Blankey Quay - The best crabbing spot in Norfolk

Crabbing Spots In Norfolk

Norfolk and Suffolk are crabbing hot spots with the coast littered with various towns and harbours to crab from. Wells on Seas on the north coast is a very popular place along with places dotted along the coast. 

Cromer pier is the most famous of all the crabbing spots and they sometimes hold the UK championships there. Having been to many of these spots I will list you my best spots to go to. Due to the location most of these are on the north Norfolk coast rather than further down near Great Yarmouth.

Top Crabbing Spots In Norfolk!

Here are my top spots starting with my favourite. Further down the page, you’ll find my top crabbing tips! 

Crabbing Hot Spot - Blakney

Blankey Quay - The best crabbing spot in Norfolk

As well as being my top-rated crabbing spot, Blakney is a lovely traditional village on the north Norfolk coast. The crabbing is on a small estuary and you need to be there as the tide is coming up. 

It does get busy in the summer holidays and on warmer weekends. There are usually people swimming and paddleboarding in the water too. 

Take a folding chair and get your spot early, usually around an hour and a half before high tide works well. Look for gaps in the boats and for any deeper spots you can see as these will be the best spots.

While you wait, if someone keeps your spot, head to the bakery by the car park for delicious pastries and cakes. 

Where to buy bait: There is a fishmonger by the Spar on the main road down to the harbour. There is also a coast shop just next to the Kings Arms further down the high street that does bait and crabbing equipment. 

Where to park: You can park in a couple of places in Blakney. The easiest place to get a space is at the village hall. This is on the main triangle in the middle of the village. Thre are some toilets here and a play area. You can then walk down the high street to the quay and pick up your baits on your way down. 

Can you beat us? Our current record at Blakney is 181 crabs in a day, using 2 drop nets. We used the bait from the coast shop that is pre-packed and found a good deep spot between 2 boats, the crabbing was relentless. We eventually gave up our spot to someone else before the tide went out. 

Next Best - Wells-Next-The-Sea

Wells next to the sea crabbing gets very busy

Wells if also up on the North Norfolk coast and is further round the Blankey. It’s not too far from Holkham Hall which is also a great place to visit. In Wells, there is a harbour front that is very popular with crabbers.

I’ve never personally had a go here but have seen people with buckets full of crabs and them being caught regularly. This is a real hot spot on the key. Again, you want to look for slightly deeper water if you choose a spot. 

There’s lots more to do in Wells with the beach not too far away. There are seaside shops and eateries to visit. The only challenge with visiting can be finding a parking space in the school holidays. A lot of people park alongside the road above the town and walk down as it is easier if you spot a space here. The traffic in Wells can also be bad in the summer so parking just out of the town can help avoid crawling around trying to find a space. 

Where to buy bait: Wells is bigger than Blakney and has a more seaside town vibe. There are a number of shops along the quayside that all sell crab bait – they’ll usually have a sign in the window so you know what is on offer. You can also pick up nets and buckets from these shops if you do not already have these with you. 

Patience Needed - Cromer Pier

Cromer Pier hosts the “world” crabbing championships in August every year. I have crabbed at Cromer and it was the least enjoyable place I’ve ever crabbed! The quays are much easier to crab from than the incredibly buy pier. 

When we went the pier was packed with people and it took us 15 minutes waiting for someone to leave to get a decent spot. It is a VERY long way from the pier to hit the water! It is a lot of winding if you want to keep pulling up to see if you have caught anything. 

My tips for crabbing at Cromer Pier

  1. Get your water before you go up – There’ n where to get water on the pier so get down to the water first. Always remember to walk back down with your bucket and release the crabs carefully into the water near the pier again – Do not pour them in off the pier! 
  2. Get there early – Arrive before high tide to get the best spots – As close to the end of the pier as you can get.
  3. Spread out – This is just so you don’t get in tangles, people will just come in and sit right next to you.
  4. Don’t go if it’s windy – As mentioned it’s a long way to the water and on windy days your net could end up anywhere! 
  5. Be patient: When we have been we’ve never seen anyone with bucket loads of crabs. Most people catch a few while the are there. 

These are the 3 top spots in Norfolk. If you are heading for a Norfolk lodge holiday then why not have a go at crabbing. It is a very popular pastime and kids love it! 

