Sometimes a few nights away can make you feel like you’ve had a holiday and it was great to get away with my parents a few weeks ago.
We stayed in a lodge at South Lakeland Leisure Village, a small complex of holiday homes set around a lake. The lodge which we stayed in had sliding glass doors at one end, meaning you could sit in the lounge area and look out onto the water.
The doors led to a veranda which hung slightly over the lakeside, making it a perfect spot to sit and watch the birds coming and going or the occasional paddle boarder who passed by.
The site is set in countryside near Carnforth, Lancashire, about 20 minutes from Lancaster and the village of Kirkby Lonsdale and 30 minutes’ drive from the Lake District.
With an indoor swimming pool, gym and spa on site and a restaurant and bar, we knew we’d be able to spend plenty of time near the lodge but also go out to visit the local area as well. A really good option for groups of mixed ages like ours!
It was the first weekend in March when we visited and although it rained so heavily on the Friday night drive up there, by the Saturday morning it was clear and one of the nicest sunny days we’ve had this year.
We walked up to the pool after breakfast and Sam and Flo couldn’t wait to get in the water. I must admit, I don’t take them swimming often enough as being on my own with two non-swimmers is not the easiest of experiences. Sam is getting more confident now though and I think the more I make the effort to take them, the better he will get so that’s on my list of activities from now on.
He had swimming lessons every week from when he was three until he was six, but let’s just say he wasn’t a natural swimmer and the stress of trying to stop a young Florence jumping in the water for the full half hour of the lesson made me call it a day when my husband was really poorly. It was one of the things that had to give for my own sanity, but I do feel now that I need to give Sam that final push to really get swimming well on his own.
With my parents there, I managed to leave the kids with them while I did a few lengths too. I love swimming and used to go religiously three times a week pre-kids. To get back into that was a real boost for me too, I find it so therapeutic! There was a steam room at the side of the pool that my mum and dad and I tried out as well, it was really lovely but could maybe have done with being a bit hotter for my liking!
Sam made a friend in the pool so was happy playing with his diving sticks – the ones we had last year in Portugal from Swimfin and they are perfect for entertaining the kids in the water.
After a good hour in the pool, we went home for lunch before my mum joined me and the kids for a trip to Lancaster. Dad was more than happy to stay in and have a few hours to relax while we visited the castle, had a walk round the town and had a look round Lancaster City Museum. We found it really easy to park right outside the castle, which is currently covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin sadly! We went inside but didn’t get the chance to look round as unfortunately you can only go in on a guided tour, which takes an hour and a half and I just don’t think it would have held my children’s attention for that long.
We walked down instead to the City Museum in the old town hall, which is all about the city’s history and houses the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum, which is crammed full of artefects of war and a few gory reproductions of battling soldiers, which Sam loved!
We had a quick stop at Waterstone’s on the way back to the car so Sam and Flo could buy a book each with their spending money, and we were on our way home. Sam bought himself a bird spotting guide as he had been using my dad’s binoculars to look at the birds on the lake near our lodge. When we got back, he saw a fight kick off between three ducks and was glued to it for about half an hour! There was also a boy sailing on the water who passed us and who Flo shouted looked just like her brother. He actually did but sadly I think you had to take your own boat if you wanted to join in with the sailing – something which we don’t have 🙂
On the Friday night we ate in the Water’s Edge restaurant on site. It was about 6.30pm when we arrived and fairly busy by the bar, with plenty of free tables to eat at. There was plenty of choice and lots of things that appealed to the kids, plus the portions were huge and the service was pretty fast and friendly.
I had the grilled sea bass with roast vegetables and kale, which was really tasty and far more than I could eat. Mum and Sam had pizzas which looked freshly made and my dad had a burger which he said was really good. Flo had fish fingers and managed to eat her way through about half of the meal before giving up, it was so big! The restaurant is so handy and was perfect for us to have our dinner after arriving at the site with little ones quiet late.
The following night we ate out at a local Italian restaurant Mia Italia in Bolton-le-Sands. Dad found it with a bit of googling and it was such a great choice, lovely fresh food in a really cool, relaxed venue and perfect for kids. Florence and Sam were able to make their own pizzas at the table and were even given their own paper chef hats to decorate while they waited. My parents and I shared a bottle of wine and had a pizza or pasta – dad’s even had local Morecambe Bay shrimp on – and it was just good food in a really nice atmosphere. Perfect!
I would definitely go back to South Lakeland Leisure Village, it’s a great choice if you’re in a group, or with young children and want good facilities within easy reach. The lodge itself was of a really high standard, and with four bedrooms there was plenty of space for us and for the kids to test out a variety of different beds! There were two double rooms (one ensuite), a twin room and one with bunkbeds.
The bathroom was really modern and although it is in effect a mobile home, it didn’t feel at all like that on the inside and the shower was really hot and powerful.
The living space was big too, lots of sofa space and a large dining table, plus a really well-equipped kitchen if you fancied doing your own cooking while there. We were lucky as we had been left a lovely welcome pack with tea, coffee, wine, mini eggs, bacon, bread and fruit – all the essentials!
The only drawback for us was that the wi-fi was really hit and miss in the lodge. I know most people want to switch off when they go away so this might not be a problem, but my son especially loves playing games on the iPad which he couldn’t access off line. We paid for the wi-fi for two days but found it hard to connect, apart from we found on my laptop if I was sitting near the window.
Still, being connected to the internet is certainly not an essential so I wouldn’t let that put me off visiting again, just one to be aware of if you need it to survive! I think the wi-fi is free at the Water’s Edge restaurant too.
Sam and Flo are already asking if we can go back and visit and I would love to head back for a few days over the summer.
Thanks so much to Pure Leisure for letting us stay in exchange for this honest review.