Things to do nearby Hillcrest House
The area around Troutbeck is a paradise for fell walkers and cyclists alike, with the Ullswater Valley virtually on the doorstep. This stunning valley offers a wealth of walking for all abilities; from charming lowland rambles to more challenging hikes. Nearby Glenridding is the gateway to the mighty Helvellyn, England's third highest mountain. Or why not escape the 21st century and take a walk or a cycle ride on the eastern side of the lake to Martindale, a secluded valley that feels a million miles away from modern life.
Another way of exploring the valley is aboard the wonderful Ullswater Steamers. You can admire the stunning scenery from the deck of one of their elegant heritage vessels as it winds its way around the four landing stages. You can even indulge in a drink from the on-board bar while you do! The steamers also open up a wide range of linear walks along the valley as you can easily catch one back to your starting point. Alternatively why not hire a rowing boat or kayak and explore some of the secluded beaches and bays along the lake? Pack a picnic and find your favourite spot – you may even find William Wordsworth’s famous daffodils at Glencoyne Bay!
The mighty Aira Force is one of the most breathtaking attractions in the whole of Cumbria. You can park at Aira Force car park or get the steamer to the jetty and take a short walk to the waterfalls. The tumbling force drops an impressive 65ft and the sound of the water crashing into the pool below is immense. There is even an ancient leaf canopy to keep you dry on rainy days as you marvel the tumbling falls. Indeed the falls make a fantastic rainy day spectacle.
Why not take a different view of the Lakes by winding your way down the Ullswater Valley, then taking Kirkstone Pass over to Ambleside? Kirkstone Pass is the Lake District’s highest pass that is open to motor traffic. You'll find Cumbria's highest pub and some wonderful views along the way. Ambleside is a very popular Victorian Lakeland town set at the head of Lake Windermere.
Penrith is an attractive town with a good mixture of independent and high street shops as well as many places to eat. There is a farmer’s market once a month, a lovely Victorian shopping arcade, castle ruins, and a town trail about the history of Penrith.
Rheged is a great place for rainy day activities. The grass-roofed heritage centre used to be a quarry and now offers a 3D cinema, a spa, shops, eateries, and art exhibitions.
Keswick, the Adventure Capital of the Lake District is the place to get out onto the water and the surrounding fells for any number of outdoor adventures. Aside from these credentials, it is a vibrant market town with a fantastic choice of shops, restaurants and cafés. It even boasts its own Art Deco cinema and the award-winning Theatre by the Lake – guests with Sally’s Cottages can benefit from discounted tickets for their varied year-round programme of shows.
Troutbeck is also very well placed to explore some of the rich history of the area. Lowther Castle is a dramatic Gothic ruin that was the home of the Earls of Lonsdale in medieval times. It is set in 130 acres of historic gardens and has a regular programme of events. Dalemain, a beautiful mansion with a Georgian façade hiding elements of the building that date much further back, hosts an annual Marmalade Festival. Hutton in the Forest is set in magnificent ancient woodland and has legendary links to the Arthurian tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
There is a high concentration of stone circles in the Lake District and Cumbria dating back as far as the Bronze Age and to Neolithic times. Castlerigg Stone Circle must rate as one of the most striking prehistoric monuments in Britain. The stones sit on a low hill with a 360-degree view of the surrounding fells - Skiddaw, Blencathra and the Helvellyn Range.
You’ll find another example of these ancient monuments at Little Salkeld in the Eden Valley. Local legend claims that Long Meg was a witch and, along with her daughters, was turned to stone for dancing wildly on the Sabbath! This is the largest stone circle in Cumbria, made up on 69 stones. Long Meg is made from local sandstone and marked with mysterious symbols. Her daughters are made of granite and the four cornerstones outside the circle face the points of a compass. Very mysterious indeed!
Among railway enthusiasts the Carlisle to Settle line is often referred to as one of the most scenic lines in the country and indeed who could argue? The countryside is simply stunning. Take in the awe inspiring Cross Fell, the Three Peaks of Yorkshire – Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent and Whenside - then Wild Boar Fell and the beautiful Eden Sandstone landscape. In the distance are the Lake District fells of Haweswater and Ullswater. The line covers 72 miles and passes through 12 tunnels and across 20 viaducts. Why not catch a train from Langwathby and explore this iconic route?
Carlisle, known as ‘the Border City’ is a lovely small city with shopping, a great choice of eateries, a cinema and museums. Tullie House has a number of exhibitions showcasing Cumbria’s history, nature and art. Carlisle Castle has stood guard over the city for over 900 years and has medieval dungeons, passageways and chambers to explore. The city has a rich history of border skirmishes and roguish Reivers and it was once (briefly) home to Mary Queen of Scots.
There are plenty of fantastic places to eat in the area. The Troutbeck Inn and the Sportsman’s Inn serve good food. As well as these, many of the local villages and towns boast fantastic eateries. There's something for all tastes from quirky cafés to fine dining!