Looking for a relaxing child-friendly holiday in one of England's most stunning spots? Then head to the quaint cultural town of Sedbergh in the rolling Yorkshire Dales
Sedbergh is not just difficult to pronounce (well… for me at least), but it's also a tough place to do justice to. The rolling green hills make this small market town unmistakeably part of the Yorkshire Dales. It is home to Sedbergh School, a historical boarding school which dates back to 1525. The surrounding Howgill Fells provide scenic views from every side of Sedbergh town. The cobbled streets, scenic walks, quality restaurants and a fantastic diversity of accommodation, from campsites to luxurious hotels, make it the perfect place for a tranquil English holiday.
This little town may be beautiful but, like all England, it is at the mercy of the weather. Rain coats are a necessity for a place like this – no matter what time of year and whatever the forecasts say. Yet, it is this rain which makes the Yorkshire Dales such a striking area of natural beauty; and, as such, we cannot sulk too much about this weather. The rain keeps the grass green and no doubt contributes to why this area is so little known. It is worth the cost of an umbrella to stay somewhere so remarkable.
In 2006 Sedbergh became the official book town of England, elected by the International Organisation of Book Towns. With a dozen book sellers and even a book-maker within a few hundred metres it is easy to see why it earned this title. It is easier to buy an early edition classic novel than to manage to catch the regular bus in to Kendal which whizzes through the main street just five times a day.
There are beautiful scenic walks to be explored along the Howgill Fells as well as book shops to visit and trips to the nearby town of Kendal. There is also the opportunity to visit the famous Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England; where you can take a cruise or, if you are feeling more adventurous, rent your own rowing boat and explore for yourself.
There are many historical churches to visit as well as numerous arts and crafts centres in the surrounding areas. There is a regular market, frequent car boot sales and the odd artist’s studio.
For the more active holiday-maker there is a range of outdoor activities which can be found in and around the area, these include fishing, cycling, golfing, horse riding and sailing.
The town is very community orientated so you are likely to come across a charity run or the annual yellow plastic duck race in the river which flows through the heart of the town. The Summer Duck Race is not the only fun activity for children as this is an ideal holiday destination for families. There are nature trails, pony rides, a weir to paddle in and many pebble beaches to skim stones from by the river. This is without considering the three purpose-built play areas specifically for children.
Sedbergh hosts an array of different annual festivals but the most magical is the switching on of the Christmas lights which, with the late-night shopping, carol singing and mulled wine, bring Victorian spirit and Father Christmas to this little town.
There are many places to eat and drink in and around Sedbergh. There are quaint cafés as well as gastro-pubs and restaurants. I recommend the Sedbergh Café, which was once the town’s old coach station. This is a great place to hide from rainy weather with a light lunch, tea and scones.
There is an abundance of accommodation in this small town. You can rent flats or even entire houses. However, if you are on a budget I would recommend pitching a tent or renting a caravan on Pinfold Camp Site. I spent most holidays here when I was younger and it was always child-friendly, cheap and cheerful. If you have more lavish tastes and a much more accommodating budget then I would recommend staying at the Dalesman Pub which offers luxurious en suite rooms.
For further information you can visit the Sedbergh tourist information website which provides links and phone numbers for all the places I have mentioned in this guide; www.sedbergh.org.uk.
Sedbergh offers so many activities that it can suit all types of travellers. It’s ideal for those who want to keep active, or, for anyone who loves to relax with a good book while enjoying majestic views of Howgill Fells.