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Steam Mill Lodge Review – Hot Tubs & Fishing Lakes

town, county Check Availability Key Information Facilities About The Site View On Map In The Area Questions Key Information – Steam Mill Lodges 8 Lodges on site Adults only Suitable for couples All lodges have hot tubs Fishing On Site (2 Lakes_) 1 Small dog allowed in selected lodges Address: Canal Street, Oakthorpe, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE12 7RD Email: Website: Like the look so far? Why not share it with your friends? Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Email On Site Facilities Restaurants nearby 2 Lakes on site In lodge Wifi Parking close to lodge My Stay At Steam Mill Lodges Disclaimer – I booked this privately and was not paid or the review, more did I receive a discount. The owners were unaware of our stay until the review was published. We booked to stay in the Hazel lodge in May for a weekend break without the kids, for a change! Steam Mill is close enough for a quick weekend away and the opportunity to stay there was something we couldn’t miss. On arrival the gated entranced added to the feeling of privacy and the area around the lodges looked very well kept. I really liked how they’d let some of the grass grow other than the pathway down to the lake – very eco. In the lodge we had a very nice welcome basket – I always think this is a sign of the owners showing they have a good level of care for your stay. The bread was delicious! We stayed in Hazel lodge which is one of the 2 bottom lodges with views to the lake – the others have views to the lake but you can see the back of the lodge in front of you also. Outside the lodge is a good-sized decking area and a table and chairs. Our hot tub was covered and had an oak frame around it which is a very nice touch, especially was the weather was showery while we were there. The lodges themselves are small but efficient. There’s plenty of space for just a couple and we found our stay very relaxing. The sofa in the living room is a great spot to look out to the lake and fields beyond. One evening we spotted a barn owl swooping over the grass before coming to rest on a dead tree stump at the bottom of the hedge. This seemed to be its perch and we saw it there a few times across the evening. Overall we had a very relaxing trip to Steam Mill lodges and felt it was worth the money we’d paid in spite of the bad weather! The site is well looked after and very peaceful. If you stay a trip to Chalke Abbey is well worth your time. The house is full of a collection of weird and wonderful items from all around the world including hundreds of taxidermied animals. We will definitely be going back when we next get a free weekend! Fishing! If you’ve read any other pages on the site you’ll know I’m an avid carper! I’ve been carp fishing for over 20 years and have stayed at a number of the lodges we feature on the site(and will be staying at more!). I did not take my fishing gear to Steam Mill as we were only there for a short break. I did have a good look around at the lakes while I was there. Here is what I found Main lake Steam Mill has a small bank of the main lake that you can fish which is just down from the lodges. We were there in May and I would personally class it as unfishable die the the amount of weed. There was another spot you could fish, there is a footpath to the left of the lodges as you get to the entrance. Down there were a couple of pegs in front of a small clear area – I do not know who has the right to fish that area. Here is how the lake looks – For me this lake has great potential, it must be over 5 acres, reed-lined and full of natural food from the weeds. The water was crystal clear – this has the capability of growing some big carp in my opinion. It just needs a boat and a big rake! Smaller lake The smaller of the 2 lakes is just down from the lodges and is more of a pond than a lake! I saw a couple of small carp on the surface when the sun was out. I’d estimate these to be 2lb to 3lb as a maximum. You can also fish in this lake. There were a few lilies in it but no noticeable weed. How To Find Steam Mill Lodges Distances To Nearest Facilities 2 minute drive to nearest shop/ supermarket 5 minute drive to nearest pub/restaurant Frequently Asked Questions Do the lodges all have hot tubs? Yes, all the lodges have their own hot tubs. Do the lodge have private fishing? No, fishing is at the lakes which is around 100 meters from the lodges. Are the lodges suitable for children? No, this is an adult only site. Do they allow pets? Yes they allow 1 small dog in selected lodges. Can you park next to your lodge? No, but it is only 50 meters to the lodge. Read Our Latest Lodge Reviews Lake District Steam Mill Lodge Review Simon Grainger Posted on September 27, 2023 Lake District 10 Unexpected Things To Do In The Lake District Simon Grainger Posted on September 27, 2023 Lake District Brayton Park Luxury Lodges: Wild Carp Fishing – Hot Tubs & Stunning Views Simon Grainger Posted on July 21, 2023 Devon Mountain biking in Devon: The Best Trails Matthew Fox Posted on January 24, 2023 Holiday Blog Fossil Hunting tips. 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Simon Grainger Posted on May 24, 2022 Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Email

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Try paddleboarding in the lakes

