on June 27, 2009
Positioned at the South end of Windermere, Fell Foot Park is about 15 minutes away from where I live, so we visit on a regular basis.It is owned by the National Trust, and although once you're there you don't need to spend any money, there is a charge for car parking, I believe last year this was about £7 for the day. I am a National Trust member, so parking is free, and since we go well over 6 times a year, it more than covers the £42 membership we paid (although it will go up to £51 this year, still cheaper than the parking charges).As for the park itself, the obvious attraction is the lake, and on sunny days it's very busy in the lake itself with boats and swimmers. Boats are restricted to 10mph on the lake, and all boat owners appear to be very aware of the amount of children who swim in the lake.There is also a large grassy area, perfect for picnics and playing. Usually you'll find a couple of football games or cricket matches going on. I believe that barbecues are still banned from the park, due to carelessness in the past with people not putting them out properly.At one end of the park you'll find a children's play area, which went through a big refit last year, the park is in two sections, for young toddlers and older children.The opposite end of the park hosts a cafe, shop and boat house where you can hire rowing/motor boats. Of course in between there are gardens full of rhododendrons.My kids love Fell Foot, we take a picnic, a football, badminton racquets and the inflatable dinghy, and usually spend the entire day there. They love being able to swim in the lake, as well as taking the dinghy across to the other side of the lake, and exploring in the woods.The children's park is much better since the refit, my kids in particular love the new swings, which are huge baskets which they can lie down in whilst they are swinging to a fro. The apparatus is mostly constructed from natural materials (wood and rope) so they blend in nicely with their surroundings.We don't often use the cafe, because we bring our own food, but occasionally buy ice creams while we are there. The cafe seems to be very popular because there are always plenty of people queueing and sitting outside eating.Whether it's because most people go in when it's nice weather or not, and that brings out the best in people, but I find that everyone is very friendly when they are at the park, and people chat to other groups that they might never have met before. My kids are often invited by other families to join in with the football matches, and occasionally this has led to several families who've only just met joining in and having a huge football match.The only downfall for me is that they allow dogs on leads in the park. Now I know this will alienate all the dog lovers out there. But they can be very annoying for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are owners who just don't care and allow their dogs to roam free. Then there are the owners who tie them up and wander off. The last time we went a couple brought their dog and pitched up close to where we had out picnic blanket out. They had one of the corkscrew dog holders (not sure what they are called), and they tied their dog to that. Which was fine until they decided to go for a walk on their own and leave the dog to look after their belongings. As soon as the couple were out of sight it started barking, and barked none stop until they came back about an hour later!!But they are rare events, overall the park is great, beautiful scenery, and a safe place for kids to play, you couldn't really ask for more.Just to add, after the mention of hills. There is a reasonably steep hill down to the lake itself. However, there's a ranger based in the car park, who has a buggy (like a golf cart), and he will drive people down to the front if they have trouble walking.
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