Things to do nearby Dovedale Cottage
Hartsop lies to the south of Ullswater just at the point the valley ascends to Kirkstone Pass. It sits in a wonderfully unspoiled position in a magnificent amphitheatre of fells. Nestled between Ambleside and Patterdale it offers both quiet seclusion and bustling Lake District life to explore nearby.
Adventurous fell walkers will find Hartsop a paradise with the mighty Helvellyn range, Fairfield, High Street, Red Screes and Dove Crag all within easy range. For the Wainwright “baggers” among you there is a fantastic choice to keep you coming back. In fact, the well prepared and energetic ramblers among you could take on the Dovedale Horseshoe from the door. This ambitious and rewarding walk includes Hartsop Above How, Hart Crag, Dove Crag then returning via Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd. Five Wainwrights that should definitely earn you a pub meal at The Brotherswater Inn!
One of the Lake District’s most well-known “secret caves” lies on the flanks of Dove Cragg above Hartsop. Known as the Priest’s Hole, this spectacular spot was featured in the BBC programme Secret Britain and is something of a rite-of-passage for lovers of the great outdoors. There’s even a visitor’s book to sign inside! Please bear in mind that it is a very technical hike to reach it and only those experienced in navigation should undertake the walk. Why not book a day with one of the many outdoor adventure companies in the area to get you started on your adventures?
Don’t be put off by the scale of the surrounding fells, there are many gentler ambles to be had too. Brotherswater lies just nearby which has a very accessible bridleway for little ones or for those with more limited mobility. It’s a wonderful body of water which makes a great place for a paddle or a wild swim. Alternatively take a hike through picturesque woodland to Dovedale Waterfalls.
This area is a gift for cyclists whether on tarmac or off-road. Kirkstone Pass is a feature of many famous cycle events and is perfect to test your hill climbing capabilities. Don’t forget you can always reward yourself with a visit to The Kirkstone Pass Inn at the top! The off-roader’s have a vast choice of bridleways and trails including up to mighty High Street or around to tranquil Martindale on the eastern side of Ullswater.
Eating out is a treat in this area with pubs, restaurants and cafes nearby ready to offer everything from a mug of tea and a scone to award-winning fine dining. The Brotherswater Inn serves good home cooked food and local real ales while the villages of Patterdale and Glenridding just nearby have a wealth of shops and eateries to explore. The village shop in Patterdale even bakes its own delicious bread, well worth popping down in the morning! The Howtown Hotel is accessible further down the valley and can be reached by road or steamer.
Ullswater is widely thought to be one of the most picturesque Lakes in the area. The beautiful daffodils along its shore inspired Wordsworth to pen the famous poem. One of the loveliest ways to appreciate it is from the water itself and there are plenty of opportunities to mess about in boats.
The Ullswater Steamers have been delighting visitors for over 150 years. These beautiful heritage vessels wind their way around the four landing stages offering passengers the opportunity to take in a linear walk or just enjoy the glorious scenery. There’s even a bar on board, how civilised!
If you’d rather be rather closer to the water then why not hire your own vessel? Kayaks, sailing boats and paddleboards can all be hired from Patterdale and Glennridding. You could pack a picnic and find your perfect beach on which to enjoy it.
Fans of historic houses are well catered for in this area with Dalemain, Hutton-in-the-Forest, Lowther Castle and Wray Castle all within easy driving distance. Going further back in history the ruins of Brougham Castle run by English Heritage stand in a beautiful location beside the River Eamont.
Take a walk into the past to High Street, so named as it is the highest Roman Road in England where Roman troops trod two thousand years ago between their forts at Brougham and Ambleside. There’s a rich seam of Roman History running though this area which is well worth exploring.
If you’d like a change from the peace and tranquillity of Hartsop then Lakeland town life can be easily explored nearby. Ambleside, a lovely Victorian town with a wealth of things to do, lies just over Kirkstone Pass 10 miles away. Sitting at the head of Lake Windermere it offers a more bustling side to the Lakes with a wealth of visitor attractions, a lovely independent cinema and some very highly regarded restaurants.
Keswick, the Lake District’s adventure capital, is just 20 miles away, and here you can test your wilder side with any number of outdoor activities or take in some culture at the stunningly situated Theatre By The Lake.
The nearby market town of Penrith has many places to eat as well as plenty of shops, both independent and high street. It even has its own smokery as well as an artisan bakery and cake shop. On the way to Penrith why not stop in at Rheged? This award-winning visitor attraction has shops, regular exhibitions, children’s activities, a huge 3D cinema and even a spa.
A trip to the environs of Ullswater wouldn’t be complete without a walk to wonderful Aira Force. This majestic waterfall has a one-mile circular route to take you around the different viewpoints of the falls and a handy café after your exertions. You can also branch off on various other paths from here if you’re feeling more energetic!