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Top Bank  |  Crosthwaite - The Lyth Valley

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Things To Do While Staying At Top Bank

Our Explore More Pages showcase the best along with some of the lesser-known attractions of the Lake District. We want you to get the most from your experience whilst staying in this unique area by highlighting some of our favourite places, along with those of the owners and our friends most loved walks and attractions.

Some days you may wish to stay close to home, on others, set off and visit further away landscapes. Here are just a few of the magnificent places we love, both near and far, always remembering that nowhere is more than a hour to and hour and a quarter drive away, and the journey through the landscape is always part of the days enjoyment.

We would also love to hear about you memorable moments so we can share it with others. 
Either email or post us on Facebook, Google+ or twitter or even send a post card.

Robbin & Marnie's Favourite Things

Walk.

Our favourite local walk has to be Whitbarrow, a great 4 mile slab of limestone. We live opposite the northern end and once on top, easy walking, the 360 degree views are stunning. Looking north and west you have you have all the Lakeland fells, south you look over Morecombe bay and east Howgills and Yorkshire Dales.

View.

Our other favourite local view is Gummers Howe. From the top you get a full view of Lake Windermere and the fells beyond, a wonderful place to sit and do a bit of meditating while watching the boats on Windermere a 1000 feet below.

Interesting buildings and gardens.

At bottom of the valley we have two very interesting stately homes. Sizbergh Castle and gardens run by the National Trust. We visit every month to see how the garden changes over the seasons. There are also some very easy walks from the castle taking you to another well known viewing area, Scouts Scar.

The other stately home is Levens Hall, famous for it topiary and within walking distance of Sizbergh Castle passing an excellent pub, The Strickland Arms, perfect for lunch.

Pubs.

We are surrounded by high quality eating pubs, the nearest 100 yards away, The Punch Bowl and within a 2 mile radius five other quality eating pubs, The Brown Horse at Winster, Hare and Hounds at Bowland Bridge, Masons Arms Cartmel Fell, Lyth Valley hotel and another Punch Bowl just a mile away at Underbarrow.

At Bowland Bridge we also have our nearest shop, just under 2 miles away, there you can get all your everyday needs, papers, milk etc. They even do sandwiches, made to order, very handy when on the fells or just for a picnic by the lake.


Exploring the area near Top Bank

A Trip Out To Cartmel and the Peninsula

Apart from being the prettiest village in the Lake District, with wonderful architecture and a huge Norman Priory, it has the most delicious food you will find anywhere. Simon Rogan's L'Enclume has a Michelin Star and is the Good Food Guides number one restaurant for 2014. Rogan’s more casual Rogan & Company is just as nice, but half the price. Then there are the four pubs, I like them all, all serving local ales and decent pub grub. 

The village lies on the Cartmel Peninsula, a body of land tumbling out into the Morecambe Bay. Grange Over Sands, over the hill from Cartmel, has delightful local shops and a mile long promenade. Hampsfell and Eggerslack woods make for a light days walking with some stunning views. The lanes are perfect for cycling and the coastline offers some lovely spots, such as Humphrey Head, a real pirate cove with a limestone cliff jutting out into the bay, and supposedly the place where the last wolf in England was dispatched. There are a number of fine country house to visit along with their magnificnet gardens and often with special events. Do go it is a real eye opener to see this different but most beautiful part of the Lake District, so beautiful we decided to live here.


Three Country Houses On The Cartmel Peninsula

If country house bagging is for you, then around or near the peninsula are three of the finest houses in England, each within a short dive of one another.

Sizergh Castle - The first is Sizergh Castle (as we all know it, the proper title being Sizergh House) is a beautiful medieval house with wonderful gardens and estate grounds. An imposing building, it stands sentinel at the gateway to the Lake District, and is maintained by The National Trust. There is plenty to do and see, along with a café, pub and farm shop.

 


Levens Hall - Next we have beautiful Levens Hall is a fine example of the grand country house. The house is open to the public and is a fine example of its kind. What is special are the topiary gardens, a huge collection of the weird and the wonderful, sculptured from box and yew. There are secret garden rooms, wooded walkways and a fine ornamental pond, which for those that followed the BBC's bodice busting, head rolling, Henry VIII, will recognise it as one of the locations used in the series.

 


Holker Hall, known locally as Hooker Hall, along with its Gardens is located in Cark in Cartmel, and makes for good half days outing. The House is open to the public but my preference is to explore the grounds, finishing with lunch at the food hall. Throughout the year there are shows and market fairs so it is worth checking Holker's website. 

 


Gummers How - Overlooking Lake Windermere

A simple, easy walk, Gummers How lies just above Newby Bridge on the Bowness road. Park up at the NT parking space and from here you can scramble up onto Gummers How for a view spectacular of the lake. The surrounding fells here are to be explored and it is worth just pottering around, and maybe a picnic with the most splendid backdrop. 
 Make sure you take a camera for some memorable images of your stay in the Lakes.

 


Fell Foot Park - Lake Windermere

A nice day out for both adults and children is to visit Fell Foot at he the southern basin of Lake Windermere. Children’s adventure playground, waterside cafe, rowboat hire, fishing and lake swimming. Finish off the day with an evening meal at either the Swan Hotel at Newby Bridge or The Lakeside Hotel at Lakeside.

 


Arnside Morecambe Bay Walk

Not many will know this walk as it lies on the southern shores of the Morecambe Bay. The drive is easy, via Levens, down to Milnthorpe and round to Arnside. You start from the pier and simply follow the shoreline for as far as you fancy. Rock pools, limestone cliffs, wooded headland and miles and miles of shimmering sand, with a view back to the Cumbrian Mountains.

