Lake District Cottages - Sally's Review - Outdoor Activities
As a land of mountains, lakes and coast, the Lake District area is home to a great variety of outdoor activity centres. Many of them are happy to embrace all levels of experience and age and offer everything from short taster sessions to day-long adventures. Here is Sally's pick of the best accessable from many of our Lake District cottages...
Whinlatter Forest Park is the place to go if you're a committed mountain-biker. The Altura Trail is one of two routes at Whinlatter, and this one is red-graded, 19km long, and described as suitable for experienced riders with good off-road skills and a high level of fitness. If you can take your eyes off the berms, jumps, rock features, skinnies and cork screws, you'll see fabulous views of Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater, Helvellyn and Skiddaw from your position 500m above Keswick.
The other mountain bike route at Whinlatter Forest Park is the Quercus Trail. This is a blue grade route suitable for moderately experienced riders, with a choice of 3.5 or 7.5km lengths. There are rolling jumps and gradual climbs, and trickier parts that are designed so you can choose them or not depending on your skill level. The route takes you through an oak forest and towering conifer glades.
Bikes can be hired at Whinlatter Forest Park's on-site Cyclewise centre. If you want to record the experience for dull days and doubters, Cyclewise can also hire out head-cameras for the duration of your trip! Find Lake District Cottages near Keswick.
Offroadadventures-online is a website for keen cyclists and offers detailed maps and time scales for half day, full day and multi-day off road adventures in the Lake District. It offers safety advice, times of year best suited and possible risks involved. It is ideal for anyone searching for routes and do not want to spend days searching them out.
High Wires and Cable-assisted Routes
Do you want to 'get in touch with your inner Tarzan'? If so, the two Go Ape courses at Whinlatter and Grizedale will be just your thing - have a go on their high-wire tree crossings, zip wires and 'Tarzan drops'.
The Go Ape Centre at Whinlatter has the highest such course in the country at 360m above sea level, with a zip wire that roves through the forest, over water and clear blue skies (hopefully). The views on a good day can stretch all the way across the county to the Scottish border. Find Lake District Cottages near Go-Ape.
The Go Ape Course at Grizedale Forest travels the side of steep hill, 200m above Grizedale Beck.
The Newlands Adventure Centre has a high wire course, in addition to a wide choice of outdoor activities.
Rookin House also has a zip wire course. They offer a wide range of other activities (see below).
The Lakes' latest high-rise adventure is the Via Ferrata, or 'iron road' at Honister Slate Mines. The route, constructed of rungs and cables, allows you to climb 2,126 feet with relative ease. Combine the trip with a visit to the mine itself, or ramp up the adrenaline further with a trip on their zip wire.
All Things Horsey
If your normal hack takes you across a bit of scrubby ground on the edge of town, you'll love the opportunities in the Lakes.
Murthwaite Green Trekking Centre in Silecroft is a friendly family-run horse riding centre, which specializes in beach rides. They have direct access onto Silecroft beach with its five miles of golden sands and shallow waters, ideal for horse riding!
Low Farm Riding Centre takes riders of all levels out in the fells, or – bliss! – along the beach at Allonby. Short rides are available in the lovely countryside local to Aspatria, too.
Rookin House Activity Centre also offers riding for beginners and the more experienced.
If you used to make an annual appointment with the famous Lowther Show (now sadly defunct), you'll know that carriage driving is popular amongst native Cumbrians... and the royal family. You can try the sport out for yourself at the Lakeland Heavy Horse Centre at Dearham near Maryport. You can also find out all about these traditional breeds and meet some miniature Shetland ponies.
Rough Terrain Driving
Rookin House Activity Centre at Troutbeck, Penrith, is a multi-activity site offering a lot of skill and bucketloads of invention. Here you can trek out on a quad bike or mini quad bikes for 6-11 year olds, try madtrax (rough terrain buggies), JCBs (yes!), an army truck or the 4x4 course.
Rookin House also offers riding, an assault course and zip wire.
