Amelia’s Magazine | Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park: an ideal place to stay for a Lake District Holiday

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park Swift Chamonix
Last week we headed North for a short break in the Lake District, staying in a luxury holiday home at the Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park on the edge of the South Lakes, where Cumbria borders Lancashire in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Since our recent weekend at Pontins Camber Sands I have come to the conclusion that staying in a holiday home or chalet is an ideal way to experience a vacation; providing all the comforts of home, including the peace and quiet that can be so scarce in a hotel. Holgates Silverdale was voted Holiday Park of the Year in the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2014, and it’s not hard to see why.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park view
The view from our holiday home.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park Swift Chamonix interior
The luxurious lounge.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park diner
The spacious kitchen diner.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park
The master bedroom: Snarf is going through a phase of shouting ‘No Photos‘ whenever he sees me with camera in hand, before running off. Makes documentation quite hard!

Our Swift Chamonix Holiday Home was tucked away at the top of the hill, with stunning views out across woodland and on to Morecambe Bay, which is an otherworldly landscape of shifting sands quite unlike anything else I have come across. Inside we had a cosy living room, full size kitchen and dining table, plus two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Outside was a spacious deck which we would like to have used more, but sadly the weather was against us for most of our stay.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park camping pod
Holgates Silverdale is immaculately maintained, with tier upon tier of identically painted mint green holiday homes, most of which have been personalised by their owners with different windows, roofs or doors. A few of these homes are available to rent and there is also the option to pull up with your own camper van, caravan or tent. I was particularly taken by the scenic camping pods which have prime positions overlooking the bay. The park boasts two lovely playgrounds and a large swimming pool with hot tub, sauna and steam room attached. We spent two evenings swimming with Snarf, a reminder that we really must enter the wet stuff more often. Next door the Holgates Silverdale restaurant fed us some unexpectedly delicious food late one evening (I recommend the melt-in-the-mouth lasagne) – all made with local produce.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park Arnside Tower
Arnside Tower: Holgates Silverdale is just behind the trees to the right.

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park arnside beach
The view over Morecambe Bay from the shoreline at Arnside.

Jenny Brown's Point
Jenny Brown’s Point, with the iconic chimney in the background.

We spent most of our visit journeying into the Lake District (which takes a bit over half an hour, driving along exceptionally scenic roads) so did not get much time to explore the surrounding area as much as we would have liked to. We passed the crumbling Arnside Tower in differing light each day, and admired the picturesque villages of Arnside and Silverdale from the car. On our last morning (thanks to a tip off on instagram) we drove down a secluded road through lush woodland to take in the blustery views at Jenny Brown’s Point, which features the iconic remains of an ancient copper smelting chimney set against battered rocks and glittering sands. I could easily have spent several hours wandering the shoreline but sadly it was time to head home. I hope we will return to this beautiful part of the world some day soon. In the meantime why not check out my ideas for 5 Great Family Adventures in the Lake District?

Lake district Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park shoreline
I am big: I am very pregnant. Photo by Tim Adey.

We stayed at Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park courtesy of Cumbria Tourism and Holgates. The Swift Chamonix is available to purchase rather than rent.

Categories ,Arnside, ,Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, ,Arnside Tower, ,Camping pod, ,children, ,Cumbria, ,Cumbria Tourism, ,Cumbria Tourism Awards 2014, ,Family, ,Family Holiday, ,Holgates, ,Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park, ,Holiday Park of the Year, ,Jenny Brown’s Point, ,Lake District, ,Lancashire, ,Morecambe Bay, ,Pontins Camber Sands, ,review, ,Silverdale, ,Snarf, ,Snarfle, ,South Lakes, ,Swift Chamonix Holiday Home, ,travel, ,Travels with Snarf

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Amelia’s Magazine | Stick of Rock mugs: An interview with product designer Lydia Leith

Lydia Leith stick of rock mugs
The striking designs of product designer Lydia Leith first caught my attention at Bust Craftacular a few years back so I was delighted when she got in touch to tell me about her fabulous new project: the Stick of Rock range of mugs.

Lydia Leith royal family moulds
How much did your parents influence your decision to enter the creative world and what was the best advice they gave you?
Both parents have always been creative (Father illustrator and Mother craft teacher). Growing up in London we just happened to live in a very creative community, our neighbors (and friends) included a well known ceramicist, a fashion designer, an RA artist and in the house opposite us a Turner Prize winner. As a child I just thought this was very normal but looking back it was lucky coincidence and I have very fond memories of it all. From an early age I always assumed I’d end up working creatively, it never really crossed my mind to do anything else. The best advice my parents ever gave me was to “do the best I can” and “to occasionally break the rules”.

