Things to do nearby High Swinside Cottage
An ideal location for walkers, with gentle strolls like the Loweswater circular and more strenuous hikes such as Grisedale Pike a short drive from your doorstep. Nearby, Whinlatter Forest has plenty to keep thrill-seeking, mountain bikers and energetic families entertained, and the centre’s café offers an excellent reward at the end of your day. The bustling towns of Keswick and Cockermouth are convenient places to stock up with supplies while enjoying the hustle and bustle of Lakeland life.
High Lorton is a pretty village with a small school, a 12th century church, a village shop dubbed ‘A Shed with a View,’ and even a paintball site! There is also an award-winning pub in nearby Low Lorton that serves good food. There are plenty of walks from the village up Hopegill Head or along the valley floor.
High Lorton is by Whinlatter Forest, which has many forest trails. You can hire bikes to explore the trails and there is also a fantastic adventure playground, which is free to use. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Go Ape! High Ropes Course or take a tour of the Forest on a Segway! If birds are more your thing, you can see the Ospreys in their nests via closed circuit TV from Whinlatter Visitor’s Centre.
Cockermouth is your nearest town and has a wealth of independent and antique shops along the main street, as well as a popular auction house. You’ll also find Sainsbury’s supermarket, an excellent butcher, deli, fishmonger and two bakeries. The town has a strong Georgian heritage and is the birthplace of William Wordsworth, the Lakeland poet. His home in the town is now a museum that takes you back in time to the 1700s. Cockermouth also boasts the Jennings Brewery, offering tours and tastings, and the Kirkgate Arts Centre, which has a program of music, theatre, films and activities.
Loweswater is the nearest lake; small and sweet, it has fantastic lakeshore paths through woodland or up gentle hills. The Kirkstile Inn at the far end is the perfect place to stop for a bite. Loweswater is an Old Norse name for ‘leafy lake,’ a very apt description for the woodlands on the western shore that are home to red squirrels and the hidden Holme Force waterfall.
Beyond Loweswater are the equally lovely lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water. These three lakes once formed part of one large glacial lake. Nowadays, each has its own personality and a range of lakeshore paths and fellside walks to choose from. Don’t forget to search out the hidden valley of Rannerdale in May for a spectacular display of bluebells.
From Buttermere you can drive over the steep and winding Honister Pass, which takes you into the Borrowdale Valley and to Keswick beyond. Honister has a slate mine that offers mine tours, two Via Ferrata routes, and an Infinity Bridge suspended high above the ground. The top of Honister offers breathtaking, rugged views and its well-worth a (careful!) drive up.
Keswick is famed for its stunning mountain scenery, beautiful Derwentwater, and the friendly, pedestrianised town centre. There are plenty of outdoor shops, a theatre (discounted tickets available with Sally’s Cottages), cinema, cafés, pubs and restaurants. You can hire boats or take the launch around the lake or enjoy a more adventurous outdoor pursuit such as ghyll scrambling, paddle boarding, or wild swimming!
In the opposite direction lies Ennerdale, one of the Lake District's wildest valleys. Its remote location makes it the perfect place to escape to, even in high season. The lake has the distinction of being the only lake in the Lake District without a tarmac road running alongside, and long may that continue. If you’re looking for peace and quiet with only the sound of birds and bleating sheep, head out on a walk around Ennerdale. It is possible to walk around the whole route fairly easily (with some minor scrambling in certain areas), or to cycle much of the northern edge.
For more mountainous walks, Pillar, Steeple, High Stile, Great Borne and Red Pike are excellent options. You can also walk right round the lake at Ennerdale, which has an obvious path and is easy to follow (although narrow in places).
For something different, head west to find yourself on the coast. Workington is an old industrial town with a pedestrianised shopping centre, two theatres, two museums, a cinema, and regular events. Whitehaven is another coastal town with an impressive harbour. For a glimpse into local industry and history, visit The Beacon Museum, or find out about the ports piratical past at The Rum Story.
Further up the coast is Maryport, which has an Aquarium, a Roman museum and Go Karting. There is a also a coastal golf course and lovely bike tracks or walks along the seafront. Further north still is the Solway Coast Area of Outsanding Natural Beauty with its long, uninterrupted sandy beaches. Don’t forget to stop off at Allonby for some fish and chips and some ice cream or at Silloth for a walk along the promenade. Silloth’s cobbled, tree-lined streets will make you think of times gone by. There is even an arcade, a small fairground and a small putting green.