Sometimes in life you just need to step back from everything. When work is busy, your diary is overflowing with things to do and places to see, and you just can’t quite turn off. It’s at times like this that I find it can be really soothing to spend some time outdoors and just relax. Our trip to Kielder came at exactly the right time, and was the perfect place to recharge my batteries.
Kielder Forest and Water is home to northern Europe’s largest man-made lake and England’s largest forest – a great place to get away from it all. There is no phone signal, no WiFi and you really need a car to get around. Of course, the downside to booking a trip in the UK is that you can never guarantee the weather, particularly in early March. When we arrived it was pouring down, so I was relieved I’d brought a good book and a selection of DVDs in case we had to hide out in our lodge all weekend.
Luckily the weather cleared up so there was plenty of opportunity for going for walks outside, checking out the various stops along Kielder Water, and even playing crazy golf. Depending on the time of year that you visit there will be a varying number of visitors and activities taking place. The ferries weren’t running when we were there which was a little disappointing, but at times it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves which more than made up for it. I would recommend planning ahead and booking to go to one of the events at the Kielder Observatory.
If you enjoy cycling or mountain biking then I’d suggest bringing your bike with you, or hiring one at Kielder Castle. We were tempted, but decided we weren’t quite up to cycling the whole way round the water. Instead we went for a couple of walks; one up into the woods and one on the Lakeside Way.
Kielder is home to around 50% of the UK red squirrel population, and despite spending time in a couple of hides we didn’t see any. We did however see plenty of rabbits, some foxes, deer and even stumbled across the Gruffalo (there is currently a Gruffalo trail for kids). Around the water there are various sculptures/artwork which vary from interesting to pointless depending on your opinion. We enjoyed the Labyrinth near Kielder Castle, although it was rather waterlogged.
I loved my long weekend in Kielder and have been recommending it to people since. The weather certainly helped, but I’d like to think we’d have enjoyed it even if it had rained all weekend. Sometimes shutting yourself off in a lodge in the woods is just what is needed.