The Lake District

(July 18 - 25)

We landed in Manchester and drove straight to our B&B, the Hill Crest Country House just outside Ulverston. By the time we arrived it was early evening, so we quickly checked in and then headed to a local pub for dinner.

The next morning we headed out to explore the Lake District. We started in Ulverston, which was a few miles down the road. It's only a small town, but quite quaint and easy to walk around.

Ulverston High Street

Ulverston  Town Center

An old fashioned sweet shop

The Kings Arms pub - bright with flowers on a  summer's day

That evening, we had dinner with old friends of Kristine, Lindsey and Ian. Sadly, Ian was very ill and in some pain, but he put on a brave face and we had a very pleasant evening.

Lindsey and Ian at home

Our next day trip was to the town of  Windermere, to take a cruise on Lake Windermere,

The MV Teal, first launched in 1936. The Teal and the Swan are almost identical

The upper deck of the The Teal. Although it was a sunny day, it was quite chilly and we spent most of our trip on the lower decks.

Nice to be out on the water and actually seeing "The Lake District"

There are many large houses along the edge of the lake. Some of them are now hotels.

We took the ferry as far as Ambleside, where we hopped off the boat and had a cup of coffee and a snack, before getting back on the next boat back to Windermere.

The rolling hills of the Lake District

Our next outing was to Blackwell, a perfectly preserved snapshot of early 20th century living.

The house was completed in 1901 and was designed by the renowned architect  Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott. It was built for a wealthy Manchester brewer, who used it as a summer home. The Interiors are built and furnished in the Arts and Crafts style.

The main living room. Note the gallery which overlooks the room.

A cozy fireplace, with seats to enjoy the fire on a chilly day

Strangely, although the house is built on the lake, only the end of the house faces the lake. The front of the house faces sideways and really doesn't have lake views.

The furniture and decorations, which are original to the house, are all beautifully made in the Arts and Crafts style.

The detailing is exquisite

A woven wall covering

Moving on, we paid a visit to Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter (although she never actually lived in the house).

Beatrix Potter bought the house in 1905 and left it to the National Trust on her death in 1945. She used it as a retreat from London and much of her writing was done here.

The Parlour

The entrance hall, which would also have served as a living room

The kitchen, or perhaps more accurately, the scullery

The small upstairs sitting room which Ms. Potter used as a writing room

The garden leading up to the house, would be featured in many of her stories

A highlight of our time in The Lakes was the wedding of Kristine's grandson, Aaron to his fiancée, Anna

Aaron and Dan just before the wedding service

The interior of Crosthwaite Parish Church, waiting for the wedding service to begin

Aaron and Anna, now Mr. and Mrs. Asplin

It was pouring with rain as we left the church, so no one stayed outside for very long.

Although we weren't at the actual reception, this was the happy couple cutting the cake

Next day, we went to the Lakeland Motor museum, which was exactly what you might expect.

A 1960 MGA, built to police specs, was of particular interest

As was a very early pre-war (1931) MG Midget - an obvious precursor to the post-war TC model

Sir Donald Campbell's 1935 "Bluebird" - actually a full size replica

On our last day, before driving to Manchester Airport, we stopped at the only Laurel and Hardy museum in the world.

Now, to be honest, there wasn't much that could be directly connected to the two comedians. Most of the exhibits were memorabilia which had been made long after they had stopped making films and the whole place did seem a little "run down". Still, it was worth the price of admission and passed an hour or so on the way to the airport.

So leaving Laurel and Hardy behind us, we drove to Manchester airport, stopping at Joan's memorial one last time. We returned our car and spent a night at the airport hotel, before flying home the next day.