Lydia Leith badges
What was it like to leave London and relocate to a small town in rural Cumbria?
Moving from London to a small town in Cumbria at the age of 12 was a total culture shock. Once I had got used to the countryside it was a great (and probably a safer) place to spend teenage years.

Why were you inspired to create so much design based on the Royal Family? (your sick bag, jelly moulds and more)
The Royal Family theme happened by accident and I had made the Royal Wedding Sick Bags as a bit of a joke to practice my screen printing and to entertain myself. After their success and with the Queen’s Jubilee the following year it seemed fitting to run with the Royal themed designs for a bit longer, people expected me to bring something else royal themed out so I did.

Lydia Leith mural
You recently moved again, this time from Newcastle to Hackney – what prompted this latest move and how is it going?
I love the north and often pop back to see family etc. It is good to expernence new places. As a designer I felt I could be missing out on something by not being in London. It is early days for me here in Hackney, I am settling in well, it is fantastic to discover new shops, meet more creative people and find new inspirations. I am looking forward to becoming a Londoner again.

Lydia Leith wired up china
Your ‘Wired Up’ china set first attracted my attention a few years ago – where did you get the idea for this and how did you adapt the designs to suit the whole range of table ware?
Although water and electrify don’t usually mix, I thought a fairy lights design could be visually exciting but also would tie in with the cosy feeling of coming home and having a cup of tea. Using a tea set worked well because the design worked on cylinder and circular shapes and having multiple pieces meant we could have fun with mixing and matching.

Your latest Stick of Rock mugs are another stroke of genius – where did you get the idea for these from and where are they produced?
The idea popped into my head one day after watching rock being made. I had to find the right shaped mugs and ended up using a factory in Stoke in Trent to make them. I’ve started with Brighton, Blackpool and Margate but aim to make eventually all the seaside towns, Skegness, Bognor Regis etc.

Lydia Leith mural
When did you first start collaborating with your father and how does this process work in practice?
I started to collaborate with my father on some projects because I saw his talent wasted. His illustration work was seen everywhere over the 70s/80s/90s, he never adapted with computers and sort of disappeared off the radar once the industry became digitalised. However he was still a prolific worker but a lot of his personal work was finished then put in a drawer and never seen by anyone (the opposite to when he was working commercially). I thought this was a waste so I helped him get a website and we started working on some projects together.

So far we have worked on large scale murals, a range of mugs and coming soon children’s books. We get on really well, between us we have more ideas than we can keep up with making into reality. I am currently planning for a retrospective for his commercial illustration work, which is very exciting!

Lydia Leith mugs
Where can people buy your products?
People can buy my products online here: my fathers website is General info and updates are on instgram and twitter too.

Categories ,Blackpool, ,Bognor Regis, ,brighton, ,Bust Craftacular, ,Cumbria, ,designer, ,Humorous, ,illustrator, ,interview, ,Lydia Leith, ,Margate, ,Paul Leith, ,Queen’s Jubilee, ,Royal Family, ,Royal Wedding Sick Bags, ,Seaside, ,Skegness, ,Stick of Rock, ,Stoke in Trent, ,Turner Prize, ,Wired Up

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Amelia’s Magazine | 5 Great Things to do with Kids in the Lake District

Lake District Muncaster Castle view
Last week we went on a family vacation to the Lake District, taking in a packed schedule of attractions during our short five day trip. I love being outdoors and walking in particular but have resigned myself to a different style of holiday whilst I have young children (a three year old and another on the way) so it was brilliant to visit so many wonderful places that are family friendly in this gorgeous area of the UK. Here’s some great ideas for things to do with kids on your next visit to Cumbria.

Lake District Windermere Swan boat
Lake district Lake Windermere Swan family
Lake District Windermere row boats
Lake district Lake Windermere Swan
Windermere Lake Cruises
We spent a whole day on Windermere; a wonderful way to experience the drama of the Lake District landscape, even in overcast weather. Our first trip aboard the Swan (a lovely old boat) took place whilst it was still relatively windless and we were able to take in beautiful views from the open top deck, which is a great way to marvel at the extravagant private homes that line the idyllic eastern shore. From Bowness (after a delightful lunch in the quaint St Martin’s Tea Room & Grill) we took a trip around the islands, discovering that the smallest is but a tree stump clinging on above water level. Then we ventured to Ambleside at the northern end of the lake, where we ate ice cream in the wind, before returning all the way home aboard the Swan once more. This was Snarf’s first experience of being on boats and he especially loved watching the skippers turning their huge wooden wheels on the smaller boats.

