The Lake District in the north of England is a great place to visit for a short holiday or as part of a longer trip.
Photograph courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/akandbdl/5739444501/
Experiencing the countryside can, unfortunately be quite expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are 5 top tips from Sykes Cottages on how to experience the Lake District on a budget.
1. Make the most of the great outdoors
One of the very best things about the Lake District is the stunning natural backdrop.
The undulating landscape and the beautiful lakes make the Lake District the perfect place for getting outside, going for a walk and enjoying the spectacular views.
Fresh air is totally free after all!
2. Shop around for your accommodation
Because the Lake District is such a popular tourist location, there are absolutely loads of different holiday accommodation options from a great selection of YHA hostels and bunk houses to charming holiday cottages in the Lake District, as well as log cabins and cheap hotels.
For example, you can rent Dufton Hall Cottage ( in picture) , through Sykes Holiday Cottages for a week in November for just £194.
The great thing about there being so many different places to stay is that you can shop around online to get the very best deal. You can usually catch the best offers if you are flexible with your dates and if you book very early or right at the last minute.
Be warned though, the Lake District is so popular all year round that booking last minute can be risky.
Photograph courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/henrytapia/4005779540/
3. Think about the best way to travel
Getting to the Lake District can be both tricky and expensive, so planning ahead if key.
If you are travelling by train, it generally makes sense to buy a railcard if you are eligible (a young person’s railcard is for people 16-25), which makes train fares 1/3 cheaper but will set you back £28 but you can often make this back in just one journey alone!
Booking your trains in advance can also save you a packet, with a return trip from London to Carlisle costing just £40 if you book it now (Note: Travelling on the 3rd November 2012 and returning on the 10th November).
Bus companies like the National Express will offer discounted travel at less popular times of day too which is also well worth investigating.
Megabus also offers really cheap journeys from London to Carlisle, starting from just £1 each way.
4. Save cash on food
There are plenty of cheap food options to take advantage of in the Lake District.
Farmers markets are a great place to pick up cheap, quality produce that is great for taking with you on a picnic. If you choose to stay in self-catering accommodation then do a big supermarket shop to stock up on groceries, especially for breakfasts and snacks the cost of which can easily add up.
If you want to go out for a meal and take advantage of some of the very best restaurants that the Lake District has to offer then consider going out for lunch instead of in the evening as many restaurants offer a set lunch menu at a fraction of the price of the evening menu.
Or, for the ultimate Lakeland cheap eat: enjoy a bag of fish and chips ( with mushy peas in places like at Vinegar and Jones in Bowness – a personal favourite. Sadly got gutted by a fire in April, not sure when it will reopen) and eat them in the paper with a little wooden fork.
The Bluebird Cafe on the shores of Coniston Water is a great place to stop by for great sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes at reasonable prices and also has a delicious selection of homemade cakes from £2.35.
If you fancy treating yourself, take a trip to the Glass House in Ambleside, which has a reasonably priced lunch menu, with light bites from £3.50 and main courses from £9 all served in beautiful surroundings.
5. Plan ahead for cheap days out
There are many places for days out that are owned and managed by the National Trust including Wordsworth’s house and gardens near Cockermouth and the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead. If you are planning to visit more than one National Trust location during your time in the UK then it may be worth becoming a National Trust member, which grants you free entry.