Lake District, Hawkshead or Keswick?

Nov 29th, 2010, 03:26 PM
  #1  
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Lake District, Hawkshead or Keswick?

DH & I have been looking for an area to stay in the Lake District and Keswick seems to keep popping up as the preferred town in the research we have done so far. But Hawkshead also appeals to us.

We want to do some walks and generally just kick back and enjoy the scenery and what Mother Nature has to offer. We have a week to fill before heading onto a cottage in the Cotswolds. We will either have 4 days in the Lakes and 3 in Snowdonia or will spend the entire time in the Lakes, still can't decide.

So, Hawkshead or Keswick? We would love your input.
Maudie is offline  
Nov 29th, 2010, 11:53 PM
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My first thought is that Keswick is a town, one of the major ones in the Lake District and Hawkshead a small village.
Both are in beautiful settings and would fill your criteria for scenery, walks etc. But Keswick clearly would give you lots of shops, large choice of restaurants etc.
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Nov 30th, 2010, 12:51 AM
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Hi Morgana, lovely to have you reply. Thanks too for all your help with my Yorkshire questions some time ago, we have secured a delightful cottage in Ampleforth for a week now its onto the next part.

Hmmm yes I see your point town vs village for eating options.Its a difficult choice as it all looks so beautiful. Do you have any other suggestions to add? Maybe that lovely little hidden gem or interesting place to stay?
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Nov 30th, 2010, 02:11 AM
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Not in Keswick but nearby is one of the nicest hotels we've ever stayed in and in 40 years of yearly travel thru the UK we've stayed in a lot of them

http://millerhowe.com/

In Windermere and the food is fantastic.
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Nov 30th, 2010, 02:46 AM
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In terms of accessability and facilities Keswick wins.

My mother in law lives just outside Keswick and we have just (thankfully) just sold our yacht that was on Windermere.

There is very little in Hawkshead other than two pubs, two grocers, a post office and a gellery. It's downside is that it can take forvever to get anywhere. I didn't see when you are travelling but in summer Hawkshead to Keswick can take an hour and a half, it is only about 20 miles. The traffic can be hard work and the A road leaves very little scope for overtaking.

Keswick has a large shopping centre which is dominated by outdoor clothing type shops. There is a good selection of food and art shops. The town benefits from Booths supermarket which is the Northern England version of Whole Foods.

There are great walks on the surrounding hills, THE greatest walk in England (IMO) is around Derwentwater and Castlerigg stone circle is close by.

Keswicks big advantage is it's location and the A66 which usually flows very well. In an hour from Keswick you can be in the Scottish borders which have Hadrians Wall and the Border Revier castles or in North Yorkshire in another half hour.

There is also a much better range of hotels/cottages in the area. Are you self catering? Keswick's shops would offer a better option than having to travel to Windermere from Hawkshead.

The main attraction of Hawkshead is the fact that it is sickly pretty and is in the centre of The Lakes. Many of us don't see that as much as an advantage as we avoid the central Lakes like the plague in summer sue to the weight of tourists.

If you do visit try to get to the Dumfries and Galloway coast where we are. It is a micro version of the highlands coast but around 90 minutes from Keswick.
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Nov 30th, 2010, 02:48 AM
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sorry reiver castles (typing getting worse)
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Nov 30th, 2010, 02:50 AM
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Wow that looks amazing, Avalon. What a stunning view but I feel it is a bit beyond our budget nevertheless I shall run it by Mr Maudie and see what he says!

A lot of the info I have read states "avoid Windermere" - why? Is it just way too busy? Is there some hidden secret I don't know about?
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Nov 30th, 2010, 03:38 AM
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Hi Maudie, Ampleforth is a great area and an excellent base to explore.
I agree with yanumpty about the crowded parts of the Lakes, and I too avoid certain areas during the more popular months. What sort of place are you looking for? A really nice way to see the Lakes is to stay in a farm Bed and Breakfast. These are usually very reasonably priced, but a car would be essential and they are definitely not for those who want the bright lights. Here's an example.
www.yewtree-farm.com
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Nov 30th, 2010, 03:59 AM
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Morgana

I would go further, I would split the time between The Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales. We spent this Sunday afternoon in the snow at Jervaulx, had my Springer towing my son on his sledge, never had so much fun.

ie we are a bit biased towards The Dales.

Went to Ripon for the first time in a long, long time : it was lovely, really good shops.
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Nov 30th, 2010, 04:58 AM
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Hi All

Thanks so much for your replies. Just to reiterate we are spending a week in the Yorkshire Dales area then moving onto the Lakes arriving there on June 10. I know we are "tourists" but love the idea of finding a less crowded area. We aren't into night life, just enjoy a nice meal and relax after all that walking. Yes we will have a car so that isn't a problem.

Yes to the idea of a B&B, I have been looking at this place in Keswick: http://www.thelookoutkeswick.co.uk
Yewtree-farm looks really nice, pity they only do the evening meals for 6 people and over.

We have had a toss around of all the ideas and DH is keen to see Wales so we will spend 4 nights at the Lakes and 3 in Betws-y-Coed in Wales. So self catering won't be an option as they generally want a full weeks stay.

