Things to do nearby The Escape
Nestling on the shores of Derwentwater is Portinscale, a lovely little village with a good pub, a welcoming café and two marinas where you can try your hand at paddle boarding, canoeing, sailing or rowing (followed by an enormous scone at their café by the lake). There are hundreds of walks to explore – from gentle lakeshore paths leading through the woods to the iconic Catbells – a beautiful ridgewalk with fantastic views. Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden is a little further along and is worth a visit (and a brew) – the Octagonal walled garden sits on the same spot as the old Lingholm Kitchen gardens which Beatrix Potter credited as her inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Portinscale is a delightful village located just a mile from Keswick on the northwest edge of Derwentwater. The village boasts cafés, marinas and an excellent village pub called the Farmer's Arms.
For those visiting the area to explore then Portinscale is an ideal base. From the village you can take on the Coledale Horseshoe, walk up the iconic ridge of Catbells, take in part of the Allerdale Ramble, or enjoy the wonderful views from Causey Pike. If you're keen to walk but would enjoy some gentler ambles, then why not take the 20-minute flat walk into Keswick itself or stroll along the lakeside path on the edge of Derwentwater? There is a beautiful eight-mile walk around the entire lake from the village, but you could always potter along part of it before sailing on the Keswick Launch back to the village.
Without doubt, the crowning glory of Keswick and Portinscale is Derwentwater. This beautiful body of water is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery from the dramatic, seemingly jagged peaks making up the ‘jaws’ of the Borrowdale Valley, to the much-loved shape of Catbells opening out to Keswick and looking up to Skiddaw. To take in some of this glorious scenery from the water, why not take a trip on one of the Keswick Launches? These stately vessels stop at seven landing stages around the lake making an ideal way to take in the views. Guests could take a walk along to one of Borrowdale's gorgeous pubs or restaurants and get the launch back to Nichol End in Portinscale. There are plenty of opportunities to mess about on other boats, too; you can hire kayaks, rowing boats, sailing dinghies or paddle boards from the local marinas.
This area could scarcely be better for the adventurous among you. The Newlands Adventure Centre is close by and offers a range of outdoor activities such as ghyll scrambling, climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, archery and much more. Great for an adrenaline fuelled day out! Alternatively, why not book a session at nearby Lingholm Sporting Quad Treks? Head out with experienced guides to take you around the 1,000 acre Lingholm Estate where you'll find some staggering views of the surrounding countryside while, no doubt, having a fine muddy time of it!
For a more cultured approach to the area, Keswick also boasts an Art Deco cinema showing new releases and independent films. The stunningly situated Theatre by the Lake is on the edge of Derwentwater and shows a varied programme of music, plays and comedy throughout the year. Guests of Sally’s Cottages can even purchase discounted tickets!
Keswick is also a popular destination for shopping. There are a number of independent shops selling interesting local and regional wares. There is a lovely bookshop that opens late during the summer and a fascinating second-hand bookshop on Station Street. As for outdoor shops, Keswick has a wide range of independent retailers as well as several high street outdoor retailers. There is a popular Victorian Fayre and Christmas Market as well as regular local markets through the year (Thursday and Saturdays).
This is a dream location for cyclists, too. Mountain biking is a popular pastime with adventurous trails in Whinlatter Forest and a wealth of bridleways over the fells as well as plenty of flatter, more sedate routes around and about. The quality of the road cycling in the area can't be understated, either with the Honister, Newlands and Whinlatter passes close by. If you would like to explore the area on two wheels but feel the hills might be rather too much of a challenge then why not try an electric bike? You can hire these from Keswick-based firm, E-Venture Bikes.
For a great day out, visit Mirehouse, a stately home that has remained in the same family since 1688. The house is open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons (plus Fridays in August) from April to October and has strong literary connections to Tennyson, Edward Fitzgerald, Thomas Carlyle and William Wordsworth. The grounds are open every day from March to October and include formal gardens, a wildflower meadow, a heather maze, a rhododendron tunnel, poetry walk and four adventure playgrounds in the woods. A circular walk also passes through parkland to the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake taking in the romantically-sited chapel of St Bega.
For a different side to the history of the area, why not head up to Castlerigg Stone Circle? This ancient and mysterious site is set in a glorious situation overlooking a fabulous panorama of lakes and mountains.
Portinscale is well placed to explore the area by car, too. Heading along the side of Derwentwater into the head of the Borrowdale Valley, you can take the steep and twisting fell road of Honister Pass up to Honister Mine. Why not take one of their mine tours? If you are feeling daring you could take on their Via Ferrata or the Infinity Bridge! Continuing over Honister pass will bring you to Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater beyond, all beautiful small lakes with fabulous walks. The Kirkstile Inn at Loweswater is one of our favourite pubs for a stop off.
For a drive out why not see a different side of the lakes along the spectacularly scenic A591? From Keswick the road skirts along the edge of Thirlmere, underneath Helvellyn, and then sweeps down Dunmail Raise to Grasmere, Rydal Water and Ambleside beyond. You'll find some marvellous walks in the area; we love the easy potter around the side of Grasmere Lake, especially in bluebell season!