The Langdale Valley makes an ideal base for exploring the whole of the Lake District. Being at the foot of Wrynose Pass that leads onto Hardknott Pass, means despite this not being a quick route, the amount of miles is just a fraction compared with alternative routes. You see, the Lake District has quite a few lumps and bumps, ie fells!
So the Langdale Valley itself being delightful, pretty, scenic yet with some big hills. Langdale is close to Ambleside, not far from Windermere, Coniston or Hawkshead. In fact, to get over to Ullswater and the eastern Lakes isn’t much of a problem and in fact a lovely drive over Kirkstone Pass.
So the direct route on mountain passes, less miles than the A roads, more scenic, it’s screaming out to be cycled is it not? From a base in the Langdale Valley, cyclists can experience some of the most famous Lake District routes, most not for the novice such as Hardknott and its 30% gradient but the pride upon completion will far out way the pain.
Staying in and around Langdale Valley and cycling can be enjoyed at a lot lower level literally. Many routes both on and off road that take in the scenery but at a far more leisurely pace. There is a fab little 11 mile route or a slightly longer 18 mile routes that takes in the famous Lake District beauty spot of Tarn Hows.
Drive Less See More is a campaign led by GoLakes Travel to promote more sustainable ways of getting around the Lake District. Everyone’s a winner, the Lake District for less carbon emissions and noise and the visitor as they really do See More.
Brimstone Boutique Hotel at Langdale are firm supporters of this scheme despite being a high end, boutique hotel. There’s secure bike storage and the hotel hosts will even collect guests from Windermere Train Station with their bikes. Renault Twizy electric cars can be hired too, just in case the previous days ride was a bit tough!
Cycling is a fantastic, all round fitness activity that can be enjoyed solo, with a friend, as a group or family. Off road, on road, cycle tracks or guided bike rides, August is the time to get out and get active in the Lake District, one of the most popular places for cycling in the UK.
Guided bikes are ideal if you’re starting out cycling but so too for family rides. Now in their fourth year Sky Ride in conjunction with British Cycling is the go to resource for leisure cycling. Choose from Ride Social’s, Guided Rides, Breeze Network for women only and larger bike events. Every day during August there are at least 2 rides scheduled in Cumbria and North Lancs. Simply visit the website where each event is listed, the route, gear required, length and booking details of which many rides are free.
Even more dates were added this year, more varied and in different locations enabling as many people of possible to join in. There have been routes for those with a more advanced level of cycling, children, families, beginners of all ages and those with a special interest in cycling an historical or literary route.
Two great events to look out for:
Wednesday 24 August – From Ambleside into the Jaws of Great Langdale. Suitable for children aged 8+ so a great one to do as a family, the route starts from Rothay Park in Ambleside finishing in the stunning Langdale Valley along quiet or off road cycle ways.
Sunday 28 August – Hawkshead – Beatrix Potter ride in partnership with the National Trust. What better way to mark and celebrate Beatrix’s Potter 150 anniversary than this circular route along the Lake Windermere western shore cycle path via Esthwaite Water and back to Hawkshead. More Sky Ride events can be found on their website here, http://www.goskyride.com/
Where to stay this August
It’s not too late to book a short break or holiday. Langdale Lake District Hotel & Spa is ideally located for attending many of the Sky Ride events during August. Choose from double or family rooms in the hotel as well as a limited amount of availability in some of the 5 star self catering lodges, apartments and cottages. Visit http://www.langdale.co.uk for more details.
Some excellent news for and about the Lake District National Park was issued earlier this month. The news is that visitor car travel around the Lake District has decreased by an estimated 7.8 million kilometres over the past 3 years, this equates to a fall in car use of 14.5%. The cynics out there may say it is down to lower visitor numbers but these have in fact increased by 2% with an increase of 7% on visitor spend whilst staying/visiting here.
Many factors have contributed to this from programmes such as GoLakes Travel with its very well recognised “Drive Less – See More” campaign to businesses and the rise in popularity of cycling not just in the Lake District but UK wide.
GoLakes Travel has helped to introduce new and extra services to aid car free travel in the Lake District. This has included opening up and updating of a number of cycle ways in the National Park such as the one opened last year enabling almost a road free route from Ambleside to Langdale. They have also instigated more routes and a better timetable for the Bike Bus services.
Windermere Lake Cruises embraced the trend for cycling and going car free 3 years ago when they launched a new Bike Boat service. The service runs from Brockhole across Lake Windermere to either Wray Castle of the new floating jetty at Bark Barn. This has proved extremely popular way of getting to the other side of Lake eliminating the need for cyclists to ride along the busy A591.
