Things to do nearby Barrow Gate
With both Keswick and the magnificent Borrowdale Valley within easy reach, you've got the best of both worlds at Barrow Gate. Visit the infamous Bowder Stone, take in the stunning vistas from the top of Surprise View or enjoy a peaceful walk to the remote Watendlath Tarn and Dock Tarn, both beautiful spots for a picnic lunch. Make the most of having Derwentwater on your doorstep and sign up for paddle boarding or kayaking with one of the local adventure companies. Walk the 10 miles round the lake or simply enjoy a peaceful moment relaxing on the lakeshore.
Borrowdale is one of the most stunning valleys in the Lake District and offers varied walking from the most family friendly fell of Catbells to the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike. Both can be reached from the valley floor, as can a myriad of other walks. Borrowdale offers some classic rock climbing routes and scrambling opportunities. You can cycle on road through the valley and over one of the toughest passes at Honister or go off road on the bridleways for some more adventurous biking. At the southern tip of Derwentwater you can hire all manner of boats for adventures on the lake.
Alfred Wainwright described the area containing Castle Crag and Kings How as one of special significance and, for a man who knew Lakeland so intimately, his description is quite an accolade: "It contains no high mountain, no lake, no famous crag, no tarn, but in the author's humble submission it encloses the loveliest square mile in England - the Jaws of Borrowdale."
One of the highlights of Borrowdale is Ashness Bridge. Up on the steep road for Watendlath, the ancient packhorse bridge is a beauty spot that most people visiting the Lake District will have heard of or seen a photo of. In real life the setting is just as pretty: water-polished rock lines the bed of the tumbling gill. Its position high off the Borrowdale Road gives a view, unchanged over the years, towards Keswick and Skiddaw, with Derwentwater in the foreground. You can either walk or take the car up to Ashness Bridge and continue on to Surprise View.
Keswick is a traditional Lakeland town that can be reached by car, on foot, or by boat over Derwentwater. With a pedestrianized square, a twice-weekly market, museums, an Art Deco cinema, and an award-wining theatre (for which Sally’s Cottages guests can get discounted tickets), you’re truly spoiled for choice in this popular town! Keswick is also known as the Adventure Capital of the Northern Lake District and with good reason: try your hand at ghyll scrambling, sailing, wild swimming, bushcraft, guided walks, climbing and much more! If you’re looking for something calmer, take a potter around the many shops or enjoy a tasty meal: you’re spoiled for choice for everything from laid-back pubs, fancy restaurants, and stylish bars.
Booths, specialising in local produce, is the main supermarket serving the area. There is also a Co-op that will deliver your shopping for you (you shop and pay in store and they can deliver it for you). Thomason's is the town’s high-quality butcher. As well as the meat counter they offer pies made in store, smoked fish, chutneys and eggs. In Packhorse Court you will find the Cheese Shop with an impressive selection of UK cheese, a cold meats counter, olive selection and various chutneys, preserves and biscuits. Bryson's Bakery also has a café upstairs and the tables outside are dog friendly. They sell all sorts of bread, cakes and savouries, plus many Lakeland specialties.
The village of Grange has a charming double humpback bridge over the river, which is mostly shallow at this place and perfect for paddling in. You can easily walk down the bank from the edge of the bridge and wade across the river to one of the pebbled islands for a picnic or to laze with a book. It is a glorious spot that is particularly popular during the summer months. Grange has two tearooms - one is just off the bridge and has a lovely garden terrace overlooking the river, the other is opposite the church and marks the start point for the Allerdale Ramble, a charming walk through the valley. Alternatively, for relatively little effort you can climb through the woods onto the top of Grange Fell and enjoy exploring the heathery knolls and sheep tracks. You can carry on to Watendlath for a cup of tea in the little café or you can descend to Rosthwaite and wander back through the valley.
Dock Tarn is a beautiful little tarn amidst the heather and crags of Stonethwaite Fell. It is a mile or so to walk from Stonethwaite, quite steep uphill at first, but you are then rewarded with glorious views of Honister, High Spy, Great Gable and Lingmell. August is the best time to visit when the heather is in full bloom. You can continue to Watendlath where you will pass the huge fishing tarn and can stop for a cup of tea at the cafe.
A visit to Borrowdale would be incomplete without taking in the impressive Bowder Stone. This 2,000 tonne rock fell into its current position and is delicately balanced on its tip. This is a popular place for rock-climbers and boulderers, who often like to test themselves on the Bowder Stone’s overhang, but is also a great place to visit just for a nosey.
At the top of Borrowdale is the Honister Slate Mine, which produces the famous Westmorland Green Slate. Up the steep and winding, but incredible picturesque, Honister Pass, the mine offers tours and has a challenging Via Ferrata and an Infinity Bridge - the longest of its type in England. If you’re looking for a bit of adrenaline and want to get a bird’s eye view of the valley, this is the place to go.
Despite being only around eight miles in length, there are quite a few places to grab a bite to eat in Borrowdale. The Lodore Falls has lovely views over Derwentwater and serves excellent food, perfect for a special occasion or a celebration – why not treat yourself here after taking in the lovely waterfall that the hotel is named for? Alternatively why not try some of the local Herdwick lamb at The Flock Inn in Rosthwaite? They have lots of choice and a good dose of humour with their ‘ewe-nique men-ewe!’