There’s lots to do in the Lake District and there are lots of things you can do straight from the Dunnabeck front door. Here are a few of our favourite things to do and places to go.
Dunnabeck is at the very centre of the Lake District, ideally positioned as a base for walking or exploring. Lake District maps and books are provided for you to use during your stay. Here is a brief taste of some local walks from the door. Full directions are provided in the house together with our Lake District Visitor’s Guide for your stay.
We take this opportunity to remind even regular visitors to the Lakes of the importance of being properly equipped for walking on the fells. So, don’t forget to bring waterproofs, sufficient warm clothing for the time of year, and good walking footwear.
Neither Wordsworth nor Wainwright wore Gore Tex or Polar Tec, but they both wore good leather boots, a hat, and gloves. Having said that, you will be more comfortable in modern breathable, lightweight gear, and walking socks and lighter weight boots have almost eliminated the pain of blisters. There are numerous shops in both Grasmere and Ambleside which stock a wide selection of outdoor gear to suit most pockets.
Loughrigg Fell faces Dunnabeck across Rydal Water gives views including the Coniston Range, Crinkle Crags and Langdales. Start as for Around Rydal to the gate. Turn right onto and along Loughrigg Terrace and then left up the main path to the top marked by a trig point. From the top make your way down to the Rydal Caves and return via Rydal Village.
Alternatively, from the top you could go on down on to the Brittania Inn at Elterwater Village. For the less active members of the party take the gentler route from far end of Loughrigg Terrace and turn left on the Red Bank Road, then right past the Youth Hostel and down across the common. After a good lunch you may wish to return using the bus via Ambleside.
Alcock Tarn is a delightful little stretch of water tucked into the fell side about 800 feet above the house. From the lane turn right onto the track at the seat above How Top Farm. Keep left through the gate into the wood and then follow the winding track up the fellside. The tarn itself is a lovely spot for a family picnic.
Feeling more energetic, from Alcock Tarn go over the stile in the wall and straight up the fell side to the top. Here you will find the main Fairfield ridge path. Turn right and descend via Nab Scar to Rydal Village turning right above Rydal Mount to return along the path to Dunnabeck.
Cross over to Loughrigg Terrace, at the far end of which is a gate on the right leading to a path through the woods to the Red Bank road. Turn right along the road into Grasmere village. Turn right at the church and cross the main A591. Past Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and back up the hill to Dunnabeck.
Add a bit? Go to the end of Loughrigg Terrace (not through gate), cross the Red Bank road, bearing right onto the path on the grassy bank opposite. Following this path, crossing a stile and the main path from Elterwater to Grasmere and follow the ridge path to the steep scramble below the Silver Howe summit ridge. Go straight up the middle then to the right to the summit. Descend to Grasmere village via the path to the NW.
Sergeant Man and the Langdales
For the more energetic walker follow ridge walk onwards from Silver Howe over Castle Crags and Blea Rigg to Sergeant Man, High Raise and the Langdale Pikes.
Return via Easdale Tarn or the Helm Crag ridge to Grasmere, or you could head down into Langdale to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and take a bus, taxi or meet one of your party with a car.
The traditional route from Grasmere is from above the Travellers Rest up Tongue Ghyll, the “elephant’s trunk” of Seat Sandal to Grizedale Tarn and then over Dollywagon Pike to the summit overlooking Striding Edge.
The shorter route is from the Car Park by Wythburn Church, Thirlmere. From the top it’s downhill all the way back to the Travellers Rest.
For days you don’t feel like a walk!
The Lake District has many attractions in addition to the mountains and valleys, lakes and tarns, rivers and streams, some with wonderful waterfalls. There are stone circles and roman remains; castle, mansions, houses and follies; beautiful gardens for fine days and galleries and museums for wet ones. Explore the milling and mining heritage or follow a literary trial.
Here are a few suggestions, and there is a good selection of tourist guides and leaflets at the house for you to choose from.
