Take time to explore Borrowdale's diverse heritage, habitats and culture by spending a week in one of our comfortable cottages. Browse through our holiday cottages in Borrowdale.
Things to do In Borrowdale
'A pageant of beauty from end to end' is how Alfred Wainwright described Borrowdale Valley and how right he was! Set against a mountainous backdrop are verdant fields divided by massive stone walls, traditional stone farmhouses, ancient packhorse bridges, extensive oak woodlands, tumbling waterfalls and placid tarns, with the sparkling thread of the River Derwent running through it all.
Climb the Bowder Stone
This huge boulder is precariously perched on one side and looks as though it might topple over at any moment. But don't worry, it's been in this position for thousands of years. Climb to the top using the sturdy ladder or try to shake hands with someone through a narrow gap underneath the boulder.
Castle Crag - one of the 'Jaws' of Borrowdale
It's worth climbing to the top of this iconic pike for the views alone. Originally the site of an Iron Age settlement, Castle Crag has been partly quarried and the route to the top is peppered with hundreds of hand-made miniature slate stalagmites, creating a surreal lunar-like landscape.
The stroll along the River Derwent from the village of Grange to Rosthwaite must be one of the best riverside walks in the whole of the Lake District National Park. Wander through leafy woodlands, skim stones on the river, cross over arched packhorse bridges and pass fields with grazing Herdwick sheep. Another beautiful walk follows the Stonethwaite Beck through Langstrath.
Water, Wordsworth and wadd
Did you know that Seathwaite in Borrowdale is officially the wettest inhabited place in England? But it's not always raining there and on fine days you can explore fellside paths to Styhead and Sprinkling tarns, admire the venerable Borrowdale yews immortalised in a poem by William Wordsworth and marvel at the remains of the Elizabethan wadd (graphite) mines on the fellside - once the most expensive mineral ever mined in Britain.
A wander to Watendlath
Don't leave out a visit to this isolated hamlet with its beautiful tarn and ancient packhorse bridge. You can walk there from Rosthwaite or drive up from the Borrowdale road. Either way, welcome refreshments are waiting at the local tearoom (summer months only).
Not many know about a certain spot on the minor road to Watendlath, but park up and walk the few metres to a rocky platform to be rewarded with the most stupendous views over Derwentwater. Surprise View is really not to be missed! And, as an added bonus, the picturesque packhorse bridge at Ashness is just a short distance away.
Enjoy scrumptious food and drink
If you fancy a change from your self-catering cottage in Borrowdale, you'll find a great choice of places to eat, from basic fare to fine dining. For a local flavour, try the Flock-in at Rosthwaite, where you can sample Herdie burgers and a hearty Herdwick stew and look out over fields stocked with Herdwick sheep. Or dine on wholesome, home-cooked food at the Shepherd's Café at Lodore. You might also like to check out the Langstrath Inn in Stonethwaite, Scafell Hotel at Rosthwaite and the Borrowdale Gates Hotel at Grange to name a few other noted eating establishments. And don't forget the market town of Keswick is just a short drive away.
Ramble hand in hand with nature through England's 'finest hanging' oak woodlands. The broadleaved woodlands of Borrowdale Valley are nationally recognised as remnants of temperate rainforest, richly festooned with ferns, lichens, mosses and liverworts.
Honister Slate Mine and Via Ferrata
High above the valley, at the top of Honister Pass, is Honister Slate Mine and Via Ferrata. With mine tours, a hair-raising Via Ferrata where you dangle off the side of the mountain, Europe's longest rope bridge (the Infinity Bridge), and a Climb the Mine experience; there's lots going on here! For those who want something a little more sedate, there's also a fabulous gift shop and a lovely cafe!
An outdoor mecca
The mix of mountains, tarns and lake, linked by a network of footpaths and bridleways make Borrowdale a perfect place for outdoor adventure. Ascend the high peaks of Dale Head, Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Great Gable and Glaramara, test your climbing skills at Shepherd's Crag or at the Bowder Stone, take a canoe for a paddle across the lake or simply enjoy wandering along the myriad of footpaths and bridleways and crisscross the valley.
View all our self-catering Borrowdale cottages above.
Read more about Sally's Lake District Cottages, over 280 of which are dog friendly.