Things to do nearby Otley Beck (Howe Foot)
Take a stroll to Blue Bird Café for a spot of breakfast overlooking Coniston Water before hopping aboard the delightful Steam Yacht Gondola for a cruise of the lake. Visit Brantwood, once home to Lakeland writer John Ruskin or Hilltop, the farm owned by children’s author Beatrix Potter. Walkers can enjoy a relaxed amble around nearby Tarn Hows or a brisk hike up Coniston Old Man before refreshments in the 400-year-old coaching Inn, The Black Bull.
Lowick, next to the River Lowick and to the south of Coniston Water, is a truly peaceful location. There are two good pubs serving delicious home cooked food: the 14th century Farmers Arms and the Royal Oak are both traditional Lake District country pubs with open fires, flag floors and a selection of fine wines and guest ales. It is only a brief drive to the 17th century White Hart Inn in the village of Bouth with its extensive menu of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes all produced using local ingredients. For the real ale lover, their well stocked bar will be a treat!
Take the short trip to the picturesque setting at Coniston Water. The lake, which is around five miles long, is a great place to spend the day enjoying the great outdoors. Hire boats and bikes from Coniston Boating Centre or sit back, relax and take in the spectacular views from the Steam Yacht Gondola or Coniston Launch. The mountain of the Old Man of Coniston towers majestically above the lake and the village, where you’ll find a variety of shops, pubs and places to eat. Brantwood, the home of the great Victorian, John Ruskin, overlooks the eastern shore and is open to visitors who can explore the house and beautiful gardens and take in the views. The Ruskin Museum in the village features an exhibition about Sir Donald Campbell, who was killed making an attempt on the world speed record in his speedboat, Bluebird, in 1967.
The pretty village of Hawkshead has an array of gift shops, pubs and cafés. Wander through the cobbled lanes and check out Wordsworth's schoolboy signature carved in a desk at Hawkshead Grammar School, where he spent eight years as a pupil. Or visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery to enjoy an exhibition of her original drawings and watercolours, all set inside a charming 17th century house. Once the office of Beatrix Potter's husband William Heelis, it is a rare opportunity to see inside one of Hawkshead's old buildings.
Explore over 4,000 hectares of oak, spruce and pine woodland on a network of fantastic walking trails and biking routes at Grizedale Forest, or simply discover a quiet spot to admire the wildlife and the amazing outdoor sculptures. Since 1977, international artists have created sculptures to reflect Grizedale Forest's unique environment, and it’s a fun day out hunting them all down! With three Tree Top adventures and Segways available, Go Ape! Adventures provides activities for all ages from 6 upwards. Whatever activity you choose, Grizedale Forest makes for a great day out.
Two miles from Hawkshead at Near Sawrey is Hill Top, the home of Beatrix Potter. Beatrix bought the house in 1905 with the royalties from her first few books and went on to write many of her famous children’s stories in this little 17th century stone house. Characters such as Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here, and the books contain many pictures based on the house and garden. Take a stroll through this traditional cottage garden with its scented old-fashioned flowers such as honeysuckle, foxgloves, lupins, peonies and lavender. When she died in 1943, she left Hill Top to the National Trust, requesting that it be kept exactly as she left it, complete with her furniture and china, so it really is a time capsule of the beloved author’s life!
The historic market town of Ulverston is built around a cobbled main street with specialist shops, restaurants, cafés and pubs with real ale and open fires. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in June 1890, and the Laurel and Hardy museum provides an amazing variety of memorabilia on their life and work including photographs, letters and personal items. There is a small cinema showing free films all day. The magnificent Grade II listed Victorian gothic mansion at nearby Conishead Priory is now a Buddhist centre that provides historical tours at the weekends. Stop by for afternoon tea in the conservatory overlooking the beautiful grounds.
Standing proudly above Ulverston on Hoad Hill is a superb replica of an early version of the Eddystone Lighthouse, which was built in 1850 in honour of Sir John Barrow, a naval explorer and Second Secretary to the Admiralty. In May 1850, the two sons of Sir John Barrow laid the foundation stones of the lighthouse. There were huge celebrations in the Ulverston town, with a procession and much rejoicing. By the end of 1850 the monument was completed but was promptly struck by lightning, causing nine stones to be dislodged from the cupola. It was repaired and a lightning conductor fitted. It is now maintained by a team of volunteer lighthouse keepers and is open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 1pm to 5pm, from Easter to the end of October, when the flag on the hill is flying. From the top there are superb panoramic views of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District fells.
If fine dining is your thing, Simon Rogan's renowned restaurant L’Enclume in the historic village of Cartmel serves up inventive cuisine in a perfect setting. Cartmel is a pretty village boasting a 12th century priory and the Cartmel Village Shop, famous for its sticky toffee pudding! Nearby Holker Hall and Gardens holds regular events throughout the year including food markets, garden tours, and the annual Spring Fair.