Things to do nearby Swindale Cottage
Warcop is wonderfully situated between the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the North Pennines AONB and the Lake District National Park opening up a fantastic array of things to do. Enjoy a low level walk along the River Eden or take on a section of "A Pennine Trail" right from the door. For more of a challenge, walk up High Cup Nick from nearby Dufton, High Cup Scar is a geological wonder to behold. Take in local town life at Appleby and Kirkby Stephen or visit some historical gems including Acorn Bank, Lowther Castle and Brougham Castle all within an easy drive of Swindale Cottage.
Warcop lies in an enviable position between the Lake District National Park, The North Pennines AONB and the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The village itself is a tranquil gem with a bygone era feeling about it, definitely the place to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. There are low level walks aplenty by the River Eden and along a disused stretch of railway line. "A Pennine Journey", an epic 247 mile circular walk outlined by Alfred Wainwright, passes through the village. Why not take on part of the walk during your stay or make Warcop your base for undertaking larger sections of the trail?
The historic market towns of Kirkby Stephen and Appleby-in-Westmorland are both picturesque and well worth a visit. Kirkby Stephen is positioned halfway along the Coast to Coast route from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay. It is packed full of character, with its historic buildings and cobbled streets to its independent shops and delightful eateries. Ten miles north is the larger market town of Appleby; its riverside location, magnificent motte and bailey castle and local weekly market make it a great place to roam around.
Penrith has numerous independent and high street shops and many places to eat. It even has its own smokery! The Victorian Devonshire Arcade houses small boutiques and food retailers, and nearby there is a host of watermills, potteries, alpaca and ostrich farms and the ruins of a castle that you can visit. The Rheged Centre, which is located just outside Penrith, hosts a calendar of events, exhibitions and cinema screenings, plus indoor and outdoor play for children.
Dalemain, Hutton-in-the-Forest and Lowther Castle are historic properties all within an easy drive and have lovely tearooms. In addition, the Lowther Estate houses the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre, where flying displays take place daily. At Abbott Lodge you can meet the animal, enjoy various play options, and tuck into the delicious Jersey ice cream. Brougham Castle is to the south of Penrith and is owned by English Heritage. The ruins are perfect for enquiring minds with room layouts still visible and little nooks and crannies to explore. Linked to Brough Castle by the River Eamont, this is one of several castles in the Eden Vally occupied by Lady Anne Clifford during the 1600s. Nearby Brougham Hall is also worth a visit and has a lovely café attached.
Acorn Bank Garden and Watermill is managed by the National Trust and is a lovely place. The magnificent sandstone house enjoys an idyllic setting surrounded by natural woodlands, traditional orchards and immaculate gardens, with views across the Eden Valley. The ground floor of the house is open to the public, as is the extensive walled garden and grounds. A selection of walking trails offers the perfect opportunity to explore.
For railway enthusiasts this area could scarcely be bettered. The Eden Valley Railway is based in Warcop, the railway trust is currently working on restoring the line as far as Appleby and there is a 2.2 mile section which is already operational. For another fun and picturesque train ride, hop on the world-famous Settle-Carlisle Railway, which was voted the most scenic in England and is a popular route for special steam services. You can catch this at nearby Appleby or Kirkby Stephen. There’s also the South Tynedale Railway, which operates lovingly restored steam and diesel engines. A round trip from Alston to Kirkhaugh takes around 50 minutes through the beautiful scenery of the South Tyne valley.
If golf is your thing, don’t miss a round on the spectacular course at Appleby Golf Club, claimed to offer the best year-round greens in the county. The club prides itself in its friendly welcome, and non-golf enthusiasts will enjoy the incredible views of the Howgills, Lake District mountains and the Pennines, not to mention the restaurant and bar where you can enjoy the uninterrupted views while sampling the delicious menu!
Ullswater, which is considered by many as England’s most beautiful lake, is to the west and offers endless opportunities. The Ullswater Valley is a magnificent area to explore on foot, by boat or in the car, offering little Lakeland villages, extreme hiking routes and plenty of watersports. A tour aboard Ullswater 'Steamers' is a great way to take in the beauty of this area without the need to drive, and the commentary will allow you to learn about the area as you relax. There's even a bar on board!
Drive east along the A66 and you reach the County Durham town of Barnard Castle, less than half an hour away. Famous among antique enthusiasts, the town’s cobbled streets and twisting lanes are home to a variety of independent shops, while a farmers’ market every Saturday showcases the area’s food, drink and crafts. The Norman castle that stands proudly in the centre of the town is worthy of a visit, as is Bowes Museum, which was built in the 19th Century and is one of the most exquisite in England.
Having some of the darkest night skies in England, the area is a haven for stargazing. Head to the Tan Hill Inn on the border of the North Pennines and Yorkshire Dales for an astronomy adventure. The cosy inn is famous for being the highest pub in Britain and is also a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site. The open moorland offers stargazers an incredible view with a chance to witness a whole host of constellations.
A short drive north of Warcop lies the North Pennines AONB, a wonderful place for cycling, walking, fishing, climbing and nature watching. Nature reserves such as Moor House, heritage sites like Raby Castlenand the abundance of walking and cycling trails on offer are just some of the ways you can choose to explore this remote and wild landscape. The scenic B6276 leads to Alston via Middleton-in-Teesdale, passing High Force Waterfall. This road also gives access to Cow Green Reservoir and the nature reserve.