Things to do nearby Crag Lea
Grange has an enviable location right in the ‘jaws’ of Borrowdale, one of the most stunning valleys in the Lake District. The variety of walks from the doorstep plus the good local bus service mean you can happily have a car-free stay if you wish it. Withing the village there are two teashops and the graceful double arch bridge, built in 1675, over the River Derwent.
How about taking a relatively level walk through the jaws of Borrowdale to Rosthwaite? Starting at the village church, this beautiful route travels through woodland and pasture with stretches along a path that runs beside the lovely River Derwent. There is a tea room in Rosthwiate for a half-way refreshment stop, too! A variation of this is is a circular route that climbs the flanks of Castle Crag and returns beside Broadslack Gill. There’s a bit more of an ascent this way, but you will be rewarded with lovely views through a narrow rocky valley to Derwentwater and Skiddaw beyond. If you have a head for heights it is well worth the extra ascent on the side path to reach the summit of Castle Crag. The last bit involves a zigzag path up the spoil from a quarry, but the birds eye views from the top are worth it and it is a ‘Wainwright’ in the bag too!
A short distance down the valley is a car park and a gently undulating path leading to the Bowder Stone, a huge boulder that looks to be impossibly balanced on its edge. Climb the steps to the top of the stone (a head for heights needed here again!) or just enjoy the lovely walk through the birdlife-rich woodlands to get there.
There are many opportunities to get up on the fells from the village. Grange Fell is a sprawling, partially wooded fell with numerous rocky outcrops and small summits to explore, two of which are Wainwrights (King’s How and Brund Fell). It is a good place to see deer and other wildlife and to get away from the main paths to find a quiet spot with a beautiful view.
Maiden Moor and High Spy are on the other side of the valley, linked by a high-level ridge which is a delight to walk. Head north from Maiden Moor to the ever-popular Catbells, which has a path back down to the valley to make a circular route. Otherwise, head south from High Spy to Dale Head Tarn and take the path down to Rosthwaite. For a sneaky bit of effort-free height, you can catch the bus up to Honister, walk up to Dale Head, and then back down from there.
Numerous other serious fells walks can be done nearby including the popular Skiddaw from Keswick and Scafell Pike from Seathwaite. Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and High Seat are just some of the other options; these fells don’t reach quite as high but have some lovely ridge walking and, of course, beautiful views!
Keswick is a bustling town with a good range of independent shops just perfect for browsing; books, outdoor clothing, antiques, chocolate, it is all here! There is also a popular market (Thursday and Saturday) for produce, gifts, and all sorts besides. When you have had enough retail therapy choose from anything from coffee bars to tea shops, Mexican to fish and chips, pasties to ice cream, or just head to a traditional pub for refreshment. For the evening take in a show at the Theatre by the Lake (guests with Sally’s Cottages can receive a discount on tickets) or watch a newest releases at the traditional Art Deco cinema.
Keswick sits on the beautiful Derwentwater, and a regular launch service crosses the lake. You have the option to stay on for a round trip or to stop off at various landing stages around the lake. Both Lodore and Brandlehow landing stages are an easy walk away. At Lodore, stop off to see Lodore Falls and then treat yourself to afternoon tea in the plush surroundings of the Lodore Hotel! Get off at Ashness Gate for a walk up to Ashness Bridge - a famous scene gracing many a chocolate box - and Surprise View high above the valley. Try Lingholm to see the walled garden that was Beatrix Potter’s inspiration for Mr McGregors garden in Peter Rabbit. There is also a lovely café here for lunch. The launch also stops at Hawse End, the starting point for the ridge walk up Catbells via Rowling End, which boasts some of the best views anywhere. There are also lovely and easy lakeside walks between landing stages; just walk until you have had enough and then hop back on the boat at the next stop. Of course, the main stop is Keswick where you can explore the lake at a slower pace by hiring a rowing boat from the boat landings. Why not aim for one of the islands for a unique picnic destination?
No need to worry about wet weather here, either. A wet day in Keswick can be easily filled with visits to the quirky town museum, the Puzzling Place and Pencil Museum, or with a swim in the leisure pool. Alternatively, plan a visit to Honister Slate Mine: their underground tours are not weather dependant and neither are the atmospheric views from driving down beautiful Borrowdale and up rugged Honister Pass to get there! Honister Slate Mine also has two challenging Via Ferrata routes up the old miner path as well as an Infinity Bridge that dangles high above the valley!
Many local walks and attractions can be accessed via the local bus services, perfect for planning linear walks or walks with pub lunches – no designated driver required! It is also a bonus if you don’t fancy driving yourself along some of the more challenging local roads. In summer some routes are even served by open top double deckers so you can concentrate on enjoying the views instead of negotiating the bends!
Mirehouse is just 10 minutes the other side of Keswick; it is a sunny house dating from 1666 where visitors are encouraged to feel at home and can even play the piano! There are extensive and varied gardens, a lakeshore walk, and natural play areas that are not just for children! Don’t miss the short stroll to the compact pre-Norman St Bega’s church in its stunning surroundings.
Anyone interested in wildlife should head to the Osprey viewpoint at Dodd Wood from May to August. Volunteers are on hand to show everyone the birds through telescopes and binoculars set up at the viewpoint, or you can bring your own! You may also be lucky enough to see a red squirrel on the feeders while you are there.