10 Unexpected Things To Do In The Lake District

If you’re planning a trip to the Lake District, you’re in for a treat. With its stunning scenery, charming towns and villages, and exciting attractions and activities, it has something for everyone. But if you think you’ve seen it all, think again! In this article, we’ll show you 10 things to do in the Lake District that you may not have thought of. While Lake Windermere and Ullswater are must-see attractions, there are plenty of other lakes and bodies of water in the Lake District that are worth exploring. For example, have you heard of Buttermere? This tranquil lake is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Lake District and is the perfect place for a peaceful stroll. Buttermere is one of my favourite places to visit when I’m in the lakes, along with Tarn Hows. These are beautiful spots and not as busy as the main attractions. Or how about Coniston Water? This picturesque lake is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and more. If you’re a history buff, you’ll be pleased to know that the Lake District is home to some fascinating historic sites. For example, did you know that Cumbria was once home to the largest Roman civilian settlement in the north of England? Today, you can visit the remains of this settlement at the Ravenglass Roman Bath House. Water Adventures The Lake District is known for its stunning lakes and beautiful scenery, and what better way to experience it than by getting out on the water? Here are some water adventures you might not have thought of: Paddleboarding on the Lakes Paddleboarding is a fun and unique way to explore the lakes. You can rent a paddleboard from Derwentwater Marina in Keswick or hire one from a number of other places around the area. Lake Windermere is a popular spot for paddleboarding, but if you’re looking for something a bit quieter, Ullswater and Coniston Water are also great options. Try –  Hire a paddleboard on Coniston water here. Kayaking Excursions Kayaking is another great way to see the lakes and get some exercise at the same time. There are plenty of places to rent kayaks around the area, including Ullswater and Coniston Water. You can also take a guided kayaking excursion if you want to learn more about the area and its wildlife. Try – Kayaking excursions at Brockhole here.* *From my experience Brockhole does get really busy in the summer holidays. It’s a great place for a family day out, I’d just advise you to get there early. Wild Swimming Spots If you’re feeling brave, why not try some wild swimming? There are plenty of spots around the lakes where you can take a dip, but make sure you do your research first to make sure it’s safe. Some popular spots include Buttermere and Grasmere, but there are plenty of other hidden gems to discover. No matter what water adventure you choose, make sure you stay safe and follow any rules or regulations in place. And don’t forget to take in the stunning scenery around you! Before you go check the Lake District National Park guide to where you can swing and safety measures here. Want to stay by a lake? See our Lake District fishing lodges here. Cultural Experiences If you’re looking for a cultural experience in the Lake District, you won’t be disappointed. From literary landmarks to historical sites, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few sub-sections to help you plan your cultural itinerary: Literary Landmarks The Lake District has long been a source of inspiration for writers, and there are plenty of literary landmarks to explore. Visit Dove Cottage in Grasmere, where William Wordsworth wrote some of his most famous poems. You can also visit the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness*, where you can learn about the life and work of the beloved children’s author. For more literary inspiration, head to Keswick, where you’ll find the Theatre by the Lake, which hosts a variety of plays, readings, and talks throughout the year. *This is great for young children, I have been quite a few times! If it’s the summer holidays or May half term then try to pre book as it gets very busy. Artistic Inspirations The Lake District has also inspired many artists over the years, and there are plenty of galleries and museums to explore. Visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle in Keswick, which dates back to the Neolithic era and is said to have inspired many artists and writers over the years. This is an English Heritage site and is chargeable. You can also visit the John Ruskin Museum in Coniston, which celebrates the life and work of the famous artist and social reformer. Historical Sites If you’re interested in history, there are plenty of sites to explore in the Lake District. Visit Lowther Castle in Penrith, which dates back to the 12th century and is now a popular tourist attraction. You can also visit the ruins of the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Langdale, which was destroyed by fire in 2018. For a glimpse into local history, head to Bridge House in Ambleside, which dates back to the 17th century and is one of the most photographed buildings in the Lake District. This always fascinated me as a child! Photo credit: Visitlakedistrict Whether you’re interested in literature, art, or history, the Lake District has plenty to offer. Don’t miss the chance to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site and experience the unique culture and countryside of this beautiful part of the UK. Unique Attractions If you’re looking for something a little different to do in the Lake District, there are plenty of unique attractions to explore. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Brockhole on Windermere Brockhole on Windermere is a stunning country house that has been transformed into a visitor centre. It’s a great place to visit if you’re interested in learning about the history of the Lake District, as well as the local flora and fauna. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, including treetop adventures, mini golf, and boat hire. You can also enjoy a bite to eat at the café or pick up some souvenirs at the gift shop. If you have active kids aged around 9 to 15 then they will love the tree-top nets. Suspended between multiple trees they can go around them bouncing until your hearts content! Stargazing Spots The Lake District is known for its stunning scenery, and what better way to appreciate it than by stargazing? There are plenty of places in the Lake District where you can see the stars, but some of the best spots include Aira Force, Ennerdale Water, and Buttermere. Make sure you bring a blanket and a hot drink to keep warm while you take in the beauty of the night sky. The Drunken Duck The Drunken Duck is a quirky pub that’s well worth a visit. It’s located in the heart of the Lake District and offers a warm welcome to visitors. The pub has a great selection of real ales and delicious food, including locally sourced ingredients. It’s also a great place to stay if you’re looking for accommodation in the area. The rooms are cosy and comfortable, and the pub itself has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just good food and drink, the Lake District has something for everyone. Make sure you check out these unique attractions during your visit. Local Delights When visiting the Lake District, there are a few local delights that you don’t want to miss out on. From tasty treats to relaxing afternoon tea spots and scenic bike rides, here are some hidden gems to add to your itinerary. Grasmere Gingerbread Grasmere Gingerbread is a delicious treat that you can only find in the Lake District. This unique gingerbread has been handmade in the village of Grasmere since 1854 and is made from a secret recipe that has been passed down through generations. It’s a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth! Afternoon Tea Spots The Lake District is known for its picturesque scenery and what better way to enjoy it than with a relaxing afternoon tea? There are plenty of spots to choose from, but some of our favourites include the Lakeside Hotel and Spa in Newby Bridge, The Forest Side in Grasmere, and The Ryebeck in Bowness-on-Windermere. Bike Hire Services One of the best ways to explore the Lake District is by bike. There are plenty of bike hire services available, including the popular Lake District Bikes in Windermere. They offer a range of bikes to suit all ages and abilities, including electric bikes for those who want to take it easy. Easy Walks If you’re looking for a gentle stroll, there are plenty of easy walks to choose from in the Lake District. Some of the most popular include the Tarn Hows Circular Walk, the Aira Force and Gowbarrow Trail, and the Keswick Railway Path. These walks offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and are suitable for all ages and abilities. So, whether you’re a foodie, a nature lover, or an adventure seeker, the Lake District has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these local delights during your visit! Off the Beaten Track When you think of the Lake District, you might picture crowded tourist hotspots like Windermere or Keswick. However, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover if you’re willing to venture off the beaten track. Here are some suggestions for unique experiences in the Lake District. Hidden Hiking Trails If you want to escape the crowds and discover some of the Lake District’s hidden beauty, there are plenty of lesser-known hiking trails to explore. For example, Tarn Hows is a picturesque lake surrounded by woodland and mountains, and there are several trails that offer stunning views of the area. Great Langdale is another area with plenty of hiking opportunities, including the challenging climb up to Crinkle Crags. Secluded Swimming Spots If you’re looking for a peaceful place to take a dip, there are plenty of secluded swimming spots in the Lake District. Buttermere is a beautiful lake with crystal-clear water and several quiet bays where you can swim in privacy. Stair also has some lovely spots for wild swimming, including a waterfall and a series of pools. Charming Towns While the Lake District is known for its natural beauty, there are also some charming towns and villages that are worth exploring. Keswick and Ambleside can be quite busy, but there are other towns that offer a more peaceful experience. For example, Eskdale is a small village in the western part of the Lake District that is surrounded by mountains and has plenty of walking trails. The Duddon Valley is another picturesque area with several small villages and traditional pubs. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike, a peaceful swim, or a charming town to explore, the Lake District has plenty to offer beyond the usual tourist hotspots. Take a chance on some of these hidden gems and discover the privacy and beauty of the Lake District for yourself. Facebook Twitter Pinterest WhatsApp Email

