Having got a head start on our weekend by overnighting at Metal Bridge, we were up and off fairly early in bright sunshine on Saturday morning. We had empty stomachs and A Plan.
The plan had us heading to the Rheged Centre for a late breakfast. Breakfast turned out to be a little later than planned in the event. A nice relaxing drive down the M6 ⇓, enjoying the sun and the scenery, saw us arrive at the Penrith junction, where we exited the M6 ⇒ and then somehow… rejoined it again ⇓.
We saw some more scenery ⇓. Eleven miles down the road, we exited ⇐ and rejoined once more and saw some scenery from the opposite vantage point ⇑. Another eleven miles under our belts and then we exited for Rheged again ⇐.
Luckily, breakfast was worth it. We both opted for a breakfast bun rather than the Full Monty. I had Bacon and Mushrooms and Mr Snail had Bacon and Sausage. Both were served in a lovely toasted tasty brioche bun.
Best breakfast in ages
Now stoked up for the day we sought out a local National Trust property at Temple Sowerby. Acorn Bank Garden did not disappoint and Nell had a lovely time wandering in the daffodil woods, which were resplendent in the sun. Signs of Spring were everywhere to be seen, from Nature’s shy buds to pasty white English legs peeping out brazenly from shorts and summer dresses.
We visited the watermill and then walked around the wildflower garden before going to try the offerings in the Tea Room.
I had fun spotting the many Elf Houses around the estate.
Elf House – this one had furniture inside and also a note from a child to the elves, who had written a reply upon it
The picnic area in the wood offered table games to play
Elf House with Elf Boat
The Tree Elves had the washing out at their house
Time for afternoon tea al fresco for this elven household
The Tea Room provisions were paltry and sub-standard. Mr Snail chose the Cappuccino Cake from the small selection on offer and I partook of the “Tea-soaked” Fruit Cake, which was both short on fruit and very dry and crumbly. There was not a single scone to be seen.
Nell and Mr Snail went for a second woodland walk whilst I toted the camera around the more formal areas, where dogs are not permitted. This early in the season there was little to be seen but I did take some detail shots and photos of interesting colour combinations in early foliage. Once I discovered the pond I spent an age in trying to capture Newts with my camera…
A small garden pond was teeming with Newts of various species.
Snakeshead Fritillary, one of my favourite Spring bulbs
The view to the walled garden via the Dovecote
From Acorn Bank it was a short romp down the A66 to the Fox Hall Inn, where we overnighted in the car park.
Ceridwen admiring our evening view
We were made very welcome on arrival, having contacted the Inn ahead of time via their Facebook page. A very friendly and professional barman (possibly bar Manager?) greeted us and provided some much-needed refreshment…
Timmy Taylor’s ! A well-kept pint of Landlord
There is a handily-placed Public Footpath leading off the pub that heads in the direction of Ravensworth. Nell had a walk before we washed and changed for dinner and we headed off to sample some Award-winning Fish and Chips.
At this point I should like to stop and put in a word for the G&T that I had as an aperitif. The barman’s recommendation, it was a Yorkshire Tea (!) Gin with and Elderflower Tonic, garnished with orange and star anise and it was fabulous. Truly refreshing.
Dinner, I am sorry to say, was rather less fabulous. I won’t labour the point here (but a rather sad TripAdvisor review tells the tale.) We surprised ourselves by not having the Cod and Chips but left rather wishing that we had.
We both had the Tempura King Prawn starter
I had Cod baked in a tomato sauce
Mr Snail had Fish Pie
The Fox Hall Inn sits right on the A66, which is a busy road and has a great deal of HGV traffic. The overnight road noise was every bit as bad as we had feared that it might be and even with earplugs, sleep was difficult to come by.
we parked in the farthest corner, out of the way and as far from the road as we could be
We are grateful to the Fox Hall Inn for having us to stay but we are unlikely to visit again.
A fair distance from the pub
but very close to the road
Tomorrow: to Mainsgill and home again