fed).
The aviaries showed off the best of South American feathered friends with the King Vulture holding court accompanied by the scarlet Ibis and little Egrets. On to the rest of world offering the dreamy pink feathered long legged Caribbean flamingos, the cute Prairie Marmot and the velvet noses of the donkeys.
The top tip of the day was big cat feeding time on the top platform with the Amur and Sumatran tigers. These tigers are on the critically endangered list because of poaching and habitat destruction. The park acts as ambassadors of the species to raise awareness of the problems facing wild tigers. The keepers place the food as high as possible to simulate the need for the tigers to smell and hunt down their quarry and you will not be disappointed. The athleticism of these animals is awesome the power and strength of the muscles; this is a true Olympian of the animal kingdom.
All in all we had one of the best days out of the year so far…
Love Katie, Luca and Dylan
It was a typical rainy Saturday in April when my partner Brian and I decided to explore the Lake District Coast Aquarium in the harbour town of Maryport.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like fish - unless they’re battered of course (but that is probably not one for this post….). I’ve actually been a bit of a ‘fish phobe’ all my life after being traumatized by films like Jaws, not helped by my oh-so-supportive Dad telling me sharks could come up the bath plug hole and lived underneath swimming pools!
So you can understand the feeling of dread I felt when Brian suggested we check it out for ‘something different’ to do on an otherwise quiet Saturday afternoon. Sulking over, off we went and I have to say, phobias aside, the Lake District Coast Aquarium is an absolute delight.
I envisaged us looking out of place with no children in tow but actually you don’t need children, or a fascination with fish, to enjoy this award-winning attraction. Full of quirky fish facts (did you know Derwent Water is the only place in England where the Vendace, Britain’s rarest fish, can still be found?) and a multitude of different species from all over the world, the aquarium is as educational as it is intriguing.
I found it hard to believe that the aquarium recently celebrated its 15th birthday – everything from the tanks and information hubs right through to the pretty harbour-facing café and impressive gift shop, felt well maintained to a very high quality.
I’d never seen a conga eel (and hopefully never will again – the Wayne Rooney of the water world I think!), or seen a baby octopus so close up (who’d have known they are actually kind of cute), or had the chance to touch a live starfish and a sting ray, yet these were all experiences available to me just down the road but which I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t sought out; being childless and, well, quite lazy, I just hadn’t got around to it.
Having now been to the aquarium I can safely say you don’t need to have kids to enjoy it. It’s definitely set-up for children with loads of gruesome fish facts, interactive demonstrations, a live web cam feature, fun ‘Ollie says’ fast fact boxes and of course the ‘must-have’ array of sweets and ice creams to choose from, but I’d actually recommend the aquarium to all ages - you don’t need to be passionate about marine life to get a kick out of seeing amazing creatures and learning a thing or do about endangered species. Plus, the staff are wonderful, the café’s a fantastic place to relax and the gift shop’s one of the best I’ve ever been too – Brian’s wallet got a hammering!
All in all, I think the Lake District Coast Aquarium deserves all its praise and I’d urge everyone to experience it for themselves. Needless to say we didn’t quite fancy fish and chips after our trip to the aquarium so it saved us a few calories too!
Rachel - CT Bespoke PR Executive (and newly recovered ‘fish phobe’)
It was a bright, sunny morning when Sarah (aka Jonesy) and I went to tackle Go Ape! at Whinlatter. For a bit of moral support we also took Jonesy’s mum (Mrs Jones) and my crazy bearded collie, Artemis.
We had a brilliant morning! First of all we had to fill in our forms and have a practical demo by one of the Go Ape staff – who were all really friendly and helpful. They showed us how to clip onto the course and move between platforms – making sure that we were always safe. Jonesy, who was not too convinced about the zip wire was re-named “action jones” as she sped down the practice zip-wire, her fears put to rest.
There are five sections to the course, each with different types of crossing, from swinging on hoops, to cargo nets, crawling through a suspended tunnel and of course the best bit – the zip wires. We didn’t quite figure out a good way of landing in the bark at the bottom though – and it’s amazing where that stuff gets!
It felt really great to be up in the trees, with the sun shining. Mrs Jones and Artemis walked round underneath, and there is a lot to explore in the forest at Whinlatter (including muddly puddles). The instructors walked around the forest; making sure everyone was ok and giving plenty of encouragement.
It took us a couple of hours to get round and afterwards we had a picnic in the woods. We all had a fantastic morning, plenty of laughter and loved it so much we are planning to visit the one at Grizedale, where the zip-wires are even longer.
It makes a great fun day out for groups of friends and families, and the staff have our true Cumbrian hospitality…so come on, it comes highly recommended by action Jones and I.
Love Sarah & Jill (Cumbria Tourism Web Team)
On Good Friday, I visited Lakeland Motor Museum in Backbarrow with my Mum, Dad and boyfriend. We arrived just in time for lunch which was planned, as we had heard fantastic things about Café Ambio, from several local people so we knew sampling the menu was a must. The food was excellent and we will be returning to sample the highly regarded Sunday lunch at some point.
The attraction itself is fantastic with an amazing mix of vintage cars and bicycles as well as memorabilia. It was the old signs that I couldn’t stop admiring as it was like stepping back in time. I also loved the street of old shops down one side of the building.
The first vehicle that caught my eye was an amazing Johannesburg Fire Engine. The condition of the vehicles was unbelievable considering the age of them.
As you walk around the attraction you can learn about each of the vehicles. The cars ranged from; Minis, Citroens, Fords, Aston Martins, Messerschmitts and even an amphibious vehicle.
We kept seeing children filling in quiz sheets and they were having a brilliant time and it kept them on task and interested in learning about the cars. My favourite car was this fantastic White Jaguar (below) which is in stunning condition.
Once you have looked at the cars you can learn about the Leven Valley and the history of the area. Then you can head upstairs where there are bicycles through the ages followed by a fantastic section all about the Isle of Man TT (see picture).
What really strikes you about the Lakeland Motor Museum is the passion that the proprietors have put into the place. The attention to detail that is displayed throughout the attraction and hearing one particular member of staff telling visitors about the cars with such enthusiasm was really refreshing.
Once we had finished looking around the main part of the attraction we headed up to the Bluebird Exhibition. The exhibition charts the land speed and water speed records and in particular Malcolm and Donald Campbell’s record attempts with replicas of their vehicles.
It was a fantastic day and we all really enjoyed the attraction and would highly recommend a visit. There was such a wide variety of things to look at in the attraction which made it a great day out for all the family.
Set in the heart of the Lake District, Cumbria, my friend Claire and I enjoyed a lovely walk around Ambleside before visiting the beautiful Cote How, organic guest house in Rydal.
The beautiful interior of Cote How was complimented by a lovely outside seating area, where you can enjoy the scenery. We took the slightly warmer option of sitting inside!
The beautiful 16th century home offered the relaxing and tranquil atmosphere we needed on a cold spring day. After enjoying the grounds of Cote How, a hot pot of tea and cream scones soon warmed us up.
I must say the home made scone with cream and jam was really the best scone I have ever tasted. I would recommend the scrumptious treats and I will definitely be going back for more.
Full to the brim, we then enjoyed a walk down to Rydal Water, just a short way from Cote How, to enjoy the breathtaking views and grounds. We were going to walk around Rydal water and complete the “Rydal Round” but to my disappointment Claire had worn the wrong shoes – a huge set of 5 inch heels. Next time I visit Cote How, we will ensure we both wear the right foot wear.
It was the perfect day to relax and indulge… We really recommend visiting Cote How, and you simply must try “probably the best scones in the world”.