NOTE

The sands are dangerous as they are magnificent, and only the shrimp fishermen and the sands guides venture out from the shoreline with their tractors. For us mere mortals it is enough to wonder at the seemingly never ending miles of shimmering silver sand, the birdlife and to thrill as the tide with its bore rushes in on its twice daily cycle.

Do give it a go and remember to take a camera, along with a light picnic, where you are sure find the perfect spot among the rock pools or up on the low cliffs to while away some time before retuning home.

Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walks. It is still possible to cross the sands, still a designated public highway, by joining in with a guided walk. These are led by the renowned Cedric Robinson MBE and Queens Guide, also by Alan Sledmore. For details and walk dates see the links.


A Trip To Kendal

If you like art and culture, then a trip to the main town is a must. Abbott Hall has changing exhibitions, and at the Brewery Arts Center you can take in a movie, or a live show. The BAC attracts many big name stand-up comedians and is worth checking its diary dates. 

The streets are vibrant with plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants and theri a twice weekly farmers market. For more info check out our Kendal page in the Lakeland Guide section.


A Balloon Flight Over Cumbria

Imagine the romance and thrill to soar majestically skywards with a beautiful lake and mountain stretching away before and beneath you. This dream can now come true with Virgin Balloon Flights. Flights go from Newby Bridge at the foot of Windermere, also Rampsbeck Country House Hotel in Ullswater. Wrap up warm, even in summer and make sure toy camera batteries are well charged. 

I did a flight with Clare in Egypt many years ago, and the memory still stays with both of us. So chaps if you want to make a grand romantic gesture, this could be the one. Imagine proposing to your loved one a few thousand feet above the land of poets and artists and florishing a bunch of flowers - can't fail!


Bouldering In The Lake District

Here is an idea my son, Jack and his friends Cam and Dave thought I should mention. Bouldering is about hanging onto low rocks and traversing rather than ascending. It looks great fun and there are plenty of places to do it, from Arnside Bay to the Langdales, anywhere there are some reasonable rocks or boulders. You should wear a hard hat and I notice the lads take a sports mat to cushion any falls. It looks great fun and a pursuit most can do. For more info see the feature on the National Trust website

 


Exploring further afield of Top Bank

Near Peel Wood Coniston Water

The perfect day of splish splashing in, on and around the lake lies just a moment from your doorstep. Take the Coniston Water east lake road, and look for the laybys south of Brantwood designated for parking. Opposite you should see the sign marked 'NT Near Peel Wood'. Take the track through the little woods down the shoreline.

There are craggy outcrops and little coves, and just off the shoreline lies Peel Island, the inspiration for Wild Cat Island in Ransome's Swallows and Amazons. This a great place to chill, have a picnic and swim in the crystal clear waters

 


Rydal Water

Rydal Water to Grasmere is one of our most beautiful walks, taking in two tarns, and fairly easy. Drive out through Ambleside, on towards Grasmere. Look for the signpost that says Loughrigg. Cross the little Pelter bridge and you will see a small car park.

Follow the track up the hill to the east shore of Rydal Water. One of the prettiest lakes, the path is easy to follow. We take the high path, which gives the best views and is where you will find the two caves. To extend the day, carry onto Grasmere, another delightful tarn. Take a picnic and spend some real time relaxing.

 


The Fairfield Horseshoe Round - Above Ambleside & Rydal

The Fairfield Horseshoe is one of the classic Lake District rounds - a splendid walk taking in all the peaks surrounding Rydal. The ridges are linked together with an ascent of Fairfield and offer fine high level walking with only the minimum up and down once their peaks have been gained. The views are stunning with the best the summit of Fairfield.

Most of the Lake District peaks are visible from the top and it's the perfect place to view Helvellyn. Weather Note – It is a large area, and the walk is best done in fine clear conditions, as if the weather closes in you can become disorientated – That apart, it’s a super walk, and who wants to walk in the rain or mist anyway - no views! The walk starts from Nook End Farm, up Nook Lane, just off the Kirkstone Pass 

 


Helm Crag - Near Grasmere

Everyone’s small mountain, and our first cilmb, some twenty five years ago on our first ever visit to Lakeland.

If you have driven from Ambleside to Keswick will have no doubt spotted the famous peak of Helm Crag's summit, known as the Lion & The Lamb, and more latterly by some as the Howitzer. Starting from Grasmere, it is an easy to moderate route. The ridge is set above stunning valleys, and its central location gives you great views to the higher mountains. The ridge walk is exhilarating and the Far Easedale Valley descent is wonderfully wild. An Os Map, a picnic, a camera to capture the view, and a friend to share the moment - perfect.

 


A packed lunch, and around the foot of Ullswater for the best walk ever.

This is the one walk everybody should do. The track starts from the southern basin of Ullswater, going all the way to Howtown. Your journey takes you through the most splendid fell and moorland, with a view of the serpentine lake always there to keep you company.

Take a camera for some stunning shots of yourself in a cracking setting. If you make it to Howtown, you can catch a launch back to Glenridding, a splendid way to finish the day - if not you will have to return the way you came.

PS. Check the boat times.  

 


There then are a few ideas for you to try. To get the most from you visit, do have a look at our Lakeland Guide Pages, the links to the many attractions, and of course explore the wider Internet for more wonderful areas and things to.