Caldbeck makes a wonderful place to base your Lake District holiday; our idyllic village is ideally located for exploring the northern Lakes. On your doorstep you will find stunning landscapes of the Northern fells, quiet beaches of the Cumbrian coast, bird watching and wildlife at the Solway Firth, some of the finest Lakes in the area along with historic market towns and pretty Lakeland villages.
Our glorious region has something for everyone so we thought we would share our favourite things to do and places to visit, all within 30 minutes drive of Caldbeck.
Keswick & Area
Bassenthwaite, Keswick & Derwent Water are all within a short drive from Caldbeck. (There is even a bus service from Caldbeck to Keswick on summer Saturdays). The journey takes you across Caldbeck Commons, the road weaving behind the northern fells range with views towards Skiddaw in one direction and in the other direction you can even see across to Dumfries & Galloway. It’s an especially beautiful drive on a clear day.
Bassenthwaite Lake is the closest and the only true lake in the Lake District (the other are waters or meres). An important lake for wildlife, nature lovers will delight to know that Osprey migrate here.
Bassenthwaite Lake by Garry Lomas Photography
Bassenthwaite is also thought to be the last resting place of King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur. The legend states that upon his death bed, King Arthur asked trusted Knight Bedivere to return the sword to where it originally came from, Bassenthwaite Lake. Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote a poem about it called Morte D’Arthur while staying at Mirehouse on the shores of the lake.
Bassenthwaite Lake Station Cafe is located at the north end of Bassenthwaite Lake in the old train ticket office. On the disused train tracks you will find replicas of the Orient Express train carriages used in the Kenneth Branagh/Johnny Depp film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express now converted into a tearoom.
Located close to Bassenthwaite is the famous Lakes Distillery, book a tour or tasting experience to learn what makes this range of Whisky, Vodka and Gin so special.
Whinlatter Forest is England's only true mountain forest rising 100ft above sea level. No surprise then it has unrivalled views across Bassenthwaite and down to Derwent Water and has adventures for all the family. Enjoy forest walks, mountain biking, wildlife, meditation walks, incredible views and Go Ape.
The market town of Keswick is always a popular spot for visitors with a busy central pedestrian high street; here you find market days in the town centre on Thursdays and Saturdays. Keswick is well stocked with outdoor clothing and equipment shops for every Lakeland adventure you need to prepare for.
Keswick also has a cinema which is also a great option for rainy days. The Theatre by the Lake is located next to Derwent Water and is a popular destination for theatre and live music events. There is also access the lake shore from here, with a lovely lakeside walk most of which is accessible to all walking abilities.
Live music lovers head to The Pocket on Lake Road for open mic nights, monthly folk sessions as well as reggae & cocktail nights.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Castlerigg Stone Circle by Garry Lomas Photography
On the outskirts of Keswick is the historic Castlerigg Stone Circle. One of the earliest stone circles in the UK, it is believed to date back to 3000 BC. With views to Helvellyn and High Seat and down through Thirlmere Valley certainly it is a dramatic back drop to the historic site. Sunrise and sunsets are always popular times to visit this sacred site, a photographers dream.
Parking is limited at the site however, but you can walk from the centre of Keswick in about 30 minutes.
Penrith & Area
Penrith, once the capital of Cumbria, is well known as the gateway to the Northern Lakes. It is also famous for its 14th century castle ruin located on a grassy hill in the town, close to the train station.
Market Day is Tuesday, located at Great Dockray car park 9am -3pm featuring many independent traders. This area of the town also has many independent businesses to explore through narrow lanes and red sandstone buildings.
Rheged - Gallery, Cinema, Cafe
Just a few miles from Penrith along the A66 back towards the Lake District National Park you will find the Rheged Centre. A unique visitor attraction which offers visitors a cinema, gallery, shopping. There are regular exhibitions held in the gallery space so check the website for more details and film times.
Ullswater & Pooley Bridge
Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District, formed from glacial waters it measures about 7 miles long. Located on its northern shores, the village of Pooley Bridge is only 30 mins from Caldbeck. The village is famous for its highly photographed boathouse on the shores of Ullswater as well as the Ullwaster Steamer, the northern terminus of which is located in here too.
A Pooley Bridge must visit (especially for book lovers) is Verey Books. This independent book shop also has a great coffee shop serving great coffee and delicious sweet treats so you can browse books and sip coffee while you wait for the next steamer boat, or escape from a Lakeland shower.
Alpacaly Ever After & Basecamp North Lakes
Conveniently located just off the A66 between Penrith and Keswick you will find Alpacaly Ever After and Basecamp North Lakes.
Alpacaly Ever After is a not-for-profit social enterprise business with a mission to re-home alpacas and Llamas from all over the world, to care for them and give them a wonderful new home in the Lake District National Park.
Connect to nature walking with these beautiful creatures while experiencing the majestic Lake District countryside around you. See website for various Lake District experience destinations.
Based on the same site is Basecamp North Lakes which offers a farm shop, cafe and gift shop. With a great selection speciality Cumbrian produce, supporting local farmers with locally reared meat at the butchers counter alongside handmade delights from local makers, artists and of course super soft Alpaca wools and gifts.
Hutton in the Forest House & Gardens
Built in the 1300’s Hutton in the Forest is a private country house is open to the public for house tours a few days a week. Inside William Morris wallpapers sit side by side with contemporary ceramics, arts & crafts decor with 500 year old tapestries. The house tour will delight history lovers.
The garden and grounds remain much as they were laid out in 1700s, including a walled garden and woodland walk where nature and wildlife lovers might spot red squirrels, roe deer and much birdlife.
UpFront Gallery and arts venue
Not far from Hutton in the Forest is the UpFront gallery, tea room and arts venue. The cafe here has a well respected vegetarian menu, there are regular art exhibitions , live music events and a puppet theatre.
New for autumn/winter 2023 there will be a series of Antiques & Collectors fairs held at UpFront, see website for more details.
Best Beach – Allonby
Just 25 minutes from Caldbeck and you can be on Allonby beach, a 5 mile stretch of sand, shingle and pebbles. This quiet (deserted most of the time) stretch of beach offers up a vast expanse of sand at low tide. With views across the Solway Estuary, over to Dumfries & Galloway, you can even see the Isle of Mann on a clear day. This beach is a designated SSSI (special site of scientific interest) due to the rare honeycomb worm reef which can often be seen at low tide.
Only a 25 min drive from Caldbeck, Cockermouth is an historic Cumberland market town with a 13th century castle ruin and lovely walks along the edge of Derwent River. The town is also famous as the birthplace of William Wordsworth. Wordsworth House is located in the town centre and is presented as it would have been during Wordsworth childhood when he lived there with his parents.
This is just scracting the surface of the many fantastic places there are to visit when you holiday in Caldbeck, you will just have to come and discover more for yourself.