If you're wondering how good a service station could really get, take a visit to Tebay Services in the Lake District. It's chock full of local produce, fresh bread (we stocked up on 'Monty's Revenge' a dangerously garlicky loaf), pies, veggies, ales, cider, cheeses and cakes. I wanted to take it all with us, but we settled for a few scrummy picnic items. The food isn't so cheap but it was definitely worth it for the quality, and it was a lovely place to stop off, so much better than your average services.
In order to save on money we chose to spend our first weekend at a campsite in the Lake District. It was the first time we'd been to this part of the country and the scenery we saw en route was breathtaking.The kind folks at Tesco Compare offered me a Garmin Nuvi 50 Sat Nav to try out on our journey which came in very handy on our long trip. Without it I'm sure we would have got into quite a few scrapes on our complicated route, plus I tend to panic a bit when map reading (as poor Tom will testify to!) so it was great to relax and let the Sat Nav take charge.
We chose to stay at a National Trust campsite called Great Langdale. There are lots of nice looking sites in the area but I'd definitely recommend this one, it was so scenic - as well as the nearby hills and meadows there were lots of sweet little bunnies that kept popping their heads out of the grass, which reminded me we were in Peter Rabbit country! The site was also really well equipped; as well as a shop full of camping equipment, croissants and bacon butties there was also a drying room - very handy if it happens to rain on your visit as is so common in the Lake District. Not to mention hot showers, an essential on any campsite I visit! There was also an option of staying in sweet little camping pods which were a nice option in wet weather.
We went on an epic hike up a steep hill the first day. I'm not usually a huge fan of climbing mountains (blame being dragged up them many times as a kid!) but the views were fantastic. The next morning we headed to Keswick to visit a place I'd been wanting to go to for ages - The Pencil Museum!
It didn't disappoint! Despite the museum being fairly small there were some interesting items inside including amazing carved pencil tips and a special pencil used in WW2 that contained a tiny secret map and compass hidden inside. Not to mention the world's largest colour pencil! Memories of Sightseers came flooding back as I sat and watched a video on how Derwent pencils are made (I'm a bit of a sucker for seeing how factories work!).Next up, our first trip to Scotland, and a tiny detour to Uncle Monty's house from Withnail and I..