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The lodge at Brayton Park

Brayton Park Luxury Lodges: Wild Carp Fishing – Hot Tubs & Stunning Views

If you are looking for fishing information please click here. I have recently stayed at Brayton Park Lodges and we had a great time there (me, my wife, and our children ages 6 and 9). The setting is absolutely stunning with breathtaking views of the hills of the north lakes in a beautiful park-like setting. I have now stayed here twice including once in a Wordsworth lodge and once in the Lawson lodge – The Lawson is my favourite.  Disclaimer: I’ve visited Brayton Park twice staying in a Wordsworth Lodge and then the Lawson Lodge. We paid s is my independent review. I am booked to go to the Lawson Lodge again in 2024. Key Information Facilities About The Site View On Map In The Area Site Map Questions Key Information – Brayton Park Lodges 18 Lodges on site + more being added Suitable for families Suitable for couples 7 Miles to nearest beach – Allonby Selected lodges have hot tubs Fishing on site or private peg (Lawson only) Bar/ Restaurant on site Pets are not allowed Like the look so far? Why not share it with your friends? Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Email On Site Facilities Restaurant on site Lake on site In lodge Wifi Parking by lodge Disabled access lodges Cycle trails nearby Cafe on site Golf course on site What You Will Find At Brayton Park Lodges Brayton Park lodges are at a high level of luxury. When we arrived we were amazed at home large the lodges were after staying at other lodge parks. These are high-class lodges with everything you could need.  We booked a Wellington and got number 2 at random. This was probably one of the best locations with views over the grass down to the lake. The living area was spacious, our lodge had dining for 6, a sofa and 2 armchairs and a good sized well fitted kitchen. It had 3 bedrooms including the ensuite master. What we really liked was the main bathroom had a door out to where the hot tub was. This was very handy for changing and getting dry.  To the side of the lodge, there was a large grassed area that was great for the kids to play on. The lodges all have large grassed mounds between them that adds to the feeling of privacy. As soon as you arrive at Brayton Park you settle into the relaxing surroundings. The drive past the lake on arrival is a beautiful site and all the grounds are well maintained. There is an onsite bar and restaurant that offers food to your lodge. We had this a couple of times and the food was excellent, with a good choice of foods and some tasty desserts.  There is also a farm shop on site that sells a range of meat, some good looking pastries and some nice looking bread and cakes. This was not open during our visit but if you check out the Brayton Park Facebook page you will see the pictures of the amazing looking food.  There is a 9 hole golf course by the bar and clubhouse and this seems popular. You could turn up and pay and play at the course.  What Else Will You Find On Site Carp fishing at Brayton Park We mainly booked these lodges as we were looking for a luxury lodge with a hot tub in the North Lakes for a holiday, the carp fishing was just a bonus extra. I struggled to find out much information on the lakes and the fish before we went other than the carp we were around 10lb and there were a couple of bigger ones. During the first week in a Wordsworth lodge, we (me and my children) fished the lake for 4 half-day sessions around what else we were doing during the trip. Here is one of the 4 double takes we had! There is one lodge that is right on the lake with its own private peg. This was not the lodge we had booked so you have to take your gear to the bottom end of the lake as fishing is only from the tree-covered bank of the lake. This was a bit of a pain! Whilst there I got chatting with 2 of the 3 members that fish the lake and found out a lot of information. I put it in bullet points here for easy reading! The lake is 7 acres and was dug out by monks at a monastery around the 14th-16 century. At the first peg, you get to, slightly to the right there are still steps in the water from that time (You can’t see them but can feel them with a lead). The carp are on average 6-8lb, they are all wild commons that have bred in the lake. There is a couple in the 13lb – 14lb range. There is a big lily bed that comes up in the summer making the first peg almost unfishable. I went in the spring and you could see it starting to come up. The lake is very shallow in parts and some areas, even out in the middle, are around 2-3 feet deep. On the warm spring days, we could see the carp basking in these shallow areas and catching well from them. The only fish in the lake are common carp and crucians, apart from an occasional natural hybrid there are no other fish or coarse fish at all. In our best session, we had 11 carp in just under 3 hours from 2 rods. That morning they were going for it on one of the shallow spots! What you need to take Here’s a guide to what I took and would take again Bank sticks or a pod are fine. (If you are in the lakeside lodge then you’ll need a pod as it’s a decked peg). Solid bags with 14mm wafters worked well for me, another visitor was doing well on corn and a method feeder. I just used bags and no extra freebies as I was fishing at 12ish wraps with no spod. If you are there when it’s warmer I think boilies and a throwing stick would work well for bating up.  