Things to do nearby The Old Post Office (Papcastle)
The Old Post Office is ideally located to take advantage of everything that’s on offer nearby, with easy access into the heart of The Lakes as well as the picturesque Solway Coast. Located in the charming village of Papcastle, there is a popular pub, The Belle Vue, and lovely walks on offer too, including peaceful riverside strolls and the old Roman Road. Cockermouth, a bustling Georgian market town, is just a short walk from Papcastle and has a good selection of independent shops for a spot of retail therapy, as well as plenty of different eateries to try out too.
Papcastle is a small village just outside of the pretty town of Cockermouth. Its name is said to mean “the Roman fort inhabited by a hermit”. Even now, there is evidence of the village's Roman heritage: the remains of the fort of Derventio were designated an ancient monument in 1992 and a more recent archaeological dig found a watermill, several bathhouse phases and the remains of the old bridge!
Cockermouth is a popular Georgian town that retains a lot of charm with narrow backstreets, riverside walks, and lots of independent shops. There is also an auction house, a Sainsbury’s supermarket, a butcher, and plenty of eateries in the town. During the day you can take a tour of the Jennings Brewery, finishing off with a tasting. Or why not head to Wordsworth House? Cockermouth is the birthplace of the famous Lakeland poet, William Wordsworth, and his childhood home is now a museum open to the public. Learn from the cook how to make the food the Wordsworth’s would have eaten, find out how they would have dressed, and explore the riverside garden. In the evenings and throughout the day, the Kirkgate Arts Centre has an extensive programme of activities, film, theatre, and music.
Bassenthwaite Lake is one of the largest lakes in the Lake District and forms part of a wetland nature reserve. It is a particularly tranquil part of north Lakeland with Skiddaw towering above it. Members of Bassenthwaite Sailing Club are the only ones allowed to launch boats on the lake, so you can be sure of a tranquil setting. The lake contains salmon, trout, pike, perch, minnow, dace, ruffe, eel, and roach. The picturesque River Derwent is also a popular choice for anglers. You can obtain a fishing license at the Tourist Information or Post Office in Cockermouth.
Whinlatter Forest Park rises above the lake: it has a visitor centre and tearoom perched high in the woods with a delightful veranda that is frequented by bird. You could spend the whole day here; there is a Go Ape! high ropes course, play areas, forest trails (for cycling and walking) suitable for all abilities and ages, and Segway tours. There are also purpose-built mountain bike routes. Bikes can be hired in the forest or in Keswick where there are two bike shops.
If you prefer your road cycling, you can take on the challenging route up the Whinlatter Pass and onto Honister. But these routes are only for the very experienced and the very fit! Off-roaders can also take on the challenge of Skiddaw, which has several routes to the summit, though you may have to shoulder your bike from some of the scrambles! The Solway Coast is also a popular choice for cyclists, with its choice of dedicated cycle paths - most of which are flat! You can cycle from nearby Allonby (lots of parking) to Silloth and enjoy fish and chips or a coffee at the Fairydust Emporium or Mrs Wilson's Coffee House and Eatery, with its dedication to the singer Kathleen Ferrier, who was born in Silloth.
St Bega’s Church is a tiny church near the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. St Bega was the daughter of a seventh century Irish Chieftain. She fled Ireland to avoid marriage to a Norse Prince and landed at St Bees on the Cumbrian coast. It is though that this quaint little church is located on the site where she resided and was eventually buried. Melvyn Bragg retells her story in his book "Credo".
The church is found in the grounds of lovely Mirehouse. This family-run historic house has strong literary connections. Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote his famous poem, Morte d’Arthur, whilst staying there. It is open to the public and holds portraits and manuscripts of three poet laureates. As well as that, it boasts four adventure playgrounds, a wild flower meadow, a heather maze, and woodland walks.
The Lakes Distillery offers tours, tastings, a bistro and a shop. You can even meet the resident alpacas! If that’s not enough for you animal lovers, head next door to the Lake District Wildlife Park where you can see monkeys, zebra, otters, snakes and many other interesting creatures. You can even spend the day as a zookeeper! The park also includes bird displays, a good café serving tasty food, and a gift shop.
Bassenthwaite Village has a lovely pub, The Sun Inn, a charming 17th century farmhouse. The dog-friendly eatery is popular with both locals and visitors alike and serves a good selection of tasty food for both lunch and dinner.
Keswick is a short drive or bus journey away. This popular market town has shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs and a thriving Theatre (guests with Sally’s Cottages can purchase discounted tickets!), as well as the lovely lake if Derwentwater, surrounded by incredible mountain scenery. There are also several galleries and museums, including the Pencil Museum. In Hope Park there is a pitch and putt golf course, crazy golf, and remote controlled boats that you can sail on a mini replica of Derwentwater!
Loweswater, Buttermere, and Crummock water are a short drive away from Papcastle. These three quiet lakes remain relatively undiscovered and are a haven if you want to get away from the better-known areas of the northern Lake District. Here you can take lovely waterside walks, discover hidden waterfalls, explore ancient woodlands, and, in May, walk amongst a vibrant show of bluebells. If the fells are more to your liking, there are plenty challenges here, including Alfred Wainwright’s favourite, Haystacks.
For a change of scene, head in the opposite direction to meet the coast. With the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, quaint seaside villages like Silloth and Allonby, and long, sandy beaches, you may not want to leave!