Things to do nearby The Old Cottage

Staveley is a charming village, with a couple of friendly pubs and a well stocked village store. The village is also home to Hawkshead Brewery, where you can enjoy a drink in the popular beer hall, and Wheelbase cycle store - a must visit for fans of 2 wheels. There are a great choice of walks from the door, including The Dales Way which passes through the village. Why not spend some time exploring the neighbouring Kentmere Valley? A beautiful and remote spot that's a haven for walkers and fans of wildlife.

Staveley village in the Lake District

Staveley is a lively village between Kendal and Windermere and at the foot of the Kentmere Valley. It was once home to eight mills powered by the local rivers, and history runs through this pretty area. It also has a wonderful community feel with an annual carnival, a resident's art exhibition every August, and plenty of independent producers. Head to Staveley Mill Yard to discover the UK's largest cycle store, an ice cream parlour, an artisan bread maker, and Wilf's walker's cafe.

Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley

Hawkshead Brewery creates a range of tasty beers from Lake District water. Found in the Mill Yard at Staveley, a former bobbin and wood mill, the 20 barrel Brewhouse serves up hoppy flavours, all of which can be sampled in the large, glass-front beer hall. You can also take a tour of the brewery and see the whole process in action before enjoying a taste for yourself!

Kentmere Reservoir in the Kentmere Valley

The Kentmere Valley, along with the surrounding countryside, is prime walking territory. The challenging Kentmere Horseshoe will take you the good part of a day and offers up some spectacular views of the valley, while other, smaller fells are also in abundance. There are peaceful woodlands to explore, including Dorothy Farrer's Spring Wood nature reserve, which is alive with birds and bursting with plants including spring bluebells. Or why not head up a Miles Without Stiles route to Kentmere Reservoir?

Red squirrel

Longsleddale is a sparsely populated valley with a single road that terminates at Sadgill. Beyond that, there's nothing but mountains. It's an excellent location for nature-lovers with lots of wildlife to spot. Amongst the sheep you won't be too hard pressed to see badgers, rabbits, hares, red squirrels, and even deer. Ravens are a familiar sight overhead while the the rich habitat attracts a range of birds including owls, woodpeckers, kingfishers and nuthatches.

Abbot Hall art gallery in Kendal

Kendal, considered the southern gateway to the Lake District, is just 5 miles away. Once home to Alfred Wainwright, it's a popular town for shopping and the arts. The excellent Brewery Arts Centre has a year-round calendar that covers everything from comedy to films and live theatre to music. Beautiful Abbot Hall boasts an incredible collection of art, and there are lots of fascinating yards to explore in the town, with pedestrian-friendly streets and interesting markets.

Windermere in the Lake District

Head further into the Central Lakes and you'll soon reach England's longest lake, Windermere. At over 18km long, it offers a veritable smorgasbord of attractions and things to do. One of the most popular choices is a cruise on its waters. You can hop on from the jetty at Bowness-on-Windermere and either enjoy a full tour of the lake, or stop off at any of the other jetties along the way. Alternatively, if you fancy heading out under your steam, there are plenty of boats to hire: motorboats, rowing boats, canoes, kayaks, or even paddle boards!

Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District

Bowness-on-Windermere is one of the most popular destinations in the Lake District. Set on the shores of Windermere and surrounded by spectacular scenery, it has something to offer everyone. Apart from the boat hire and cruises, there are lots of interesting shops, tasty cafes and restaurants, and the popular World of Beatrix Potter, where kids will love diving into the stories of the author's beloved animal characters.

Otters at the Lakes Aquarium on Windermere

The delights of Windermere continue as you travel around the lake. Wray Castle is a Victorian folly that overlooks the water, while Brockhole is considered the Lake District's visitor centre with its extensive grounds, outdoor activities, and regular events. Further across the lake is the Lakeland Motor Museum, Lakes Aquarium and the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway. You'll be busy for days!

Stockghyll Force in Amnbleside

Ambleside, at the head of Windermere, is a gem of a town with plenty of outdoor adventures to be had both on the fells and on the water, fantastic places to eat and drink, and a rich history dating as far back as Roman times. Zeffirellis and Fellini's are a combined cinema, restaurant, cafe and jazz bar. They're the place to go for a night out with fabulous entertainment and delicious 'vegeterranean' food. The town is also home to Bridge House, of the most photographed buildings in the Lakes. It sits on a bridge right above the river, which can be followed upstream until you reach the dramatic Stock Ghyll Force, a 70-foot waterfall nestled in a wooded glade.

Hawkshead village in the Lake District

If you want to explore the area's literary heritage, catch a car ferry over to traffic-free Hawkshead, one of the prettiest villages in the Lake District. It's full of quirky houses and narrow alleyways and is home to a school attended by poet William Wordsworth: his schoolboy signature can still be seen carved into a desk! You can also visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery to enjoy an exhibition of her original drawings and watercolours, all set inside a charming 17th century house that was once the office of the author's husband, William Heelis. For more Beatrix Potter, don't miss a visit to Hill Top, her former home that has been painstakingly maintained to look as it did when she was drawing and writing her famous children's books.

Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales

For a bit of a change, why not pop from one national park to another and head over for a day in the Yorkshire Dales? Within half an hour you can be in Sedbergh, a peaceful village that's known as England's Book Town. There's a stupendous amount of walking in the area, and more lovely towns and villages to discover such as Kirkby Stephen and Orton, where there are exciting caves and waterfalls.