Tag: brant fell

Picnic Spots in the Lake District

Lake District Picnic Spots - Fell Foot Park

July is National Picnic Month, so what better reason to share our favourite picnic spots in the Lake District? Picnics are one of the UK’s favourite traditions and the Lake District provides some fantastic places to throw down the rug, tuck into some fabulous food and soak up the amazing scenery. Below are a few of our favourites.

Brant Fell – a Lake District picnic spot on your doorstep

If you don’t fancy venturing too far from your Matson Ground cottage in Windermere, Brant Fell is perfect. Lying at the heart of the estate, you can be at the summit in no time at all, enjoying stunning views of Lake Windermere and the Lakeland fells.

Orrest Head

Staying close to home, Orrest Head is short walk up from the centre of Windermere. But the climb is worth the effort. So pack up a picnic and head for the summit where you are rewarded with amazing views of England’s largest lake with the Langdale Pikes, Scafell Pike, Coniston Old Man and Morecambe Bay as a backdrop. This is the spot where Alfred Wainwright first fell in love with the Lake District and once you’re there, it’s easy to see why.

Fell Foot Park

Fell Foot Park, at the southern end of Lake Windermere, is less than half an hour in the car from our Windermere cottages and a fantastic spot to enjoy a picnic. No need for a long hike, or even a picnic rug. Facilities at Fell Foot Park include picnic benches, toilets and a café (just in case you didn’t pack enough food). There’s an adventure playground for the children and boats for hire if you fancy splashing about on the lake. Parking in the pay and display car park is free for National Trust members.

Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater

Guests staying in one of our Ullswater cottages are also spoilt for choice when it comes to picnic spots in the Lake District. Just a mile from Glenridding is Glencoyne Bay, made famous by William and Dorothy Wordsworth as it was the inspiration for one of the most famous poems in English literature – “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. Obviously summer is not the time to admire daffodils, but the pebble beach is the perfect picnic spot, with views across the lake to Place Fell and down to Barton Fell.

Aira Force

Another must visit for our Ullswater guests is Aira Force. These spectacular falls, tucked away amongst ancient woodland, provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic. Arguably the most beautiful waterfalls in the Lake District, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a picnic, although the area directly by the waterfall gets very busy. However, you’ll easily find a more sheltered spot in extensive woodlands.

Buttermere – what a fantastic spot for a Lake District picnic

Finally, if you want to make a day of it, then a trip to Buttermere will not disappoint. The four-and-a-half-mile circular walk is easily accessible and will take about three hours to complete. However, factor in a little more time as the lake shore is dotted with little beaches you can make your own, so you can while away the time enjoying some al fresco dining. If you’re after some beautiful scenery and a bit of tranquility, Buttermere is the answer.

There are so many fantastic picnic spots in the Lake District, but we hope that we have given you a little inspiration. And it goes without saying, please always take you rubbish home with you, don’t light barbecues on the ground, and please, please don’t build bonfires.

Bon appétit!

Fell Pony Adventures at Matson Ground

Fell pony adventures on the Matson Ground Estate

Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to enjoy a fell pony adventure on the Matson Ground Estate, courtesy of Tom Lloyd, owner of Fell Pony Adventures. This is just one of the tailormade activities we offer our guests, and we had the opportunity to experience it first-hand. And what a fabulous day it was.

This is an adventure suitable for families and groups of all ages, and the perfect way to introduce people to horses. Tom is very patient, so even if you’ve had no experience of horses, you’ll soon feel at ease. Tom is also all geared up for social distancing, as everything takes place in open spaces – a chance to breathe in some fresh, clean air.

What’s more, it’s an absolute treat at any time of the year. The stunning Lake District scenery is never the same from one day to the next, so you’re guaranteed a different view every time. It’s even great fun in the rain, as we found out on our fell pony adventure.

As the saying goes; “There’s no such thing as bad weather. Only unsuitable clothing.”

This is what memories are made of

We began our fell pony adventure at Birkdale House, where we met Tom and his daughter, Flo, along with Faye and Pansy, our fell ponies for the day. Once we had loaded them up with the essentials for the day – picnic, shelter, camping stove, spare harnesses and tethers – we set off.

We gently led the ponies along the byways and lanes of the estate, stopping in an organic hay meadow for lunch. We tethered the horses, put up the waterproof shelter and settled back to take in the breath-taking views.

Tom had prepared our lunch – cranberry balsamic vinegar, Appleby Brie, Garstang Blue, mixed olives, smoked humous, homemade leek and potato soup (his own family recipe) and artisan bread. Absolutely delicious.

It’s days like this when we realise just how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country. This is what memories are made of.

With the packsaddles loaded up, we set off back to Birkdale House. What a wonderful way to spend a day. For a few hours we had been transported to a different time entirely, far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Fell Pony Adventures

Fell Pony Adventures is based at the southern end of Lake Windermere, where Tom keeps a herd of about a dozen semi-feral ponies.

The herd was originally established by Tom’s father, Walter, but Tom made the decision a few years ago to switch careers – he had been a film producer – so that he could keep the herd going. He took his mountain leadership course and set up Fell Pony Adventures.

