Northern Lake District Discovery Tour
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Food & drink
Sample the Northern Lake District Discovery Tour as you discover, the rolling hills around Derwentwater aren’t just home to a sparkling lake and small island clusters. This wonderful area is also home to Lakeland villages and towns like Caldbeck and Keswick, and grand country manors including Mirehouse and Dalemain House. History lovers will savour the chance to see the end of route of the iconic Hadrian’s Wall, and literary fans are sure to enjoy a trip to William Wordsworth’s final home. With gentle walks in some of the area’s most scenic spots, there is something for everyone here.
- Visit ancient Castlerigg Stone Circle
- Beautiful Loweswater with its dramatic mountain scenery
- Explore historic Carlisle cathedral
- Quaint Cumbrian locations, full of local legends
- And of course the lakes – of which we shall see many, including a traditional steamer cruise on Ullswater
- Optional short strolls of up to 1½ miles
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- The services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
- Full-day excursions with all transport on touring days in a good-quality, comfortable mini-coach with a PA system
- Admission cost for the Ullswater steamer boat cruise
Set right on the shores of Derwent Water our Country House treats you to scenic walking straight from its door. Admire stunning panoramas across the mirror-smooth lake set against the backdrop of razor-edged ridges and humpbacked fells.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At your house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the layout and age of Derwent Bank, bedrooms within the main house are not accessible for wheelchair users, with all accommodation being reached by stairs. We do have some chalets in the grounds which are on the ground floor which can be used for wheelchair users, however mobility will be restricted in the room. Once you have gained access to the house all public rooms are accessible for wheelchairs.
- The fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance during an evacuation should identify themselves on arrival
- Mobile phone reception is generally good in the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying a visually or hearing impaired guest are welcome. Dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication is provided
During your Discovery Tour you'll have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places. The following is our provisional programme, and your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times, or other events. This holiday includes active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet.
Friday: Arrival day
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (premium rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.
Saturday: Caldbeck & Cockermouth
We travel through northern Lakeland hamlets and villages to Caldbeck, where we can walk through the village to an old ruined bobbin mill. Travelling on ‘Back o’ Skidda’ we arrive in the town of Cockermouth where you will have the chance to visit the birthplace of William Wordsworth and local shops and art galleries.
Sunday: Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite and Mirehouse
We take in some of the famous local landmarks and gain stunning views across both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake. In the afternoon we visit Mirehouse, a family-owned historic house, with grounds stretching to the shores of Bassenthwaite.
Monday: 7-night: Free Day
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
3-night holiday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast
4-night holiday: Arrival day
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (premium rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.
Tuesday: West Coast, Crummock Water & Buttermere
Travel through the remote western fells to the seaside village of St Bees. Here we visit the Priory and find out about ‘St Bees’ Man’. Lunch is taken on the seafront watching the waves and listening to seabirds. On our return journey we visit beautiful Crummock Water and Buttermere and travel over the iconic Honister Pass.
Wednesday: Carlisle, the Great Border City and The Solway Firth
A walk through streets and alleys of the great Border city of Carlisle reveals a quieter side to this historic city, as we pass the guildhall, cathedral, Tullie House Museum, and the castle. Returning along the Solway coast to the end of the route of Hadrian’s Wall, history and wildlife sit side by side amongst the sand dunes, salt marsh and mosses.
Thursday: Dalemain & Ullswater
This tour to the far eastern fells ends with one of the Lake District’s largest lakes. After exploring a fascinating church we visit Dalemain House where there will be plenty of time to explore the house, the beautiful gardens and interesting museum. We continue to Ullswater, where we take a wonderful cruise down the lake to Glenridding. Finally we visit an atmospheric waterfall hidden amongst an arboretum.
Friday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast
For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included; please remember to bring your National Trust or English Heritage cards if you have them. Otherwise please allow a maximum of £10 per day for entrances (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price).
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
Discover the Lake District
The Lake District is England’s premier national park with outstanding mountain scenery.
The nearest town is Keswick, about two miles away. As a popular tourist destination it has a range of facilities including supermarkets, banks, a post office, pubs and cafés. It is also well known for its huge number of outdoor shops where you can buy an array of clothing and equipment for the outdoors.
During your visit to Derwent Bank you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
Take a leisurely journey around Derwentwater on the ferry - a great way to see the surrounding mountains from a different perspective. The nearest stop at Nichol End is just a few minutes’ walk from Derwent Bank. www.keswick-launch.co.uk
Theatre by the Lake
Situated by the lakeshore in Keswick, the theatre offers an excellent repertoire of plays in the main house and smaller studio theatre. The theatre’s popularity means that advance booking is recommended, especially in the high season. www.theatrebythelake.com
Honister Slate Mine
Go underground on the mine tour at this famous Lake District mine which is situated at the top of Honister Pass between Borrowdale and Buttermere. Here you can travel underground and learn about the history of Lake District slate production. Honister is around 30 minutes' drive from Derwent Bank, and can also be reached directly using the Honister Rambler bus. www.honister.com
Whinlatter Forest & Go Ape!
