Things to do nearby The Old Stables (Ayside)
The little village of Ayside is just a few miles from Grange Over Sands - a pretty coastal town on the shores of Morecambe Bay. There are parks and ornamental gardens, as well as fine bird watching in the estuary there.
Nearer to home is the Predator Experience - just a few minutes walk from The Old Stables. Here you can Walk with Wolves, or have an Eagle Experience. The centre has featured on National Geographic, BBC and ITV.
Cartmel Fell is a sparsely populated hamlet in the Winster Valley, close to the southern end of Lake Windermere. This beautiful, peaceful valley is just perfect for a tranquil and relaxing break to escape the pressures of modern life.
There are several excellent pubs in the local area. The Punch Bowl Inn at Crosthwaite has both a formal restaurant and a more traditional pub bar.
Whitbarrow Fell, part of Whitbarrow Nature Reserve, runs for much of the length of the Winster Valley. The fell is often known better as Whitbarrow Scar due to the imposing cliffs lining its western edge. According to Wainwright’s book of the Outerlying Fells of Lakeland, ‘All is fair to the eye on Whitbarrow.’ The summit is known as Lord’s Seat and boasts spectacular panoramic views over to Morecambe Bay and the estuary of the River Kent.
Whitbarrow Fell is a mixture of woodland, grassy fellside and the dramatic limestone pavement. The area has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest as it contains some of the best examples of natural limestone habitats in Europe. Animal-lovers will enjoy the walk immensely for the opportunity to spot a host of wildlife. As well as an array of interesting birds including buzzards, woodpeckers and sparrowhawks, you may even be lucky enough to see deer at Howe Riding Wood. The nature reserve also has a traditional orchard and bluebell woods.
There are some lovely walks through the valley, in woodland and on bridleways. Nearby Simpson Ground is a mixture of woodland and crag outcrops with a picturesque reservoir in the woods. In the wider area, you can climb Coniston Old Man, the Langdale Pikes and even Scafell Pike.
Beyond Whitbarrow is the truly beautiful Lyth Valley. On the edge of the valley, Sizergh Castle is a beautiful medieval house set amidst picturesque gardens. The Strickland family has lived in this imposing house for over 700 years and it contains a rich and interesting history of their time here. Within the grounds and gardens there is a pond and a lake, a national collection of hardy ferns and a superb limestone rock garden.
Kendal, the gateway town to the South Lakes, is full of shopping arcades, historic buildings, and eateries. It also boasts not one, but TWO castles, a couple of museums, and lots of other historically interesting buildings. It is also the birthplace of world-famous Kendal Mint Cake, so don’t forget to pick up some of this tasty treat during your visit! Alfred Wainwright made his home in the town after moving from Blackburn, and Kendal Museum hosts the Wainwright Gallery, which includes a recreation of the author’s office from when he was Curator.
Newby Bridge, at the southern tip of Lake Windermere, is just a ten-minute drive away (or a five-mile walk via Simpson Ground). There is an aquarium at Newby Bridge, a great rainy day activity regardless of age. On the edge of the lake is Fell Foot, a great park with plenty of open space for games, picnics and gentle walks. You can sail boats on the lake and the bay is perfect for swimming and paddling.
Bowness-on-Windermere is 20-minutes away to the north. You can use the ferry to hop over the lake with your car and explore Grizedale Forest where there are mountain bike trails and a Go Ape! high ropes course. The impossibly pretty village of Hawkshead, which has banned cars in its centre, is worth a visit for its wonky, whitewashed buildings, arches, and tiny streets. Beatrix Potter’s home, Hill Top, at Near Sawrey, is now a museum about the beloved author and her work. Her home has been preserved so well that you will feel she has just stepped out of the door before you walked in!
Beyond Bowness and Windermere you will find Ambleside, a bustling village with a Victorian and Roman heritage. Within the village you will find various shops, eateries, museums and galleries, as well as the famous Bridge House - a tiny building that sits on a small bridge over the River Rothay. Near Ambleside, on a short uphill walk, is the spectacular Stock Ghyll Force.
South of the Wister Valley is the coastal estuary at Grange over Sands, historically a quiet fishing village until the introduction of the railway in 1857. Large hotels and grand houses were built for wealthy businessman who wanted to take advantage of the pleasing climate. These houses and terraces can be admired as you walk around the town or browse the shops that include an interesting bookshop and an award winning butcher’s.
A traffic-free promenade runs along the coast and is lovely for an evening stroll, taking in the beautiful sunsets. In the middle of the village is a large duck pond and beautiful ornamental gardens. On the opposite side of the estuary you will find Arnside and Silverdale where you can visit the wildlife meadows and bird sanctuaries.
The railway from Grange over Sands can take you all the way up the coast to Maryport, with plenty of interesting stops along the way, especially Ravenglass, where you can catch a miniature steam train right into the heart of Eskdale.