Climbing, abseiling, scrambling and walking
Apparently Carol climbs, walks, paddles, scrambles, angles and dangles, or at least, that's what it says on CarolClimb's website! Carol and Richard are based in Wasdale, close to Scafell Pike and Wastwater. They offer guided mountain walks, scrambles up ghylls in full torrent, a spot of abseiling and rock climbing. They also kayak in many of the region's lakes.
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'Joint Adventures' organises high quality adventure activities and skills courses throughout the Lake District with professionally qualified and experienced instructors. If you want fun, excitement, and entertainment in the breath taking scenery of The Lake District, then they can provide kayaking and canoeing (on lakes and rivers), climbing, abseiling, archery, ‘bushcraft’, gorge scrambling, mountain biking and guided walking and orienteering, for adventurers of all ages.
The Keswick Adventure Centre is a great one-stop shop for a myriad of outdoor activities. Beginners aged 7 to 70 can join 'taster' sessions or the more experienced can enjoy more challenging sessions. Choose from rock climbing (on the indoor climbing wall or outdoors), abseiling or walking.
The Newlands Adventure Centre in the Newlands Valley offers ghyll scrambling, climbing, abseiling and mountain walks.
Mobile Adventure: Near Keswick and throughout the Lake District
Mobile Adventure are one of the Keswick based outdoor activity providers who specifically cater for families and small groups. They offer half or full day activities based around what you want to do and offer activities throughout the Lake District. Some of the favourites include Ghyll scrambling, climbing, kayaking and canoeing, but there are many more possibilities.
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If you're a lover of the Lake District, you'd really enjoy a new perspective on this wonderful county. Take to the air in a paraglider!
Air Ventures operates from Keswick and flies over the northern Lake District. Kids can join in, too, in special tandem flights.
Eden Soaring takes advantage of the notoriously fierce thermals of the North Pennines in the Eden Valley.Within easy reach of the Ullswater and Penrith area.
Lakes and rivers
Many of the Lake District have outdoor activity providers with experienced instructors to teach you basic or more advanced skills. Try these for size...
Derwentwater Marina is a great place to go for all things watery – sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, and raft-building. You can learn the skills from scratch, or just hire a canoe, kayak, sailing dinghy, surfboard or rowing boat and set off across the lake.
Mirehouse is a beautiful family run country house with delightful gardens set in the heart of the North Lake District, three miles from Keswick.
There are four woodland adventure playgrounds, including a steeple chase to burn off all that excess energy, a wooden fort, Squirrel Island for the under 11’s and the Forest Hazard Course. There is also a family nature trail developed in conjunction with Cumbria Wildlife Trust free with grounds entry
Children can have endless fun running around the heather path maze or finding your way through the rhododendron tunnel. You can also enjoy a lakeside walk or a picnic by Bassenthwaite Lake.
The Glenridding Sailing Centre, at the pretty village of Glenridding on Ullswater, offers the opportunity to learn to sail dinghies and traditional boats, or more modest, but just as enjoyable, canoes and kayaks. You can also hire craft to take out on the lake yourself.
The nattily-named Platty Plus at Keswick offers something different on the boating scene. Ever fancied going out in a Viking long boat or a dragon boat? Well, here's your opportunity. Platty Plus can also teach you to handle canoes, kayaks and power boats.
Just Plain Bonkers
The sort of people who set up outdoors activities businesses here in the Lake District invariably have a sense of adventure and a well-developed fun muscle. Their imagination knows few bounds...
Ever wanted to walk on water? Well, if you've visited Derwentwater recently, you will have seen people captured in large transparent balls, running across the lake in a manner a hamster would appreciate – these are the Keswick Adventure Centre's Waterwalkerz.
It's hard to know whether the staff at Rookin House had fun, revenge or punishment in mind when they invented human bowling. Perhaps a delicious combination of all three! So, if you have a strong stomach and sense of humour, you can climb into a cage-like, human-sized ball, and allow your friends to bowl you at some very large pins.
Come and enjoy one of our cottages!