Things to do nearby Toll Bar Cottage
Whether you're looking for cafes and bars, water activities, or art galleries, Keswick has something for everyone. Hire a boat to get our onto the lake, pamper yourself at one of the nearby spas, or hop in the car for a short drive to an array of interesting attractions nearby! Keswick will have you spoiled for choice!
Keswick is a jewel in the crown of the northern Lake District. It features beautiful scenery, ease of access to the fells and lake, and the fantastic range of activities, shops and places to eat and drink.
For a truly stunning view of the surrounding scenery, head up to Castlerigg. This ancient and mysterious stone circle sits just above the town and boasts panoramic views of the surrounding fells including Helvellyn and High Seat. You can walk up to Castlerigg via a narrow road (please note there is no footpath), take a short car trip there, or else catch the Caldbeck Rambler, which stops off there on its circular journey of the area.
The town itself is full of peaceful areas as well as the bustling and vibrant town centre. There are plenty of independent shops, art shops, and supermarkets as well as a popular, twice-weekly market in the pedestrianised town centre. To refresh yourself after all that retail therapy, head to one of the many bars, restaurants, pubs or cafés!
You won’t be stuck for wet weather activities here, either. Ascend the King Kong climbing wall, be baffled at the Puzzling Place, learn something new at the town museum and the Pencil Museum, or take a dip at the swimming pool with its water slide and wave machine. In the evenings, the lovely vintage Alhambra cinema shows recent films and live-theatre recordings (and also hosts an annual film festival) or the Theatre by the Lake has a wide selection to choose from (discounted tickets are available for guests of Sally’s Cottages). Alternatively, why not book in a day course at The Makers Mill? They offer a range of options ranging from bag making to clay throwing!
Keswick is popular with walkers, climbers and cyclists: there are low level routes along the lake’s shore or by the river and plenty of heights to scale on the surrounding fells. Head to Catbells (small and sweet with fantastic views), the Coledale Horseshoe (a challenging ridge walk), Skiddaw (one of the Lake District’s highest mountains) or Blencathra (voted England’s best walk!). Borrowdale is also a popular location with, amongst others, the starting point of a route up Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.
A regular Launch service crosses the lake of Derwentwater. You can explore the whole lake at once or else hop on and off as you please. Lodore has a waterfall and the plush Lodore Hotel where you can treat yourself to afternoon tea; Ashness Gate leads up to Ashness Bridge and Surprise View high above the valley; at Lingholm you can view the walled garden that inspired Mr McGregor’s garden in Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Why not walk from town along the shore then, when you feel its time, hop onto a launch back to Keswick where you can enjoy a tasty treat?
If you’re looking for fun and adventure, Keswick is the place to be! Try canoeing on the lake, rent a bike from Keswick Mountain Bikes, or make a splash with some ghyll scrambling. There are lots of outdoor adventure activity providers who will help you on you find your next adrenaline-fuelled activity!
Penrith is an attractive town that prides itself on its range of small independent shops as well as a good selection of popular high street shops. It has an artisan bakery, cake shop, and even a smokery! The Devonshire Arcade is an original indoor Victorian shopping arcade in the town centre that is home to small boutiques and food retailers. Penrith’s farmers' markets is held on the third Tuesday of the month (between March and December). You can also find out about the town's history through the town trail. Don’t forget to stop off at nearby Rheged. This grass-roofed Lakeland heritage centre in a former quarry has shops, cafés, pottery painting, arts exhibitions, a 3D cinema, and a soft play area.
In the opposite direction, Whinlatter Forest Park towers about Bassenthwaite Lake and is perfect for a fun-filled day. It has forest trails, mountain bike routes, a Go Ape! high ropes course, Segway tours, an Osprey viewing point, and playgrounds. When you’ve exhausted yourself with all that, stop off at the café, visitor centre, and gift shop to wind down.
The Caldbeck Rambler is a seasonal circular bus that runs from Easter to October between Keswick and Caldbeck, taking in many of the local attractions. The bus stops off at Dodd Wood (a forested mountain where you can spot wildlife including Ospreys and red squirrels), the Lake District Wildlife Park (try being a zoo keeper for a day or watching the bird displays) and next-door Lakes Distillery (tours and tastings!), and Mirehouse stately home.
Cockermouth is a pretty market town with independent shops, antique shops, an auction house, restaurants, cafés and other attractions. Wordsworth House and Gardens, the childhood home of William Wordsworth, is made up as it would have been in the 1700s and is a must-see for literary and history fans alike. The Jennings Brewery is also a popular choice for its tours and tastings. If you just fancy a stroll, wander beside the river or along the quaint, hidden back streets.
Honister Slate Mine perches high above the valley at the top of the steep and winding Honister Pass. You can take an underground tour of the mine, balance high above the valley on the Infinity Bridge (the longest of its kind in England), or take on the Via Ferrata, following the old miner’s path with the aid of a guideline. You can also pick up souvenirs and gifts from the shop that sells products made from the local slate.