Nowadays, Tom works the ponies, leading families and groups on day trips around Windermere, following old pack-horse routes through meadows, woods and fells.

For our guests, the Matson Ground Estate provides a ready-made route. What a perfect day out.

Huge thanks to Tom, Faye and Pansy.

Attractions and Activities near Windermere

Attractions and activities near Windermere

In October, Cumbria Tourism launched its #AttractionsActivitiesMonth, and while October may have been and gone, we thought we would share some of our favourite attractions and activities near Windermere. Now, more than ever, it’s so important to support our local businesses.

To include all the amazing attractions on offer to visitors to the Lake District would be a very long read, so we’ve focused on just five, but all within easy reach of our Windermere cottages.

What’s more, there’s something for all ages, something for the more adventurous among us, and something for those who prefer it a little calmer.

Let’s start with the World of Beatrix Potter and our favourite character, Peter Rabbit.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Located right in the middle of Bowness-on-Windermere, the World of Beatrix Potter is an exciting family attraction and an absolute must if you’ve got young children.

Here, the author’s best-loved characters are brought wonderfully to life through a series of charming sets, including Jemima Puddleduck’s woodland glade, Squirrel Nutkin on his raft and Mr McGregor’s garden, complete with Peter Rabbit’s coat.

As the website says, “you’ll feel as though you are walking through the pages of the little books”.

At the end of your visit, pop into the world-famous giftshop and take home a piece of Beatrix Potter magic, followed by a tasty treat in the family café?

Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House

Designed by noted architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and built at the turn of the twentieth century, Blackwell is a stunning grade one listed property and one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts and Crafts architecture.

The house, which overlooks Lake Windermere and the Lake District Fells, is nothing short of awe-inspiring, retaining almost all of its original Arts and Crafts features. It’s also home to a wonderful collection of furniture and objects from some of the Arts and Crafts period’s leading designers and studios, including William de Morgan and Simpsons of Kendal.

From stained glass windows to inglenook fireplaces, carved wooden panelling to rare hessian wall hangings, Blackwell is definitely one of the most interesting, not to mention enchanting, houses in the Lake District.

Windermere Jetty

Just a few hundred yards from The World of Beatrix Potter is Windermere Jetty, a museum of boats, steam and stories.

Located right on the shores of Lake Windermere, this spectacular new museum boasts a stunning collection of around forty boats and sailing vessels, including steam launches, record-breaking speed boats and motorboats. These boats cover the history of sailing on Windermere from as far back as the late eighteenth century. You will also have an opportunity to see ongoing restoration projects and to chat with the restorers.

Other vessels include Swallow and Amazon, the boat used in the BBC film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s famous book; Osprey (1902), one of the museum’s fully-restored Edwardian steam launches; SL Dolly (1850), the oldest mechanically powered boat in the world, and still in running order; and TSSY Esperance, owned by a chap called Henry Schneider who used it every day to take him to Lakeside, where he boarded the train to Barrow.

Before you leave, why not enjoy some of the delicious food available in the museum café. The café itself overlooks Lake Windermere and has arguably one of the most stunning views in the Lake District.

Brockhole and Tree Top Treks

A short drive towards Ambleside brings you to Brockhole House and Gardens. Brockhole is another stunning Arts and Crafts house set in extensive grounds on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Built at the end of the nineteenth century, Brockhole enjoys breath-taking views of Lake Windermere and the Langdale Pikes. The gardens were created by renowned landscape designer Thomas Mawson and are well worth exploring, as are the art gallery and gift shop.

And if gentle strolls and careful perusing are not everyone’s cup of tea, you can always visit Treetop Trek and swing, climb, balance and fly across the thirty-five exciting treetop challenges, including rope bridges, wobbly logs and an adrenalin-fuelled 250 metre zip wire on the shores of the lake. What a way to end your treetop trek.

Brant Fell and Orrest Head

Not all attractions and activities near Windermere require booking. If you fancy getting away from it all, escaping the crowds, then Brant Fell, which sits at the heart of the Matson Ground Estate, is a relatively easy climb.

Overlooking Bowness-on-Windermere, the trek to the summit of Brant Fell is a little steep in places, but well worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with views of Lake Windermere, glistening in the sunshine (obviously we can’t guarantee the sun), and the Lake District fells beyond. To the north you’ll be able to spot Orrest Head, from where Alfred Wainwright was treated to his first view of the Lake District fells and the inspiration for his series of books.

Orrest Head is an easy walk, although you will have to head up to Windermere. But, as it’s a little over a mile, why not take a stroll, browse the various shops on the way, or stop for coffee and a cake – there’s plenty of choice.

The climb itself starts on the A591 by the large Orrest Head signpost and follows a narrow lane for most of the way. At the summit the views are incredible, especially on a clear day – no wonder Wainwright fell in love with the Lake District.

Just remember to bring your camera.

If you would like any information about attractions and activities near Windermere, please get in touch. Our friendly team will be more than happy to make any recommendations.