Things to do nearby Swinsty
If you like to get away from it all then you cannot beat Martindale, located down a no through road it is a beautiful peaceful retreat near lovely Ullswater. Surrounded by fells there are no shortage of walks from the door and Howtown is nearby for catching the steamer to other locations around the lake. There is plenty to do within a few miles but you can look forward to returning to a haven of tranquillity in the stunning Martindale valley in the evening.
Walks in and from Martindale are many and varied. Wander down to the lake and walk some of the lakeshore path or amble through the lovely rural valley surrounded by fells. If you prefer your walks to be on higher ground then you are spoilt for choice. The whole length of the High Street ridge opens out in front of you via Bonscale Pike or Loadpot Hill, turn left to go down to Pooley Bridge or right up onto High Street itself. You can also try the perfectly formed Hallin Fell, this little fell scores ten out of ten for value for effort with beautiful views over Ullswater. Place Fell is a popular walk from Patterdale but quieter and equally attractive routes head up to the top from Sandwick.
The other side of Ullswater offers many more walks. From Glenridding the classic Helvellyn via the edges makes a challenging days walk or head up to secretive Grisedale Tarn via St Sunday Crag from Patterdale. Quieter routes start from Dockray up onto the Dodds. Don’t miss the lovely walk through Swinburns Park and up onto rugged Gowbarrow fell, with numerous little rocky tops you can always find a quiet spot to sit and enjoy the stunning views of Ullswater.
Visitors have been able to catch a steamer across Ullswater since 1855 and it is still a popular attraction today; the historic craft call at 4 landing stages around the lake at Glenridding, Howtown, Pooley Bridge and Aira Force. Relax on a circular cruise or use the service one way and walk back, popular walking routes with lovely views link to all the landing stages and can take you right round the lake on the waymarked Ullswater Way. Pooley Bridge village offers a picturesque hub at the east end of the lake. Sadly the historic stone bridge across the River Eamont was destroyed by floods in 2015 but a new bridge is planned and, in the meantime, a temporary bridge provides access and the setting of the stone built village alongside the river is still attractive. There are a range of pubs and cafes for refreshment plus gift shops and galleries to browse, the village store offers a range of groceries and fresh baked bread in the mornings. Pooley Bridge is the starting point for gentle walks along the lake shore and riverside, or for the slightly more energetic Dunmallard Hill, site of an iron age hill fort, offers lovely views down the lake for not too much effort.
Aira Force is a must see as you tour the area, the water falls for over 70 feet and there is a stunning view from the stone bridge which arches over the top of the falls. Spend an hour or half a day exploring the woodland and waterfalls and don’t miss the short (but uphill) detour onto Gowbarrow Terrace for a beautiful view of Ullswater and its sylvan surroundings beneath the rugged fells. Walkers and non-walkers alike can enjoy the variety of paths through mixed woodland to various viewpoints of the falls which are at their most impressive after rain. You may also be lucky enough to see Red Squirrels in the woodland here which is being managed specifically to attract them. The lakeshore here is said to have been the inspiration behind Wordsworth’s famous daffodil poem, go and seek them out in the spring. Further down the lake is Glenridding village, jumping off point for the high fells and the headquarters of the Ullswater Steamer Company for trips on the lake. The autumn colours of the beech trees along the lake north of Glenridding are beautiful - photographers take note!
Penrith is the local market town, there is a choice of supermarkets handy for stocking up on essentials, including a Booths and also a good range of independent shops in the town centre. The ruined castle is surrounded by a pleasant park and the churchyard of the mainly 18th century St Andrew’s church contains ancient crosses and hogsback tombs. From Penrith station you can catch a fast train for a day out in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Carlisle or Lancaster. Just south of Penrith off the A6 towards Shap treat yourself at Abbot Lodge, a wide range of flavours of Jersey ice cream are made on the farm for you to try, one visit may not be enough! A couple of miles further down the road is Larch Cottage Nursery a mecca for plant lovers with a wide range of rare and unusual perennials, shrubs, climbers, acers and conifers set amongst a lovely ‘secret’ garden of Romanesque walls and water features plus an Italian inspired cafe.
Fans of historic houses are well catered for in this area; Dalemain is an impressive family stately home containing a maze of rooms of different periods and collections of old toys, ceramics, dolls house and furniture. The sheltered garden contains a variety of separate areas to discover. Hutton-in-the-Forest is north of Penrith, the house is linked by legend to the story of Gawain and the Green Knight and there are beautiful gardens to discover. Head south east down the lanes to Lowther Castle the now roofless, but no less impressive, country seat of the Lowther family. The gardens and ruins have been taken over by a charitable trust and the remains of once elaborate gardens are being restored and are fascinating to explore. There is even a garden in the castle ruin! A huge adventure playground and lots of rope swings plus a birdwatching hide keep kids of all ages amused. Going further back in history the ruins of Brougham castle run by English Heritage stand in a beautiful location beside the River Eamont.
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!
Keswick is the hub of the northern Lake District, located on the shores of Derwentwater at the foot of a range of popular fells it is less than 45 minutes away, and the views on the way make it worth doing just for the drive. This attractive market town nestles into the valley at the foot of Derwentwater and the boat landings are just a short walk from the town centre. From here you can enjoy beautiful views across the lake, or take a launch across the lake to see Lodore Falls - made famous by The Cataract of Lodore by Robert Southey, Ashness Bridge - a scene gracing the front of many a chocolate box or Lingholm walled gardens which were Beatrix Potter’s inspiration for Mr McGregors garden in Peter Rabbit. Back in the town there are a plethora of outdoor shops to browse and don’t miss Old Friars sweet and chocolate shop on the Main Street to treat yourself or for gifts to take home. For a cultural fix take in a show at the lovely Theatre by the Lake or a film at the family run traditional cinema.
Remote it may be but there are still nearby places to eat when you don’t want to cook, nearby is Ullswater Howtown Hotel open March to October it offers good food for very good value. Just up the lake is Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel which is open all year round; and offers world renowned food but with prices to match, there are also three popular pubs at Pooley Bridge.