Shorter rods if you have them. I fished with 12-foot carp rods, with all the trees a 9-foot or 10-foot rod or swing tip would be better. A decent side padded unhooking mat, I’m not sure if the fish are caught that often as even after letting them tire before landing they were still feisty on the mat! Usual tackle for that size fish. The Lawson Lodge – Private Peg Here is the peg from the lakeside lodge – I spent a week at the Lawson Lodge in May and had a great week catching carp. The peg above is massive and the outdoor space was amazing. The hot tub overlooks the peg and the lake and you can see carp jumping all day.  We fished quite a lot during our stay, mainly in the mornings and evenings. Over the week we managed to catch 86 carp with numerous double takes. They were all the standard Brayton Park wild carp, long and lean and between 6 and 8lb.  I fished with PVA bags which worked perfectly. If you are planning to fish during your stay the Lawson Lodge is highly recommend.  Brayton Park golf course The course is a 9-hole 2,323-yard course that looks well-kept. At the time of writing it is £10 for 9 holes or £15 for unlimited rounds.  The payment was made via an honesty box in the car park. Food and drink were available to all residents and non-residents in the clubhouse.  Brayton Park is well-ranked in our golf lodge break guide. It is perfect for a luxury break for a casual golfer.  There is a dress code that you would expect with no tracksuits, football shirts etc allowed. You are expected to wear a shirt on the course but the code seems quite relaxed.  Restaurant The on-site restaurant is in the golf clubhouse where you get your keys. They have a good choice of locally sourced food and we found it to be very nice. They also have a separate menu for in-lodge dining that you can ring up and order to your lodge. It is best to pre-order as it can be busy at times. How To Find The Lodges What Is In The Local Area The site is around a mile from the village of Aspatria which makes it feel nice and secluded. In Aspatria, you will find a couple of pubs, petrol station and co-op among other shops. The nearest big town is Penrith which is a further drive away.  Distances To Nearest Facilities 5 minute drive to nearest shop/ supermarket 5 minute drive to nearest pub/restaurant (not on site) 11 minute drive to nearest beach – Allonby – Shingle beach Nearest golf course is on site Brayton Park Site Map *Site map was taken from the source and is subject to change, check the website for the most up to date information.  The lodges seem to be selected at random when you book. The ones overlooking the lake are more desirable. The Lawson is the only lodge with private fishing. The front 3 Darwin lodges have a view of the golf course. All lodges seem to have a view over to the mountains of the north lakes in the distance.  Frequently Asked Questions Do the lodges all have hot tubs? All the lodges at Brayton Park have private hot tubs. It is best to check when you book as new lodges were being added at the time of our review.  Do the lodges have private fishing? Only the Lawson lodge has a private fishing peg. Other lodge guests can access the lake by going down the road and fishing from the tree-lined side.  What attractions are near Brayton Park? There are numerous attractions around the northern Lake District. We visited a forestry commission site where there was s Gruffalo trail and a high ropes style course. They have a lot of walks and different level cycle trails. They also hire bikes and helmets.  The nearest beach, Allonby, is not large and is a pebble beach. There is a very nice ice cream shop on the front by the main car park.  You can visit part of Hadrian Wall which is around an hour drive away. This is a National Trust property where there was a fort.  You can also drive into the central Lake District where there are numerous attractions to visit. It is around a 1 hour drive to Bowness on Windermere, although that could be longer with traffic a busier times. Is there on site food and drink? Yes you can dine at the restuarnt or order from the in lodge menu. There is also a farm shop on site.  Are there any pubs in walking distance? The on-site pub is. If you were a keen walker you could walk to the pub in Aspatria which is approximatley 1.5 miles away.  Can you have shopping delivered? We had out shopping delivered from Tesco and was Sainsbury’s delivering to the lodge next to us.  Are the lodges suitable for children? We found they were great for our 6 and 9-year-old. They had a lot of space inside the lodge and there was good outside space too. There is a large grass area overlooking the lake where other children would play sometimes.  There are things to do in the local area but we spent most of our time around the lodge, playing, fishing and in the hot tub.  Do they allow pets at Brayton Park? No, pets are not allowed.  Can you park next to your lodge? Yes, parking is available alongside all lodges and looks like you could get at least 2 cars by any of them.  Read Our Latest Lodge Reviews Lake District Brayton Park Luxury Lodges: Wild Carp Fishing

