Things to do nearby Aster Cottage
Kirkoswald is perfectly situated in the beautiful Eden Valley and offers many days of varied walking straight from the doorstep as well as easy access to the Lake District and Hadrian’s Wall. Known locally simply as KO, this attractive village is unique in that the church bell tower is located on a hill 200yds from the church itself so the villagers could better hear the bells, not only to summon them to church but also as warning of raids from the Scots. Parts of the church date from the 12th century and there is a sacred spring under the nave with a well in the west wall, so it is worth a look for those interested in history and architecture. Kirkoswald had a market charter from the 13th century right up to the coming of the railway in 1846 and still retains an excellent village store and 2 popular pubs, The Fetherston Arms and The Crown - book in advance!
The Eden Valley is a hidden gem with the Pennines to the east and the Lake District Fells to the west. The beautiful rural landscapes around the River Eden are a mix of lush green countryside, traditional towns and attractive sandstone villages. To the south are the peaceful Howgill fells; a favourite place for the great Alfred Wainwright to go to escape from the crowds. The Settle to Carlisle railway, voted the most scenic in England, runs through Langwathby and features the Brief Encounters cafe at the station, ideal for a coffee or a lovely lunch. Two of Britain's best-known long-distance walks, the Coast-to-Coast Walk and the Pennine Way run through the Eden Valley.
Walks in the Eden Valley are many and varied, an obvious place to head for is the River Eden, the best riverside walks can be found south of Wetheral and south of Lazonby with some short but interesting sections around Armathwaite. As an added bonus all these attractive stone villages also have great pubs and cafes to visit. From Newbiggin, you can get access up on to the fells and over into Geltsdale, wild country with its own special beauty. Other walks of note just a short drive away include Gelt Woods, this mature beech woodland clings to the steep valley of the River Gelt and a network of paths lead you through the wood, alongside the tumbling river and beneath quarry faces some of which date back to Roman times. Beautiful at any time of year, but certainly not to be missed in the autumn when the trees look as if they are on fire, the colours here are second to none. The enigmatic stone circle of Long Meg near Little Salkeld is worthy of a visit or plan it into a longer walk.
Penrith is a bustling market town of sandstone buildings, renowned for its wealth of specialist shops offering an interesting choice of goods as well as supermarkets, including a new branch of Sainsbury's and Booths. Penrith has a floodlit driving range and a pitch and putt at the Golf Centre whilst the Penrith Golf Club is a moorland course high above the town with stunning views towards the Lake District. Just a mile from Penrith is the Rheged Centre, located in Europe’s largest grass covered building. Rheged is home to nine individual shops and 3 cafes which reflect the best of the region, including taste food hall and mountain life outdoor clothing shops, it also houses an exhibition centre and a large 3D cinemas screen featuring topical films such as Everest mountaineering. If you fancy making a truly unique gift to take home, for yourself or someone else, release your inner artist and have a go at the pottery painting, there are a wide range of items to choose from, from children’s money boxes to plates, cups and jugs, this is definitely not an activity just for children – go on, have a go!
Alston is situated high up in the Pennines. Surrounded by a unique landscape of moorland, hills, rivers and waterfalls, Alston is England's highest market town. This intriguing town with its cobbled streets and fascinating nooks and crannies was the location for the ITV productions of Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist. Take a ride on one of the lovingly restored steam and diesel engines on the South Tynedale Railway, a round trip from Alston to Kirkhaugh takes around 50 minutes through the beautiful scenery of the South Tyne valley. Visit The Hub Museum with its interesting local history and bygone transport collection.
Hutton in the Forest, a historic house and gardens based on medieval Pele towers with substantial additions dating between 14th and 19th centuries. The house has extensive gardens covering a beautiful topiary terrace and low garden overlooking the lake and cascade. It is worth catching the guided walk with the long serving gamekeeper for a full and interesting tour.
Dalemain House is a fascinating historic Stately Home with fabulous gardens to explore. They also offer special events and family days out throughout the year, try the Marmalade festival or the fell pony shows.
Acorn Bank Garden and Water Mill is well known for its collection of 250 herbs, traditional fruit orchards and sheltered walled garden. Some rooms in the house are now also open to view in this National Trust property which may challenge your expectations of how they display their houses. The tea room features many of the herbs and fruits grown in the garden in its menu. There is plenty of wildlife to be spotted in the woodland walk and along Crowdundle Beck towards the restored water mill, plus a wildlife trail to a disused mine and bird hide overlooking feeders and a pond.
Larch Cottage Nursery has an incredibly comprehensive range of plants with many varieties that are rarely found elsewhere, described as unique and reputable by Enjoy England. The plants are displayed in an attractive walled garden and when you have finished browsing enjoy their excellent Italian inspired coffee shop overlooking the nursery.
Brougham Castle is a picturesque castle beside the River Eden just south of Penrith, it is worth making time to go and wander around the evocative ruins which have at atmosphere all their own. The Alpaca Centre at nearby Stainton is a working farm breeding, rearing and selling alpacas. There is also a shop, furniture gallery and tearoom on site.
The north east Lake District is easily accessed from Penrith too, Ullswater is close by, ideal to picnic beside, swim or fish in, and boat or windsurf on. You can launch your own boat at Howtown or take out temporary membership of Ullswater Yacht Club and boats and canoes can be hired at Pooley Bridge and Glenridding. Ullswater Lake Steamers run between Pooley Bridge, Howtown, Aira Force and Glenridding throughout the year – take a round the lake cruise or use the service to combine with a linear walk round the lake.
Aira Force Waterfall at Ullswater, is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Lake District; over 70 feet high and with a stunning view from the stone bridge which arches over the top of the falls. A MUST see especially for photographers and especially good after (or during!) rain when the falls are at their fullest.
For a change from the Eden Valley and Lake District fells head north to Hadrian’s Wall country; wild and beautiful this landscape is less visited but offers plenty of attractions to visit, walks for all abilities and some wonderful far reaching views. Hadrian’s Wall itself offers a good guide to start exploring the area; pay to visit one of the museums or just soak up the atmosphere of the wall for free, many sections of the Hadrian’s Wall Path national trail run right alongside the wall, so you are walking in the very footsteps of the Roman soldiers.