Tag Archives: pet friendly

A Pet-friendly Break in Keswick.

When planning a break with your four-legged friend , it is always handy to know that one particular Lake District resort has been voted ‘Uk’s Most Dog Friendly Town’ by the Kennel Club for four years on the trot. Lovely Keswick has it all. Stunning countryside with miles and miles of walks, a beautiful lake ( Derwentwater), cosy pubs and cafes, eclectic  shops , several dog-friendly parks and a  variety of accommodation  and visitor attractions that welcome waggy tails.  It seemed the ‘Pawfect’ place for a January Break with our labrador Hugo. 🙂 Here’s what we got up to….

Where we stopped.   We booked  Butterfly Cottage through Sally’s Cottages  who are based in Keswick. They have over 230 pet friendly holiday cottages in The Lake District and Cumbria. Our bijou retreat was so cosy with its Wood Burning Stove ( a must for a Winter Break), open plan downstairs space, fully equipped kitchen and beautiful bedroom with comfy King Size Bed. The location was really handy for everything in town and it was super useful to have an enclosed back yard with a muddy boots and paws wash.

Where we walked.  Every morning before breakfast we headed to Crow Park on the banks of Derwent Water. This is one of three Dog Friendly Parks in Keswick that we noticed. The others are Hope park and Fitz Park.  Each morning depending on the weather, the scenery changed. Sometimes the mountains were bathed in gold, sometimes they were an angry slate blue. It was peaceful there and Hugo had a great run around.

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There is a ten mile circular walk around Derwent Water itself which we hope to try on our next visit. We did however revisit a Railway walk which we enjoyed  whilst camping in Keswick a couple of years ago.  The Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path is now partially destroyed due to last Winter’s storms but what remains, still makes for a pleasant stroll or bike ride. The walk starts from the Swimming Baths near Fitz Park.

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We also walked up to  Castlerigg Stone Circle situated just outside of Keswick off Castle lane. With the mountains of Helvellyn and High Street as a backdrop, the stone circle is among the earliest in Britain, dating back to 3000 BC.  On a clearer day the views are stunning.

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Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Places to  Eat & Drink.   Keswick is great for dog friendly pubs and cafes.  In fact  all the pubs in Keswick welcome dogs except for the Wetherspoons.  Of course we made it our mission to try out as many as we could !  My favourites were The George Hotel with it’s cosy seating area by the fire, The Wainwright Pub, The Packhorse  Inn,  and of course The Dog and Gun famed for it’s ‘Homemade Goulash’ and doggy treat menu. 🙂

I don’t know about you but for breakfast on holidays I love pancakes. 🙂  Keswick has that sorted . We loved  Merienda  on the main street. It’s a fab Cafe Restaurant open for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner.  With an 8am opening time Mon-Sats and 9am on Sunday it is the perfect place to refuel before yomping up those hills. Another great venue for early starters is Cafe Bar 26 on Lake Road which does amazing Full Spanish Breakfasts. And both do make delicious  pancakes. 🙂

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Bar 26.

Many of the pubs serve great food ( try the Royal Oak for their amazing Cheese Boards & Platters) and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in Keswick that welcome dogs. As well as Bar 26 and Merienda look out for The Square Orange Bar/Cafe, Java Chocolate & Coffee Shop, Lakes Bistro & Bar, The Filling Station, Little Chamonix, Laura in The lakes, Kat’s Kitchen ( Veggie ) and Mrs F’s Fine Food emporium, to name but a few.

Shopping.  Plenty of shops in the town don’t mind you being accompanied by your four legged friend. I find the best thing to do is always ask first. Lots of the Outdoorsy shops are dog friendly and so are many others. Hugo visited lovely gift emporiums Cherrydidi  and Love The lakes  on St John’s Street, for holiday souvenirs. He also bobbed into Keswick’s well loved Pet Store Podgy Paws which is a great place to visit for advice on local walks and dog friendly places, activities and attractions.

