vgoodfellow, where are you coming from? if you let us know your approx dates we can see if there is anything worth visiting that might coincide with your trip, or are you pretty fixed in your itinery? i suggested a northern festival (folk music festival in the north of england) since you will be in the north of england. That is, unless you have misread Lorton and are actually spending your hols in Luton! (in which case, nevermind). There are loads of festivals in the summer and most are in really nice places; even if you don't fancy the actual organised festival you would probably appreciate the general ambience and buzz of a festival weekend as a base (Whitby would be great for you with the family although it is on the other side of England, couple of hours away from the lakes). As far as having the sons with you, you probably won't have any problems taking them in most pubs, especially in the summer when the beer gardens seem to breed kids. If you visit the main areas in the Lake District then I'm sure they will be ok and find their own friends. In fact you will probably never see the sixteen year old again! keep us posted!