14 March 2018
After a hearty breakfast at North Lakes Hotel and Spa, start your day by heading straight out on the 20 minute walk to the centre of Penrith. The first stop on your morning route will be the 14th century imposing remains of Penrith Castle. The castle is looked after by English Heritage and the condition of the remains allows you to appreciate its former grandeur. If you’re intrigued by historical facts and drama, this is the place for you with it once being occupied by Richard 3rd before he became King of England. Stellar pictures are guaranteed here so make sure to get a couple of snaps before heading to the town centre.
Penrith’s traditional town square is an excellent stop for any visitor; full of independent shops and boutique cafes. The Penrith Clocktower is the central piece of the square. With its gothic look, it’s a great opportunity for another photo. Don’t forget to visit St Andrew’s Church and the Penrith Museum as stop-offs on your morning of discovery. All these sights are nearby, making the town centre a great starting point.
The start of March means the beginning of market season, and the start-up of the Penrith Farmers’ Market which is held on the third Thursday of every month until the end of December. If you’re looking for seasonal produce, local specialities or original Lake District crafts, this is the market for you. There’s a mixture of first time traders, local regulars and award winning producers all happy to discuss where they grow their produce or make their crafts. It’s a fantastic traditional market to experience, and with its location right in the heart of the town, it’s accessible for all.
After all that exploring it’ll be time for a break, so feed your hunger with a sweet treat or warm savoury snack from one of the local cafes to get you ready for the next part of the itinerary, the walk to Penrith Beacon. This recognised AA route will provide you with stunning panoramic views at the top, making it the perfect way to end your morning. The straight walk up Fell Lane makes the route one of the most accessible and straightforward to follow with the entrance to the climb at the top on Beacon Edge. Along the way you’ll be able to spot the feature buildings such as Potter’s Lodge with its gorgeous Georgian architecture or Caroline Cottage and its gothic design.
We’d recommend giving yourself 30 to 40 minutes to complete both the climb and descent. At the top of the 937 feet elevation, the Beacon monument of 1719 awaits, but that's not all, as you'll have the added reward of spectacular views of the Lake District Fells. If you’re lucky and look towards the Solway Firth, you might see the mountains of Scotland, which is an epic sight to behold on a clear day. Try and get to the top of the trail for around midday for the optimum conditions to have the perfect view.
Head back to North Lakes Hotel and Spa to enjoy a scrumptious lunch at the restaurant and bar. Choose from a varied menu, designed with fantastic local produce and care. It’s the perfect stop before your afternoon out and about. If a slower paced afternoon is more your style, then the ideal option for you is the Ullswater Steamers. Drive the ten minute route from North Lakes to Pooley Bridge, park up and head down to the pier to set sail on this iconic transport. Being the second longest lake in the Lake District, there are plenty of opportunities to jump off at different spots along the lake and explore; Howtown and Glenridding are amongst the most popular.
The boat journey to Glenridding stretches the full length of Ullswater, so sit back and take in the beautiful scenery. Stretch your legs upon arrival and wander around the former mining village before boarding the boat for the tranquil route back. If you're after a shorter trip on the water, Howtown is an excellent option. Gateway to the Martindale Valley, Howtown is host to one of the oldest red deer forests so if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of one of the only red deer herds in the UK – a magical experience!
On the trip back, why not try and keep an eye out for daffodils on the west shore which start to appear throughout March. After you’ve finished exploring beautiful Ullswater, you’ll be ready for your evening at North Lakes Hotel and Spa. With a warm welcome to look forward to, it’s the ultimate end to a fantastic day.
After a good night’s sleep, you’ll be ready for your last trip out to end your 24hr stay in style. Drive the short six minute journey to the Dalemain Estate where on weekday mornings you’ll find a fleet of hot air balloons, ready to take you on a journey into the skies. If you want to try something new, then this is the spectacular activity for you.
The balloon ride itself is around one hour long and will offer you plenty of time to take in the views and get some amazing photos from your floating vantage point. A traditional champagne toast awaits you when you land to cap off your memorable trip in style but don’t panic when you land in an entirely different location to where you set off! Included in the package is a retrieval service to take you back to your take off-site at Dalemain Estate. Air ballooning is a weather dependent activity but with the flying season starting in March, it’s the perfect time to take to the sky in 2018!
After touching down, and with your feet back on solid ground, you’ll be ready to say goodbye to Penrith. This itinerary offers a great introduction to the area; we’ve given you lots to experience, but if you can’t fit it all into the short 24 hours, it gives you a great reason to return!
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