- As guests at Dunnabeck you have membership for the week at the Wordsworth Hotel Spa where there is a pool large enough for a proper swim, relax in the Jacuzzi, or warm and gently soothe your muscles in the sauna.
- William Wordsworth’s homes – Dove Cottage and Wordsworth Museum, and Allan Bank (now National Trust) in Grasmere, and Rydal Mount in Rydal. Wordsworth is buried in the churchyard of St Oswald’s, Grasmere.
- In August there is Grasmere Rush Bearing; the Rydal Sheep Dog Trials in Rydal Hall Park; and Grasmere Sports. All in August – check on www.visitcumbria.com
- You can hire a bicycle or go canoeing, rock climbing, fishing or riding.
- Armitt Museum combines museum, library and gallery, Ambleside
- Bridge House (National Trust) Ambleside.
- Zeffirellis/Fellinis Cinemas in Ambleside (3 venues, 5 screens).
- Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
- Hire an elegant rowing skiff on Grasmere Lake, or take a trip on a steamer on Windermere or one of the other lakes such as Coniston and Ullswater.
- For steam enthusiasts, there is the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway and Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway – the Windermere Lake Cruises Ltd ferry runs from Waterhead, Ambleside to Lakeside.
- Ruskin’s house at Brantwood overlooking Coniston and Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm is at Far Sawrey near Hawkshead.
- Town End at Troutbeck (National Trust) is a fascinating example of vernacular architecture and domestic history.
- Test your nerves with a drive over Wrynose and Hardknott passes.
- Jennings Brewery tour, Cockermouth, and sample the products.
- And much much more.
Or just relax on a deckchair in Dunnabeck garden, or light the fire and settle with a good book.
Places to Visit, Shop and Eat Locally
Grasmere and Rydal villages
William Wordsworth’s homes: Dove Cottage (now with Museum alongside), Allan Bank (now National Trust), and Rydal Mount in Rydal (also open to the public). Wordsworth is buried in the churchyard of St Oswald’s.
Annual events: Grasmere Sports, and Grasmere Rushbearing, the Lake Artists Summer Exhibition held in the Grasmere Village Hall and Rydal Sheepdog Trials.
Shopping: Grasmere Gingerbread Shop; Bakery; Co-op convenience store with off-licence; newsagent; pharmacy; book shop; post office; art galleries and several outdoor wear shops and gift shops.
Eating Out : Grasmere – The Wordsworth Hotel, the Swan, the Jumble Room, the Rowan Tree (V) and several other hotels are open to non-residents. For pub grub try Tweedies, the Lamb or the Travellers Rest. Several cafes including the Miller Howe Café. Rydal – Badger Bar at the Glen Rothay Hotel; Rydal Hall and Rydal Mount tea rooms.
Places to visit: Armitt Museum combines museum, library and gallery, holding a diverse collection of art, photographs, documents, objects and oral histories. Bridge House (National Trust – very small but interesting). Zeffirellis/Fellinis Cinemas in Ambleside (3 venues, 5 screens).
Shopping: Good bakers; two butchers; greengrocers; off licence; chemists; hardware, No big supermarket, but an excellent Spar open till late, Tescos Express and a Co-op store. There are numerous outdoor wear shops along with gift and art shops, Good Retail Therapy!
Eating out: There is a large and varied choice covering hotels, pubs, restaurants and take-aways including English, Italian, Indian, Thai and Chinese to suit all tastes.
Around the Lakes
If you fancy something else, try one of the outstanding restaurants of international renown such as the Sharrow Bay, Lake Ullswater; Miller Howe, Windermere; L’Enclume, Cartmel. Many hotels have excellent restaurants open to non-residents. There are numerous Pubs serving excellent food like the Queens Head at Troutbeck or the Drunken Duck towards Hawkshead.
There is a ‘Dunnabeck Log Book’ in which visitors enter their favourites for the benefit of future guests. So check it out on arrival.