There’s a growing artisan gin scene in Cumbria, with a number of small batch distilleries across the county providing a unique juniper taste that’s enhanced by the local waters.
For the ultimate Lake District gin experience, why not enjoy a walk in the beautiful scenery and reward yourself at the end with a gin tasting? These routes will lead you right to the door of some of the best locations for sampling Lake District gins. From small local distilleries to shops selling 400 varieties, you’re in for a real treat!
Note: These walking suggestions are summaries only. Please prepare fully before setting out and make sure you take a map, compass, and other necessary navigation equipment. Remember to wear suitable clothing and footwear. Distances given for each walk are approximate.
Sale Fell and The Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite
Distance: 4.5 miles
Sale Fell offers a relatively easy mountain walk with gorgeous views over Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater, and the distant sea to the west. Less well known than other fells in this region, it’s a real hidden gem where you can escape the crowds and still be rewarded by stupendous views.
You can head around the base of the mountain, or we prefer aiming for the summit after parking up at St Margaret’s Church in Wythop Mill. Descend through Wythop Woods, exiting behind the Pheasant Inn, then cross the A66 (please take care as this is a busy road). After a short distance walking on a twisting country road, you’ll turn left opposite Bassenthwaite Sailing Club and follow the path through fields to the distillery.
The Lakes Distillery offers tours and tastings of its gins, whiskeys and vodkas. And the extensive gift shop means you can take your favourites home!
Hoad Hill and Shed 1 Distillery, Ulverston
Distance: 2 miles
From Ford Park in the centre of Ulverston, follow the Tree Trail northeast until you reach Hoad Lane. Turn left onto the road then take a right almost immediately onto the path up Hoad Hill. Follow the route left at the fork and continue onwards and upwards until you reach the lighthouse-like Hoad Monument at the summit.
From here, the view stretches on for an eternity over beautiful Morecambe Bay and towards the Lake District in the opposite direction. On your way back down, follow the path through fields and back down to the park. Walking alongside the park, make your way to the main road, and cross the A590 and onto North Lonsdale Terrace.
Shed 1 Distillery – shortlisted in 2021 as the World’s Best Gin Visitor Attraction – was launched by a husband-and-wife team from their garden shed! Their ‘shed’ is now a lot bigger, with views of Hoad Hill and the canal. They offer tastings, gin making experiences and tours.
The Cockpit Stone Circle and Chestnut House, Pooley Bridge
Distance: 5 miles
The fell of Moor Divock is literally covered in history, with numerous ancient monuments scattered across the hillside. The most prominent and impressive of these is the Cockpit Stone Circle, which is thousands of years old and made up of around 30 standing stones.
From the village of Pooley Bridge, follow a road called High Street out past a caravan park and onto the footpath. It’s a fairly obvious route from here: just follow the track all the way to the stone circle. You could take some at the top to see how many other monuments you can discover, or just sit back and admire the views of the lake and High Street, an ancient Roman road.
When you’re ready, you can either head back down the way you came, or continue up a little further to Heughscar Hill before descending, via a network of winding paths, towards Pooley Bridge.
Once back in the village, you’ll find Chestnut House gift shop near The Crown Inn. Inside this diminutive shop is a gin-lover’s dream, with around 400 types of gins, many of which you can sample before you take home.
The Cumbria Way and Wolftown Gin, Ulverston
Ulverston is obviously the place to be for quality gins, with two excellent distilleries to choose from! Fortunately, the lovely market town has plenty of walking options too.
The Cumbria Way is a long-distance footpath stretching from Carlisle in the north of the county to Ulverston in the south. For a full day, set off from Coniston village and follow the route for 16 miles south all the way alongside the lake, through stunning scenery, and down to your finishing point. This option is only for seasoned walkers, but you’ll certainly deserve that gin tasting at the end of it all!
If you fancy something a little easier on the legs, why not set off from the town, following the river north and onto wooded paths? Go as far as you like along the signposted Cumbria Way before retracing your footsteps back to the centre of town where you’ll find Wolftown’s Ulverston store sitting in an elevated position above the square. You can buy your gin here and sup on it from the shop, or check their calendar for special tasting events.
Hampsfell and Cartmel Drinkshop, Cartmel
Distance: 3.5 miles
This lovely walk from the gorgeous village of Cartmel takes in farmland, sea views, Lake District mountains, and some fascinating buildings. It’s full of interest and a great walk out before you sample some gins.
From the village, head east towards and through Pit Farm before the path starts to gradually climb. Continue upwards before turning left and heading towards the Hampsfell peak, where you’ll enjoy a splendid panoramic viewpoint. Up here is also Hampsfell Hospice, a shelter built in 1846 that has a fantastic viewfinder on top so you can identify the distant mountains.
Heading back down, you follow the path through a farm and onto the road, where you turn left and return to Cartmel. Please be aware that there are no pavements on this road until you’re back in the village.
Cartmel Drinkshop can be found in Unsworth’s Yard in the heart of Cartmel. There are lots of quality gins (and other wines and spirits) from around the world, which you can “try before you buy”.
If you’ve had a good day of gin shopping, you may be ready to head back to your accommodation and try our your purchases. Make sure you have the perfect holiday cottage to return to! Use our cottage search to browse.