Sunday, 27 October 2013

Grange-Over-Sands Revisited

Last year we had a brilliant holiday in New York, so when organising this year’s holiday I knew it was never going to meet the same level of fabulousness.  So what do you do after visiting the best place ever?  In our case, we headed off to the Lake District for the week.

For the past couple of years we’ve spent time in Grange-Over-Sands, which is a perfectly pleasant place.  However this time we decided to stay in Cartmel, which is apparently the most beautiful village in Cumbria.
Our first port of call was Grange-Over-Sands.  Astonishingly for the end of September in Cumbria the weather was beautiful.  Looking back at our other trips this was the first time I’ve ever seen the place in nice weather and it really makes a difference.
We did the charity shops and whilst they weren’t exciting I noticed one of the charity shops had closed since our last visit.  It’s always sad to see, but I remember from previous visits it was always a case of roulette whether it was open or not.  Now it’s a clothes shop.

As we were staying in a cottage, it was the first time we had a kitchen to cook in.  The great thing about the Lake District is that there are plenty of good food shops.  We were recommended a butcher in Grange-Over-Sands called Higginsons.  The shop was packed full of people and the stock looked way better than what you find in the supermarket.  We stocked up on sausages for breakfast and they were lovely especially the Welsh Dragon flavour.  I wish there were more butchers like this where we live.
Grange Bakery does good bread too – I think I preferred it to the fancy bakery at the Cheese shop in Cartmel and it’s cheaper too.  For general supplies there is a Cooperative mini supermarket in the town.  Not exciting but good for bits and bobs.  You really have to head to Ulverston or Kendal to do a proper big shop.
On the edge of Grange-Over-Sands there is a lovely café/cake shop called Hazelmere Café.  The café is always packed full of people, so we decided to get a cake take away.  Neil had a gluten free chocolate torte and I had a vanilla slice.  I had to say mine was lovely, but we decided to eat it by the nearby man-made lake.  This was a mistake as there were loads of insects and had very demanding seagulls trying to mug us for our cakes.  Unfortunately I managed to drop part of Neil’s torte, so the birds did have a feast on us.  I was surprised to find ducks that looked like Darth Vader with their sinister helmet-like heads.

There is a rather good bookshop in Grange called DaisyrootsBook Centre.  Spread over two floors it’s a nicely organised bookshop with space to move around.  There is nothing more overwhelming than a bookshop over stocked with books.  Normally I walk out of these shops as they are so oppressive and you can’t find anything.  However in Daisyroots you could easily spend hours browsing the shelves and actually find stuff.
We booked in the At Home Café and Bistro again for a meal.  As I was driving we didn’t get to sample their nice wine list.  I had lamb and Neil had steak and both were perfectly fine.  You do get plenty of veg with the main meals, which is good for me but Neil just had the potatoes. 

Sadly we didn’t get to the Commodore Inn, but it looks like they have regular bands on and events.  Whereas the scary sports bar from previous visits had been transformed into a bar that does food.

I have to say the weather makes a huge difference when visiting Grange-Over-Sands.  You can have a pleasant stroll, without darting into the nearest pub for shelter.  You also need to watch where you are going and try not to trip over the little balls of black fluff being walked by their owner.  I can’t believe you can get dogs that small and fluffy - they must be as light as a feather. When it’s grey and drizzly the place is deserted and your spirits sink.

It’s good to revisit places to see what has changed – in the case of Grange not much.  I doubt we will ever stay over in the town again, but we’ll definitely visit again especially as Higginsons the Butchers, and the Hazlemere Cafe are worth the trip.