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Image of a mountain bike on Haldon Hill in Devon

Mountain biking in Devon: The Best Trails

As a family we love Devon. We have ventured there for numerous family holidays. The county has so much variety and so many things to do, it’s impossible not to enjoy the UK’s third-largest county. If it’s not the wilderness of Dartmoor, it’s the glorious and varied beaches of North and East Devon. If it’s not the city, it’s the forests and woodlands. With so much on offer, it’s little wonder we spend so much time here. One activity that I especially enjoy is mountain biking in Devon. The landscape here differs hugely in such a small area. One minute you can be trudging up steep climbs in a forest, the next gently peddling along a track next to a river. With such beautiful surroundings, I always take my bike when we go for our regular cabin holiday in Devon. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience mountain biking in several places across Devon and I thought I’d share my experiences. Mountain biking in Devon – Haldon forest park Haldon forest park is located about 15 minutes south of Exeter.  The park is set amongst 3500 acres of forest and is one of my favourite places to mountain bike. The park itself is very welcoming to visitors. With ample car parking, which is pay and display, and a lovely cafe serving delicious cakes and coffee, the whole experience here is well worth it if you decide to go. Haldon Hill is the perfect place to get yourself and the family outside. There are numerous walks in glorious forestry as well as other activities such as go ape and segway. I visited Haldon Hill to go mountain biking and I wasn’t disappointed. The forest park has 4 cycling tracks, each colour coded and all have varying levels of difficulty. They are labelled on posts with coloured arrows, showing the direction of travel. The first Blue track is great for a warm-up. Without pushing too hard, this circuit isn’t too t as taxing but gets the heart rate up. With a couple of small inclines interspersed with some tricky manoeuvres through the trees, the surface is a mixture of dirt track and gravel. At a steady pace, this track will take you about 15 minutes to get around. The next track you may encounter is a slightly darker blue. This is one of my favourite mountain biking tracks on Haldon Hill. A combination of faster parts with more technical manoeuvres required, dark blue will take you through the trees, down the slopes, along the gravel, and round a few hairpins bends with a few steady climbs. There’s ample opportunity to stop and have a water break if needed. This track will take about 20-25 minutes, depending on ability. The red track is for the more able mountain bikers. You will quite often see those with more confidence tearing down the slopes and navigating around the more technical parts. There are some quite steep sections that do take some experience. I probably went too slow, but I wanted to see this track for myself. There are a couple of other tracks that are great to cycle around. The green track is quite flat and will lead you out overlooking the city of Exeter. I have used this as a cool down track. Take you’re time on this route as sometimes you’ll encounter dog walkers. Finally, there’s the purple track which has some steep downhills, which obviously means some climbs back up. This is great for feeling the burn and getting that all-important hill climb under your belt. For mountain biking in Devon, Haldon hill is my favourite place to cycle. Beautiful surroundings and ready-made tracks. Perfect! Woodbury Common, Devon Mountain biking Perhaps a little less well known, certainly by visitors to the area anyway is Woodbury common. The village of Woodbury is located approximately 15 minutes from Exeter and not far from the seaside town of Exmouth. The common is well over 250 acres. It is mainly heathland, with stunning views over the coastline near to Sidmouth.  The land has numerous tracks, too many to count. Although the common is used by walkers and dog lovers, the tracks are perfect for mountain biking and there are rarely any encounters with people being too close to each other. The tracks are mix of stone and pebble, earth, mud and gravel. The terrain can be difficult in parts, with some arduous conditions; perhaps the reason why the Royal Marines train here. Nevertheless, for mountain biking enthusiasts, this part of Devon is a real gem. There are several car parks, that don’t charge. Each car park has several pathways and tracks leading off, meaning there are huge variations in rides.  The tracks are not directional however the space around means that you are highly unlikely to meet anyone without first seeing them. One particular mountain bike ride I enjoy at Woodbury common takes from the car park known as Four Firs. A steady gradual climb up soon has me looking out over the coast. I then head towards the firing range, which if in use is always clearly marked. I cycle down the stoney hill, which takes some concentration and up the other side, winding through the trees with some downhills and more climbs. Eventually I prepare myself for the grueling climb up towards what is known as thew castle; and old fort.  