Things to do nearby Barn Cottage
There are some lovely walks in Bassenthwaite, right from the front door of Barn Cottage. A favourite is to cross the bridge by the pub, turn left and then immediately right up a steepish hill. Follow the road until you see a public footpath signpost on your left. Go through the gate and follow the contour of the hill across the top of the field. The views here are fantastic. You will then wander through a small wood which takes you down to the road below. Once back on the road turn left and follow it back to Barn Cottage. You’ll pass the allotment on your right. All in all it will take around 40 minutes. Perfect just before breakfast.
Another superb walk takes you to Bassenthwaite Lake which you can follow to St Bega’s Church before either heading back the way you came (easy option), or crossing over, going up Skiddaw and back down to the village (big long walk option).
In fact a trip up Skiddaw is a day in itself and accessible from Bassenthwaite Village. It is the fourth highest mountain in the Lake District at 931m (behind Scafell Pike (978m), Scafell (964m), and Helvellyn (950m).
From Bassenthwaite, the nearest town is Keswick (15 mins drive) and has a wealth of outdoor shops, gifts shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs, as well as a theatre, a cinema, and a small pitch and putt golf course. Derwentwater Lake is a five minute walk from the town centre and here you can hire rowing boats or take a trip on the Keswick launch which takes you right round the lake, allowing you to hop off to explore the lakeshore walks before hopping back on again.
There are some beautiful, beautiful walks along the lakeshore, or up onto the surrounding fells.
If you’re looking for some adventure, then you can go canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or sailing at Nichol End Marina. Or you could try your hand at rock climbing, abseiling, gully-bashing with a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, who will also take you for guided walks if you prefer something a bit more sedate.
From Keswick you can drive along the Borrowdale valley which is a good starting point for climbing up Scafell (from Seathwaite Farm) if you want to tackle England’s highest mountain.
Further along the Borrowdale Valley is Honister pass which takes you to Honister Slate Mine – great for guided mine tours or you might want to cling to the edge of a mountain cliff on their via ferrata trail. They also have the bridge of infinity, so called because you can hardly see the other end as it is strung across a high gorge, 1200 feet above the ground.
Drive over the top of Honister and this will take you to Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater Lake. A favourite walk is to walk round Buttermere although I prefer to walk along the side of Loweswater Lake which takes you to the Kirkstile Inn before heading back along the same way! The bluebells at Rannerdale, near Crummock, are amazing in May.
Another lovely town is Cockermouth with its brightly painted houses, independent shops, galleries, antique shops and good restaurants. Just 15 minutes from Bassenthwaite village (in the opposite direction from Keswick) it is well worth a visit. The local ale here is Jennings, and a trip round the brewery is a good excuse to find out more about the beer. Or you might prefer a trip to the the Lakes Distillery – home of Lakes Gin, Lakes Vodka or The One (Whisky).
If you are here with kids (or even if you’re not) then the Lake District Wildlife Park is just five minutes from Bassenthwaite Village and has all sorts from gibbons to zebras to donkeys to bison. There is a reptile house and birds of prey. There are daily talks or why not book onto be a keeper for an hour or two. Here you get to feed the meercats, groom the tapirs and play with the lemurs.