Things to do nearby Highbridge Cottage
Immerse yourself in the countryside with an amble along the idyllic Newlands Beck or a romp around Whinlatter Forest, England’s only mountain forest. Enjoy the wildlife with the chance to spot nesting osprey or spy a scampering red squirrel, and take in the spectacular scenery with a paddle in the Lake District’s only official lake, Bassenthwaite. A nature-lover paradise maybe, yet it's only a stone’s throw from the much-loved bustling town of Keswick, packed with fabulous shops, pubs and eateries.
If you are looking for an ideal base from which to explore the Lake District then you could do little better than Braithwaite. Easily accessible from main road routes yet surrounded by stunning fell views and fabulous walking opportunities it holds all of the charm of a Lakeland village with the benefits of being just a short hop to Keswick, the Lake District's Adventure Capital.
In the village itself you'll find a much-loved shop selling fresh bread plus a tempting deli counter. There are also two excellent pubs, The Coledale Inn and The Royal Oak, and two hotels serving food and drink – Ivy House and Middle Ruddings. The walk along glistening Newlands Beck is just delightful and the river is perfect for a paddle and a picnic on sunny days.
The grand summits of Grisedale Pike, Crag Hill and Causey Pike rise up behind Braithwaite and, along with Barrow, form the Coledale Horseshoe, a stunning all-day walk through glorious mountain scenery. The fells surrounding Braithwaite are deceptively steep. Height is gained quickly and the walking is much easier than it first appears. The North Western Fells offer some of the best and accessible walking in the Lake District. Another challenging all-day walk is The Newlands Horseshoe at the head of the valley. The route takes in the six summits of Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth, and Robinson, so it's a long day with over 1100m of ascent and 11.2 miles of walking! Expect scrambles along the way and outstanding views to keep you going!
If you’re looking for an easier fell, the iconic Catbells is close by. Alfred Wainwright described this fell as; “one of the great favourites, a family fell where grandmothers and infants can climb the heights together, a place beloved. Its popularity is well deserved, its shapely topknot attracts the eye offering a steep but obviously simple scramble.” Barrow is another rewarding fell walk that the whole family will enjoy.
Braithwaite lies on the edge of Whinlatter Forest, a real mountain forest park with plenty to explore. The park has an excellent visitors centre with a wonderful imaginative outdoor play area for children, cycle hire and tuition, miles of cycling and walking trails, and an excellent cafe with bird feeders attracting a huge array of birds to watch while you indulge in a piece of delicious cake. Why not book a turn around the Go Ape! high ropes course? You could find yourself whizzing through the forest canopy on a zip wire in no time! The area has become famous in recent years for its successful Osprey programme, resulting in the first wild breeding pair in the Lake District for over 150 years.
This area could scarcely be better for the adventurous among you. The Newlands Adventure Centre is close by and offers a range of outdoor activities with ghyll scrambling, climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, archery and much more. Great for an adrenaline fuelled day out! Alternatively, why not book a session at nearby Lingholm Sporting Quad Treks? Head out with experienced guides to take you around the 1,000 acre Lingholm Estate where you'll find some staggering views of the surrounding countryside while, no doubt, getting good and muddy!
For cyclists, this is a truly perfect area. Aside from the miles of trails in Whinlatter Forest, there are also bags of bridleways to explore for the mountain bikers among you. For the road cyclists, Braithwaite is perfectly situated between the mountain passes of Whinlatter and Newlands. If you want a challenging day out for the legs why not head over Newlands into Buttermere, then take on Honister Pass at its head and descend into Borrowdale and back to the village via Grange and Stair. Truly one of the most scenic rides you could do! For those of you keen to explore the area on two wheels who don't feel confident on the big hills why not hire an electric “e-bike” from nearby Keswick.
Braithwaite is also well positioned to enjoy Bassenthwaite Lake’s surroundings. To the north of the lake lies the Lake District Wildlife Park where you can get to know Lemurs, Otters, Zebra and many more animals roaming the beautiful 25-acre estate. You can even arrange to be a zookeeper for a day! The Lakes Distillery is next door to the Wildlife Park and here you can enjoy a tour and tasting, meet the resident alpacas, or perhaps just settle down to a delicious meal at the Bistro. Nearby Mirehouse on Bassenthwaite's eastern shore makes an enjoyable day out; this beautiful mansion with literary connections has formal gardens, a wild flower meadow, a heather maze, a rhododendron tunnel, a poetry walk and four adventure playgrounds in the woods.
For a spot of indulgence on your break why not visit one of the nearby spas? Armathwaite Hall, also at the north end of Bassenthwaite. offers a wide range of spa treatments, a beautiful infinity pool, several hydrotherapy areas and a stunning outdoor hot tub overlooking the beautiful grounds. A fabulous place to enjoy a glass of fizz!
If you'd like to explore town life in the area then Keswick is the main, much-loved, town of the northern Lake District and is less than three miles from Braithwaite. It is a bustling market town chock full of outdoor shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. There is also an art deco cinema and a beautifully situated theatre if you fancy something a little more refined (guests with Sally’s Cottages can book discounted theatre tickets).
The jewel in Keswick's crown is picturesque Derwentwater. Nichol End Marina and Derwentwater Marina offer tuition in sailing and windsurfing, catamaran trips, kayak games, and canoeing sessions. It also has a variety of boats to hire and Nichol End has a landing stage for the Keswick Launches. These stately vessels wind their way around the lake and offer stunning views from the water. Why not enjoy a gentle walk along the lake's wooded shores to Borrowdale and enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the valley's renowned eateries before catching the launch back? How civilised! Alternatively attack one of the mighty peaks that flank the lake, enjoy a couple of well-earned pints, and relax on the launch back to Nichol End.
The Newlands Valley has strong links with Beatrix Potter and the tale of 'Mrs Tiggy Winkle' with Little Town, Skelgill and Catbells clearly recognisable from her sketches and stories. You can wander up to Little Town to see the whitewashed farm buildings. A tearoom is open during the summer months serving cream teas, home made cakes, and more.
Winding your way over the Newlands Pass brings you to beautiful Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater beyond. These quiet valleys offer yet more beautiful walking, fabulous scenery, wild swimming and one of our favourite pubs, The Kirkstile Inn. Well worth exploring.