On New Year’s Eve we headed out for a few days of relaxation and exploring in the Lake District in England. We rented an E-car, loaded everyone and the dog up, and headed south. On the way through the Scottish region of Lanarkshire we made a quick pitstop. As we pulled out of the rest stop I spotted this:
Yes, even the rest stops in Scotland have castles.
We made a quick stop for lunch in the town of Moffat and ate at the dog-friendly Jack and Rachel’s Tearoom, where quite a few families and dogs were lunching.
By late afternoon we reached our lodgings at Augill Castle, near the town of Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria. The owners bought it when it was in disrepair and have renovated it to be a relaxed, family-friendly hotel. When would we ever have another chance to spend New Year’s Eve in a castle?
Augill Castle has a dining room and adding an evening meal is optional. These are advertised as “simple evening suppers” but on New Year’s Eve the place looked like this:
Lovely as it was, having seen the castle’s price for New Year’s Eve dinner (I forgot that every place triples the price on New Year’s Eve) we had made alternate dinner plans at the King’s Head Inn in nearby Ravenstonedale.
The kids thought that Ravenstonedale was an outlandishly literary-poetic name for a town. Ravenstone or Ravendale, but not both, please. A good editor would not allow this.
The vibe at the King’s Head was much more our style. Everyone in the village, young and old, seemed to be there. The fire was roaring, the prices were good and there was free champagne. Later on, there was even an entertaining lounge singer doing hits of the seventies and eighties. I half wished we had booked New Year’s Eve lodging there so we could stay for the fireworks at midnight, but not wanting to be driving on extremely narrow, pitch-black, unfamiliar roads after midnight on New Year’s Eve, we headed back to the castle. We made it in time to ring in the new year with all the other guests.
The parents and the dog had a ground-floor room and the kids had an upper room complete with turret.
My favorite thing about the castle was the common areas with fireplaces. We spent a lot of time curled up near fireplaces reading and journaling. I know someone else in the family wants to give her own review of her favorite rooms, so I’ll stop there for now.