In this section we have included some great places you can visit, experiences and adventures you can book, hosted venues, some great sight-seeing, as well as some fab shopping .

Please note that we don't receive any commissions from the places we have been to see or the shops and suppliers we use.

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Paula and Ollie have created such lovely surroundings for their contemporary art gallery.  The gallery is housed in a 200 year old Cumbrian bank barn, and has been a major attraction in the Lake District for many years, selling paintings - both original and prints - as well as exhibiting jewellery, wood turning, sculptures, furniture, glassware, pottery , photographs, beadwork, silk scarves greetings cards and books.  The exhibition area changes every  month, showcasing a larger range of work from individual artists.  I loved the fact that you can sit surrounded by these amazing items and enjoy the teashop.  It's a very relaxing place, with a very restful atmosphere.

The Derwent Pencil Museum - home of the worlds first pencil.  Discover their secret WW2 pencils with hidden maps, see one of the largest colour pencils in the world measuring almost 8 metres, The Queen's diamond Jubilee pencil and miniature pencil sculptures.  And then you can buy your own Derwent pencils in the shop.

The Lakes Distillery at Bassenthwaite is a magical place to visit.   Here is the home of English Whisky, but the story doesn't just start and stop with whisky.  The Distillery offers three tours as well as a fabulous restaurant, and is home to a herd of alpacas.  We have been lucky enough to eat here a couple of times as well as feed the alpacas.  Our guests have loved the tours, and many of our friends have benefitted from our love of shopping in their Christmas and birthday presents.  The four experiences are:

  • Distillery Tour and Tasting
  • The Lakes Whisky Tour
  • Whisky and Chocolate Pairing Tour
  • Meet the Alpacas

Ever met an Alpaca?  Gawjus, simply gawjus.  You can walk with them, trek with them or simply stand in a field and be surrounded by them, feeding them.  Whatever your fancy, whatever your level of fitness, whatever your mobility, you won't miss out with Alpacaly Ever After.  They have several locations so you can pick and choose exactly which one suits you.

  • Walk with the Alpacas at The Lingholme Estate, and take them paddling in Derwentwater
  • Walk with the Alpacas at Whinlatter Forest
  • Go Llama Trekking at Littletown Farm
  • Enjoy a full day Llama Trek adverture
  • Meet the Alpacas at The Lakes Distillery, near Bassenthwaite
  • Meet the Alpacas at The Lingholme Estate, Portinscale

A really lovely stroll around the Stone Circle is very relaxing.  Plan to be there for sunset or sunrise.  Or just head up when you're passing Keswick or the A66.  Why not make a day of it, take a packed lunch and walk from the House, through Keswick and up to the Stone Circle.  It's a breath taking location as you have Clough Head and the Helvellyn range to one side, Catbells and its neighbouring fells to another side, with Latrigg, Skiddaw Little Man and Blencathra on another side. You can certainly see why ancient man felt it was a good spot for a bit of worship. A flat field but the centre of their world, and raised up to enjoy the views around you.

A charming trip around Derwentwater for about an hour.  Have been several times with visiting friends.  And you can take the dog with you.  You can choose to go around the whole lake in one go, or get on and off at several points and walk back to Keswick, depending on how far you want to walk and if the little piers are open.  The vessel is a traditional wooden launch and clearly well maintained.  A great way to see the scenery and landscape from another perspective.

'Quite simply the best gingerbread in the world' is how they describe themselves and they're not wrong!  Simply gawjus.  It's not a traditional gingerbread or ginger biscuit.  Just yummy.  Definitely worth a stop by, and you can also pick up some other yummies like rum butter, chocolates, fudges, conserves etc.  The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop nestles beside St Oswald’s Churchyard and The Wordsworth Hotel in the heart of Grasmere village in the Lake District, Cumbria.  There are approximately four free car parking spaces outside the shop but waiting times are limited.  Only guide dogs are allowed into the shop - which is tiny - so you're advised to remove your rucksack before you go in

The Cheese Deli - have to say that I'm a complete cheese fiend so I love popping in here - the staff are really knowledgeable in helping you choose what type of local cheese you want to buy and you can also get some amazing cheese biscuits and chutneys, beers and jams as well. They do a fab hamper service so you can pick and choose what you want to go in your hamper - or leave it to them to fill to your budget - and then pre-pay and choose when you want it delivered.

Keswick Museum & Art Gallery -  founded in 1873, extended in 1905 to include The Art Gallery, and renovated and reopened in 2014.  Awarded Best Small Visitor Attraction in 2015 at the Cumbria Tourism Awards, and Museum of the Year at the Cumbria Life Culture Awards.  Run by the community, for the community and visitors, the army of volunteers are very welcoming.  Home to three sets of Musical Stones which you can play, and a range of collections including geology, industrial history, and the Mountain Heritage Trust.  The cafe overlooks the park and is run by Cafe West seven days a week, run by West House who provide support services and training to people with disabilities.

Keswick Market - this is every Saturday (apart from when it's blowing a hooley!) and also on Thursday's from end February onwards. Opportunity to buy some local honey, cakes, clothing, bakery etc. And sometimes there is a little owl you can go and see and hold on your wrist - so adorable

A really spectacular spot for a theatre.  The restaurant and cafe attached to it is lovely, and dog-friendly,.  Perfect for a bowl of soup after a walk, or a light meal before the theatre. We have been to see a show and have now become 'Friends of Theatre by the Lake', as we hope to see more.  'Beauty and The Beast' as a thriller at Christmas was a very clever production.  Several guests have stayed specifically in order to go to the Theatre.  Very clever productions where the cast have several roles, across one or two plays in the same week.  Can't wait to see some more this year.

The Alhambra Cinema - Built in 1913, the Keswick ALhambra is one of the very few UK picture houses that have been in continuous operation for over 100 years. They not only run the latest films but also live streaming for concerts, opera and ballet. Free tea/filter coffee, a range of sweet and savoury snacks, soft and alcoholic drinks. Open seven days a week and it's just charming. A lovely cinematic experience, just like it should be going to the movies.

Muncaster Castle is about 1 hours drive from Maple Bank and we think it's a day-trip.  Your visit can include three flying displays: owls, birds of prey and wild herons.   The owls display has all sizes, including a little baby owl that lives in burrows and hops along the ground to larger owls who swoop in, so best to remain seated.  The Birds of Prey display includes eagles, vultures and even the wild kites very often join in. The finale is set to music and is quite magical. The wild herons are attracted by a free meal! A lovely location.  Beautiful gardens that you can walk around in.  Child's play area.  Dog-friendly.

A lovely opportunity to see some of the resident alpacas, followed by some fab shopping in a rather lovely shop. Great for presents and treats for yourself. Onsite refreshments include tea, coffee, scones and home-made cakes.

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