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My picture of Cherrydidi Shop Dog Zak, taken last Summer. He has his own range of Zak merchandise and is a complete babe. 🙂

Visitor Attractions.  Here is a quick list of pet friendly things to do and places to visit in Keswick and the surrounding area. 🙂

Cumberland Pencil Museum. Carding Mill Lane. Journey through the history of pencils and pencil making. Home to the biggest colouring pencil in the world! pencilmuseum.co.uk

Keswick Launch Company. Derwentwater. See the gorgeous scenery of Derwentwater on a lake cruise. keswicklaunch.co.uk

A Puzzling Place. 9 Museum Square. An exhibition of optical illusions and trickery. puzzlingplace.co.uk

Keswick Climbing Wall. Goosewell Farm. Indoor and Outdoor Adventure Centre. keswickclimbingwall.co.uk

Castlerigg Stone Circle. Near Goosewell Farm.

Whinlatter Forest Park. England’s only true Mountain Forest with walks, trails and adventure play. forestry.gov.uk

Mirehouse & Gardens. Stately Home and gardens on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Dogs welcome in the gardens and grounds. mirehouse.co.uk

The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden. Portinscale.  Beatrix Potter often holidayed here and the garden was the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale Of Peter Rabbit. Reachable via a lake jetty or car. thelingholmestate.co.uk

 

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Hugo by Derwentwater.

I shall certainly take a look at the list on our next visit to Keswick. Hugo cannot wait to go again…and nor can we. 🙂

Can you recommend any dog friendly destinations?

 

 

 

Rydal Hall Sculpture Trail.

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Rydal in the Lake District is forever linked with poet William Wordsworth and the stunning scenery here , including Rydal Lake and his impressive residence  Rydal Mount. Also worth a visit is nearby 17th Century Rydal Hall and Estate. 40 acres of park and woodland, free for all to explore. Here you can find an interesting Sculpture trail amongst the Woodland, pretty gardens with ornate statues, ancient trees and a fairytale Waterfall. Take a look around with me. 🙂

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The Sculpture Path weaves its way through the Woods and starts at ‘The Old School Room Tea Shop’. Apparently it is the first permanent outdoor exhibition of textile sculpture in Britain.

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The art on the trail is made from recycled and sustainable materials and each season brings changes to the sculpture’s , as they interact with nature and the elements.

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There were lots more textile sculptures including the above ‘Jubilee Figures’ made from chain links.  They are meant to highlight the effects of third world debt.

After we had walked round the woodland and spied some Shepherd’s Huts through the trees…

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Herdy Huts in their new setting at Rydal Hall.

we went to the Tea Room for a brew, as it was quite a cold January day. The Old School Room Tea Shop is open  all year round and welcomes Dogs and Muddy Boots. Perfect!

After warming up we headed out to explore the grounds. You can pick up a little map  from the cafe which will give you an idea of what to look for. Or you can just stumble upon some hidden delights. 🙂

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Look out for this old gnarled Sweet Chestnut Tree which at  400 plus years old, is one of the oldest in Cumbria. I would love to see this abundant with Chestnuts in the Autumn.

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The beautiful Grot and Waterfall can be found via a path leading from The ‘Quiet Garden’. Built in 1668, the Grot is one of the earliest examples of a viewing station. It’s window perfectly frames a vista of the lower Rydal waterfalls tumbling into a serene pool.

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A room with a view.

As you walk round the grounds you will come across plenty more beautiful things to see.

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The Angel.

 

In the ‘Quiet Garden’ there were some lovely bird spheres including a ‘Barn Owl’ and lots of signs of Spring.

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Head towards the Formal Gardens and you will find impressive views, follies and fountains.

 

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Our time at Rydal Hall was only brief as it was a stop-off point , on our way to a holiday cottage in Keswick. However I think we will definitely return at some point as it would be lovely to see the place in full bloom. There are various walks in the area including an old footpath called ‘The Coffin Route’ which passes through the estate between Grasmere and Ambleside. You can also stay at Rydal hall. For more information go to rydalhall.org

We also found a great dog-friendly pub very nearby.  The Badger Bar  at The Glen Rothay Inn has cosy fires, real ales and great food.

Have you ever been to Rydal Hall?

Holidays with Hugo ~ Our Pet-friendly trips in 2016.

