Things to do nearby Hardingill Cottage
Hardingill Cottage is ideally placed between the Cumbrian coast and the western Lakeland fells. Have a great family day out at Muncaster Castle nearby or venture to lovely Ravenglass on the coast where you can catch the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway up to the foot of the fells at Boot. Get on your bike down the new cycleway to the beach at Seascale, there's a great play park there for little ones and an excellent ice cream shop and cafe to reward yourself for your exertions. Scale England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, from magnificent Wasdale nearby or enjoy a gentler walk around the lanes of Gosforth into Blengdale Forest.
Acting as a gateway to two of the most unspoiled and beautiful valleys in the Lake District Gosforth truly is a wonderful find. The village and its surrounding area is a treasure trove of footpaths and Bridleways that any devotee of the great outdoors can (to use Viking terminology) plunder.
The village is a bustling little place, which is incredibly well served for the foodies among you. There are four pubs within the village environs and an excellent Italian restaurant with a wood fired pizza oven and great playing facilities for children. The village bakery is also justifiably famous for its delicious pies.
There is a rich seam of history running through this whole area. This is the land of Bronze Age settlements, Roman forts, ancient churches, medieval castles and many other hidden delights. You don’t have to look very hard to find evidence of the Viking history of the area in Gosforth. The churchyard holds the Gosforth Cross otherwise known as the Wheel head, the tallest Viking cross in England, which has stood there since the year 940.
Famously, with England’s highest mountain and deepest lake, smallest church and biggest liar, Wasdale still has an unspoilt tranquillity that belies its majestic grandeur. It is the most mountainous of the Lake District Valleys. From Wastwater in the valley bottom, the Screes climb, seemingly vertically, out of the lake. The valley has hardly changed in hundreds of years, and the natural splendour of the fells and lakes has been preserved in all of its glory.
Within half an hour of Gosforth you can be geared up and at the foot of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Walks do not come much more challenging than this! Obviously not everybody is so hardy, and closer to Gosforth there are family walks and gentler strolls that take a few hours yet will lead you to secluded spots all of your own. Take the River Bleng walk straight out of the village into Blengdale Forest for example.
Gosforth is also a gateway to Eskdale, another magical western Lake District valley. The walking in Eskdale is second-to-none. You will find a variety of routes to the top of Scafell and Scafell Pike to suit all abilities. Great Moss is one of the Lake District’s best-kept secrets. This stunning open valley is surrounded by some of the highest ground in England, Scafell Pike, Esk Hause and Bowfell but hidden from view from the Eskdale valley floor. As well as big hikes to the highest fells, there are some lovely walks on the valley floor and along the beautiful river Esk. Why not take a walk up from the village to the wonderfully named Giggle Alley, from here you can head to the Japanese Garden a beautifully tranquil spot. If you’d like your adventures taken care of by experts then Westlakes Adventure is a company based in Boot providing outdoor activities for individuals, couples, families and groups. Their activities include rock climbing, ghyll scrambling, paddle boarding and kayaking.
One of the most popular things to do in Eskdale is to take a trip on the famous Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, more popularly known as the La’al Ratty. This narrow gauge steam railway makes a leisurely seven-mile journey from Ravenglass to Boot taking in some staggering scenery along the way. Whether you choose to make the journey from the charming coastal village of Ravenglass or from further up the valley at Dalegarth station in Boot you can enjoy great walks and indeed a play park and café at either end. With prior arrangement you can put your bikes on the train at either end of the line and cycle back via the Eskdale Trail.
Further up the valley as you head up the steep switchback road that is Hardknott Pass (not for the faint hearted driver or passenger!) you’ll come to the staggering setting of Hardknott Roman Fort. The fort was built under Hadrian’s rule in the 2nd century. It guarded the pass on the road from Ravenglass to Ambleside and was policed by troops from the eastern Adriatic. Today visitors can explore remains including the barracks, commandant’s house, parade ground and bathhouse. Or you can sit and take in the view imagining what life was like here nearly 2000 years ago.
In August Gosforth has a large agricultural show, which makes a great day out, there's something for all the family to enjoy from the children's races to the big attractions in the main show ring
Muncaster Castle makes a great day out, it sits high above the estuary where the river Esk meets the Irish Sea at Ravenglass and has a well-deserved reputation as one of Cumbria’s most popular attractions. The Castle makes a great rainy day visit where you can learn more about its colourful history. The original foundations of the building itself date back as far as 79AD - construction of the castle that you see today was started in 1258. As you can imagine with a castle in such an incredible position on the very edges of the country, it is steeped in history, with tales of kings and queens of murder and intrigue and ghostly presences everywhere! The grounds at Muncaster are just as much of a delight as you can watch stunning bird of prey displays, explore a meadow vole maze, enjoy the play-park, café and shop as well as seeing the most stunning displays of bluebells and rhododendrons when in season.
Venturing out towards Ennerdale, the bleak expanse of Cold Fell is a place to really experience solitude. There are views to the coast and you are practically guaranteed to have it to yourself, except perhaps a few fell ponies and sheep. Bradley Farm runs pony trekking in the area, a great way to enjoy the scenery.
As well as being gateway to the staggering valleys of the Western Lake District, Gosforth also makes a great base for exploring the coastline. Whitehaven is a Georgian Harbour town 12 miles up the coast with a colourful history involving rum, sugar and piracy! The Rum Story makes a great place to start your visit and from there you can follow their ‘Quest’ around the town’s historical landmarks. The town is also marks the start of the 140-mile long C2C cycle route. Closer by is Egremont where you can find the remains of a Norman Castle and just south of the town is Florence Mine, the last working iron ore mine in Europe, and part of the rich mining history of West Cumbria.
Just three miles away on the coast is Seascale, a Victorian seaside village with an excellent local ice cream shop. Seascale is also home to an excellent links golf course. Walking south along the beach for a mile will take you to the sand dunes at Drigg. It’s a great place for a family picnic and paddle on a sunny day or just for a wild and windswept winter walk. St Bees is another seaside village further up the coast offering lovely walks along to secluded coves to the north.
Ravenglass is the only coastal village within the Lake District National Park. It makes a delightful place for a visit with its feeling of a gentle old fashioned way of life. Ravenglass is where three rivers meet (Esk, Irt, and Mite) to form an estuary and natural harbour. 2000 years ago, it was the location for an important Roman port and military fort and it later became a bustling fishing town. Today, Ravenglass is better known as the starting point for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway. Why not visit the Railway Museum on your visit? It is an interesting and interactive way to find out about this wonderful heritage line.