Family Walking Adventure at Derwentwater
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Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
The Lake District is a great destination for families with older children, where they can enjoy the challenge of exciting mountain walking and outdoor activities. Highlights include clambering up the Bowder Stone, the boat ride across Derwent Water, or reaching the top of an iconic peak.
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.
Choose your room
• Check in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Large double or two single beds
• Sole occupancy available for an extra £15 per night
• Check in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Welcoming bar with local beer
• Conservatory with superb views
• Extensive gardens
• Lake jetty
• Formal Garden
|• Putting green
• Croquet lawn
• Boot Room
• Drying room
• Free WiFi in some public rooms
|• Large, comfortable lounge
• Attractive dining room
• Board games and books
|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.
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
Our family holidays offer the choice of up to 4 guided walks each day – you can choose an Easier Walk one day and switch to a Harder Walk the next. Our routes range from short lakeside strolls that are ideal for little legs, to challenging mountain ascents that will appeal to active teenagers.
Day 1: Skiddaw and Derwent Water
Family Walk: Latrigg is one of the best summit views in the Lakes for the least effort. We’re dropped off at nearly 1,000 feet (300m) and after a gentle ascent we’ll have Keswick, Derwent Water and Borrowdale stretched out at our feet. Downhill all the way after this into Keswick itself, through Fitz Park (with great playground and loads of space to run around), before reaching the lake for the launch back to Derwent Bank. 3 ½ miles (6km) with 400ft (120m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: Step into one of the most famous postcard scenes in the Lakes as we first walk along the shores of Derwent Water before ascending to the famous Ashness Bridge. We go back down to the edge of the lake and take the launch back to Derwent Bank. 5.5miles (9k) with 900ft (270m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: From Threlkeld we go up the lonely valley of Glenderaterra Beck before turning south to the top of Latrigg, one of the best viewpoints in the Lakes, with Derwent Water framed by shapely ridges and fells. We’ll linger here before passing Crossthwaite church - with the graves of Robert Southey and Canon Rawnsley - and reach Portinscale. 10 ½ miles (17km) with 1,950 feet (580) of ascent.
Harder Walk: Starting on the east side of Bassenthwaite Lake we head up Ullock Pike and Carl Side to the summit of mighty Skiddaw, one of only 4 mountains in England over 3,000 feet. Dropping to Skiddaw House we take the Cumbria Way through the Glenderaterra Valley to Crossthwaite church. 12 ½ miles (20.5km) with 3,250 feet (980m) of ascent.
Day 2: Scafell Pike and Borrowdale
Family Walk: After a short hop by coach we walk to the famous Bowder Stone, with time to clamber the (easy) ladder up this gigantic boulder. We then circle above Cummacatta Wood and reach Derwent Water at Derwent House. We follow the path around the bottom of the lake to Brandlehow Bay jetty, and enjoy a ride back on the launch. 3 ½ miles (6 kms) with 500ft (160m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: Starting at Rosthwaite, in the “Jaws of Borrowdale” we go up a broad track to the pretty hamlet and tarn at Watendlath. We follow the valley along and then go back down to Derwent Water at Lodore. From here we take the path around the bottom of the lake as far as Hawes End, where we catch the launch back. 6 ½ miles (10kms), with 1,200ft (380m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: This one reaches Watendlath from Rosthwaite, but continues to the famous Ashness Bridge. From here we ascend Walla Crag before walking back via Keswick. 9 miles (14.5km) with 2000ft (620m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: Walk with us from Seathwaite to Styhead Tarn and then up via the spectacular Corridor Route and you’ll be standing higher than anyone else in England when we reach the summit of Scafell Pike. We descend via Esk Hause and Grains Gill, all the way back down to Seathwaite. Some rough, steep paths which will occasionally need a head for heights. 9 miles (14km) with 3,180ft (960m) of ascent.
Day 3: Cat Bells and Castlerigg Stone Circle
Family Walk: Just a few miles east of our Country House, we walk from near Threlkeld to Tewet Tarn and Goosewell Farm (indoor climbing wall and café), before visiting fabulous Castlerigg Stone Circle. Paths lead us to Castlerigg Farm and a walk down into Keswick where we take the launch back. 5 miles (8km) with 700ft (200m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: Today we walk from our front door to the top of one the Lake District’s most popular fells – Cat Bells. You’ll need your hands to get up a short rocky scramble just before the top. Then back down at the lake shore, the launch from Brandlehow Jetty will return us the 2 miles back to Derwent Bank. 5.5 miles (9km) with 1,550ft (460m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: This walk too heads up and over the popular Cat Bells, but once we’ve dropped down to the lake shore from Hause Gate we follow a delightful path back through woods and by the water. 8 miles (13km) with 1,800ft (560m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: We head over Cat Bells, Maiden Moor and our highest point (great views of course!) High Spy, before descending past Rigghead Quarries to eventually meet the edge of the lake, which we follow back to Derwent Bank on the Cumbria Way. 12 miles (19km) with 2,900ft (880m) of ascent.
