Things to do nearby Grizedale Lodge
Take a stroll around the trails of Grizedale Forest viewing the outdoor sculptures along the way. Get on your bikes and enjoy the vast range of cycleways for all abilities around the forest park. Swing, climb and whoop through the canopy on the "Go Ape" high ropes course. Get out on the water at one of the nearby lakes. Coniston Water, Lake Windermere and Esthwaite Water are all nearby.
Grizedale Forest is a tranquil haven in the heart of the Lake District. Nestled between Coniston Water and Windermere it offers walking, cycling and adventure aplenty while being handy for a vast amount of Lakeland tourist destinations. The forest park is also home to a captivating range of art works inspired by their natural surroundings.
The forest park itself is a special world of its own. It has 8000 acres of mixed woodland with a web of walking and cycling trails interweaving through the scattered sculptures. The fantastic range of walking trails cater for all standards of fitness from the Riding Wood Trail which is wheelchair and pushchair accessible to the Silurian Way, a reasonably demanding 10 mile hike around the forest.
The off-road cycling in the forest is second to none with a wonderful range of routes to enjoy. Whether you'd like to follow a pre-set route or test your navigation abilities on one of the Mountain Bike Orienteering courses there are plenty of choices. Families with little ones will be delighted by the Mushroom Trail and the Goosey Foot Tarn trail. Children can get hands on with their navigation spotting mushrooms and art works as they make their way around gentle gradients. More experienced cyclists are very well catered for with the Red graded North Face Mountain Bike Trail and "The Black" a tougher route with steep descents and jumps. Staying nearby means you can make the most of these trails at times of day when there are few visitors, why not try the Moor Top Trail in the early morning or evening when the forest birdlife is at its most vocal?
The visitors centre is great fun for families. There's a wonderful adventure play area where children can burn off steam to their heart's content. The park also plays host to a "Go Ape" trail where guests could get roped up and take on an exhilarating range of obstacles high up in the canopy. There are regular family events taking place in the forest too, check out their calendar for school holiday events such as whittling and story trails.
Hawkshead, just over two miles form Grizedale Forest is one of the Lake District’s prettiest villages. No cars are allowed in the village itself (although there is a large car park on the outskirts) and it is full of whitewashed houses, lovely little cafés, and walks in all directions. Visiting here is like stepping back into a bygone era. At Near Sawrey, just a couple of miles from Hawkshead, you will find Hill Top Farm, previously the home of Beatrix Potter. The museum has retained many of the author’s personal knick knacks and the rooms have been kept as they would have been in her day.
Esthwaite Water nearby offers trout fishing, winter Pike fishing as well as general coarse fishing. Aside from the fishing there is also the opportunity to spot some magnificent ospreys during their season.
The delightful Victorian folly that is Wray Castle is just five miles away. Set in gorgeous grounds and right on the shore of Lake Windermere it's ideal for families with young children as you'll find rooms with dressing up boxes, soft play building blocks and play areas. Outside, there are rope swings, woodland to build dens in and family-friendly gardens.
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England and is surrounded by mountain peaks and pretty Lakeland villages. Head along to Waterhead Pier, opened in 1845 and once popular with the Victorians. The bay is now a cluster of gift shops and café where you can while away an hour or two. Steamers and launches sail daily from here throughout the year. The main cruise is a three-hour sail between Ambleside, Bowness and Lakeside. Hop off the boat to sample the delights of the steam railway and aquarium at Lakeside or the World of Beatrix Potter attraction at Bowness. Float across Windermere in the evening and watch the sun setting behind the mountains whilst listening to cool jazz on an evening buffet cruise.
Blessed with beautiful scenery, Ambleside is a bustling South Lakeland village situated at the northern end of Lake Windermere. Though largely Victorian, there has been a settlement here since Roman times when the fort of Galava was built to house 500 soldiers. Their aim was to defend the south Lakeland fells from invasion and to guard the vital trade route to Ravenglass via Hardknott Pass. The remains of the fort were excavated between 1914 and 1920 and can be found next to Borrans Park at Waterhead on the northern end of Windermere.
Within Ambleside you’ll find a wide selection of pubs and cafés. There’s a great choice of eateries here too, whether you're looking for cosy cafes, pub grub, high end restaurants or world food. Try Zeffirellis (pictured) for tasty vegetarian Italian food and take in an arthouse film at their cinema or chill with some live music in their jazz bar. If you’re looking for good beer, head to Ambleside’s hidden gem, the Golden Rule, off the main street. Beautifully unchanged in decades, it’s a favourite of locals, tourist and walkers alike. If you fancy something very special, two Michelin starred restaurants are nearby; The Samling just outside Ambleside and Grasmere's Forest Side. Both have outstanding restaurants producing culinary delights to tantalise your taste buds in fabulous settings
Ambleside has a vibrant cultural scene with several museums, galleries and studios. The Heaton Cooper Studio is a gallery and art shop founded by the landscape artist Alfred Heaton Cooper in 1905. Some of our other favourite galleries are the Old Court House, Walton Mount, Cookhouse and Hobbs. The Armitt Library and Museum is a hub of local history and Beatrix Potter donated many of her natural history watercolours here. Heading outside the town there are a vast number of historical houses to visit from Blackwell, a joy for arts and crafts buffs, to Wray Castle a fairy tale of a place with empty rooms for you to imagine your own place in its history.
Coniston Water is a stunning lake that stretches for five miles through beautiful countryside and mountain scenery. Why not take a trip on the traditional launch or the beautiful Steam Yacht Gondola? If you'd rather be under your own steam, so to speak, you can hire motor boats, kayaks and rowing boats at the lakeshore. You can recreate your own Swallows and Amazons story on the Lake that inspired Arthur Ransome to write the books.
Brantwood is the preserved 19th century home of one of Coniston’s most famous former residents, John Ruskin, a Victorian artist and thinker. The house has been preserved as a museum but is still very much the home that he lived in. Brantwood is packed with Ruskin's personal treasures including paintings, furniture, objets d'art and other personal mementoes. In the village itself you will find the Ruskin Museum, which charts Coniston’s cultural history and holds exhibitions on geology, mining and farming.
Coniston is also famous as the lake where Donald Campbell broke the world speed record in 1955. He was infamously killed when attempting to do the same in 1967. His boat, the famous Bluebird, was raised from the bed of the lake in 2001, along with his remains, and a memorial service was held in Coniston church. A replica of the Bluebird can be seen at the Lakeland Motor Museum in Backbarrow.