Many people keep returning to the Lake District – it has a way of “luring you back”. Perhaps it is the quieter pace of life, perhaps it is because people have time to stop and chat – perhaps it is the therapy of the outstanding scenery – encouraging you to linger and not rush on by. There is something for everyone – whether it is the walking the ridges of the high fells, strolling winding footpaths in idyllic valleys, trying out “adrenaline” sports, visiting historic houses and lakeland gardens with their jewel-like azalea and rhodendrons – or just relaxing with a good book on the lake shore. Just a few of the possibilities that you can do near the Croft House cottages are portrayed below.
The Croft House Cottages are just 1 mile from the outskirts of Keswick – where there is a wide range of independent shops, two supermarkets and many opportunities to update your walking gear! There is also the renowned “Theatre by the Lake” set close to the boat landings where you can take the launch service across or round the lake. Keswick also has the characterful “Alhambra” cinema, the Pencil Musuem and Puzzling Place.
Keswick has a huge choice of restaurants and cafes – but there are also three restaurants within walking distance of Croftside and Croft Corner. You can leave your car, walk to your chosen venue and walk back or get a taxi. These are the Bistro at Underscar, the Lyzzick Hall Hotel near Millbeck and the Pheasant Inn at Crosthwaite on the edge of Keswick. In addition there are health spa facilities (also within an easy walk) at Oxleys at Underscar.
From the town it is an easy, level stroll down to the shores of Derwentwater – perhaps through the delightful Hope Park where you may be diverted by the crazy golf! You can walk past the boat landings down to Friar’s Crag with the iconic view down the full length of the lake. The launch service provides an easy way of accessing various points around the lake. Many people use it to go across to Hause End and to start the walk up Cat Bells from there.
A Multitude of Walks!
There are fell walls from the door of Croft Corner and Croftside. These include Skiddaw by easy or more challenging routes, Dodd, Lonscale Fell and Latrigg. The choice of walks in the local area is endless – ranging from dramatic high level ridge routes to meandering riverside strolls and lakeside paths. Many of our guests like to tackle Skiddaw during their stay. Wainwright felt that the view from Skiddaw Little Man “commands the most beautiful and comprehensive view of the Lake District” – that view is out over Applethwaite and over Croft House to Keswick and Derwentwater and the fells beyond.
We are always very happy to advise our guests on which routes to do. Whether you have young children with you or have family members who might prefer level walks we can advise where best to go.
You may be on a mission to complete all 214 peaks mentioned by Wainwright in the 7 volumes of his “Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells”. If you prefer to walk with a group then this can also be arranged via Keswick Rambles. The Happy Hiker website gives various walking routes, GPS downloads and advice on walking issues. On a more serious note the weather in the Lakes can change very quickly – there is advice on walking in the Lakes on the website for the Lake District National Park and for the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team.
Houses and Gardens
You can visit all four of Wordsworth’s lake district homes – Wordsworth House in Cockermouth and Dove Cottage at Grasmere are both National Trust properties while Rydal Mount in Rydal village is privately owned. Allan Bank at Grasmere is a National Trust property. All give an insight into a different aspect of Wordsworth’s life. We especially like the gardens at Rydal Mount.
Mirehouse near Bassenthwaite makes an interesting afternoon visit – the house has been occupied as a family home since 1666 and Wordsworth, Tennyson, Southey, Carlyle and Constable were all friends of the family.
For gardening enthusiasts the gardens at Dalemain House near Penrith are well known for the display of blue poppies. The rhododendrons and azaleas at Muncaster Castle are a spectacular sight in springtime. There a number of National Trust properties in the Lakes including Sizergh near Kendal, Allan Bank in Grasmere and Wray Castle near Hawkshead. The renovation of the gardens at Lowther Castle shows gardening on a grand scale!
Sports of all kinds
If you have a thirst for adventure then Keswick as the “Adventure Capital of England” is the place for you. You can canoe on Derwentwater, try ghyll scrambling, paragliding, mountain biking or climbing and many other “adrenaline” sports.
You can try mountain biking, Segway trails and forest walks at Go Ape at Whinlatter Forest Park. You can hire mountain bikes there or in Keswick.
Especially for children
In Keswick there is the intriguing Puzzling Place to visit, the Pencil Museum and crazy golf in Hope Park. The dragon boats on Derwentwater are always a very popular attraction.
You can try archery, go karting and horse riding at Rookin House or visit the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre near Lowther Castle. There may be ospreys to watch on Bassenthwaite Lake. Ospreys have nested on the shores of the lake in recent years – they sometimes circle over Croft House as if using it as a landmark.
Just to the south of Keswick and Derwentwater is the beautiful Borrowdale valley leading to the Honister pass and over into Buttermere. Wainwright described the area containing Castle Crag near Rosthwaite as “the loveliest square mile in all of Lakeland”. It was near Inominate tarn on Haystacks close to Buttermere that Wainwright chose for his ashes to be buried.
We still welcome guests who have not visited the Lakes before. Sometimes guests are familiar with the southern Lake District but have not visited the northern Lakes. Southern Lakeland – especially around Windermere is more wooded – though the fells around Coniston and in the Langdale valley are very majestic. The Langdale Pikes are a favourite of ours but in summer the Langdale valley can be very busy. In general the fells in the northern lakes are more rugged with some spectacular ridge walks.
The Lake District is a popular holiday destination but the location of the two Croft House self catering holiday cottages near Keswick makes it easy to explore not only Keswick itself and the two nearest lakes, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite, but is ideal also for exploring further afield.
With just a 30 minutes drive you can reach 7 other major lakes and there is also a network of bus services. It only takes 20 minutes to walk into Keswick but you can catch a bus if need be – and also to Carlisle, Grasmere, Windermere and Kendal or to Cockermouth and Workington – from the bus stop at the foot of the lane just 200 yards away. In addition there are buses which radiate out from Keswick to serve the nearby valleys including Borrowdale. Many visitors use the latter to reach the start of their walk and then return to Keswick via the fells and perhaps the launch services on Derwentwater.
Even at the height of summer it is possible to find quiet, unspoilt areas and enjoy the beauty of the Lakes away from the bustle of the “honeypots”! At Croftside and Croft Corner you can enjoy the facilities of Keswick without being in the bustle of the town, knowing that there are good transport links to other areas of the Lake District.
In conclusion – the menu of choices of how to spend your time during your stay at Croftside or Croft Corner is extensive and varied – some guests like to walk every day whilst others are happy to potter about the area finding nice places to eat and interesting locations to visit. The choice is there – just enjoy! We hope you will have a great time in the Keswick area.