Passenger planes fly again from Carlisle Lake District Airport
The first passenger flight since 1993 has taken off from Carlisle Lake District Airport to the delight of families in the area and those wanting to holiday there.
The airport, serving Cumbria and southwest Scotland, has been transformed with a new and modern terminal, a Borderlands Cafe and new runways and taxiways.
Scottish airline Loganair will fly to Belfast City Airport, Dublin and London Southend Airport from the airport.
It started out as an RAF airfield and once had scheduled services from Heathrow. But it has had no passenger flight since 1993.
Owned and run by the Stobart Group, it opens Cumbria and the Lake District region up to the South East of England, Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland.
Cumbria is a hugely popular tourist hotspot with families – 47 million people visited in 2018 and tourism contributes £3 billion to the local economy per year.
Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “Just imagine being in a busy central London office on a Friday afternoon and then dipping your toes in the lake as you enjoy the sunset over the stunning Lakeland fells later that same evening.”
The airport is near to two World Heritage Sites – the Lake District National Park and Hadrian’s Wall.
The London connection is also expected to be used by staff working for BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness and the Sellafield nuclear site.
Jonathan Hinkles, managing director at Loganair, said: “These three routes will be a complete game-changer for the region’s connectivity with London and Ireland – extremely beneficial for the business community and highly convenient for tourists booking breaks to the Lake District.”
Loganair will use 33-seater Saab 340B aircraft to operate the flights, with nine return services on weekdays and five at weekends.
Passengers will be offered a free minibus ride to and from Carlisle city centre.
Fares via www.loganair.co.uk, to Belfast City start from £39.99 and to Dublin and London Southend from £44.99 – including 20kg of baggage allowance.
Read our review of Holgates Silverdale Caravan Park on the Cumbria/Lancashire border
A long black tongue curls around a handful of leaves my son is holding out at arm’s length and his face lights up with excitement.
Feeding a giraffe wasn’t something we expected to be doing on our holiday to Silverdale.
But from meeting these gentle giants, to bird spotting and watching a Chilean rodent settle in my son’s hood, our week on the Cumbria/Lancashire border brought us closer to nature.
And nature was certainly close by at our base for the week – Holgates Silverdale Caravan Park – an immaculate site overlooking Morecambe Bay.
Expectations were high as it is multi-award winning – and it didn’t disappoint.
Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the only sounds from the decking outside our holiday home were birdsong.
The static caravan soon felt like a home from home. It was modern with a sea view and included everything we could need.
Our two children loved the outdoor play areas and the woodland walks from directly outside our plot. Facilities include a leisure centre with pool, gym, games room, soft play area and a bar and restaurant.
The swimming pool
Many of the holiday homes are privately owned but there are others to rent as well as space for touring caravans and tents. Or if you like camping but crave a bit more comfort, you can even hire a camping pod with lighting, heating, a plug socket and a sofa bed.
There is plenty to do in the surrounding area and we packed as much in as possible.
Our animal interaction began at the nearby Greenlands Farm Village where Josh enjoyed feeding lambs, stroking puppies and riding a donkey.
He held a rat-like creature called a degu and was unfazed when it ran up his arm and sat on his neck before getting comfy in his coat hood.
A friendly degu
There’s plenty to do here even when it rains as this former dairy farm also has a playbarn, go karts, shops, a cafe and a garden centre.
Next stop was Leighton Moss nature reserve, run by the RSPB, where the enthusiasm of the staff is infectious.
Our two took part in their monthly Nature Tots session for young children, which was a great way to start exploring.
They were lent a fabulous child’s backpack with binoculars, magnifying glass and other useful bits to properly look around this site, where our discoveries included some baby wrens.
Further afield was South Lakes Safari Zoo where you can wander amongst kangaroos, monkeys and emus and get closer than usual to other animals like bears, hippos and wolves.
Feeding the giraffes
Our children gave food to birds and lemurs and – in case you were wondering how a small child goes about feeding the world’s tallest land animal – stood on a high platform to feed the giraffes.
So our holiday certainly brought us closer to nature, which we expected, and closer to a giraffe’s tongue, which we didn’t.
For more ideas, see Cumbria’s official tourist board website.
Accommodation: We stayed as guests at Holgates Silverdale Caravan Park for the purposes of this review. All views are our own.