Relax at the visitors centre and cafe, or follow the excellent new mountain bike trail; one of the best in Britain. The high-ropes Go Ape course is great option for active teenagers. www.forestry.gov.uk/whinlatter or www.goape.co.uk
Derwent Water Marina
Hire a canoe or sailing boat and enjoy one of England’s most beautiful lakes. Just five minutes’ walk from Derwent Bank. www.derwentwatermarina.co.uk
Grasmere is about 30 minutes’ drive from Derwent Bank and is famous with its connections with William Wordsworth. The poet’s homes at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount can be visited, the former of which includes the Wordsworth Museum. Wordsworth’s birthplace can also be visited in Cockermouth; a pleasant market town to the north-west of Derwent Bank. Both Grasmere and Cockermouth can be reached by local bus from Keswick. www.wordsworth.org.uk
About 30 minutes’ drive from Derwent Bank is Ullswater, arguably the most beautiful of the Cumbrian lakes. Enjoy its glorious scenery either on foot or by steamer. If you are visiting the Ullswater area you could also visit the superb waterfall of Aira Force or the country house and gardens at Dalemain. www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk or www.dalemain.com
Lake District Wildlife Park
Well worth a visit for the whole family. You can watch the antics of the otters, apes and monkeys and marvel at the flying displays of eagles and vultures. www.lakedistrictwildlifepark.co.uk
Carlisle, about 45 minutes from Derwent Bank is the historic county town of Cumbria. Here you’ll find a good selection of shops, the cathedral, and castle. Of particular interest is the Tullie House Museum which is recognised for its exciting, varied events and exhibitions programme and is full of exciting interactive displays. www.tulliehouse.co.uk
Travel to Derwentwater
Our address is: Derwent Bank, Portinscale, Nr Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5TY
The nearest train station is at Penrith on the main line between London and Glasgow. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
HF station transfer - great value!
Our station transfer operates every Friday and Monday between Penrith station and Derwent Bank. The pickup is at 4.50pm from Penrith railway station. On departure day the transfer will get you back to Penrith station by 9.50am. This transfer costs just £16 return, however a place must be reserved at least 7 days in advance by calling 0345 470 7558.
If you can’t meet our station transfer, the 20 mile journey from Penrith to Derwent Bank can be made by taxi. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £30 per journey (or around £50 if not pre-booked). Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Derwent Bank Manager.
The X5 bus runs approximately every hour from Penrith station. The nearest bus stop is on the A66, about ¾ mile walk from Derwent Bank. Alight at the Portinscale bus stop and take the road on the left (signposted to Portinscale, Grange and the Newlands Valley). Follow this road through Portinscale village - Derwent Bank is on the left-hand side after the Derwentwater Marina.
Alternatively catch the bus to Keswick and then take a short taxi journey to Derwent Bank in Portinscale.
For bus times see www.traveline.info
From Penrith - leave the M6 motorway at junction 40 and take the A66 towards Keswick. After 17 miles you'll reach a roundabout in Keswick - continue ahead following signs to Cockermouth and Workington. One mile beyond the roundabout, and 200yds beyond the B5289 turning to Keswick, turn left off off the A66 signposted to Portinscale, Grange and the Newlands Valley. Derwent Bank is approx ¾ mile along this road on the left after the Derwentwater Marina and before the Nichol End Marina. There is a large car park available at Derwent Bank.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests the most convenient option is to book a flight to Manchester Airport. There are direct trains every hour from Manchester Airport to Penrith - this is straightforward journey - allow 2 hours to Penrith. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Penrith station you can complete the journey to Derwent Bank using our transfer, by bus, or by taxi (see above).
Flying to London Heathrow airport is another option, but has a longer onward train journey - allow at least 4½ hours to reach Penrith. From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. Next take the Underground train to London Euston. Finally the main line train from London Euston to Penith takes 3 hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
Brought up in south-east England, Jill has lived in the West Country, Scotland and, since 1998, Cumbria. She has a real passion for Britain, its history, geology and wildlife and loves sharing that with other people. She loves visiting stately homes and gardens but is also interested in how ordinary people lived in the past. Jill works as a Blue Badge Guide which is the perfect job for combining her wide range of interests with a love of communicating with people.
I cannot praise Jill enough. She was a mine of information which she put over in an interesting way. She organised everyone efficiently and pleasantly and ensured everyone felt included and had a good time.
Walter Willcox is a Blue Badge Guide, based in the North of England. He qualified after retiring as a university lecturer in history. He also taught general arts courses with the Open University, from its beginnings in 1971 until 2010. He has a tremendous enthusiasm for the rich cultural heritage in the North of England, and a great love of the beautiful remote countryside of the region. Over the past forty years he has lived in several parts of Northumberland and Cumbria, including the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall and the North Pennines. Walter takes great pleasure in sharing his knowledge of the area with visitors.
He did everything well. Very knowledgeable, very pleasant and incredibly interesting. He brought every place we visited alive.
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Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £15 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person
We like to reward early bookers with our best rooms so book early to avoid disappointment.
Please note that we aren't able to take room number requests as we are unable to guarantee them.