Where did we go?
Waterside House Campsite
Cumbria CA10 2NA
When did we go?
10th/11th April 2015
Who can pitch there?
Tents, Tipi Hire, Motorhome
How much does it cost?
For two pitches with EHU for two nights, 3 adults and 3 children we were charged £90ish.
Can we have a campfire/bbq?
Yep, off the ground.
Can we take our dog?
Any other unique features we should know about?
The site advertises Canadian Canoe hire and Bike Hire, though we didn't try either.
How was the trip?
I've personally never been to the Lake District before bar the occasional trip to Windermere when I was younger, so we were keen to break away from our usual haunt of North Wales to explore a bit further North.
We ended up selecting Waterside because of its prime waterfront location. However, we needed the EHU for this trip and so we had to go on the EHU pitches which are the most inland pitches of all of them. Upon arriving at our pitch we made the grim discovery of a big ol' dog poo smack bang in the middle of it which isn't exactly the thing you want to deal with when arriving at your pitch. After managing to remove it myself we pitched the tent. The pitches are half pea gravel and half grass. The idea being that you park on the grass and pitch on the gravel. Our tent is much too wide to fit on one or the other so we ended up half on one side and half on the other. Its the first time I've needed to pitch on gravel so I was a little nervous about whether our pegs would go in. They did however, pretty easily too. Whilst pegging the guys out, I found another TWO dog poos in and around the pitch. It's at this point I went and complained at the site shop/reception and asked for a shovel or something similar to get rid. I was met with blank stares from a lady and a man and a feeling like I was inconveniencing them, with no apology for the state of the pitch. The man submitted and came to the pitch to flick away the dirt, claiming that it must of been a visiting dog and not the two dogs he himself had with him that free roamed around the site (We did infact see them doing their business on the Saturday in the middle of the site again). The pitch itself too backed on to the access road, which is busy with farm traffic for most of the time. By dinner time, I was cursing myself for making a bad decision in coming here.
Not the best start but we pressed on. The wind was pretty strong, but we cooked dinner and had a wander around the site and shore whilst the kids ran around and played football before bed. We also picked up a portion of chips from an onsite food van which supplies burgers, chips and cooked breakfasts. Brilliant chips ;)
The morning came and we wandered again down to the shore to check out the views over Ullswater. The wind was still really up and the warmth of the sun had gone over night and instead was replaced with SNOW on the hills around us. It had been quite chilly over night, but we hadn't expected snow that's for sure. The view was fantastic. People who got non-EHU pitches and camped right on the shore were treated to some fantastic views, but the wind was so biting that most people were stuck inside their tents looking through the windows. That's April camping though.
The site has some decent toilet and shower blocks, though the shower was pretty chilly. Free though, so maybe we just went at a bad time. There's a washing machine and a dryer too which take tokens. £3 for the washer and 50p for the dryer. The site is a working farm also so there's a fair bit of animal sound! We like being able to hear the sheep and cows but realise it may pee people off a bit. It was calf season too, so there were a lot of grumpy cows in the barn (that's on site) during the night.
The kids play area is right on the coast, its got a big sandpit and the usual climbing frames, swings and slides. Our kids loved hurtling round on it, despite the cold weather.
We walked along the lakeside into Pooley Bridge for lunch. A really nice little walk only about 20 mins. We had lunch in The Pooley Bridge Inn. Great value and great tasting pub food with some lovely proper pub decor. It's got mixed reviews on Trip Advisor, but we went in blind and it was great.
It absolutely lobbed it down on the Sunday as we were leaving, putting the tent and gear away was brutal and it kind of was the straw that broke me. I've got little desire to come back here, sure it would be nice to sit on the front and gaze over the lake, but the pitches are close together so it would never feel as isolated as I'd like it to be. We were woken up at numerous points by drunk campers across from us on the Saturday night too, busy sites aren't for us and this place will be bedlam in the summer. The site quotes itself as a quiet site but it clearly isn't.
Maybe we got a bad weekend, maybe we caught the staff off guard, but without doubt our first camp that had a good dose of disappointment. Shame, because with some improvements it could be amazing.
View from shore pitches
Close to Pooley Bridge
Dog poo everywhere
Poor customer service