Things to do nearby Old School House (Matterdale)
Ullswater is a stunning area to explore, and Old School House is perfectly situated to make the most of this while revelling in the rural tranquility of Matterdale.
Very importantly, where to go for eating out? The neighbouring of Dockray has a good pub called the Royal Hotel that serves lunch and evening meals, plus a wide range of Lakeland ales. There is also a pub at Troutbeck (5-10 mins drive) and a selection of pubs at Glenridding and Pooley Bridge (10 mins).
Just a short walk away is Aira Force, one of our favourite waterfalls. The woodland walk here is beautiful - you can never visit it too many times. It can get busy but there are plenty of paths going off along the fellside if you want to have the place to yourself. It makes an excellent walk from the cottage, especially if you include a delicious pub meal or a pint at the Royal Hotel on the way home!
The area offers a fabulous array of bridleways for mountain bikers and a range of quiet roads for the roadies. On the bridleway front virtually right outside the door you have the old coach road to the head of St Johns in the Vale.. The route is challenging but not beyond the abilities of casual cyclists and older children (hybrid or mountain bikes recommended) and climbs to reveal impressive views of Blencathra and the vale of Keswick. As far as road cycling goes Kirkstone Pass makes an appearance in many classic Lake District cycling events it makes for an excellent training opportunity for anyone staying in the area. Alternatively why not cycle around the lake and catch a steamer back? Very civilised.
The main Ullswater village of Glenridding is a ten minute drive from Old School House, and Patterdale village is a mile further on. You can hire boats from here and it is a good place to start a hike up Helvellyn - the third highest mountain in the Lake District if you'd rather not go from the cottage itself.
Ullswater is one of the Lake District's longest and most majestic lakes. There are plenty of coves and beaches for picnics and perhaps a little swim. Lake steamers operate between Glenridding, Howtown and Pooley Bridge - ideal for a linear walk perhaps, or a leisurely sail taking in the magnificent scenery (there is a bar on board).
The two nearest towns to explore are Penrith and Keswick. Penrith is just over 11 miles away from the cottage and is an attractive town with a good mixture of independent and high street shops as well as many places to eat.
Just 12 miles away lies Keswick, the adventure capital of the Lake District. Aside from its outdoor credentials it is a vibrant market town with a fantastic choice of outdoor shops, restaurants and cafes. It even boasts its own art deco cinema and one of the most beautifully positioned theatres showing a varied programme of plays and music throughout the year.
Old School House is ideally placed to explore some of the history of the area whether you choose to seek out the many ancient stone circles or stately homes such as Dalemain, with its gorgeous gardens and world famous marmalade festival. Lowther Castle was the home of the Earls of Lonsdale since medieval times, now you'll find the dramatic ruins of the Gothic castle set in 130 acres of historic gardens with a cafe and shop.
If you carry on beyond Glenridding you can drive over Kirkstone Pass and into Ambleside. This is a lovely small town with museums, outdoor shops, galleries, cinemas, restaurants and cafes. Windermere Lake is just beyond Ambleside.
Should you be looking for a little indulgence why not try the Spa at Rheged, about 15 minutes’ drive from Old School House. Indeed Rheged offers a range of activities for all the family including pottery workshops, exhibitions, a huge 3D cinema and restaurants.
Finally, if you like thrills and adventure, take a trip to Rookin House Farm where 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!