Wonderful Wensleydale

David and I (along with my mum, sister and Bailey) have recently returned from a lovely mini-break in and around Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria. We stayed at the absolutely wonderful Court House in grounds of Leck Hall which was the perfect place to switch off for a few days, with its beautifully decorated rooms, log fire, enclosed garden, two bathrooms and library.

Our first stop on our adventure was lunch at the Tan Hill Inn, which is the highest in Britain standing at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level. It’s a very animal friendly pub (including sheep and ducks) so Bailey was more than welcome to join us inside, which always gets bonus points from us.

After lunch we went to the Wensleydale Creamery (Bailey had to sit this one out) and had a wander around the museum before trying some of the many different samples of cheese. All of them were absolutely delicious and we had a hard time not buying the entire range. In the end we chose Mature Cheddar Black Sheep Riggwelter Ale, Naturally Smoked Cheddar, Red Leicester and Premium Fountains Gold Cheddar. For me it was a tie between the smoked and ale cheeses, I’ll just have to buy some more to come up with a definitive answer… what a shame!

On our way to the Court House we stopped to take Bailey for a walk by the Ribblehead Viaduct, which he enjoyed despite being a bit hesitant due to meeting some strange woolly creatures called sheep for the first time. Finally after navigating through gates, over draining gulleys and around cows we arrived at the former Georgian coach house and settled in for the evening.

The next day we went to the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway to catch the steam train to Lake Windermere. My sister and I spotted some beautiful owls on the platform which had come from the Owl Sanctuary, so before boarding the train we were able to hold them for a while and pet them (very gently of course). Once we’d arrived at Lakeside, we boarded one of the Windermere Lake Cruises and headed to Ambleside. Bailey has never been on a boat before, so we were apprehensive about how he would react, but he wasn’t bothered in the slightest… he was too busy loving the attention from our fellow passengers!

We had lunch at the Wateredge Inn once we reached Ambleside and the food was absolutely superb! They’re another very dog friendly pub and will let you sit inside with them, which was ideal as the weather started to turn rather chilly. Afterwards we had a wander around the shops including one of my favourite sweet shops, Friars, for some chocolaty goodness before heading back to the boat.

The morning of our final day was spent at Aira Force which is a lovely waterfall surrounded by woodland. Unfortunately due to a combination of pouring rain, a stubborn dog who refuses to get wet and my bad ankle the only person who got to enjoy the view was David, whilst the rest of us enjoyed the tearoom. Before heading home we had lunch at the Pooley Bridge Inn, which ended up as an adventure in itself as mum’s food was still cooking as it arrived which managed to set the smoke alarm off, twice, and resulted in a coughing fit that had the entire pub staring at us… oops!

We had a fantastic break with plenty of good food, amazing views and lovely people. It’s so nice to be able to visit a place that is so dog friendly, it makes life so much easier. I wish more places were accessible to dog owners like the Lakes are, but until that happens it’s a great excuse to keep going back!

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