Local Area & Activities


Welcome to the Lake District. England’s largest National Park is home to Scafell Pike – its highest mountain, Wastwater – its deepest lake and thriving communities like Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere and Coniston.

We’ve put together some of our favourite activities and destinations covering everything from walking to culture, and watersports to fine dining.


Alfred Wainright’s ‘Himalayas in miniature’ are on the doorstep of Brunt House. At least 20 or more fells can be climbed from the house, with the Central Fells, Eastern Fells and many of the Southern and Far Eastern Fells particularly accessible.

  • You can start with the easy but beautiful walk up Loughrigg Fell (1101′/335m) – its summit a half-hour evening climb from the front door of Brunt House.
  • Other popular walks include the Coniston Old Man, Crinkle Crags, Wetherlam, Helvellyn, Silver How, Bow Fell, Pavey Ark, Pike o’Blisco, Pike o’Stickle, Harrison Stickle, Wansfell, Helm Crag (The Lion and The Lamb), Black Fell and Holme Fell.
  • Energetic walkers have even managed the Fairfield Horseshoe and Scafell Pike (via Bow Fell) from Brunt House. All of the above can either be walked directly from the house, or from within a 10 minute drive.
  • If you enjoy walking but are looking for something gentler, local Loughrigg Tarn, Elterwater and Little Langdale are just a few minutes away. These also make ideal local dog-walking options.
  • The quiet country lanes, secluded lakes and expansive woodland on the west shores of Lake Windermere offer dozens of trails.
  • Beautiful Tarn Hows, once owned by Beatrix Potter has wheelchair- and buggy-accessible lakeside paths, and is just a few minutes away by car.
  • Park your car in Grasmere and take the lakeshore paths around Grasemere and Rydal Water.


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Cyclists have dozens of road and mountain-biking options straight from the front door, and there is also secure and dry storage for your bikes in the Brunt House ‘boot room’.

  • The energetic and enthusiastic can join the classic 112-mile (180km) Fred Whitton Challenge road biking route from the bottom of the Brunt House driveway – just 50m away.
  • Or choose one of many tried-and-tested routes around Ambleside, Windermere and Coniston. See the links below for more ideas and routes.
  • For mountain-bikers, Brunt House is less than a half hour’s cycle (quiet lanes and bridleways all the way) from Grizedale Forest, with hundreds of exciting trails. Bike hire also available.
  • The local Loughrigg Fell circular (head over to Rydal water, then back over the top) takes around an hour, with some technical sections.

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Eating Out

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If you want a break from cooking, there are wide variety of excellent pubs and restaurants in the local area. Brunt House is just 12 minutes away from Holbeck Ghyll with its Michelin Star restaurant, and even closer to a variety of local pubs and restaurants serving delicious food and ales, with locally sourced ingredients:

  • For a delicious home-cooked breakfast or afternoon tea and cakes, Chesters by the River is right next door to the Skelwith Bridge Hotel. No booking necessary, but it can get busy at peak times. An ideal start point for a walk around Elterwater. Again, a short walk, and also ample parking if you want to hop in the car.
  • Just 2 miles (3.2km) away in Elterwater village is the highly recommended Brittania Inn. A beautiful location on the village green, with tasty home cooked food and local ales and beers. Less than 6 minutes by car. The best local pub.
  • Enjoy gastro dining at the Drunken Duck in Barngates, just 2 miles (3.2km) south of Brunt House. The food is always delicious and they also brew a range of award-winning ales. Highly recommended – but advanced booking will always be necessary.
  • Holbeck Ghyll is recognised as one of the best restaurants in the North of England, and its Michelin- Starred fine dining is second to none. Booking ahead is advised. The restaurant is just over 4 miles (6.8km) away; 12 minutes by car.
  • Three Shires Inn serves good ales and food. Located on the winding road that passes through Little Langdale, is a rustic inn that welcomes muddy boots, with a large central bar, sunny outside veranda.
  • There are a wide variety of restaurants in Ambleside to suit most tastes, including Indian, Chinese, Thai and Italian cuisine – many offer takeaway too, if you fancy a takeaway night-in at Brunt House.
  • Just a short (12 minute) drive to Coniston and you will discover the historic Black Bull inn. It serves delicious pub food and features an impressive range of locally brewed award-winning ales and beers. Particular favourites include Bluebird Bitter and Thürstein pilsner lager. No booking required – first come, first served for tables.
  • The Talbot Bar is the closest local pub to Brunt House, part of the Skelwith Bridge Hotel. It serves standard pub-food and local ales. It’s a ten-minute walk by road or twenty-minute stroll past Loughrigg Tarn via the back lanes – the latter much nicer on a summer’s evening, avoiding walking on the busy A593. There is also ample parking if you prefer a two-minute drive.

