Things to do nearby Hawkshead Lodge
Bassenthwaite is a particularly tranquil part of north Lakeland. Skiddaw towers above the lake and village, catching warm glows at sunset. Bassenthwaite Lake is one of the largest lakes at nearly 4 miles long and forms part of a wetland nature reserve.
Bassenthwaite village is a typical Lakeland village with a lovely pub. The Sun Inn has an atmosphere of a bygone age, boasting oak beams and open fires. The bar menu is simple yet tasty and there are regular curry nights. The pub boasts a scenic beer garden and has wifi.
Bassenthwaite is the only body of water in the Lake District to use the word "lake" in its name, all the others being "waters" (for example, Derwent Water), perfect for pub quiz pedants. The lake's catchment is the largest of any lake in the Lake District.
The lake contains salmon, trout, pike, perch, minnow, dace, ruffe and eel, though the predominant species is roach. Cormorants have been known to fish the lake and herons can also be seen. Affiliated members can sail from Bassenthwaite Sailing Club but there is no right of way for any type of craft so you need a permit to sail on the lake as it contains several important breeding grounds.
The most popular draw to the lake is the only breeding Ospreys in the Lake District, which have been returning to Bassenthwaite for a record 13 years. They have successfully bred each year and a well staffed lookout point is available between April and September at both sites – Dodd Wood and Whinlatter Forest.
Dodd Wood has a cosy little tearoom called the Old Sawmill, warmed by a roaring log burner in the colder months. The food is top notch tasty and all homemade. There are several pleasant walking trails through the forest that start from the tearoom.
Whinlatter also has a visitor centre and tearoom perched high in the forest with a delightful veranda that is frequented/plagued (depending on your point of view) by birds such as siskins, waxwings, goldfinches and chaffinches.
Bassenthwaite is overlooked by the towering Skiddaw, England's fourth highest mountain. It has a well defined path from Keswick to the summit but Bassenthwaite boasts probably the best route of ascent via Ullock. On a clear day Skiddaw boasts epic views to the coast, Scotland and southwards towards the central Lake District.
Mountain biking is a popular pursuit in and around the Bassenthwaite area. Skiddaw presents a big challenge to mountain bikers with several rideable routes from the summit, though you may have to shoulder your bike to get up some of the steep sections to the summit. Across the water in Whinlatter Forest there are fantastic purpose built trails and runs graded from green to black. Bikes can be hired in the forest, or in Keswick where there are two bike shops.
The historic house of Mirehouse is situated by the shores of Bassenthwaite with lovely garden Mirehouse has a particular connection with Tennyson, who wrote his famous poem Morte d’Arthur whilst staying there. It is open to the public and holds portraits and manuscripts of 3 poet laureates.
St Bega’s church is in an idyllic location on the shores of the lake. St Bega was the daughter of a seventh century Irish Chieftain. She fled Ireland to avoid marriage to a Norse Prince, selected by her father and landed at St Bees on the Cumbrian coast. It is though that church is located on the site where she resided and was eventually buried. Melvin Bragg retells her story in dramatic fashion in his book "Credo".
Keswick is 8 miles away, a short drive or bus journey (there is a convenient stop close to the top of the road). Keswick is a thriving market town, with shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs and a thriving Theatre, as well as the lovely Derwent Water. There are also several galleries and museums, including the Pencil Museum, featuring the biggest pencil in the world (yes really). In Hope Park there is a pitch and putt golf course and mini-golf. You can read more in our detailed guide to Keswick.
Cockermouth is just 8 miles away and is served by a regular bus service. A Georgian gem town, Cockermouth is on the River Derwent and dates from Norman times. Much of its medieval street plan remains, coupled with beautiful Georgian architecture. Cockermouth has plenty of independent shops and is a pleasant town to wander round. You can read more in our Cockermouth Area Guide.