N.B. Both the medium and the harder walks have some steep rocky sections.
Day 5: Buttermere
Family Walk: The coach will drop us in Buttermere village, our starting point for a circular walk around the beautiful lake, with a very short section in a tunnel. Ice creams at the end! 4 miles (7km) with 400ft (120m)of ascent
Easier Walk: From Lanthwaite Green we walk through woodland to the tranquil west shore of Crummock Water, which we follow all the way to Buttermere village. 6 miles (9.5km) with 700ft (200m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: After walking the northern shore of Buttermere we tackle Haystacks, with its of multiple crags and tarns and the scattering place of famous guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright’s ashes. Our return to Buttermere is via Innominate Tarn, Blackbeck Tarn and Warnscale Bottom. Rough, steep and rocky in sections. 7 ½ miles (12km) with 2000ft (620m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: Today we climb Red Pike from Buttermere. Beyond Red Pike the route takes us via High Stile and High Crag before dropping steeply to Scarth Gap; we return to Buttermere via Haystacks and Warnscale Bottom. Some short sections of easy scrambling. 9 ½ miles (15.5km) with 3,350ft (1020m) of ascent.
Day 6: Helvellyn and Ullswater
Family Walk: From Glenridding we take paths through the wood to delightful Lanty’s Tarn. We descend into Grizedale, and join the main path down the valley before briefly joining paths along the road, before we go round the head of Ullswater to Side Farm,where there is a café. We retrace our steps back to main road, and return to Glenridding, which has cafés and shops. 3 ½ miles (5.5km) with 650ft (200m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: starting close to Brotherswater, we’ll first enjoy the hamlet of Hartsop with its traditional Lakeland houses. We take a path towards Patterdale, and pause for a drink and maybe an ice cream at Side Farm. Close by Ullswater now, we head up into Grizedale, and a short steep path up to Lanty’s Tarn. From here we go down through the wood to Glenridding. 4 ½ miles (7.5km) with 750ft (240m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: With amazing views from the top, our route first takes us from Patterdale up to the summit of Place Fell; then down past becks and waterfalls in the valley of Scalehow to the picturesque lakeside path along Ullswater to Glenridding. 8 miles (13km) with 2,250ft (700m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: Helvellyn via the glacial arête of Striding Edge is today’s iconic mountain walk, and Swirral Edge soon follows, taking us to the pyramid shaped Catstycam and the beautiful and moody Red Tarn. Our gradual descent through the Glenridding valley ends the perfect day. Some scrambling and one short but very steep descent requiring a head for heights. 8½ miles (13.5 km) with 3,050 feet (920m) of ascent.
- Child friendly: the part-day walks leave the afternoons to check out local family attractions, before dinner at 6.30pm to keep the little ones happy
- Expert leaders: our friendly walks leaders will ensure that families get the most out of the walks
- Activity leaders: our activity leaders organise children’s activities and games for younger children before dinner, and for the whole family after dinner
- Peace of mind: only families can book on our dedicated Family Adventures − the kids get the run of the Country House in a safe environment
- Free day: on our 7 night holidays, enjoy a day without walks to get out and make the most of the nearby family-friendly attractions - see the Local Area tab.
See our Family Adventure Guide for more information about our holidays and accommodation.
Terrain and transport: Our Family and Easier Walks are generally on well-graded valley, fell and lakeside paths, but can be occasionally rough. Medium Walks are on good, but sometimes rocky paths, to lower summits and moorland fells; you might occasionally feel the need to use your hands. Harder Walks use steep and rough paths to mountain summits and some walks need a head for heights.
On some days the walks start or finish at Derwent Bank; on other days we use a coach at the start and/or end of the walks.
Activities at Derwent Bank: In the late afternoons and evenings our activity leader will help to organise a range of activities. These could include a game of rounders on the lawn, a treasure hunt, or crafts.
Your leaders will inform you about the choice of walks for the next day and answer any questions you may have. After a sociable evening meal you could join in an evening activity created specifically for all the family or use the Country House facilities.
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 £10 return, however a place must be reserved 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 approxiately 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. 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.
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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
- All child prices are based on sharing with an adult. Children not sharing an adult's room will be subject to a £50 surcharge per child per stay. A single room charge of £5 per child per night will be made where applicable.
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person