Looking back over 2016, I hadn’t quite realised how many times we have gone away this year. We’ve camped, we’ve stayed in some fab hotels & B & Bs ,  stopped in a beautifully restored Showman’s Wagon in Cornwall and we have cosied up in a lovely cottage in the grounds of a Scottish Castle. And what is the common denominator of all our trips. Our cheeky Black Labrador Hugo, that’s who!   We hadn’t  initially planned to have so many holidays with our pooch ( or indeed so many holidays full-stop ~ oooops) , but it is really handy that dogs are made welcome at such varied types of accommodation, all over the UK.  Check out the following.

Elton Guest House.

A Friendly Guest House In Grange.   If you ever find yourself in the Cumbrian Seaside town of Grange-Over-Sands, like we did when participating in the Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk , The Elton Guest House is an ideal base for exploring this lovely part of the Lake District. The Elton is a Victorian limestone building with comfy rooms, a hearty breakfast and a very warm welcome from owners Lynn and Liam. Hugo got lots of fuss and attention and was even given a cooked sausage at breakfast. Lynn sorted out a table  reservation at a pet-friendly restaurant for us in the evening. Oh and did I say we were welcomed with coffee and homemade chocolate muffins on arrival. 🙂 The little touches really made our stay. Double rooms £82 per night, Singles £50, Dogs £8 per stay.

Icehouse Cottage.

A Cosy Cottage In Scotland.  This beautiful property in the grounds of Lochinch Castle in Dumfries & Galloway was our home away from home for a week in November. With a large enclosed rear garden, a wood burning stove and unlimited access to Castle Kennedy Gardens and Lochinch Castle Estate, it is the perfect countryside retreat. Hugo had plenty of walks in the grounds and the wildlife we spotted was amazing. The cottage is gorgeous inside too and bicycles and a barbecue are also provided.  For more photos check out my post here.  4 nights from £229.

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Howgill Lodge Campsite.

A Campsite In The Yorkshire Dales.  We have stopped at Howgill Lodge Campsite  near the picturesque Yorkshire village of Appletreewick, several times over the years. It’s a friendly little site with stunning views over the Dales and nearby riverside walks to  Bolton Abbey and Burnsall kept Hugo happy. Howgill has spacious pitches, each with it’s own picnic bench. There’s a small campsite shop, hot showers, toilets, payphone , laundry room and a dog exercise field. Two great dog-friendly pubs can be found in Appletreewick. Two people & a tent £21 per night. Dogs go free.

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Haweswater Hotel.

A Secluded Lake District Hotel.   The Haweswater Hotel is perched right on the lake in one of the lesser known areas of The Lake District.  It is just 20 minutes from J39 of the M6 , yet feels very remote and is surrounded by the beautiful Haweswater Nature Reserve. We stopped here over the May Bank Holiday and the chef packed us a lunch to take up into the fells. The hotel has an art deco inspired interior and some of the bedrooms look very elegant on the website. Ours was a wee bit pokey and could have been nicer I think, even though we were staying in a dog-friendly room. The staff were lovely however and if you love wildlife and walking, this hotel is for you. Double rooms on average £85 per night. Dogs £15 per stay.

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The Duke at Spring Park.

A  restored Showman’s Wagon in the Cornish Countryside.  Wow I loved  our stay in ‘The Duke’ at  Spring Park  in North Cornwall so so much. The Duke is a lovingly restored vintage Showman’s Wagon. He lords over his own pretty Wildflower Meadow and is equipped with everything you will need for a cosy stay, including a french enamel wood burner, fully equipped kitchen and a wood fueled hot tub. Hugo got plenty of walks in the surrounding countryside and the nearby Springer Spaniel Pub is dog-friendly and does great food. You can read more about our stay and see lots of photos here. 🙂  From £68 per night. Dogs £20 per stay.

Hotel Stays With Pets Pyjamas.   If you really want to treat your dog ( and yourself lol 😉 ) , you would definitely benefit from checking out the Pets Pyjamas  website. Browse their portfolio of pet-friendly cottages, dog-welcoming hotels, Country Houses and B & Bs .Look out for their unique packages which usually include a personalised box of treats for your pooch and even dinner for your dog. My post Hotel stays with Pets Pyjamas. will give you more information.

