Road Trip: Stavely – Hawkshead – Grasmere – Keswick

December 9, 2020

by Eleanor Dinnes

Our second road trip is possibly one of the best drives in Cumbria. Taking in the beautiful sites of both the South and Northern Lake District, starting in Stavely and finishing in the picturesque village of Keswick on the shores of Derwent Water

  1. Staveley – Wilf’s café, brewery
  2. Windermere and Bowness – Lakes cruises, tourist attractions
  3. Hawkshead – Lovel shops, cafes and Beatrix Potter attractions
  4. Grasmere – Lovely views
  5. Keswick – Lovely shopping and idyllic views from Castlerigg stone circle


Village 1 – Staveley

20 mins from The Black Swan

Kendal is a lovely town and “gateway to the lakes” but the place to hit on the way in is the tiny village of Staveley. This tiny little village has one of the best cafes around for a lunch stop off (and its dog friendly). Wilf’s café does great hearty lunches  for the family. You can sit out by the river and eat your lunch then take a wonder over to the Hawkshead brewery across the road. An excellent start to the day.

Wilf’s cafe – www.wilfs-cafe.co.uk
Staveley official site – www.exploresouthlakeland.co.uk/enjoy/towns-and-villages/staveley
Hawkshead brewery – www.hawksheadbrewery.co.uk
Kendal official site – visit-kendal.co.uk


Village 2 – Windermere, Bowness & Ambleside

35 Minute Drive

All of the towns along the lakes themselves are beautiful. There isn’t one that’s better than the other, its really down to personal taste. It is popular so it will be busy. Ge there early to park up and have a ride on the Lakes Cruises, take a boat out yourself like Swallows and Amazons,  visit the Beatrix potter museum (adorable for kids and adults alike) and visit the tiny house in Ambleside. This tiny Bridge house is owned by the national trust and is totally cute. You can spend several days in these little towns exploring  all the tourist attractions. A hidden gem however if you want to enjoy something a bit different is Zeffirelli’s cinema and restaurant. This traditional 1940’s style cinema serves alcohol, has the comfiest seats, and is all round a little treasure. Their adjoining restaurant serves delicious veggie food and can be combined with a cinema ticket deal.

Visit The Lake District – www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting
Windermere lakes cruise – www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk
Zeffirelli’s – www.zeffirellis.com
The Beatrix Potter experience – www.hop-skip-jump.com
Bridge house Ambleside – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ambleside/features/bridge-house—a-17th-century-survivor


Hawkshead & Near Sawrey

60 mins Drive

Hawkshead and the tiny hamlet of Near Sawrey are where Beatrix Potter lived and worked. Her actual house which features heavily in her books and drawings is in near Sawrey and is a National Trust attraction. It really is worth a visit but is more for the adult fans. There is little in the way of things for children here and they may prefer the Beatrix Potter experience in Bowness. However, adults will find her home to be well worth a visit. Hawkshead is a lovely little village on the opposite side of the Lake to Ambleside. Park down by the school in the pay and display and have a wander around the little village. It’s full of character and has lots of little shops and cafes to enjoy. There is also a cat café if you feel like a change of scenery as well as the little ice cream shop.

Also in the area is Grizedale forest and visitors centre. This has a “Go Ape” centre attached, beautiful walks and attractions in the woods for the whole family. There are activities here often so it’s worth checking their website to see if
there is anything special on the day of your visit.

Hilltop farm – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top
Hawkshead official site – www.hawkshead-village.co.uk
Grizedale forest – www.forestryengland.uk/grizedale
Kittchen cat café – www.kittchen.co.uk
The little ice cream shop – www.thelittleicecreamshop.com/about


Grasmere & onto Keswick

90 minutes drive through the lakes or 35 minutes via Penrith

Driving up through the lakes is beautiful in itself and there are so many beautiful places to stop it would be impossible to mention them all.
However, Grasmere is a particularly nice place to stop and happens to be the site of The Wordsworth Museum – well worth a visit.

As you drive further north to Keswick there are several viewing points along the road for you to stop and enjoy. Keswick itself is a beautiful town with lots of interesting shops and cafes. In my opinion, it is the best place for shopping in the lakes with lots of local Artists and quirky outdoor shops to explore. The theatre by the lake is a great place to enjoy if there is something on that takes your fancy.

If theatre isn’t your thing then take a drive a few miles out of Keswick to Castlerigg stone circle and enjoy (what I believe to be) the best view in the lakes (which most people miss). If you’re feeling like a bit of a weirder trip to Keswick try to the world of illusions or the Famous Pencil Museum.

Wordsworth museum – wordsworth.org.uk
Keswick official site – www.keswick.org
The theatre by the lake – www.theatrebythelake.com
Pencil Museum – www.derwentart.com/en-gb/c/about/company/derwent-pencil-museum
Keswick illusion museum – www.puzzlingplace.mobi
Castlerigg stone circle – www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/castlerigg-stone-circle


Other place to see in and around the lakes:

Rheged discover centre – pottery painting, cinema, cafes and shops – www.rheged.com
Lowther Castle – Folly, shops and café – www.lowthercastle.org
Larch cottage nurseries – garden centre and café – www.larchcottage.co.uk
Karma Llama café – Llama café and llama walking (pre-book) – www.llamakarmakafe.co.uk
Sizergh castle and farm shop –  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sizergh
Windermere chain ferry – www.visitcumbria.com/amb/bowness-ferry
Wray castle Windermere – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wray-castle

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