A Digital Detox in the Lake District


What is a digital detox?

Last week we went for a rare five days away together to the Lake District. Nothing particularly spectacular – people go away all the time – but what made this occasion special is I turned off my smartphone and put it in the glove box of the car. I’ve had my iPhone for nine years and never turned it off. I work for myself and

in the past always felt the need to check my emails ‘just in case’.

From there it’s easy to slip into checking Facebook, Twitter, posting an Instagram image, taking an ‘urgent’ call (to them)…and before you know it, it’s just like being at work. Well this time, I thought we could both do with no distractions from anyone – work, family or the digital world. My husband turned his phone off too.


Will I manage without a phone?

As our car roared up the M6, it felt like a weight had been lifted off me and I fell into holiday mode. The phone number of our guesthouse had been scribbled on a piece of paper for my daughter back at home – otherwise, no-one could contact us at all. It felt liberating.

When we stopped for a coffee at the motorway service station, we talked to each other.


How we planned our days without any digital help

At the guest house, we used maps and guide books to plan our activities for the first day. While I regularly read guide books (I’m a travel writer) it’s ages since I’d used a proper map. I rely on Google maps or similar.

We had to buy a newspaper to see what the weather was going to do and watch the television news to see what was going on in the world. An old fashioned clock by the bed told us when to get up.


Did I notice anything different?

Since I wasn’t planning on writing anything for my blog, researching a story, looking for good angles for a Twitter image or an Instagram shot, I actually noticed (and enjoyed) my environment much more.

I took in the dry stone walls, the moss covered fallen trees, the flurry of wild flowers in the spring meadows, the water fowl on the lakes, the birdsong, the smell of rain: in fact my senses were heightened and I was much more observant.

I watched the new lambs gamboling across the fields and in a patch of sunlight, even caught sight of a dormouse, who hurriedly rushed back to his tussock, his dark, beady eyes looking back at me.


Don’t over plan things

In the pubs and cafes, poring over the Times crossword and nursing a beer, we asked locals for restaurant recommendations. Sometimes we just pot lucked it. And we hit the jackpot a couple of times.

I learned you really don’t need to research everything online to the nth degree – sometimes serendipity comes into play.


I’ve been to some amazing places over the last few years, but my simple days in the Lake District – mainly gentle walking around lakes – knocked them all out of the ring.

Of course we came home to a sh*tstorm – but that’s another story…

Suffice to say, we’ve booked another five days for a return visit. Outside the peak summer season, the Lake District is hard to beat.

Food and accommodation

We liked the friendly and homely cafe at Ulverston that bakes its own cakes.  http://gillams-tearoom.co.uk/

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I like Yewfield B&B. It’s veggie and the owner also runs two excellent restaurants in the area – Zeffirellis and Fellinis. https://www.yewfield.co.uk/

If Yewfield is full and to enjoy a wonderful dinner anyway, I’d recommend family-run Gilpin. Always just ahead of the curve, they really know how to serve their guests. https://thegilpin.co.uk/


Disclosure: completely self-funded.

(And apologies for photos.  Not resized, photoshopped, edited or otherwise prettied up. Taken on an old point and shoot.)

Despite this, the copyright remains with Olivia Greenway and images may not be used under any circumstances except by written permission prior.