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Hugo at Jenny Brown’s Point near Silverdale.

Coastal Campsite in Lancashire.  By far the most scenic campsite on the Lancashire Coast Gibraltar Farm  campsite in Silverdale is a traditional working farm with breathtaking views over Morecambe Bay. You can even stay in ancient woodland adjacent to the site or just enjoy the coastal panorama. Gibraltar Farm has the usual campsite facilities and there are walks and beaches as soon as you step outside your tent. The farm even makes its own icecream. Tents from £12 per night. Dogs £1 per night.

So it looks as though we have certainly enjoyed many a dog-friendly holiday with Hugo in 2016. Next year ~ a cosy cottage in Keswick….then we had better get on with that decorating!

Where have you taken your pooch this year?

Our stay in the grounds of a Scottish Castle.

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Icehouse Cottage.

I can hardly believe that only last week, we were staying in a beautiful cottage in Scotland. A cottage in the grounds of a Castle no less. Two castles in fact !  Lochinch Castle in Dumfries and Galloway is  home to the Count and Countess of Stair. The castle was built in the mid 19th Century some years after their original residence ‘ Castle Kennedy’ was burned to the ground. The ruins of Castle Kennedy can also be found on the Lochinch Estate and the Castle Kennedy Gardens are open to the public. Seventy Five acres of sculptured gardens and woodland to wander in. In November we more or less had it all to ourselves!

Our home for the week was the cosy single story Icehouse Cottage situated close to the original remains of a Victorian Icehouse. With it’s pretty furnishings, toasty wood burner and idyllic location, we couldn’t have wanted for more. Hugo was especially happy led in front of the fire after long walks around the grounds. 🙂

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The ruins of Castle Kennedy.

On our very first walk we came across three deer just wandering through the forest. 🙂  In fact every walk, thereafter, we would spot roe deer, red squirrels , woodpecker, pheasants, buzzards and other wildlife amongst the canopy of the trees. They became such common sights that it wasn’t even a surprise when we spied deer along the treeline of the woodland  behind the back of the cottage. I’m sure if we had erected a trampoline, the John lewis advert would have come to life there and then!

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Lochinch Castle.

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There are two Lochs on the Lochinch estate poetically named The Black Loch and The White Loch. Both hold lots of wildlife and the White Loch is a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its winter waterfowl and rare invertebrate  fauna and flora. I’m not quite sure why my dog has two tails in the above photograph….

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I think my favourite part of the Castle Kennedy Gardens is The Walled Garden, which somehow reminded me of a Secret Garden. Autumnal colours were out in force and flowering shrubs still bloomed. So beautiful.

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We loved our time in South west Scotland and Lochinch Cottages  ( there are two more in the castle grounds) provided an ideal base to explore Dumfries & Galloway. And a Winter Break there?  Well why not! Being out of the tourist season means you can (almost) imagine your lording over your own estate. 🙂

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As we left we saw a deer wading through the Black loch. 🙂

Lowther Castle & Gardens.

Last weekend I found myself visiting the romantic ruins of Lowther Castle near Penrith in The Lake District. The Castle stands in what was once a medieval Deer Park and both the grounds and the castle are an ongoing restoration project by the Lowther family. The last Lowther resident was the Yellow Earl,5th Earl of Lonsdale. Like his name suggests, he had a fondness for the colour yellow and he was actually a founder and first president of the AA (Automobile Association) ,who adopted the colour. Unfortunately his penchant for the Good life meant he could not keep up with the expenses of living in a castle, so the historic building was left a derelict shell for many years.

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Happily today the Castle and gardens are being lovingly restored and are open to the public. Since my last visit 3 years ago, I can see the improvements that have been made, especially to the courtyard and gardens. Lowther castle is family friendly with lots of grounds and woodland to walk around and play in. Children should check out the new Lost Castle Adventure Playground in the woods , where all the family are encouraged to join in the fun and there is wheel chair access. The courtyard has a cafe and a gift shop. Dogs are welcome everywhere ( except in the Lost Castle) , including  the shop and tea room.:)

As you can see I visited with Wil and Hugo the dog, as well as my brother, sister, my niece and nephew. We all enjoyed exploring Lowther. It was a fun afternoon out for all the family.:)

Photo an Hour Sat 24 September.

