Things to do nearby Barn Cottage
At Barn Cottage you are well placed make the most of the wonderful surroundings of Bassenthwaite Village. Get well prepared and head up the less frequently used northern route of Skiddaw or enjoy some of the smaller family-friendly fells in the area known as the Back O' Skiddaw. Pamper yourself by having a spa day at nearby Armathwaite Hall or have a great family day out at the Lake District Wildlife Park. After your adventures enjoy a pint or a meal at The Sun Inn around the corner.
Bassenthwaite Village is a quintessential village with only a small number of houses, a village green, church, and two surrounding farms. The Sun Inn, in the village, is a popular pub with a charming period interior. It boasts good, locally sourced food and local real ales. The Pheasant Inn, just over three miles away, has an excellent reputation for food and an impressive selection of gin. Less than three miles away is the Lakes Distillery, where you can enjoy a tour and tasting or perhaps just a delicious meal at the Bistro. Ravenstone Lodge is less than two miles away and has a restaurant and bistro to choose from.
Nearby Bassenthwaite Lake is part of a national wetlands nature reserve and, among the area's abundant wildlife, visitors might be lucky enough to spot the magnificent ospreys that nest near the lake. From the spring to the autumn you can watch them at nearby Dodd Wood and find out more about their habits. The ospreys have been nesting around Bassenthwaite's shores since 2001 as a result of a successful project to reintroduce the birds to the area. Aside from the ospreys, cormorants have also been known to fish the lake and herons can frequently be seen.
This area to the north of Bassenthwaite is one of the lesser known parts of the Lake District and boasts some outstanding scenery and some of the best, less-frequented walking in the whole of the Lake District. Skiddaw and Blencathra can be reached from the north along quieter footpaths than the usual approaches from the south and there are many other fine fells to explore such as High Pike, Carrock Fell and Binsey. Many of these yield staggering views across the Solway Firth to southern Scotland, across to the Pennines and of course to many of the Lake District peaks. The Caldbeck Rambler bus service to Keswick operates during the summer months making it easy to undertake some longer distance walks and be assured of a restful trip back home on the bus.
If you would like to explore some of the rich history of the area then there's plenty on the doorstep. Mirehouse is a wonderful historic house less than three miles from Bassenthwaite Village. It’s a great place to visit if you want to explore the area’s literary connections. Overlooked by Skiddaw, with grounds rolling down to Bassenthwaite Lake, it has poetic links (most notably with Alfred, Lord Tennyson), wonderful gardens, several adventure playgrounds, a Rhododendron walk and access to the tiny lakeside church of St Bega. It also has some wonderful walks around its delightful grounds.
On the opposite side of the lake lies Whinlatter Forest, a real mountain forest with plenty to explore. There are mountain bike trails, family bike rides and walks, a Go Ape! high ropes course and a visitor centre with café. The park also has an excellent and imaginative outdoor play area, trails suitable for all ages and abilities, and even Segway tours!
If you’re looking for indulgence during your stay, treat yourself to a spa visit during. Armathwaite Hall is offers stunning leisure facilities, a wide range of spa treatments, and a gorgeous outdoor hot tub. Why not treat yourself to afternoon tea after all that pampering? It's hungry work, you know!
The Lake District Wildlife Park is not-to-be-missed by any animal lover. Here you can get to know Lemurs, Otters, Zebra and the many other animals that roam the beautiful 25-acre estate. You can even arrange to be a zookeeper for a day!
For your adrenaline fix, why not book a session at nearby Lingholm Sporting Quad Bike Treks? Head out with experienced guides to take you around the 1,000-acre Lingholm Estate where you'll find some staggering views of the surrounding countryside while, no doubt, having a fine muddy time of it. Marvellous!
Keswick is one of the most well loved towns in the Lake District and is a short drive from the village. It is chock full of outdoor shops, pubs and bars. There is also a cinema and a theatre (for which guests at Sally’s Cottages can get discounts on tickets) if you fancy something a little more refined. Keswick has a beautiful lake, Derwentwater, that has shallow bays for swimming and a regular boat trip allowing you to hop off and hop back on again in order to explore the lakeshore walks. The town is also known as the adventure capital of the Lake District so, however you'd like to test your wilder side, then Keswick opens the opportunity to you!
Cockermouth is a similar size market town to Keswick but much quieter. It has a long main street full of interesting independent shops, café and restaurants. William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth and his childhood home has been turned into a museum. The Jennings Brewery makes for an interesting visit and tells the story of brewing in Cumbria over the past two hundred years, as well as offering tastings of its produce!
Exploring the area slightly further afield is very rewarding. Winding your way over Newlands Pass brings you to beautiful Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater beyond. These quiet valleys offer yet more beautiful walking, fabulous scenery and one of our favourite pubs, The Kirkstile Inn.
For the birdwatchers among you, the Solway Coast is only a half-hour drive away. Here you’ll find an area of Special Scientific Interest surrounding Skinburness and Grune Point that offers miles of unspoilt coastline, saltmarsh, specialist vegetation, a World War II pillbox, and the opportunity to view a wide variety of wading birds and wildfowl. Make sure to watch out for the tides! Even without the lure of birdlife, this area is well worth a visit as it has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Why not buy some fantastic local fish and chips and find a quiet spot to enjoy a Solway sunset?