This ride can take up to 45 minutes and there are ways to make it shorter or longer if needed. Mountain biking on the Tarka trail in Devon The Tarka trail in Devon is the country’s longest path. Enjoyed by walkers and cyclists the figure 8 loop is approximately 180 miles. Now I have not completed the full loop however I have cycled a more scenic ride. Starting at Meeth near Okehampton, the ride heads towards north Devon, where I was aiming to get to a place called Fremington Quay. I had been told by locals that the old railway station at the quay is well worth a visit, not only for its coffee and cake but also for the picturesque views. The track is enjoyable and certainly a ride that allows you to meander through trees and nature. It’s important to realise that this track is enjoyed by walkers as well and not solely for cyclists. The trail was once a railway line, which is now no longer in use. The paths were converted back in the 1990s and have been enjoyed by visitors ever since. With easy ground, this mountain biking route in Devon can be enjoyed by all of the family, including smaller children. When they’ve had enough, simply turn around and head back. If some members of your group are without a bike, there are places in Bideford, Barnstaple, and Braunton that hire them out. The Tarka Trail is a great cycle ride and a really fun day out, especially if the weather is nice, as it usually is during the summer in Devon. If you are still looking for inspiration for your next Devon break then check out our guides on where to stay –  Lodge breaks in Devon Other Posts From Our Things To Do In Devon Blog Facebook Twitter Pinterest WhatsApp Email

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image of a pebbled beach, part of our fossil hunting tips

Fossil Hunting tips. The best beaches to find real dinosaur fossils

The south west is one of our favourite places to go on holiday. It has such a wide variety of activities on offer. We particularly like visiting its gorgeous pebble beaches along the south coast of Devon and Dorset. Our children love trying to find fossils. Its one of our favourite things to do. Its not always easy, but the Jurassic coastline is one of the best places on the UK for fossil hunting. We’ve put together some useful fossil hunting tips and hints, to help you and your family have a great day out! UK Fossil hunting hints. Get the most out of your day on the beach Choose a beach Being an island nation the UK has a huge coastline. In fact, the total length is in excess of 8,000 miles. This creates the perfect environment for fossil hunting, especially on the many beaches. The Uk is not really famed for its glorious sandy beaches like in some warmer climates and to be honest, sand isn’t really the ideal place to find fossils. Nevertheless, the UK has some stunning pebbled beaches, especially along the south coast. The perfect place to look for old dinosaurs and creatures that once roamed the earth. The Jurassic coast is named as such because of its abundance of fossils. The cliff faces and pebbled beaches are just the place to head to. Stretching from the southern coastline of Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset, there are many beaches to choose from. Here’s our list of the best beaches around the UK for fossil hunting. Lyme Regis Seaton Bude Charmouth Dunraven Bay Porthgain Helmsdale Understand the rules and laws This maybe something that you havent considered. Afterall fossil hunting is supposed to be a low cost and fun day out for all the family. In general fossil hunting in the UK is considered acceptable and fine. There are certain protected wildlife areas where fossil hunting is prohibited, this is usually to help protect the environment. It would be best to check the local area for signs prohibiting fossil hunting. If you do find fossils, especially in cliff and rock faces, it is essential to be mindful of causing damage to the surrounding area. Trying to remove a large fossil without the correct equipment could result in damage from falling rocks. In some areas, the fossils could be on land belonging to somebody. Legally the fossils will belong to the landowner, so it is best to find out beforehand. Take a fossil hunting kit To make the experience a little more exciting, especially for children, it is a great idea to make a fossil hunting kit. It is possible to find ready-made kits online, however, it can be relatively inexpensive to create your own. It is a good idea to keep your fossil hunting kit inside a small box or bag. Safety goggles Small rock hammer Chisel Marker pen and notebook Clear zip lock bags Fossils are often found inside rocks and pebbles. Care should be taken when trying to break into and split rocks, especially around young children. Safety first Heading to the beach is always a great day out. If you’re by yourself, in a small group of friends, or with the family, a day fossil hunting on any of the beaches around the UK makes for a wonderful experience. Care should be taken around the coast. It can be all too tempting to head around unknown coastlines and wander beneath unfamiliar cliffs. Coastal tides can change very quickly, cutting you off from safety. Likewise, some cliffs around the coasts can suffer from rock falls, especially if recent weather has been poor. Always check tide times and make sure you adhere to any safety signs. Be patient Probably our most hated fossil-hunting tip, especially with children, is to be patient Fossils can often turn up when least expected, but they can also take hours to find just one; which can seem disappointing. Setting expectations early can also help. It is highly unlikely you’ll discover a previously unidentified dinosaur and many fossils can be small.  Nevertheless, those that are patient and know how and where to look, often have the most success. Fossil hunting tips – what could you find? Hunting around the UKs beaches may uncover the following types of fossils; Pyrite fossils Belemnites fossils Ichthyosaur fossils Fossil sea shell Fossil sea urchin Previous Next

