48 Hours in Allerdale
…for Culture Lovers
Day One… After breakfast, explore the queen of the lakes, Derwent Water by launch and experience the romance of the lakes that has inspired generations of poets and artists.
You will be able to enjoy one of the most famous views in Lakeland – Borrowdale framed between the steep slopes of Kings How & Castle Crag. Carved by ice, and eroded through thousands of years, this narrowing is popularly known as ‘The Jaws of Borrowdale’.
Just outside Keswick on the shore of Bassenthwaite is Mirehouse, a beautiful family run historic house with gardens and woodland playground. The house has an interesting collection of furniture and portraits as well as a collection of letters and manuscripts by Francis Bacon, William Wordsworth, Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Constable.
Close by is the Lake Distillery, home to The One British Blended Whisky and other spirits. See how the water of life is distilled and then enjoy informal fine dining in their Bistro.
Returning to Keswick, take you seats for an evening performance and experience the drama of the Lakes at the Theatre by the Lake. The theatre’s repertory company perform a changing array of new works and interpretations of established favourites.
Day Two… Travel to Cockermouth, so called because of the crook in the River Cocker as it enters the River Derwent in the town. Walk along its handsome, tree lined Main Street full of interesting independent shops that leads you to Wordsworth House and Garden, the birthplace and childhood home of romantic poet William and his sister Dorothy. It is presented as it would have been when they lived here with their parents, three brothers and servants in the 1770s.
Take lunch in the Trout Hotel, next door to Wordsworth House or in one of the many independent eateries in the town. After lunch, travel to Maryport, a maritime town with well – preserved Georgian architecture built on a grid pattern. Explore the attractive harbour area, with fabulous views across the Solway Firth to Scotland, and find out about its past in the compact but impressive Maritime Museum including the Ismay family, founders of the White Star Line and owners or the Titanic. Fauna is in the spotlight at the Lake District Coast Aquarium, and the Senhouse Roman Museum, which displays the largest group of Roman military altar stones of any site in Britain is a must visit. Along the way to the Senhouse, take a seat in Fleming Square and admire this hidden gem of a space ringed with Georgian and Victorian houses.
In the evening, return to Cockermouth and enjoy your meal in the award winning vegetarian restaurant, the Quince and Medlar before enjoying and evening at the town’s cultural hub, the Kirkgate Centre
…for Nature lovers
Day One… Allerdale has a wealth of flora and fauna to experience especially in the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a special landscape shaped by the sea, wind, and the people who have lived there. Start your visit at the Solway Coast AONB Centre to get your bearings.
A little further north is the Solway Wetlands Centre. Trails from the centre take you into the heart of the reserve which supports a highly unique community of plants and animals. They include cotton grass, the carnivorous sundew which traps and ingests, the Snipe which create their distinctive drumming sound using modified tail feathers, an array on uncommon butterflies including the large heath butterfly which is out on wing in June and July, and dragonflies, including the 4-spotted chaser. The bogs provide a refuge for reptiles; common lizards can often be seen basking on boardwalks.
Tracking back to Silloth, a walk along the promenade along to Grune Point offers great opportunities to spot a wide variety of sea birds. You can see black headed and great black headed gulls whilst waders fill the intertidal zone – oyster catchers, turnstone, dunlin and redshank, cormorant, winter divers and grebes. At Grune Point, look out for scaup, and little tern and ringed plover in spring.
In the afternoon, a gentle stroll along the dune habitat on the shore between Silloth and leading south to Maryport reveals a wealth of wildflowers, There are fifty types to identify and admire from the bright yellow Smooth Hawk’s – Beard to the beautiful Bee Orchid. The Solway Coast AONB Discovery Centre has a free booklet to help you find and record your discoveries.
For dinner, you could try the Silloth landmark – the fine looking Golf Hotel or perhaps Silloth on Solway Golf Club. Memo to golfers, its championship links course is a must play for a future visit.
For lunch try one of the many independent eateries on the Solway including the tearoom at Wallsend Guest House, Kings Arms in Bowness on Solway, the Gincase and Bank Mill Nurseries at Mawbray
Day Two… The Lake District Aquarium on the picturesque harbour side in Maryport features both fresh water and native sea life. The ever helpful aquarist are on hand to answer any questions you may have and there are daily fish feedings & talks.
Staying in Maryport, Cumbria Wildlife Trust in partnership with the Sea Watch Foundation, holds regular surveys for porpoises and seals. You can join is and learn about what can be found in our seas. Bring binoculars if you have them and suitable clothing. There is a short easy walk to the viewing site. More at www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk
You can enjoy lunch at the aquarium or try the Golden Lion Hotel, The Lifeboat Inn or Captain Nelson’s Tavern for good pub food. For nice coffee and light bites in Maryport, try the lovely and quirky cafe Herciti.
After lunch, a 30 minute drive will take you to Whinlatter Forest Park near Keswick. Whinlatter is home to a wealth of wildlife that enjoy the shelter provided by its trees, the nearby waters of Bassenthwaite Lake and the open heathland habitats of the Lakeland Fells. The forest is home to Roe deer, badgers, foxes, Crossbills and Siskins whilst the fells are the hunting ground for Buzzards and Merlin. Whinlatter is also a Red Squirrel reserve where Red Squirrels are actively being protected and supported. If you walk quietly you may see a red squirrel anywhere in Whinlatter.
The fish of Bassenthwaite lake are the favourite food of Ospreys which nest nearby each year between April and end of August, and can be seen live from the open air viewpoints on Dodd, a 15 minute drive from Whinlatter, or via the nest camera at Whinlatter Visitor Centre.