The Lake District is justifiably famous for its magnificent scenery and for the wealth of outdoor activities on offer, including walking, climbing, cycling, sailing, canoeing and pony trekking. The north-east corner of the Lakes contains some of the most challenging walks in the area, including Striding Edge on Helvellyn, and Sharp Edge on Blencathra. For the less adventurous there are numerous other routes to be explored. Near to the lodge, the fells around Martindale to the south east of Ullswater and across to Hawswater are some of the least crowded and most picturesque in the Lakes. For one of our favourites, take the ferry from Howtown to Glendidding (or visa versa) on Ullswater and walk back along the lake edge path (decribed by Wainwright as the most beautiful and rewarding walk in Lakeland) taking in Hallin Fell on the way for the superb views it offers. The scenery on view is some of England's best and Ullswater is regarded by many as England's finest lake. Make sure you also visit Aira Force on the west side of Ullswater. It is the most famous of the Lake District waterfalls with an impressive 65 feet drop and is surrounded by beautiful woodland. O.S. maps of the area are available in the lodge along with the excellent Penrith Ramblers book featuring numerous other local walks.
Alternatively, head east and discover the Northern Pennines around Appleby-in-Westmoreland. Here you will find a series of extinct volcanoes to climb such as Dufton Pike, described as a small hill with big views. Another interesting route is to follow the Pennine way up to High Cup Nick, which Wainwright (that man again) described as an 'unforgettable sight and a natural wonder” . Start at the car park in Dufton and make sure you end up back in the Stag inn.
For cycle enthusiasts, the C2C (Sea to Sea) cycle route passes through Penrith and the town has been designated Cumbria's first Cycling Hub which means that cyclists are made extra welcome and will find excellent facilities including cycle hire and specially designed routes starting from Penrith. A leaflet is available from the Tourist Information Centre which describes five “Do in a Day” cycle routes from Penrith.
The old market town of Penrith still has plenty of individual family-run shops with names and frontages unique to the town, offering local or specialist produce.It also has a good choice of supermarkets, and a market and car boot sale at weekends. Penrith Playhouse stages local productions of plays. Concerts, recitals, blues and folk music take place at a variety of venues in the town. There is a cinema showing the latest releases, restaurants to suit almost every taste, several bars and nightclubs, and a modern leisure centre.
Closer to the lodge are a number of excellent traditional lakeland pubs which all do real ale and good food. Near to the end of the drive, about 7 minutes walk away is the Yanwath Gate Inn which always has a good selection of guest beers and a growing reputation for its food. Not much further away is the Queen's Head in Tirril, famous for its sausage and beer festival and a sister company that makes excellent pies. It also houses the local village shop. Just 2 miles down the road in the attractive village of Askham is another Queen's Head and the Punch Bowl Inn. Whilst in Askham take a tour of Askham Hall and gardens and visit the cafe. A short distance to the east of the lodge is the George and Dragon in Clifton which does superb food using local produce, whilst in the other direction at the top of Ullswater lies the popular tourist haunt of Pooley Bridge with a number of pubs and cafes.
Also in Askham, for those fine summer days is a newly refurbished open air heated swimming pool so if the opportunity arises you can go home with that Mediterranean tan!!
The Rheged visitor centre is also worth checking out. It is only a stone's throw away, and has a gallery, shops, cafes, a giant cinema screen, activities for children during school holidays and facilities for booking a wide range of outdoor sports and experiences from bushcraft lessons to llama trekking. Also in easy reach are Dalemain House and Lowther Castle. The gardens at Lowther Castle are undergoing a programme of restoration and opened in 2011 for the first time in 70 years. Here you will also find the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre. Other attractions too numerous to mention can be found on the Eden website.
About ½ an hour's drive away is the town of Keswick, at the head of Derwent Water, and one of the most popular tourist towns in the Lakes. Once you have finished browsing the multitude of outdoor shops that the town has to offer or visiting the Pencil Museum, the annual film, jazz or beer festivals, be sure to check out the wonderful “Theatre by the Lake” where the drama competes with the scenery, and interval drinks during summer productions can be enjoyed on the lake shore.
From the south end of Ullswater, you can take the Kirkstone Pass, the highest in the Lake District at 1489ft which will deliver you into Bowness on Windermere and Ambleside.
In the opposite direction, just 2 junctions south down the M6 , Junction 38 gives access to the Howgill Fells and the north west side of the Yorkshire Dales.
20 miles north on the M6 takes you to Carlisle, one of Britain's oldest cities, and the start of Hadrian's Wall country. If you have an interest in Roman Britain, be sure to visit the recently opened Roman Frontier Gallery.
Travelling west on the A66 to the coast will deliver you to the maritime port of Whitehaven, once the 3rd largest in the UK. It has a wealth of Georgian architecture. The 17th century harbour and the recently built Beacon Museum are well worth a visit. If the weather is good, take the cliff path round St Bees Head to view the nesting birds in the RSPB reserve.