I have spent a week in the lovely Lake District, this hasn’t been my first time in this lovely part of England having visited the Lake District a couple of years ago. Last time I stayed at Ambleside but this time I am staying in Blencathra just ten minutes away from Keswick. If you are looking fo r things to keep you entertained for either a weekend or a week see what I got up too.
Obviously our first stop was around Keswick town centre. There are lots of little tourist shops, vintage/antique shops and activewear/camping shops. There were also plenty of food places, we had ice cream at Casa Bella because every blog on Pinterest recommended the place. I can confirm the ice cream is worth getting.
On two separate occasions I got the Smarties ice cream (which tasted just like the McFlurry!) and the stracciatella ice cream (vanilla ice cream with lots of flakes in). We also ate at the Es Tapas bar, again the food there was incredible, we had the ciabatta, meatballs, chorizo piealla and goat’s cheese tortillas. I had the mojito which was good as well.
Whinlatter Forest Park
Ran by the Foresty Commission, Whinlatter Forest Park is England’s true mountain forest. Myself and my partner decided to go there for a morning of mountain biking! We hired bikes and helmets for £42 for three hours. There are three purpose built trails (Grey, blue and red). We decided to opt for the Quercus Route which is the blue route as we hadn’t been mountain biking for a while and with not having the right clothing (I was terrified of shredding my legs in my gym shorts!) and with not having our usual mountain bikes we thought it would be a good substitute.
It is a really good technical course with berms, rolling jumps and these wooden bridges. They are so so good! Me and James were done after two and a bit hours but if biking isn’t your thing there are numerous walking trails and also a Go Ape which is a ropes course. There is a lovely sculpture of an Osprey at the front.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
In the afternoon, we didn’t want to go far as we were knackered from the mountain biking and decided to go to Castlerigg Stone Circle. It is free entry (although you can leave a donation to the National Trust) constructed in 3000BC it is one of the earliest stone circles in the country. There are beautiful views of the Thirlmere Valley. After having a nosy we had a walk down one of the public footpaths. There was an ice cream van from Luchini’s which I tried because that is the other ice cream place that was raved about. I had the vanilla ice cream but I didn’t see much to rave about.
If you want a trip around the lake of Derwentwater I recommend the launch. £11 for a 50 minute round trip, you can hop on and hop off at any point around the lake. We hopped off at Hawes End as we decided to walk the CatBells and then got back on, dropped the dog off back home (as he was so noisy, we didn’t want him to disturb other customers) and then went on again for the rest of the round trip. It is a commuter boat, therefore you won’t get any history. But it is a lovely fifty minute route.
Catbells is one of the walks to do in the Lake District, which doesn’t take an entire day out (unlike Scafell Pike which I walked a couple of years ago). We walked the route from Hawes End and on the way up, it offers stunning views of the DerwentWater. We took our dog with us and it was a really hot day, so it took us a bit longer than usual as we were stopping to make sure he was drinking. There was a couple of scrambles but as long as you take your time and wear adequate footwear (I saw someone walking barefoot!) you will be fine.
Also known as Saddleback, this hill walk is just outside Keswick and coincidently a stone’s throw away from my accommodation. It is quite an easy walk and fairly short about 4-5km up. On the day we went up we were about ten minutes away from the summit but we had to abandon as the cloud cover was so bad. You can approach the hill from many routes and the one we chose was via Blease Fell as it was close to where we stayed. Afterwards we went for a pub meal at the Horse and Farrier which was a lovely country pub with quite a wide ranging menu.
When I was googling places to go in the Lake District, Buttermere came up over and over again. You do need a car to get up there and you have to be a pretty fearless driver but this little village tucked away.
We had a wander down to Crummock Water and on the way back had the most amazing cake and tea at Syke Farm Tea Room.
If you want something a bit different to the hills and forests then you can head to the coast. St Bees is famous for the Coast to Coast walk, a walk devised by Alfred Wainwright which spans the UK from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. It is a pebble beach but we just dragged our fold up outdoor chairs and was fine!
Carlisle is a city about forty minutes away from Keswick. I hadn’t been shopping in a while and wanted to browse the main high street shops such as Primark, New Look etc.
Have you been to the Lake District? Send me your suggestions in the comments below.