It’s quite tricky to find activities suitable for a large family that everyone will enjoy. My children are 10, 8, almost 3 and 7 months. Over the last few weeks we had a few days out in Cumbria, some went really well, one or two, not so much!
A day in Keswick
We had a lovely time in Keswick just before the Easter weekend. As it was already the school holidays we were expecting the town to be packed full of tourists. Parking wars and massive queues for the chippy and ice cream van were on the agenda. We were pleasantly surprised and got parked quickly. There were loads of spaces which was strange for Keswick in the hols!
We wandered down to the lakeside through Hope Park. It was a pleasant walk with all the children enjoying exploring the park, jumping over little streams and hiding in the shrubbery. We fed the ducks, who were a lot less aggressive than the last time we visited them! They must be the best fed ducks in the country. One swan got all territorial which amused us all!
We then went back to the town for something to eat. Between the chippy and a pasty shop we were all happy and sat on the main street to enjoy our food. Then there was the obligatory (and expensive!) visit to the chocolate shop, to stock up on treats for the way home.
A trip to the swimming pool was next on the agenda. All the kids were really excited, especially the two year old. It was the baby’s first time swimming too! It was pretty good value for a family of six as a family ticket is £16 but under threes are free. Again, it wasn’t too busy and much fun was had by all.
A day in Carlisle
On Good Friday we chose to have a day out in Carlisle. It was a lovely sunny day so we thought we’d book tickets to go to the new outdoor ice rink in the city’s Bitts Park. Before that, we needed some sustenance! The husband did his research and found a couple of nice looking eatieries. We went with one called Hell Below and Co and weren’t disappointed. I can’t find a website for them so here’s the trip advisor page link.
It was a bit of a squash fitting our family around the table, if the smaller two were older we could have taken up two tables which would have been easier. The tables were cute though, and had cinema seats as the seating! The service was brilliant and they were attentive and helpful, especially with things like high chairs.
The kids were drawn to the amazing milkshake menu and chose a Malteser and an Oreo milkshake. I would have taken a photo but they didn’t last very long! Toddler was happy with an orange squash which I was grateful for (hyper child for the rest of the day, no thanks!).
The menu was mainly pizza and light meals like salads or burgers. We chose three pizzas to share between us. I was torn whether to go with 9″ or 12″, we went with 9″ and it was just the right amount. I deliberately chose a parma ham, blue cheese and rocket one for me and the hubby so the kids wouldn’t pinch it. Bad Mummy! It was delicious!
I’m glad we went there instead of the usual, McDonalds, Pizza Hut or Pizza Express. It was better value and great service as well as great food and drink.
We had a little wander around the city too which was lovely as it was a warm day and the continental market was on. Lovely smells and atmosphere.
Next, we headed to the ice rink. When we checked in it turned out our booking hadn’t gone through on the system but fortunately there were still places available. We paid for the kids but just for one adult as we took it in turns to go on the “ice” as we are the same shoe size!
The older two took to it fairly quickly and were whizzing around in no time. I say whizzing, it’s quite hard to whizz around on plastic ice. It’s nothing like actual ice which was a bit disappointing. The toddler wasn’t keen at this point so did one lap with his Dad and then came off for a drink and a rest. By this point it was really warm and they were all thinking about ice cream and cool drinks.
I then had a go and the toddler did another couple of laps with me. He got a bit more confident and was able to keep his balance and “skate” a little. Eldest child was really good at it by this point. #2 was bored and wanted to go to the park!
The play park in Bitts Park was fabulous! It was really busy but kept the children happy for ages. In fact, they didn’t want to go. I think we could have skipped the ice skating totally and they wouldn’t have been bothered. There’s a wet area, where they got pretty soaked! We’ve promised that we’ll go back in the summer, with cozzies and towels. The baby had his first go on a swing and loved it.
We also went to Maryport Aquarium but I’ll have to save that for another post. Must make tea!