Lake District Lakeland Motor Museum tableaux
Lake district Lakeland Motor Museum
Lake district Lakeland Motor Museum mannequin
Lake district Lakeland Motor Museum lady mannequinLake district Lakeland Motor Museum lady mannequin
Lakeland Motor Museum
The Lakeland Motor Museum is billed as the perfect rainy day attraction for Lake District visitors and it’s not hard to see why: whilst the Lakes are always stunning the weather can be difficult, and not everyone is happy outside in the wind and the drizzle. The museum is situated a short drive from the Southernmost end of Windermere, and boasts a large selection of vehicles from every era, including a rare DeLorean (the car from Back to the Future), the tiny Peel P50 car and some beautiful iconic bluebird blue examples of the cars and boats driven by speed racing driver and local legends Martin and Donald Campbell. Snarf is a great lover of all things wheel based and greatly enjoyed this packed space. I liked the slightly surreal tableaux with spooky mannequins arranged throughout the museum: so most of my photos appear to be of these!

Lake Distric South Lakes Safari Zoo Rhino
Lake district South Lakes safari park family
Lake District South Lakes Safari Zoo peacock
Lake District South Lakes Safari Lemur
South Lakes Safari Zoo tiger - tim adey
Lake District South Lakes Safari Zoo Tiger
Lake district South Lakes safari park peacock
Lake district South Lakes safari park giraffe
South Lakes Safari Zoo
This small but well stocked zoo is only a few decades old, the dream of an eccentric individual called David Gill, and when we visited it was relatively empty, giving us an excellent opportunity to view the animals up close. Our first stop was the interactive enclosure which houses a variety of exotic birds, lemurs and wallabies – making for quite a surreal experience. We particularly loved feeding grapes to the ring tailed lemurs, which have the most endearing personalities, sitting upright with bellies to the sun, or curled into groups with their young. We ate lunch at the Maki Restaurant, then visited some cheeky penguins, watched the tiger being fed from a prime position and helped to feed an elegant giraffe. Aren’t they gorgeous creatures? The extraordinarily strong winds on this exposed site finally got the better of us by late afternoon.

Lake District Ravenglass railway driver
lake district ravenglass railway
Lake District Ravenglass railway view
Lake District Ravenglass railway coal
Lake District Ravenglass railway river irt
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
It took us a long time to drive over to the coastal village of Ravenglass in the Western Lakes, but fortunately the route was one of the most scenic I have ever driven, taking in delightful villages aplenty and stunning views of the peaks on our sunniest day in the Lake District. The Ravenglass narrow gauge railway was first used to transport iron ore, then granite, but has also ferried passengers seven miles through scenic landscapes to Dalegarth for Boot for over 100 years. We were pulled by the gleaming River Irt steam locomotive which is the oldest in residence. At the far end we watched the train on the miniature turntable before hastily grabbing lunch at the station cafe (which sold a great selection of cakes – cakes are taken so much more seriously in the North). By luck we managed to nab a prime position right behind the driver for the downhill return journey, so our train obsessed little boy was able to mimic the driver as he shovelled coal into the engine and pulled the cord to make that inimitable steam engine noise. What a treat!

Lake District Muncaster Castle hawk experience
Muncaster Castle interior
Muncaster Castle haunted room fireplace
Lake District Muncaster Castle rhododendrons
Muncaster Castle Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington
Muncaster Castle red rhododendron
Muncaster Castle rhododendron
Muncaster Castle
It’s not often that you unexpectedly meet the owner of a huge castle but that is exactly what happened when the charismatic Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington blustered into the castle cafe outdoor seating area whilst we enjoyed some ice cream and started talking to us: about rhododendrons (beautiful and many at Muncaster) and the struggles he has had with the authorities on matters rural. The vast landscaped gardens perched on the hillside are an undoubted highlight of any visit to Muncaster Castle, (which is just up the road from Ravenglass), but sadly we were unable to explore as much as we would like with a small and increasingly tired boy in tow. Instead we took the zip wire in the playground and watched a half hour show on the castle lawns from the new Hawk Experience, featuring low flying birds of prey. Then we admired the staggering views across the valley (see the opening image) and took in a short tour of the un-lived in castle rooms, which retain such treasures as Jacobean embroideries and amazing carved fireplaces (particularly spectacular in the ‘haunted’ bedroom). I love the many colours and shapes of the dramatic rhododendron and would love to return to Muncaster Castle in future years.

With many thanks to Cumbria Tourism for arranging our tickets to these attractions. We stayed at the Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park and you can read more about our stay (and further ideas for places to visit in the area) here.