The Langdale Hotel & Spa have been firm advocates, supporters and promoters for many years now of alternative methods of travel to and from the Lake District as well as during the stay. The Langdale Hotel Lake District location lends itself extremely well to a car free or reduced car use holiday or short break. There are walks both high and low level and many cycle routes starting right from the hotel but there’s also the chance to hire a Renault Twizy electric car. Twizy travel provides quiet, low carbon travel around the Lake District and is an excellent way to experience the landscape and also two of England’s steepest roads, the passes Wrynose and Hardknott. The car may be small but it tackles England’s steepest road with ease! To book a stay at Langdale and to find out more about the Twizy’s visit http://www.langdale.co.uk
The service enables people visiting the tranquil villages of Near and Far Sawrey to park at their chosen starting point (your accommodation for example) and walk on amazing variety of routes in the southern Lake District.
Near and Far Sawrey are excellent choices of places to stay, leave the car and just explore on foot or by bicycle on a choice of footpaths, cycle tracks and bridleways. Drive Less See More the strapline to the GoLakes Travel programme couldn’t be better illustrated around this part of the Lake District.
Walk to Hawkshead and visit the many shops and cafes in the jewel of the Lake District. Head for a leisurely stroll up to Hill Top, the once home of Beatrix Potter and the location that inspired her and made her work into one of the most popular children’s story books of all time and still to date. But the villages of Near and Far Sawrey also allow easy access to Lake Windermere and even Bowness and Windermere towns.
Just a mile, 20 minute walk from Far Sawrey is Ferry House where to Windermere Ferry departs from taking passengers across the lake to Ferry Nab in Bowness. The ferry can take cars and bicycles also. From Bowness take a cruise down to Waterhead for Ambleside or up to lakeside or wander up to Windermere and climb the scenic Orrest Head for unparalleled views of Lake Windermere and fells beyond.
Being off season and far quieter it is the ideal time to visit Tarn Hows. This, the most beautiful of picture postcard locations is often a wash with visitors in the summer but autumn and winter means the full beauty can be admired. The tarn is surrounded by small hill made up of woodland and where the name Tarn Hows is derived. The walk from Far Sawrey is a nice, flat 3.9 miles and goes alongside Esthwaite Water which itself is also a stunning piece of water.
Accommodation can be found at the Cuckoo Brow Lake District Inn at Far Sawrey from £86 per room per night including breakfast.
This is the 24th Holker Garden Festival and the three day event (or should we say extravaganza) taking place at Holker Hall on Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th June 2016 will be brimming with activities and guest appearances throughout the weekend.
Top horticulturalists from the region and throughout the UK will be in attendance lighting p the estate with brilliant colours, fragrances and knowledge. Although it is also a festival packed with much more than just horticulture. During the weekend enjoy stalls of arts, crafts, food and local Cumbria produce and garden ornaments, neatly detailed in the strap line “Presenting the very best of gardening, countryside, food and crafts”. There will also be exhibitors of garden structures and sculptures.
It is most definitely advisable to arrive hungry as not only will there be many local producers selling good but also plenty of tasty offerings for consumption on the day from glasses of summery Pimms to local drinks, ales and hog roasts.
Holker Hall is located in Cark in Cartmel just 4 miles from Grange –over –Sands and less than 2 miles from Cartmel set within a 25 acre estate famed for its landscape and ornamental gardens . Visit the Holker website here for more details on the festival.
Looking for accommodation for that weekend? Bay Villa Bed & Breakfast in Grange over Sands is the ideal place to relax and unwind after a full packed day at the festival. Call direct to book on 015395 36793 or visit http://www.bayvilla.net for more details.
Fresh air is free in the Lake District so “Drive Less See More” as the Go Lakes Travel programme campaign has been promoting over the last couple of years. Working with businesses throughout Cumbria and the Lake District encouraging and enabling visitors and guests to make greater use of sustainable modes of travel and car free activities.
From both the Langdale and Brimstone Hotels, guests can walk to six different places of interest, cycle on the many routes around the Langdale Estate and beyond, walk many of the fells in the Langdale Valley and even hire electric cars.
Experiencing the Lake District in these ways is so much better in so many ways. It is great exercise with a sense of achievement when completing a fell walk or bike ride for example. The real Lake District is viewed one to one, not through glass. Less cars on the road means less noise and much less pollution and in the busy summer months walking and cycling if often quicker than a car anyway!
Even back at the Brimstone suites, fresh air is a big factor and in abundance. Each of the 16 suites making up Brimstone have their own private balconies. The suites lead out through full length and width sliding doors with a table and chairs each and plants. When the doors are fully open, even when inside the suite, guests have a sense of being outside and the use of natural, local and sustainable materials echo this perfectly. More about Brimstone can be found by clicking here. The air in the Lake District is like no other and a world away from that of a city so make the most of it when visiting whatever time of the year.