Lake District Stories and Tips


Known simply as "Grange" by the locals, this town is the southern gateway to the Lake District. A once fashionable resort for holidaying Victorians and Edwardians, Grange has lost none of its understated charm, reflected in the high quality of it's hotels, traffic-free promenade alongside the beautiful ornamental gardens and an a ray of "olde worlde" shops and cafes.

This is the England of brass bands playing in the park, the green with its duck pond opposite the rather grand facade of the station and old ladies enjoying a stroll before dinner. Grange is, in a geographical sense, a seaside resort but it has managed to avoid the greasy burger joints, the amusement arcades and the "kiss-me-quick" hat downturn of most of our, once grand, resorts. Instead you really have to go to the bakers shop opposite the station and try one of the delicious Cumberland sausage rolls and enjoy it sitting on a bench, watching the steady world of Grange trundle by.

Go into the train station for the most amazing views over to Lancashire and Morecambe Bay. Do that in the evening and you'll see Morecambe all lit up for the evening revellers -- everything that Grange isn't. Perhaps it's because Grange stands on rather dangerous tidal sands at the mercy of fast moving tides that Grange has not succumbed to the horrors of other nearby resorts. Families have gravitated towards Morecambe and Blackpool instead in search of sandcastles and fun parks.

This has left Grange as a quiet and relaxing, indeed rather genteel place. More the kind of base for those people who prefer to organise their own activities and prefer more active pursuits.

Talk a walk to Hampsfell Hospice, built in 1846, about half an hour away to check out the fantastic views of the Old Man of Coniston, Helvelyn and Morecambe Bay.

Another short trip out of town takes you to the Lakeside at Newby Bridge. I LOVE this place. There are several attractions worth checking out here -- the Lakeside and Havethwaite Railway, the Aquarium of the Lakes and Windemere Lake Cruises. There are a couple of pubs, all with beautiful terraces, which provide a great spot to have a drink and watch people on the lake at various pursuits. (See my journal on Windemere activities.)

If you're the kind of person who can make your own entertainment and wants a bit of old English character and charm, Grange is definitely the place for you.

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