When friends kindly offered to loan their cottage in the Lake District for some post surgery rest and recovery I jumped at the chance. A few days of slow living, immersed in nature and the most beautiful scenery sounded perfect.
Contrary to popular belief, the sun does occasionally shine in the Lakes and we were so incredibly lucky that the timing of our visit coincided with some of the hottest temperatures on record in over a decade. As we approached Keswick we got our first glimpse of the rugged mountains that surround the little market town, set against blue skies and an abundance of sunshine which set the backdrop for the entirety of our stay.
My other half who is a city boy through and through was already in awe of the sights from the car window and I couldn't wait to show him the extent of the beauty that lay in wait for us.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at our friends private home but they have another cottage in town which is available for holiday lets. Butterfly Cottage can be booked through Sally's Cottages
WHAT TO DO
Take a boat ride across the lake for breakfast -
What nicer way to begin the day?! Keswick Launch operates 4 boats around Derwent water allowing you to take a seat for the entire 50 minute round trip or hop on and off as you please.
We got off at Hawse End pier, turned right and took a short stroll through the woodland to the Lingholm Estate, one time holiday home of children's author Beatrix Potter.
Here you'll find the Lingholm kitchen, a perfect destination for breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. We enjoyed breakfast on the terrace overlooking the walled garden, credited as the original inspiration behind Mr McGregor's garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, with views of Skiddaw mountain looming in the distance.
After a wander around the grounds we headed down to the lakeshore and just sat for a while on the jetty. It was so calming down by the water.
Throughout my period of sickness, walking is something that has allowed me to gently exercise and with an abundance of beautiful coastline and countryside up here in the North East, I haven't been short of places to wander. It's given me a real passion to try and incorporate more walking into my weekly routine once I get back to London. I'm lucky to live near a gorgeous stretch of riverside and some pretty impressive parkland which I've realised I don't visit nearly enough as I should. So I thought I may as well invest in some decent footwear and these Berghaus boots turned out to be a really good purchase, super comfy and lightweight.
Hiking boots and equipment are also available to hire from George Fisher outdoor clothing and gear stockists in Keswick town.
Visit Lodore Falls -
The water on Derwent was too low for our boat to dock at Lodore so we hopped off at Ashness bridge and walked the mile or so back to the Lodore Falls Hotel for a drink and a nosey at the waterfall. The scenery on this stretch was absolutely beautiful!
Unfortunately due to the hot weather there was no 'fall' to be found at Lodore, just a tiny trickle of water. We discovered a new place to eat at the hotel, a pan Asian restaurant called Mizu. We missed the opening by days but I've bookmarked this one for a future visit!
Climb A Peak -
As novice hikers we were recommended Walla Crag as a beginners level summit to climb. from Keswick, we made our way towards Springs Farm at the foot of the fell. The path up is fairly comfortable and shaded initially in many parts which gave us welcome breaks from the intensity of the sun.
The views from the top are breathtaking, we sat for a while just taking it all in.
A word of warning - when you start your descent there are two route options once you hop over the style, leading you to the left or right. The path to the left looks as though it would take you up and over the next fell so we took the one to the right - big mistake! It was super steep and we had to scramble our way down in parts. My worst fears came true when we reached a dead end where trees had fallen and blocked the path and we had to turn around and climb back UP! After a few deep breaths I did have a mini meltdown at the realisation of this, a few tears were shed and I had to have little rest in the shade before facing the music. So remember, keep left! Finally we arrived at Ashness Bridge, down to Ashness pier and along the lakeshore past Friars Crag back to Keswick.
Visit Buttermere -
Buttermere lake is around 14 miles drive from Keswick. The scenery on this route is out of this world, even though the single track, winding road did get a little hairy in parts! Weaving through the valley on the Honister Pass we felt so small against the grandeur of the rugged mountains either side of us. We found a parking spot a short walk from The Fish Inn and followed the footpath down to the lake where further stunning views awaited us.
Have a picnic on the jetty -
In the evening when the crowds have all made their way home, Derwent water is the perfect spot for a picnic supper. Armed with a bottle of champagne and some take out pizzas we made our way to the lake, bagged a quiet spot at the end of a jetty and watched the sun set over the water. Simple pleasures are often the greatest.
WHERE TO EAT
Merienda is a sweet little restaurant and cafe on the main street with lovely interiors and delicious food to match. We had dinner here on our first night but the heat had suppressed much of our appetites so we just ordered nibbles and starters to share as small plates. Olives, nachos, chicken wings, fish cake, prawn tacos, all equally delicious, we finished our drinks at the outside table on the street as the sun went down. A few days later we were back for breakfast. I love how imaginative and creative their menu is and they also use London roasters Monmouth so you can't go wrong with a coffee.
WHAT TO PACK
Hiking Boots | Berghaus at Go Outdoors
Waterproof Jacket | Rockholly
Picnic blanket | The Future Kept
Sunglasses | H&M
Healing gel (for blisters and insect bites) | Healgel at Space Nk
Water bottle | Stay Sixty
By road - Keswick is 20 miles via the A66 from Penrith and the M6 Motorway, Junction 40.
By rail - Penrith is the nearest main line station. There are regular bus routes to Keswick