Things to do nearby Larch Cottage (Greystoke)
Greystoke, on the north eastern outskirts of the National Park is a quintessential English village with cobbled streets, traditional buildings, a village green, and an ancient market cross. It even has a lovely heated open air swimming pool that is open between May and September and a Quirky Workshop teaching an eclectic mix of skills ranging from bike repair to art to pizza oven building! Across the village green is the Boot & Shoe pub that holds Monday evening Jam Sessions that you can just listen to or even take part in (bring your own instruments)! Thursday night is quiz night and Sunday afternoons feature a two hour live music slot from local bands. As well as entertainment, the Boot & Shoe has a good menu and caters well for gluten free and vegetarian diets.
Just half a mile away from Greystoke is Greystoke Ghyll, a hamlet that is home to the wonderful Beckstones Art Gallery. Open every day from March to November, and Fridays-Sundays for the rest of the year, they display around 300 paintings by more than 40 artists all year round. You also won't want to miss their special exhibitions, held twice a year. Admission is also completely free!
Cycling is a popular pastime in this part of Cumbria. The Coast to Coast route passes the edge of the village and there are plenty of excellent bike rides in the area. The country lanes undulate for miles or you can cycle on the off road tracks in Greystoke Forest. Just beyond the outskirts of the forest are the diminutive heights of Naddle Crags, Eycott Hill and Berrier Hill. With an average height of 350m these are great little fells to scale for a picnic or to survey the view of the Lakeland fells beyond.
Penrith is just a few miles away and is an attractive town with a good mixture of independent and high street shops as well as many places to eat. Penrith prides itself on its range of small independent shops, stocking everything from books to sweets. It has an artisan bakery, cake shop, and even its very own smokery! Look out for the adorable Devonshire Arcade, an original indoor Victorian shopping arcade in the centre of town, which is home to small boutiques and food retailers. Penrith holds farmers' markets on the third Tuesday of the month (between March and December) in Market Square and you can also find out about the town's history through the town trail.
Should you be looking for a little indulgence, why not try the Spa at Rheged, just a ten minute drive away? Indeed, Rheged offers a range of activities including pottery workshops, exhibitions, a huge 3D cinema, an artisan food hall and restaurants. Another enjoyable place to potter around is the delightful Larch Cottage Nurseries in Melkinthorpe. This surprising little place is not only a lovely garden centre but has an excellent café too. All this with the decidedly marvellous feeling of being in an Italian garden!
This area is a wonderful base for fell walkers and cyclists alike. The stunning Ullswater Valley offers a wealth of walking for all abilities from charming lowland rambles to more challenging hikes. 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 any kind of hustle and bustle?
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 yourself a favourite spot!
For a gentle amble, the mighty Aira Force is one of the most breathtaking attractions in the whole of Cumbria. You can park at Aira Force car park 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.
Why not take a different view of the Lakes by winding your way down the Ullswater Valley before 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, the Kirkstone Pass Inn, and some wonderful views along the way. Ambleside is a very popular Victorian Lakeland town set at the head of Lake Windermere.
Keswick, the adventure capital of the Lake District, is 20 minutes away. It's an easy drive and is well worth a visit. Here you can make the most of a vast range of outdoor activities, all set in magnificent scenery. Aside from its outdoor credentials, it is a vibrant market town with a fantastic choice of outdoor shops, restaurants and cafés. It even boasts its own Art Deco cinema and one of the most beautifully positioned theatres, which shows a varied programme of plays and music throughout the year (ticket discounts are available for guests with Sally’s Cottages).
There are plenty of stately homes in the area: try Hutton in the Forest, set in magnificent ancient woodland and boasting legendary links to the Arthurian tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Dalemain is set in extensive historic gardens and hosts an annual Marmalade Festival! Lowther Castle, dating to medieval times, is a dramatic ruined castle set in 130 acres of historic gardens. It has a café, shop, a magical tree castle and lots of activities for the young and young at heart.
The area has an exceptionally high concentration of stone circles. Why not start with Long Meg and her daughters near Little Salkeld? Local legend claims Long Meg was a witch and, with her daughters, was turned to stone for dancing wildly on the Sabbath. This is the largest stone circle in Cumbria, made up of 69 stones. Long Meg is marked with mysterious symbols and the four cornerstones outside the circle face the points of a compass. There's also the stunningly situated Castlerigg Stone Circle set high on a plateau with a staggering panorama of Lakeland fells.
Among railway enthusiasts, the Carlisle to Settle line is often referred to as one of the most scenic lines in the country and 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. The railway and its stations are part of a huge regeneration to ensure the continued use of the line and are a designated conservation area.
At Rookin House Farm you can try your hand at archery, quad biking, rifle shooting, fishing, tree climbing, JCB operating, pony trekking or even driving around in a small tank!