On Saturday I joined in with Janey and Louisa’s Photo An Hour challenge on Instagram. For me it was a different kind of day as Wil was away falling off a bike  mountain biking in deepest darkest Wales….so it was just me and the pets for most of the day.

8am. This is how I woke up. With furry faces in my face. 🙂

9am. Out in the park with Hugo and his doggie friend Mollie The Collie.

10am.  I take Hugo for a coffee ( he got a couple of treats ! ) at Escape in town. They are currently selling the most yummy Finch Bakery cupcakes, so well, I couldn’t resist!

11am. On the way back home Hugo poses with some scooters. Saturday was actually The Ribble Valley Mod Weekender so Clitheroe was packed with Vespas and Lambrettas.

12 Noon. I’m back in town running errands…and….shopping. 😉

1pm. Quick pasta lunch before catching the train to nearby Whalley to meet my sister and nephew.

2pm. We take Hugo for a walk by the River Calder. He hunts out an old tennis ball ( that dog has a snout for all things rubber!) so much fun is had. 🙂

3pm.  And no trip to Whalley is complete without refreshments in Benedicts. We loved this cafe with it’s smart decor and a-joining deli and gift shop. Pet friendly too!

4pm. Oooops no photo. The truth is when I got home I bobbed over to Bowland Beer Hall,  bought myself half a cider and promptly got the worst heartburn ever!!!  Luckily a glass of milk proved an amazing cure….but the experience put me off going out again that night.

5pm. Instead stayed in and watched The Addams Family. Class!

6pm. And put photos in my album. So rock n roll!!

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7pm. So this is a totally staged photo of course. I am reading MIss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ( and loving it 🙂 ), but Autumn leaves were not falling gently over me.lol. 🙂

8pm. Writing up my Sunday Sevens 25th September blog post.

9pm. New ankle boots that I purchased from Beryls in Clitheroe this morning. Weirdly I think these are my first pair of ankle boots since the nineties! Like the colour.

Cheers for reading. Maybe you can join in on Instagram next time. Look for the #photoanhour tag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you Glamp in Lancashire? Yes Of Course!

I  sometimes feel that Lancashire gets a raw deal in the holiday guides. As beautiful  as my home  county is ,with its rolling hills, pretty villages,miles of stunning coastline and it’s fascinating industrial heritage, lovely Lancs is often overshadowed by it’s more touristy cousins, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. However Lancashire can compete in the glamping stakes! I did some research and found the following options. 🙂

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Stanley Villa Farm Glamping.  A lot less fuss than putting up a tent are these cute camping pods at Fylde Trout Fishery near Blackpool. There are 24 on site , with views over the fishing lake. All have 2 single beds with mattresses and enough room for a double airbed too, so ideal for couples,groups of friends or families. No electricity but the main lodge on site has communal cooking facilities and free teas,coffees and hot chocolates!  Each pod has it’s own fire pit and bbq facilities and a separate mini pod contains children’s toys,games and sports equipment. Pet friendly too. Prices from £47 per pod,per night. www.campingbugs.co.uk

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Shepherd’s Huts at Samlesbury Hall. Brightly coloured family friendly Shepherd Huts in the grounds of a historic 14th century Hall. There are 3 in the prettily arranged ‘Hut Hamlet’ , each with two double beds with memory foam mattresses, low-wattage electricity and cosy ensuites. Kids will love the Mayflower playground and the mini menagerie. The Hall itself ( check on opening times) is free entry and the guided tours are free too. The restaurant in Samlesbury Hall does cooked breakfasts….and there is a Wafflery called  ‘ Dotties’. Prices from £25 per person, per night.  www.samlesburyhall.co.uk

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Lanterns & Larks in the Forest Of Bowland.  Hidden on the Bleasdale Estate in an ‘ Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, these luxury Glamping Tents have the most stunning of backdrops, the Bowland Fells. Each lodge has 3 bedrooms, shower and WC  and an  open plan living area with a cosy wood burning stove at it’s heart. A decked terrace , fire pit and barbecue complete these rural canvas cabins. Perfect for families, groups, wildlife lovers, walkers & cyclists…..and dogs are welcome too. Prices start from £365. www.lanternsandlarks.co.uk .

