Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Family Fun at Keswick, Cumbria

The lovely Sean at Treasure Trails Cumbria kindly let me try out another of his family trails to review on the blog so I selected the Keswick spy trail. This was a bit different from the Kendal murder mystery one we did last month. Instead of eliminating suspects and weapons we had to use clues around the town to crack a code. Once again I recruited some willing volunteers from the senior generation to assist in completing the trail and took the drive from Kendal to Keswick through a very murky and chilly Cumbria.

When we reached Keswick it was still quite early in the day and chilly so we decided to visit the Puzzling Place first in the hope that the weather would cheer up.

The Puzzling Place sounded like an ideal cross generational place to spend some time with it's World of Illusion with a whole range of optical effects. In fact it was hardest to drag out the senior members of the group than the youngest!

Our favourites were the Anti Gravity Room (be prepared to feel queasy!) and the Ames Room. It certainly seemed like good value for money:

Admission Prices

Adults £3.75
Children/Concessions £2.90
Family (2+2) £11.75
Under 5’s Free

After a quick trip to Booth's to enjoy their cafe we headed off to the Moot Hall to start our Spy Trail. The instructions were very clear as to where to start and what to look for as the first clue. With some of the clues even the 4 year old could help as they involved spotting a photograph or counting items.

We were taken around many parts of the centre of Keswick looking for clues on buildings, bridges and in the local parks. Whenever we had to cross the road the directions gave us plenty of warning about staying safe. There was one minor confusion when a recent renovation of the park has moved a clue and directional reference point! Luckily the rest of the instructions made this simple to resolve.

If doing the trail with children then about half way round there is an ideal place to stop for a picnic and for them to let off steam. For adult groups with more money to spare the route takes you past plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants. Towards the end of the trail you are given the option of extending the 2.5 mile walk with a trip to the banks of the lake. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to do this today and the children were keen to stop! The route finishes close to where it starts making it simple to find your way back to your car, bus or train.

At 2.5 miles in length this was certainly not too long for my children and the route would be passable by pushchairs. If you want to make a fuller day in Keswick the spy trail takes you past many of the main attractions so you could add them to your itinerary like we did with the Puzzling Place. I am pleased to say we correctly solved the code which has allowed us to be entered into a prize draw on the site!

Now we have done 2 of the current available trails we only have 9 more to try out... I can't wait to see what they have to offer. At only £5 per trail they make for a cheap family day out which is both fun and a healthy way to spend a few hours with people from across the generations.

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