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Visiting Legoland Windsor Tips

Me and family head down for a trip to Legoland a couple of times a year. It is one of my favourite places to visit in the UK. Unfortunately, we are a 3-hour drive away otherwise I think we’d go even more often. We’ve now spent over 25 days in the theme park so I thought I would share my top tips for having a great day in the park. My Top 5 Tips For A Day At Legoland I’ve put a guide to places to eat under the top 5 tips. For these tips, I am expecting you have the Legoland app for queue times. It does not work until you are actually in the park but is essential for planning your day. If you haven’t already – download it now and familiarise yourself with the park map. 1 – Plan Your Day The Legoland park is big and having a good plan of what you want to go on will really help. Check the height restrictions for the rides to avoid any disappointment. Avoid running back and forth looking for short queues! I often find when a queue looks short on the app unless you are really close by, it will be longer by the time you get there! It does not update in real-time so you could add another 15 minutes compared to what the app says, especially for a big ride. If you want to go on the busier rides, like Ninjago or Flight of the Sky Lion, then head to one of those first or last. If you want to get the most out of the day go to a queue of one of the busiest rides 10 minutes before the park closes. The queues are usually shorter at this time and it maximises your time in the park. I always want to be the first one in and the last one out! 2 – Buy A Ride And Reserve I know this won’t be a hugely popular tip as you’ve already paid to get into the park. If you are going in the peak summer months then the reserve and ride will make your day a lot easier. The cheapest one allows you to queue virtually rather than stand around. In the summer holidays when its hot this really helps you to have a better day out. We would usually buy one in the summer months but not if it is out of season as the queues are manageable with some planning. My Reserve And Ride Tips Make sure you are always in a virtual queue no matter what you are doing! Queue up for rides that aren’t on the system whist queuing virtually for something else. Have a plan, as soon as your QR code is scanned get in the queue for the next ride, even before you’ve got on the ride. Use it for the bigger queues, if anything is 15 minutes you may as well queue for that while virtually queuing for other bigger queues. These tips will help you get the most out of the reserve and ride. On busy days you can often find reserve and ride queues have a 10-15 minute wait when you get to them so join that queue before your time. If you’re too early you just have to wait at the side until its your time. 3 – Have An Early Or Late Lunch All the food places are packed from 11.50-1.50 from my experience in the pack. Grabbing your lunch outside these times will help maximise your ride times rather than spending an hour for lunch. If you are still planning I think its easiest to take a picnic and just eat that watching a show at the lighthouse at lunchtime. If you want a grab-and-go then head to the Costa just down from mini land where you can grab sandwiches and salads. These sell out so grab them if your going past in the morning. 4 – See A Show Or Movie It’s not just rides at Legoland and breaking up the waiting around to catch one of the shows at the lighthouse or the 4D cinema. At the lighthouse, there is usually a Lego Friend show and the pirates of skeleton bay show. The Pirates of Skeleton Bay is the best show, no trip to Legoland is complete without seeing it! You’ll soon be singing “Yo ho yo ho, it’s the pirates of skeleton bay”. 5- Go To The Shop In The Middle Of The Day There is a large shop near the entrance and a smaller one in Lego City. the entrance shop is usually packed at the end of the day. If you want to have a look around the middle of the day is the best. If you are at Viking River Falls or the 4D Cinema then it’s a short walk to the entrance.

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