Things to do nearby Woodlands Cottage
Ireby is a small, peaceful farming village perched on the northernmost tip of the Lake District National Park. It is well away from noise and bustle but within easy reach of some of the most beautiful and tranquil lakes and fells. The village is home to Emily’s Black Lion pub and The Snooty Fox in the village of Uldale is not far away. Uldale also has a tearoom and dairy. Caldbeck is another lovely village, six miles away, and has a village shop, café, gift shop and gallery, and a fabulous duckpond. Ireby also hosts a popular annual music festival.
There are plenty of picturesque walks along the local lanes, such as to the 13th century Ireby church or to neighbouring villages of High Ireby, Torpenhow, Uldale, Boltongate or Caldbeck. Within a few minutes’ drive you can walk the highest local hill, Binsey. It takes only an hour in total to walk up and back but, once the summit has been reached, the panoramic views over Bassenthwaite Lake are breathtaking.
Bassenthwaite has some lovely lakeshore paths. It also happens to be at the bottom of one of the Lake District’s highest mountains, Skiddaw, well worth a hike up. Around the lake are plenty of things to see and do. The Lakes Distillery offers tours and tastings whilst next door’s Lake District Wildlife Park brings you up close and personal to animals including otters, meerkats, wildebeast, zebras, apes, and many more! For something more stately, Mirehouse is a family-run mansion with large grounds and four adventure playgrounds. Dodd Wood and Whinlatter Forest boast woodland trails and Osprey viewpoints.
Beyond Bassenthwaite is Ireby’s closest town, Cockermouth. This small Georgian town boasts a surprising number of independent shops, antique shops, an auction house, supermarket, butchers, bakers, and the Jennings Brewery, which offers tours and tastings. Wordsworth House is the childhood home of William Wordsworth and is now open to the public with interactive activities and a lovely riverside garden. Alternatively, take a look at what’s on at The Kirkgate Arts Centre, which has an extensive programme of films, theatre, music, and activities.
In the opposite direction is Keswick, a popular market town with a vibrant atmosphere. Whether you want to browse the shops, sit back with a pint in a pub, or get out onto the water, you’ll have the chance here. Numerous activity centres offer adrenaline-fuelled outdoor adventure, or you can take a stately cruise across the lake on one of the Keswick Launches. Why not take a walk around Derwentwater and, once you’ve tired yourself out, catch a boat back to Keswick from one of the launches dotted around the lakeshore? Back in Keswick you can treat yourself to a bite and a cuppa at the Café by the Lake. The café is also attached to the award-winning Theatre by the Lake, for which Sally’s Cottages guests can get discounted tickets.
If that’s not enough to quench your appetite, Keswick is also home to the Pencil Museum, the Puzzling Place, a lovely Art Deco cinema, restaurants galore and unlimited walking routes. Don’t miss a trip up to Castlerigg, an ancient and mysterious stone circle with panoramic views.
No visit would be complete without a visit to Hadrian’s Wall, the most remarkable edifice built by the Romans in Britain. Almost 2,000 years old (built in AD120’s), it stretches 73 miles from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria right over to Newcastle. Some of the best remaining parts can be seen along the Roman road, which runs parallel to the A69. You can visit Housesteads Roman Fort along here.
Also with a strong Roman connection is the Border City of Carlisle. This lovely small city has shopping, eateries, cinemas and museums. Tullie House has a number of exhibitions showcasing Cumbria’s history, nature and art. The castle has looked after the city for over 900 years. It has medieval dungeons, passageways and chambers to explore and once held Mary Queen of Scots as a prisoner.
The Solway Coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a haven for many seabirds and waders. You can enjoy this stretch of coast either by car (the road follows the sea for most of the way), bike, or foot. The long stretches of uninterrupted sandy beaches are a delight and the stunning sunsets are a peaceful reminder of everything that is good in life. Settle down in a warm jacket with fish & chips from Allonby, and admire the view.