Things to do nearby Parkergate Loft
On the Northern tip of Bassenthwaite, you can enjoy a tipple at Lakes Distillery after a guided tour of the fascinating site, or spend the day meeting the various animals at the Lake District Wildlife Park. On the Easterly shore you'll find the magnificent historic house, Mirehouse, the gardens of which offer sublime views and access to the lakeshore; and nearby, to the west of the lake, England's only mountain forest, Whinlatter offers much to explore.
Parkergate is in a wonderful location on the lower slopes of Ullock Pike, part of the majestic Skiddaw range. Situated on a quiet lane off the A591, it combines peaceful isolation with a location that is perfect for exploring the area by car, on foot, or by public transport.
Parkergate overlooks Bassenthwaite Lake (the most northerly in the National Park and the only real lake in the Lake District) and you can use a combination of footpaths across field and a minor road to walk to its shores. St Bega’s is a quaint church found in a lovely location right near the water and its tiny chapel is the perfect place for some quiet contemplation while you take in the spectacular scenery.
With a wetland nature reserve at its northern end and a complete ban on motorboats, this lake is a peaceful haven for wildlife including Ospreys (as well as hundreds of other birds), spawning Atlantic salmon, and an endangered fish species called vedance, which is found only here and in one other Lakeland lake. Fishing is permitted by license, obtained from the Tourist Information and Post Office in nearby Keswick.
Bassenthwaite Village is about a mile and a half away and can be reached on foot, though we recommend you use the minor road to get there rather than the main road, which is windy and without a footpath. It is a quintessential village with only a small number of houses, two surrounding farms, a village green, church, and one pub, The Sun Inn. This charming 17th century farmhouse is a dog-friendly eatery, popular with both locals and visitors, that serves a good selection of tasty food for both lunch and dinner.
Dodd Fell, despite its relatively low height, offers a stunning panorama from the summit. The heavily wooded slopes make up Dodd Wood, a wonderful place to visit for its brilliant views, various waymarked walking trails, and wildlife. Viewpoints within the forest allow keen birdwatchers to watch Ospreys fishing on Bassenthwaite Lake, and the woods are home to much birdlife and red squirrels. Dodd Wood also has a charming little café, The Sawmill. This has an impressive array of former machinery, photos and information inside. A woodburner keeps the place warm in the colder months and the cakes are simply heavenly! This place is a real gem with friendly staff and generous portions of their homemade hot and cold menu.
Mirehouse is a family-run historic house with gardens, four adventure playgrounds, woodlands, and amazing views. The home has strong literary connections with William Wordsworth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Edward Fitzgerald, and Thomas Carlyle. It offers a great day out with its wild flower meadow, a heather maze, rhododendron tunnel, and walks through woods and along the lakeside.
For your fill of furry critters, head over to the Lake District Wildlife Park where you can meet lemurs, otters, zebra, and many more interesting creatures. You can even spend the day as a zookeeper! The Park also includes bird displays, a good café, and a gift shop!
The Lakes Distillery is right next door to the Wildlife Park and here you can enjoy tours of the distillery, taste the produce and, of course, stock up on your favourite tipples at the gift shop. You can even dine at the onsite Bistro and, perhaps unusually, meet the resident Alpacas! Guests with Sally's Cottages can get discounts at the distillery.
Just five miles away is the popular market town of Keswick. This paradise for outdoor enthusiasts is the place to find any kind of adventure activity you care to try your hand at. Whether you want get out on the lake with a canoe, try a bit of gorge scrambling, or test out the climbing wall, there’s something for you! Those looking for a more laid back time can browse the varied independent shops, sit back in a café, restaurant, or pub, or even take a cruise across Derwentwater on a Keswick Launch. The town also has an art-deco cinema, the Theatre by the Lake (guests of Sally’s Cottages receive a discount on tickets!) and museums, as well as being the starting point for hundreds of excellent walks.
A short drive in the opposite direction to Keswick is another lovely market town, Cockermouth. As the birthplace of William Wordsorth, the Romantic poet’s childhood home is found here and is open to guests who want to experience life as it would have been in Wordsworth’s day. Cockermouth is also home to the Jennings Brewery, which offers tours and tastings, antique shops, a hand supermarket, lots of eateries – including Merienda, which hosts occasional Jazz evenings - and relaxing riverside walks.
Heading further into the Lake District will bring you to several lovely lakes. Loweswater is a peaceful location that has a lakeside path running through ancient deciduous woodland and the Kirkstile Inn at one end - a pub famed for good food. Visit Crummock Water at the right time of year for a spectacular display of Bluebells in the ‘hidden’ Rannerdale Valley. Buttermere, repeatedly voted as having one of the best views in Britain, is still a quiet and relaxing spot with an easy circular walk around the edge of the water.
For something a little different, why not head out to the coast, just a half-hour drive away? Here you will find lovely seaside villages such as Silloth, Allonby, and St. Bees, spectacular sunsets, long, sandy beaches, and excellent ice cream! You will find many of these places in the Solway Coast Area of Outsanding Natural Beauty – not to be missed!