Things to do nearby Walkers Retreat
Keswick is one of the most popular locations in the Lake District. It is a friendly, busy town with plenty of quiet spots, too. A much-loved 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.
The town sits on the beautiful Derwentwater and a regular launch service crosses the lake. You have the option to stay onboard and take a round trip or to alight at various landing stages around the lake. Both Lodore and Brandlehow landing stages are an easy walk away if you want to take a stroll before catching the boat. At Lodore, stop off to see Lodore Falls and then treat yourself to afternoon tea in the plush surroundings of the Lodore Hotel! Get off at Ashness Gate for a walk up to Ashness Bridge and Surprise View high above the valley. At Lingholm you can view the walled garden that was Beatrix Potter’s inspiration for Mr McGregors garden in Peter Rabbit. There is also a lovely café here for lunch. The launch also stops at Hawse End, the starting point for the ridge walk up Catbells via Rowling End, which boasts some of the best views anywhere. There are also lovely and easy lakeside walks between landing stages; just walk until you have had enough and then hop back on the boat at the next stop. Of course, the main stop is Keswick where you can explore the lake at a slower pace by hiring a rowing boat from the boat landings. Why not aim for one of the islands for a unique picnic destination?
If you’re looking for fun and adventure, Keswick is bursting with activity. Have a go at sailing on Derwentwater, rent a bike from Keswick Mountain Bikes, or get into the water when you go ghyll scrambling. Whatever outdoor activity you’re into, it’s bound to be available in Keswick.
Keswick is undoubtedly popular with walkers, climbers and cyclists. There are plenty of fantastic fells to climb and low level walks by the lake or in the valleys. Borrowdale is a popular location: here you will find the starting point for climbing up Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. There are plenty of other mountains to climb, too: Catbells (small and sweet with fantastic views), the Coledale Horseshoe (a ridge walk, just amazing), Skiddaw (one of the Lake District’s highest mountains) and Blencathra (voted England’s best walk!)
No need to worry about the weather here, either. A wet day in Keswick can be easily filled with visits to the quirky town museum, the Puzzling Place and Pencil Museum, or with a swim in the leisure pool. Alternatively, plan a visit to Honister Slate Mine to take one of their underground tours. The drive to the stunningly-located mine through Borrowdale and up rugged Honister Pass is steep and winding but rewarded with breathtaking views! Honister Slate Mine also has two Via Ferrata routes up the old miner path as well as an Infinity Bridge - a head for heights is required!
Evenings in Keswick can be filled at any number of intriguing restaurants, featuring Thai, Italian, Mexican and Spanish cuisine, in addition to three traditional fish and chip shops. Those looking for a more cultural experience will be entertained at the Theatre by the Lake - guests with Sally’s Cottages can buy discounted tickets. Or why not take in a film at the lovely Art Deco cinema?
The ancient and mysterious Castlerigg Stone Circle sits just above the town. English Heritage describes it as “perhaps the most atmospheric and dramatically sited of all British stone circles, with panoramic views and the mountains of Helvellyn and High Seat as a backdrop.”
The Caldbeck Rambler is a seasonal circular bus route that runs from Easter to October between Keswick and Caldbeck. The route includes Dodd Wood (a forested mountain with Osprey viewing points), the Lake District Wildlife Park (including a café, petting zoo, soft-play centre and bird of prey displays), St Bega’s Church and Mirehouse (a historic house and gardens with wooded adventure playgrounds and lakeside walks).
Rising above the nearby village of Braithwaite is the mountainous Whinlatter Forest has forest paths, mountain bike trails, and a Go Ape! high ropes course. The shop and café in the visitor centre are well worth visiting, as is the information display; you can even see the magnificent Osprey nesting site from the Whinlatter webcam.
The market town of Cockermouth has a wonderful array of independent shops, restaurants, cafés and other attractions. History and literary fans will love a visit to Wordsworth House, the childhood home of the Lakeland poet. Made to look as it would have in 1770, there are interactive activities and a pretty riverside garden. The Jennings Brewery also has its home in the town and offers tours and tastings.
Penrith is in the opposite direction and is an attractive town with a good mixture of independent and high street shops as well as many places to eat. Penrith prides itself on its range of small independent shops, stocking everything from books to sweets. It has an artisan bakery, cake shop, and even its very own smokery! Look out for the adorable Devonshire Arcade, an original indoor Victorian shopping arcade in the centre of town, which is home to small boutiques and food retailers. Penrith holds farmers' markets on the third Tuesday of the month (between March and December) in Market Square and you can also find out about the town's history through the town trail. There is even a ruined castle! Don’t miss out on a visit to nearby Rheged with its shops, cafés, pottery painting, arts exhibitions, a 3D cinema, and a soft play area.