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Local Weather


Check out the weather forecast before you plan your day:




Sailing & Watersports

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  • Watersports of all kinds – including rowing, sailing and canoeing – can be found on any of the three major lakes – Windermere, Coniston Water and Ullswater – all within a 20-minute drive. Windermere also offers waterskiing and wakeboarding for more adventurous guests.
  • A wonderful and unique Sail ‘N’ Dine experience is available on Windermere, hosted by skipper John Haworth. Choose a Brunch Buffet or evening Sail ‘N’ Dine – booking essential. (info@sailndine.co.uk)
  • The River Brathay, just a few minutes walk from the house, is recognised as an excellent 6 km Grade 2 white water course for Kayakers. Start at Skelwith Force, or for beginners, Skelwith Bridge.
  • Wild swimmers will find opportunities much closer, not only in Loughrigg Tarn itself (best entry point is the small beach at the south end of the tarn), but also Grasmere and Rydal Water.


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Children’s Activites

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  • Lake District Wildlife Park – with many animals including wildebeest, zebra, otters, gibbons and a range of rare-breed farm animals. North of Keswick, activities include ‘reptile encounter’, ‘hug a bunny’ and Bird of Prey flying displays.
  • South Lakes Safari Zoo – The world’s first safari zoo, where you can hand feed giraffes and penguins, and even be a zoo-keeper for a day. Worth a visit.
  • The World of Beatrix Potter – Jemima Puddle-Duck’s woodland glade, Miss Tiggy-winkle’s kitchen, Jeremy Fisher’s lily-pad and, Peter Rabbit’s garden – see them all here. About 20 minutes away in Bowness-on-Windermere.
  • Brockhole – Gentle soft play for toddlers and a free adventure playground for older children.
  • Rufty Tuftys – Soft play in Ambleside, just 10 minutes drive away. Ideal if it’s too wet to get out, and for young kids to burn off some energy.

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Lake Crusies

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Historic Houses

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There are many historic houses and gardens within a few miles of Brunt House, including many National Trust properties.

  • Wray Castle is a mock-Gothic castle sitting on the shores of lake Windermere with turrets, towers and informal grounds. With expansive views and connections with Beatrix Potter who used to stay there, it’s a unique and different experience. Kids can dress up in medieval garb and run from room to room. Why not arrive by boat on Windermere Lake Cruises. 4 miles (6.4km).
  • Brantwood on the shores of Coniston Water was home to painter, philanthropist and social thinker John Ruskin for the last 28 years of his life from 1872 to 1900. Just 9 miles (14.5km).
  • The Ruskin Museum in the village of Coniston has more about the great man, as well as exhibits on ‘Swallows and Amazons’ author Arthur Ransome and Donald Campbell’s world water speed records. 6.6 miles (10.6km).
  • One of the most famous is Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s home in picturesque Near Sawrey where she lived from 1896. A number of sites in the village were used in her books such as The Tale of Tom Kitten, The Fairy Caravan, The Pie and the Patty Pan and The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. Hill Top is around 8 miles (12.9km). Visit early to avoid the crowds.
  • Poet William Wordsworth’s newly restored house, Allan Bank, opened to the public for the first time in 2012. It’s a uniquely relaxed property on the banks of Grasmere, home not only to Wordsworth but also National Trust founder Canon Rawnsley. 4 miles (6.4km) distant.
  • On the opposite shore of Grasmere is Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s first family home, an immaculately preserved example of a 19th Century cottage with stone floors, wood paneling and open fires. 4 miles (6.4km).
  • Townend in Troutbeck is a traditional Cumbrian farmhouse, little changed in over the 400 years. 6 miles (9.7km).
  • Lovers of gardens will enjoy Holehird Gardens, the Lakeland Horticultural Garden near Windermere in its superb Lakeland setting. 6 miles (9.7km).
  • When the architect MH Baillie Scott built a holiday home overlooking Windermere for his client Sir Edward Holt he created Blackwell, a masterpiece of twentieth-century design; a perfect example of the Arts & Crafts Movement. 9 miles (14.5km).

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