All photography by Amelia Gregory and Tim Adey.

Categories ,Ambleside, ,Bluebird, ,Bowness, ,Cumbria, ,Cumbria Tourism, ,Dalegarth for Boot, ,David Gill, ,delorean, ,Donald Campbell, ,Hawk Experience, ,Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park, ,Lake District, ,Lakeland Motor Museum, ,Maki Restaurant, ,Martin Campbell, ,Muncaster Castle, ,Patrick Gordon-Duff-Pennington, ,Peel P50, ,Ravenglass, ,Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, ,Rhododendrons, ,River Irt, ,Snarf, ,South Lakes, ,South Lakes Safari Zoo, ,South Lakes Wild Animal Park, ,St Martin’s Tea Room & Grill, ,Swan, ,Tim Adey, ,Western Lakes, ,Windermere, ,Windermere Lake Cruises

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with The Witch and The Robot on the release of new album Fear of Mountains

The Witch and The Robot fear of mountains
They live in the Lake District, drug they’re neighbours with British Sea Power and they make bewitching alternative music that has been labelled psych folk but which really doesn’t fit in any box. New album Fear of Mountains has just been released on digital download and features a series of unique songs inspired by their isolated location and a fabulous mash up of influences. Meet Sam Hunt and Andrew Tomlinson of Cumbrian band The Witch and The Robot (otherwise known as TWATr) for a fabulous insight into some truly creative musical minds. We’re talking everything from Wordsworth to Alex Reid

The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains head
How has living in the Lake District affected your approach to music making?
It pops up everywhere really; we are situationists through necessity rather than design. Growing up in places like the Lakes you have to create your own sense of scene, help a strange amalgam made up of half understood snippets from the radio or read in magazines. We found ourselves on a strange diet of Mo Wax/Warp/Ninjatune, New Romantica/Depeche Mode/Prince and David Bowie/90’s jingly jangly indie and Tupac; unable to appropriate a single scene we made one up ourselves. It’s hard not to reference where you live in songs, if you want to write about yourself, we are conscious of the romantics and the various other assorted lunatics, artists and rum buggers who by and large saw the Lakes as a place to escape the ‘real’ world. Wordsworth on the run from memories of the French Revolution, Josefina de Vasconcellos (who pops up a lot in our songs) on the run from London society, Kurt Swchitters on the run from the war…

The Witch and the Robot by Rachel Higham.
The Witch and the Robot by Rachel Higham.

The place is filled with them, hotel staff who are a bit cagey about life before the Lakes, rich artists who see themselves in the mould of the before mentioned Schwitters, loads of people who find it very easy to create their own reality in this rural bubble. Josefina had a view on it that the mountains are both muse and jailer, we quote her on Fear Of Mountainsthis place can make things seem more than they are’ it heightens emotions I suppose, to quote Lou ‘there is only one good thing about a small town that you know that you gotta get out‘ .. Fear Of Mountains Pt 1 is about getting out….
Witch and Robot by Carne Griffiths
Witch and Robot by Carne Griffiths.

Are you happy with your acronym? Was it a conscious decision to use TWATr and if so why? And why the little r at the end?
When we decided to call ourselves The Witch and The Robot we were just trying to think of two creatures who would not have met before, the acronym was just a happy accident.. We’ve written a number of stories about how the two met, some of them should be on our blog but as far as the little rTWAT is a funny word and word that is used a surprising amount in endless context, maybe it’s a Cumbrian thang…

YouTube Preview ImageHoudini

Love the video for Houdini, where was it shot and what inspired the treatment?
Why thank you – the video was shot at Wastwater – I think Sally Webster from Coronation Street got it voted ‘Britain’s favorite view’ on a ITV special – it’s England’s deepest lake, as deep as the North Sea and provides much of the water for the cooling process at Sellafield just down the way – I think there was a doctor who killed his wife and flew over Wastwater in light aircraft with her weighted body intending to drop her into the icy depths but missed and she ended up on the side of the mountain.. There’s also the Gnome garden, put at the depth where it starts to get dangerous for divers, Gnomes all happy surrounded by white picket fences, the police removed it, to prevent gnome tourism but it was put back up the next week. We filmed it on a very hot day with all our Star Wars figures and HeMan figures with the intention of tying them all to helium balloons, but you would be surprised at how many balloons you need to make an action figure fly.

The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains balloons
The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains balloons
How do you write your songs, can you describe the process of how you work together?
We have always written together, it’s a very easy process as we’ve known each other literally all our lives, the thing about TWATr is that we are not really sure anyone else is listening, its what we as a group of friends have always done and will continue to do.
Witch and Robot by Gareth A Hopkins
Witch and Robot by Gareth A Hopkins.

