Derwent Bank

Lake District

Derwent Bank hotel and Derwent Water area. Stills from drone.

Adored by poets, painters, and literary giants for centuries, the Lake District has always had an irresistible pull. It’s no surprise, then, that this country house near the market town of Keswick holds such appeal, not least for its setting in lovely grounds that slope down to the shores of Derwentwater. The location couldn’t be more perfect; to the west is Cat Bells, to the east is Keswick, Walla Crag, and Latrigg, and to the south is the entrance to the Borrowdale valley. There’s a wealth of big-name attractions within easy travelling distance, including Blencathra, Helvellyn, and Ullswater. Also visit-worthy for walkers is Scafell Pike for its well-trodden routes and trails and the 73-mile-long Cumbria Way for its mist-shrouded peaks, glacial valleys, and many excuses for pit-stops and picnics.

 

Fly over the Northern Lake District

Fly over the Northern Lake District

Our drone video gives you a bird's-eye view of some of the wonderful scenery you can enjoy during walks in the northern Lake District. Take an aerial tour - it's almost as good as being there in person!

Derwent Bank

 •  Open February to November and during the festive season  •  40 well-appointed guest rooms  •  Exclusive occupancy: 54 guests minimum  •  Check in from 4:00pm  •  Free Wi-Fi  •  Full-board (including cream tea on arrival)  •  Free on-site parking  •  Electric vehicle charging point  •  Boot room and drying room  •  2 travel cots & high chair  •  Discovery Point offering a wide range of local area maps, route guides, and information for self-guided walks  •  Books and games to borrow  •  Licensed bar  •  Lounge  •  Garden Visit England - Guest Accommodation

Then & now at Derwent Bank

Originally known as Finkle Street House, the property was built in 1785 for Joseph Pockington Senhouse, the former High Sheriff of Newark. While it is unknown whether he lived here, he was insistent on drawing up his own architectural plans and arranging buildings in rather unsuitable positions (this led his neighbour, the romantic poet Robert Southey, to mock ‘that ugly house opposite’). Later renamed Derwent Bank, it was sold in 1824 to Lady William Gordon and again in 1847 to physician Dr David Ross Leitch, a close friend of American writer Ellis Yarnall who remarked on how the mountains ‘seemed to put one in the mood for the poetry’. Derwent Bank had several owners prior to 1925 when it was purchased by Mrs Edmunsen who employed contractors to build the stables, the coach house, and two cottages (now accommodation for our team). It has been part of our HF Holidays line-up since 1937 and much extended over the years. 

Nowadays, you’ll find 40 well-appointed and stylish guest rooms in three categories (Classic, Premium, and Superior), with some either overlooking the lake or facing Cat Bells and Grizedale Pike. You’ll also find a comfortable lounge, a licensed bar, an attractive orangery, and a dining room for a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. Elsewhere, the house has a boot and drying room and a Discovery Point offering a wide range of local area maps, route guides, and easy-to-follow information for self-guided walks. There’s also books and games to borrow during your stay, an outdoor terrace for summer drinks and snacks, and beautiful formal gardens with a putting green, croquet lawn, and mature trees. 

Rooms

Designed with your comfort in mind, Derwent Bank has 40 well-appointed guest rooms available in three categories: Classic, Premium, and Superior. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

Superior Rooms are even more spacious en-suite guest rooms offering upgraded views of the surrounds. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

We love: Room 12 for its extra space and lovely views across the gardens and Derwentwater. Rooms 46, 47, 48, and 49 are first-floor garden rooms, each with their own balcony. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

Check in & check out
You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments.  

Room supplements

Superior Premium single Premium double/twin Choose your room
£25 pppn £20 pppn £20 pppn £30 per room

About your stay

A warm welcome
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

Evening entertainment
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

Walks talks 
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (held before dinner every evening). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

The walking day
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear. If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licensed bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day.

HF Holidays understands the importance of managing allergens effectively to ensure food is safe for guests with food allergies. Whilst we are always able to confidently inform guests which allergens are present in our ingredients and dishes, we are unable to guarantee absolute freedom from the 14 main allergens in our kitchens. Vegetarian and vegan menu choices are available. If you have allergies, food intolerances, or any special dietary requirements, please inform our reservation team at the time of booking.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Derwent Bank

House calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Use our holiday calendar to see what’s on when at Derwent Bank and still available to book; click on a holiday option to see more

Discover Lake District

Places to visit

Whether you’re enjoying a guided or self-guided walking holiday, there’s always the opportunity to linger for longer. Here’s our pick of the very best things to see and do within easy travelling distance of Derwent Bank.

Keswick

Approximately two miles away, this market town is the most northerly of the Lake District's towns. Don’t miss the community-run Keswick Museum & Art Gallery for a huge amount of objects and exhibits that that reflect life in the local area.

