So, here is a quick(ish) holiday blog.
Alton Towers is a few hours drive from us, so with a very, very full car, we set off early to ensure we were there before the rides openend. We got there and were greeted by a queue to join a queue simply to get on the monorail that gets you to the queues. However, once we got to the park everyone magically disappeared and we heaved a collective sigh of relief.
Finns #2 & #3 were sent off alone to the 'big & scary' rides, whilst Ted and I wandered off to CBeebies Land.
CBeebies Land was great - but a comparatively small area of Alton Towers and if I had spent vast anounts of money to get in just for that I would not have been happy. Interestingly, in the time we queued to go on the Postman Pat ride the Finns had done 3 of the 'big & scary' rides!
There are a good number of family friendly rides that everyone can go on together. All 3 boys loved the pirate ride - enjoying the challenge of shooting water at other boats, and the not so easy challenge of keeping dry. We failed and all got completely drenched!
Having been advised to leave 'The Smiler' till the end of the day, we did just that, and in fact it was the only ride that the big boys had to queue more than a few minutes for. Ted and I sat around eating ice-creams and enjoying watching others terrify themselves!
So, thrills over it was time to head further North for a few Wi-Fi, TV free days, full of fresh air, exercise and er, torrential rain.
We stayed in a barn on a small working farm - a fantastic place to stay. It was in the middle of nowhere but handy for many Lake District tourist spots. http://abbotpark.co.uk/
Tip of the month - ask Carol to make Cottage Pie for dinner - 'that was the best cottage pie I've ever had' (said a 13 year old). At £4 a head it was a great way to avoid looking for a pub in the torrential rain.
(this (minus the boy) was our view on waking & wandering)
For Ted, the highlight of the trip was going to be a trip to The Rock Shop in Ambleside. http://www.rockshop.co.uk/ .This is basically a shop selling all things gem & crystals with a couple of other things going on too. You can do a dinosaur trail, make jewellery, but all Ted was interested in doing was the gem pit. You pay a small(ish) amount and the children can scrabble round the pit of gems filling a little bag with any they fancy. It was a lovely way to spend 20 minutes or so, and Ted and Finn #3 were happy with their treasures.
Visited the Lakes Aquarium, went on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite steam train, walked up along a waterfall, found the Gruffalo in Grizedale Forest, visited the Beatrix Potter gallery in Hawkshead
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beatrix-potter-gallery/ , cruised on Windermere, collected stones on Bardsea beach (an old childhood haunt of mine) and most importantly ate Cumberland sausages in a pub!