Thanks so much for all your great suggestions, we really appreciate it.
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Nov 30th, 2010, 05:50 AM
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Jervaulx is beautiful. Across the road by the tearooms it has a small caravan site (5 vans only) and we sometimes stay there with our touring van. We walk across to the Abbey in the evenings and usually have the place to ourselves.........just the wild flowers and the birdsong...
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Nov 30th, 2010, 11:48 PM
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Morgana, that sounds beautiful - I can't wait to spend some time there.
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Dec 5th, 2010, 04:52 AM
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Plenty of good B& Bs in Keswick and good choice of restaurants and pubs (friendly welcome in The Oddfellows Arms plus excellent Jennings Snecklifter beer!) AND the Theatre by the Lake AND excellent walking around Derwentwater. We particularly love the walk to Castle Crag.
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Dec 5th, 2010, 04:59 AM
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All sounds perfect, we have settled on Keswick and are really looking forward to our stay. I will have a look at the walk to Castle Crag, thanks for the suggestion.
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Dec 5th, 2010, 05:00 AM
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definitely Keswick.

for several years we spend a few days every spring at a now defunct hotel in nearby Braithwaite and loved the area. there is loads to do and it's easy to get to other places in the vicinity.

also Keswick is far enough from Windermere to avoid the worst of the tourist influx, though that shouldn't be too bad in June.

bellini - I'd forgotten the Theatre by the Lake - we went about 30 years ago!!
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Dec 5th, 2010, 05:58 AM
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I suggest you base your stay in Keswick itself. A lot of good B&Bs are located just outside the centre (5 minutes' walk or so) and parking near B&Bs is usually ok (not a lot of yellow lines or restricted parking - some have their own private parking). Two areas to look for B&Bs are around Station Rd (to the left as you enter Keswick off A66 from Penrith), and near Hope Park towards Derwentwater. The latter has larger properties and more upmarket. Aim to pay around £35 to £45 per person per night B&B. There are cheaper properties from under £30, but there are usually good reasons - like tiny rooms and no en-suite (bath and toilet down the corridor). Tripadvisor is usually reliable for quality rating. In June you shouldn't have much trouble finding a good place.

annhig
Theatre by the Lake only opened 11 years ago! You probably mean another theatre since closed.
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Dec 5th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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" now defunct hotel in nearby Braithwaite"

Ann, would that be The Swan? or The Ladstock. They (and we) fought long and hard to keep them open. The overall room capacity of The Lake has gone through through the floor over the past 10 years. Too many good hotels were butchered into apartments for a quick profit up until 2 years ago. Thorntwaite lost its pub and best hotel. Some of the hotels which have maintained standards are very busy.

ps my father in law planted every tree in Braithwaite Village around 35 years ago.

Alec, I agree about the availability of good, cheap B & Bs in Keswick town but I personally wouldn't like to stay in the centre. Parking is worse than a nightmare and the eating out is generally worse than average. The George do a half decent job and there is a great little Mexican!!! but after that most of the good restaurants/pubs are located outside the town. This further removes one of the usual advantages of staying in a town.

I love Borrowdale but it is the wettest place in England.

Maudie

What is your budget for a room? If you can justify a posh meal out :

I stayed here on my last night

http://www.the-pheasant.co.uk/

and was married here.

http://www.armathwaite-hall.com/

both have some best food in The Lakes.

http://www.lyzzickhall.co.uk/

is far cheaper and Mr Fernandez the owner runs a really tight kitchen offering very good country Spanish/ English menu.

Mr Fernandez
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Dec 5th, 2010, 10:49 AM
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now defunct hotel in nearby Braithwaite"

Ann, would that be The Swan? or The Ladstock>>

no, it was called something like "the Green house". it had a bright green roof, and was on the left [round a corner] as you entered the village from the Keswick direction. we stayed there 4 or 5 times and would have carried on going there except that no 1 child came along and we didn't feel that it was ideally suited for families. as so often happens, after that we found lots of reasons for not going back, which probably led to its demise. I tried to look it up on the net a few years ago, and feat that it too mgiht have ended up as a time share or some such.

we did eat at the Pheaant once or twice for a change from our hotel [whatever it was called - this was 25 years ago!], and I liked the atmosphere.
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Dec 5th, 2010, 02:51 PM
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Oh, what a lovely lot of replies to wake up too! I thought this post was dead in the water.

Our budget is round about 80-90GBP for the two of us, the B&B I am looking at as above is called The Lookout, it states that it is about 15 minute walk to town. It has a lovely room with a stunning view from the balcony, I could just see us sitting there with a bottle of wine, assuming the weather is fine! I think we would prefer to stay just out of town.

Thanks for all the recommendations, I am off to work now but will check them out this evening. Does anyone have any specific recco's for a B&B? I have spent hours on TA - its difficult when you don't know an area to pick the right place - maybe that's being overly obsessive but I just want some place "nice" and no chintz.

Thanks again
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Dec 10th, 2013, 05:17 AM
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Bit late to the party.
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