And for that matter, how did you meet and start making music?
We all grew up together, in and around Ambleside, I think music making came from the lack of anything else to do.

YouTube Preview ImageHetero
Fear of Mountains is apparently the first of three concept albums in a Rock Opus. What can we expect from the others?
Like David Bowie’s 1. Outside it is our ‘A Non-Linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle‘, also like 1. Outside Andrew thought it would be funny if it was the only one of the trilogy we ever did. I on the other hand have an idea about an album/graphic novel/action film/musical starring Celeb Big Brother winner and former beau of Jordan Alex Reid as a battle hardened William Wordsworth, we’ll just have to wait to see who wins out.

The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains
The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains grave

Can you describe your attraction to some of the oddball characters that feature within the music, and what exactly comes across of their personality in particular songs?
Most of the oddball characters are probably us in some way or form, so it’s probably safer just to remain hidden behind abstract lyrics, but as mentioned some real life people do tend to pop up quite a lot – the key one being Josefina de Vasconcellos, a daughter of a Brazilian diplomat, became a bit of a legend in the Lakes. She was a monumental sculptor and Blake-like visionary who specialized in figurative religious art and died at the ripe old age of 101. Religious art has never really be cool – unless you were a sculptor in renaissance, but her work was totally insane, if ever in Edinburgh have a look at The Last Chimera at The Cannongate Kirk on the Royal Mile or Escape To Light overlooking Morecambe Bay at Millom Lifeboat Station. I spent 2 years making a film about her, which in the end wasn’t that good, but was certainly an experience, as someone who struggles to believe the news let alone the presence of a God, it was a fascinating insight into what is faith…

The Witch and The Robot by Barb Royal (2)
The Witch and The Robot by Barb Royal (2)
The Witch and The Robot by Barb Royal (2)
The Witch and The Robot by Barb Royal.
The album can be bought in the Hide & Horn shop in Ambleside – has it since been stocked elsewhere or would you encourage a digital download of the album instead?
We released our first album On Safari on a proper label with distribution and the like and to be honest we’ve seen not a bean, so we thought it was time to scale back and try and do something interesting with the release – when you are in a Z-list psych-folk band I think it would make more of a difference to do something like that than let an un-bought album grow dusty on Rough Trade East’s shelves – also Pete at Hide and Horn could really do with the trade. But I have succumbed to peer pressure (Andrew) and put it on sale digitally as well, if you do get it from Hide and Horn Andrew has made you a lovely picture to go with it.

The Witch and The Robot Fear of Mountains bw
Are there any particular Lake District traditions that you feel the rest of the world should know more about, and why?
At the beginning of Fear Of Mountains pt1 we have recoded a snippet of Ambleside’s Rushbaring – for years we were told that this obviously pagan fertility rite was how they used to change the rushes on the floor of the church – but stiff like that happens everywhere – I once went to 2 or 3 Cumbrian wrestling lessons when I was 12/13 wish Id stayed on as I’d probably be world champion by now. But apart from noticeably excessive daytime drinking I think the wider world is probably better off with the Lakes traditions staying in the hills.
You can hear the whole glorious record here: I recommend you take a listen. Fear of Mountains Pt 1 is out now on digital download and at the Hide & Horn shop.

Categories ,90’s, ,Alex Reid, ,Ambleside, ,Ambleside’s Rushbaring, ,Andrew Tomlinson, ,Barb Royal, ,Blake, ,British Sea Power, ,Carne Griffiths, ,Celeb Big Brother, ,Coronation Street, ,Cumbria, ,David Bowie, ,Depeche Mode, ,DJ Aesthetic Heartbreak, ,Escape To Light, ,Fear of Mountains, ,Fertility, ,French Revolution, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gnome, ,HeMan, ,Hide and Horn, ,Houdini, ,ITV, ,Jordan, ,Josefina de Vasconcellos, ,Kurt Swchitters, ,Lake District, ,Millom Lifeboat Station, ,Mo Wax, ,Morecambe Bay, ,New Romantica, ,Ninjatune, ,On Safari, ,Pagan, ,prince, ,Psych Folk, ,Rachel Higham, ,Rock Opus, ,Rough Trade East, ,Sally Webster, ,Sam Hunt, ,Sellafield, ,Star Wars, ,Stuart Shingler, ,The Last Chimera, ,the witch and the robot, ,Tupac, ,TWATr, ,Warp, ,Wastwater, ,Wordsworth

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