Derwentwater Launch Company

Departing every 30-minutes during the summer and regularly throughout the rest of the year, this 50-minute boat trip round Derwentwater is a must. There are various landing stages to disembark. The nearest stop to Derwent Bank is Hawse End.

Theatre by the Lake

Home to Cumbria’s leading professional theatre company, this lottery-funded performance space is located between Hope Park and Derwentwater. The Main House seats 400 while the Studio Theatre is set up for an audience of up to 100. Bookings are recommended.

Honister Slate Mine

A 30-minute drive away, England’s last working slate mine is located at the top of the Honister Pass in Borrowdale. You can watch slate being riven (meaning split or torn apart) using 300-year-old processes and learn about the history of underground mining.

Whinlatter Forest

England's only true mountain forest offers nine walking trails, three cycling trails, and unrivalled views across Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater, and Keswick. It’s also home to a Go Ape centre with a high ropes course and an all-terrain segway trail.

Derwent Water Marina

Just a five-minute walk away, this is a great spot for hiring canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, rowing boats, and windsurfing equipment. Tuition is also available for individuals and groups.

Grasmere

Best known for its William Wordsworth connections, this impossibly pretty village is a 30-minute drive away. Highlights include Grasmere Lake, Allan Bank, and the 17th century Dove Cottage - home to the Wordsworth Museum.

Ullswater

A 30-mintute drive away, this watery wonder is the second-largest in the Lake District. Highlights include exploring the lake on foot or by steamer, marvelling at the Aira Force waterfall, and visiting Dalemain Mansion and its beautiful gardens.

Lake District Wildlife Park

Just a 10-minute drive from Keswick, this 24-acre park is home to over 100 species of animal including anaconda, zebra, mandrills, meerkats, otters, gibbons, monkeys, and more. There’s also bird of prey flying displays, reptile encounters, and keeper talks.

Carlisle

Of all the historic attractions in Cumbria’s county city, the 900-year-old castle where Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner is the most famous. Further must-see spots include Carlisle Cathedral, Tullie House Museum, and Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life.

Getting to Derwent Bank

Getting here

Address

Derwent Bank
Portinscale
Nr Keswick
Cumbria CA12 5TY

Tel: +44 (0)1768 773667

By train

The nearest station is Penrith, on the main line between London and Glasgow. 

Check National Rail for train times and routes.

By shared transfer

If you’re travelling to or from Derwent Bank on Mondays or Fridays from 19 February to 16 December 2024, or on Mondays and Fridays over the festive period, you can join our group transfer from Penrith Railway Station.

2024 prices are £50 per person for a return transfer or £25 per person for a single transfer.

Outward journey: Depart Penrith Railway Station at 16:50; arrive at Derwent Bank at 17:30.

Return journey: Depart Derwent Bank at 09:15; arrive at Penrith Railway Station at 10:00.

Places are limited so booking is essential. We recommend booking at least 14 days in advance by contacting:

HF Holidays Sales and Support Team
Tel: +44 (0)203 974 8865
Email: reservations@hfholidays.co.uk

By taxi

The 20-mile journey from Penrith railway station to Derwent Bank takes about 40 minutes by taxi in normal traffic conditions. 

For pricing, please contact Davies Taxis directly.

Davies Taxis
You can pre-book a taxi from our recommended company, Davies Taxis*. We recommend booking your taxi at least seven days in advance by contacting:

Tel: +44 (0)1768 772676
Email: info@daviestaxis.co.uk

A return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the HF Holidays House Manager at Derwent Bank.

*Davies Taxis is not owned or managed by HF Holidays.

By bus

The X5 bus runs approximately every hour from Penrith station and the journey takes around 50 minutes. The nearest bus stop is on the A66, about a three-quarter mile walk from the house.

As you alight the bus at the Portinscale bus stop, turn to your right and go down the road signposted to Portinscale, Grange, and the Newlands Valley. Follow this road through Portinscale village - Derwent Bank is on your left-hand side after the Derwentwater Marina.

Alternatively, catch the X4 or X5 bus to Keswick bus station and take a 10-minute taxi ride to Derwent Bank. As of 2023, this should cost around £6 for a 4-seat taxi if using a pre-booked service with our recommended taxi provider listed above.

By car

There is a large car park at Derwent Bank if you decide to drive. 

From Penrith, you’ll need to leave the M6 motorway at junction 40, taking the A66 towards Keswick. After 17 miles you'll reach a roundabout - continue ahead following signs to Cockermouth and Workington. Turn left off the A66 towards Portinscale, Grange, and the Newlands Valley. Derwent Bank is about three quarters of a mile further on the left. 

By air

The nearest airport is Manchester International Airport.  

There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Penrith and the journey time is about two hours.  

Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option but you’ll have a longer onward train journey – it could take at least 4.5 hours to reach Penrith. From Heathrow, take the train to London Paddington, then the London Underground to London Euston connecting to the main line train to Penrith, which takes three hours. 

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