We have just come back from a weekend camping at The Quiet Site in the Lake District.
I know what you’re thinking…Camping with a rowdy toddler? In England? In the Spring? Really?!
And I get it, I really do.
After all, I had always thought of myself as much more of a feather-down duvet and pillows kinda gal rather than a sleeping bag, communal bathroom and no privacy type but recently I’ve started to hanker after a quieter life, a simple getaway and a total online embargo. Must be an age thing.
Or perhaps the fact that I’m killing myself working two jobs and raising two humans.
Either way, after one too many glasses of fizz one evening, camping was pronounced the way forward.
Fresh air, cooking over an open fire, no technology in sight and *whisper it* actual, real-life conversation with my other half with not even a sniff of an Instagram filter. Sophie would love it and it would most definitely NOT rain? That was the plan anyway!
We booked to stay at The Quiet Site, a small family-friendly caravan and camping site overlooking the beautiful Ullswater in the Lake District. With a picture perfect location overlooking the lake, a raft of prestigious awards and excellent facilities, we knew that this was the site for us if we were going to take the camping plunge.
Initially, we had banked on setting up home under canvas but when we spoke with the site team, they recommended that actually, instead of sleeping under canvas, we might want to try one of their hobbit holes. Yep, you read that right.
They are basically large, underground spaces – four times larger than a traditional camping pod (which they also have on site), big enough for two adults and four littlies, insulated and heated so we wouldn’t have to worry about Little Miss Banshee being cold at night. In addition they have a toilet, sink, running water and sockets / USB charging points. If I could insert “praise be” emoji’s here then I most certainly would.
So, I suppose technically we should say that this was more like glamping. But I am ok with that. And when its 2 degrees at night, you would probably be ok with it too.
The best part of having a hobbit hole, aside from the heating, was the high vantage point and therefore, incredible views. It was breathtaking.
Watch my vlog below if you would like a tour of our hobbity home and a glimpse into our weekend away.
Whilst looking for campsites, I had a set criteria in mind which went something like this:
- Spotless bathroom facilities (I refer you back to my prior feather-down duvet remark)
- Family-friendly – naturally
- Location Location Location – we wanted to be right in the heart of the Lakes and not sat on the periphery
So lets have a quick run through shall we?
Facilities at The Quiet Site
- Small shop with all of the basics that you might need or have forgotten (like wine).
- Spotless bathroom facilities, including a few family bathrooms with proper baths – a nice touch when travelling with numerous little people because if you must wash with them all in tow, then at least you can contain them in the room with you.
- A food van called The Saucy Sausage – serving breakfasts and dinners daily (delicious I’m led to believe but we didn’t try it ourselves).
- Laundry room and drying room.
- Adventure playground – we only had Sophie with us this time but it looked pretty good if we do go back with Zak.
- Games field – we witnessed numerous games of family cricket being enjoyed.
- The most charismatic “olde worlde” bar I think I’ve ever seen – complete with a soft play area. Now let’s just stop and appreciate the awesomeness of such an idea please. Mummy drinks wine, children play. Tick! All soft play centres need to cotton on to this immediately please.
- Dishwashing area.
- Access to microwave, kettle, fridge and toaster if you haven’t brought your own.
- Also, for those of you wanting to pitch a tent – the pitches looked nice and flat, there was definitely electric hook up available and you are welcome to bring your dog so long as you keep it on a lead.
How Family Friendly Is The Quiet Site?
Very. In a word.
We felt really welcome with our baby banshee as there were a lot of families with children and the facilities were such that we didn’t feel any of the usual inconveniences that I imagine camping could pose. The family bathrooms are an excellent, well thought out detail as is the soft play area. There are no busy roads running through the site so I would have been more than happy to let older children play freely and safely – a detail that would be high on my list when travelling with older children (i.e. not bum-shuffling babies).
Not only this but the whole site it spotlessly clean and all the families on site made an effort to keep it that way from what I could tell.
It’s worth noting, that if you are looking for an all singing, all dancing campsite, then this probably isn’t the one for you. This is a smaller site, beautifully run by hardworking, enthusiastic staff but it doesn’t have swimming pools, restaurants, kids clubs and a hi-de-hi style entertainment programme. I hope you won’t let that put you off if because it was all the better for being quieter.
If you would like to eat out then I can personally recommend the pub called the Brackenrigg Inn for Sunday dinner, which is about 1 mile down the road.
Cooking for yourself can be part of the fun with camping though and sometimes simple is the best way. We lit the BBQ one night and just feasted under the stars, all wrapped up in our blankets.
Location of The Quiet Site
Well, what can I say? The pictures speak for themselves really. So, so beautiful and most definitely our favourite part about The Quiet Site. We wanted it to feel like we were really away from it all, back to nature and all that (says the girl with her fully insulated, heated accommodation).
This site does exactly that whether you stay in a caravan, tent, hobbit hole or pod.
It’s about a mile and a half to any kind of anything although I believe that you can actually get the bus if you don’t fancy walking or taking the car.
When you check in, the team will give you a map of all the local walks that you can take from The Quiet Site itself, some short and some longer. There are plenty of cycle routes too as you’d expect.
We were there for two days and we ventured off to walk Aira Force, a National Trust spot about 4 miles from The Quiet Site with beautiful waterfalls. This is a great, family friendly place to have a walk so long as you have a baby carrier with you. The bonus is that there are toilets, a cafe and an ice cream shop, making this a lovely family-friendly afternoon. Just by the by, parking is NOT cheap – something like £5 for two hours or £7 for four hours…
On day two we visited the lovely village of Glenridding and took a hike up Lantys Tarn, which marks the beginning of the mammoth hike up the mountain of Helvellyn. Not one for the kids perhaps but Sophie was fine, lording it over us in her baby carrier, pulling my hair and shouting “giddy up!”
If you have little, walking legs with you then the climb up to Lantys Tarn is steep, albeit relatively short. I wouldn’t attempt it with young children if you aren’t prepared to carry them.
Day three saw us exploring and relaxing in the gorgeous little village of Pooley Bridge. This is such a stunning little spot with some beautiful tea rooms, pubs and walks along the river (in that order). I had driven my family round the twist with my constant mamarazzi behaviour by this point so I don’t have too many shots of me eating cake (thankfully). Rest assured cake was consumed, a debate of the pronunciation of ‘scones’ was had and Sophie sang Teletubbies at the top of her voice in-between spraying the tearooms with currants and jam. Standard but with a great view.
Looking at the weather as I write this, it’s hard to believe we were basking in hot and sunny weather all weekend. The camping Gods must have been smiling down on us for our first foray into camping *cough glamping* and I think this was just the icing on the cake for a truly brilliant weekend.
A few of my highlights were toasting with a bottle of bubbles under the stars with Shaun whilst Sophie slept soundly inside the hobbit hole, waking up to that amazing view each morning and spending some incredible, quality time with my family.
Without a shadow of a doubt, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the beautiful Quiet Site to anyone who was looking for a small, brilliant, family-friendly home from home in the Lake District.
So, next time you wonder whether you can do it with a baby or toddler? I would say, pack up the kids, the car and the wet wipes and head out into the fresh air because yes you definitely can!
Visit http://thequietsite.co.uk for more information.