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Feather Down at Dolphinholme Farm.  Also on the edge of the beautiful Forest of Bowland, Dolphinholme Farm is only 20 minutes from the coast and very near the river Wyre. The 1920’s style Safari tents with wooden flooring and cosy wood burning stoves are the perfect getaways for families and groups of friends. Kids have plenty to keep them occupied here. There is a child orienteering course , a treasure hunt and a big play barn!  The farm has an Honesty shop selling it’s own cheese.  Oh and dogs are welcome . Prices for short breaks begin at £189. www.featherdown.co.uk .

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Yurts at the Red Pump Inn.  The Red Pump  is a picturesque Country Inn situated in the tiny village of Bashall Eaves near Clitheroe. As well as the usual accommodation inside the Inn, guests can ‘glamp’ in stylish Yurts, with lovely views of Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell. All feature king size beds with fur throws, a cosy wood burning stove and ensuite bathrooms. Breakfast is included next door in the pub and guests can dine at the Red Pump’s Steak House Restaurant. Nearby attractions include historic Clitheroe Castle and Bowland Wild Boar Park. Dog friendly. Prices from £250 B &B  for a two night stay.

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Lynx Helicopter stay.  For something completely different , how about stopping in a converted 1982 Westland Lynx XZ676 helicopter!  X-ray Zulu 676 sleeps up to four people and includes a custom made low down double ‘bunk’ in the tail of the helicopter, twin pull out bunk for additional sleeping space, LED flat screen TV and kitchen area with mini fridge and microwave. He stands proudly on a campsite 4 miles from Blackpool in the pretty Fylde countryside. Blackpool Wakepark is adjacent to the site and a ‘Learn to Wakeboard’ package is available for the adventurous. 🙂 Prices from £100 per night. www.reamhills.co.uk .

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Feather Down at Wyresdale Park.  Feather Down Farms already have a glamping site at lovely Dolphinholme Farm but it’s not their only one in Lancashire. Wyresdale Park near Preston hosts more cosy canvas lodges on their beautiful country estate.  All lodges sleep six, have their own private bathroom facilities, wood burning cooking stove, veranda with outdoor furniture and a wood fuelled hot tub. Kids will love the games and rope swing, nearby play barn and petting zoo at Old Holly Farm.  There’s a lake to enjoy messing about on boats and a glass house tea room at the Hall. Pets are very welcome. Prices from £429 for a short break. www.featherdown.co.uk.

Star Campers.  So why stay in one place?  When you have the whole of Lancashire on your doorstep, why not explore it in one of Star Camper’s stunningly restored VW Camper Vans !  Star Campers are based in the Ribble Valley near Clitheroe and Sunny above is one of two vans currently available ( 2 more, Buster and Terry should be ready for 2017) for hire. Such lovingly done restorations set apart the camping from the glamping.   Sunny is an original 1972 Tin top Westfalia campmobile and Starline is a 2009 VW T5 TDI. I can certainly vouch for Starline as Wil, Hugo the dog and I took him away for a night last year. 🙂  Dog friendly. Prices from £100 per day. www.starcampers.co.uk.

Glamping Pods at The Golden Ball Pub.  With elevated views over the River Lune near Morecambe these camping pods are affordable luxury. Each of the three pods has a double bed, sofa bed, ensuite shower and wc, flat screen tv and tea and coffee making facilities. With a food serving pub on your doorstep plus all the attractions of the seaside town of Morecambe nearby , these mini cabins are definitely a tempting option. Prices from £50per pod, per night. www.snatchems.co.uk.

whoooo all his research has definitely given me the Lancashire Glamping bug!

Are you tempted?