A guide to 48 hours in the Lake District; where to eat, sleep and run.
Not being from the Lake District I wanted to make sure that I made the most of my time there. My to- do list was simple: 1) Get amongst the landscape. 2) Eat the best food around. 3) Run.
If this sounds like your sort of thing then you are reading the perfect guide to the Keswick area.
Let’s start with SLEEP. Not my usual choice of a starting point but as a pretty key factor in booking a trip away it seems a sensible move.
Two guest houses come highly recommended, neither can I say a bad word about. Tip 1 for booking this trip for yourself stay in either; both if you can!
Let’s start with Seven Oaks; run by the ‘team extreme’ of getting active in the Lake District, husband and wife duo Iain and Sue are a priceless font of knowledge whatever style of outdoor pursuit you are looking for. Based in a traditional Victorian style building just moments’ walk from the centre this property couldn’t get more accessible for days of walking and evenings of socialising. The rooms here are stunning, spacious and modern, Wi-Fi, teas and coffees, bottled water, biscuits you name it, it has it! They even own their own holiday cottage ‘Millside Cottage’ so if you prefer your own family space check it out.
You can see why Seven Oaks has won Trip Advisor awards, nothing is too much trouble and no detail has been spared. The breakfasts alone are worth an award in my book; pancakes, full English (that really should be full Cumbrian as both the bacon and sausages are sourced locally), fresh fruit, homemade muesli EVEN a daily smoothie!! What a better way to start your day!
Now let me introduce to you Sandburne Vegetarian Guest House. The former house of the founder of not only the Vegan society but also the word ‘Vegan’ itself. This whole property is stunning, apologies for this sounding like a Rightmove advert and if they do decide to sell you will have to get in line! But this is a property in a huge plot, set back from the road that opens out to the stunning back drop of the mountains. From inside, windows frame the view in to works of art. Warm cosy sitting rooms with wood burning stoves and an almost library of local books, walks and sights welcome you after a day in the hills.
As a true foodie breakfast is an easy way to my heart and just like Seven Oaks these are not to be missed. Not being vegetarian nor vegan myself I understandably am used to meat taking the main stage, but here you’ll forget there isn’t any on the plate. Piles of pancakes, granola, fruit, the best balsamic mushrooms you will have ever tasted and vegetarian haggis! All awesome!
So you’ve eaten your body weight in breakfast which means you have lots of energy to fuel your runs and I have two stunners to keep your training topped up whilst you are away from home.
Being from the Peak District I am used to the fells, the ankle rolling footpaths, climbing over stiles and the multi-tasking of simultaneous map reading and running. If this doesn’t sound like your normal day to day run then please do make sure you are fully prepared before setting off. So vital is this I’ve made it my all important Tip 2: Set yourself a ‘taster section’ a small first part that lets you decide if you are feeling strong and therefore can carry on or perhaps it would be sensible to head back. Plan this stop before setting off and make it at a road junction so you can have an easier trip back in rather than getting stuck in a potentially dangerous situation. Running in glorious mountains such as the lakes is an opportunity not to be missed and are some of the most memorable I have done to date, but this terrain needs to be respected, it will not help you out, it will rain and it will get so foggy you cannot see even in mid-August. Be prepared and if in doubt head back.
Recky run – After a long drive up north I used this run as a bit of a leg stretcher as well as the chance to check out where I would be staying and to get my bearings for the next day. I find running around a new area something really unique and exciting. It can obviously only be done once but it is the only time that everything about it is new, you forget how much your legs hurt or how hard you are breathing as you are engrossed in looking around. You can’t be ‘not looking forward to that hill at the end’ as you didn’t know it was coming. When I go to a new place ill always do a rekey run to get ideas for the next days of training.
Skiddaw – Think of the Lake District, think of Skiddaw. Or at least I do, I did my DofE gold practice in the Lakes as a 17 year old and being little versions of who we are now we made it our aim to hit as many peaks as we could. I knew for this trip I needed to hit some trig points again.
For this route I took a walk to Derwent water and then on to Braithwaite as a decent warm up. It was a tough run but paid off being warm from the start, last thing I wanted was tight calves on the uphill.
After all those miles you are going to need some fuel inside of you, I am a huge fan of all food and often can be found munching as a walk along as well as always have snacks to hand.
My final tip Tip3: YOU MUST TRY ALL 4 OF THESE PLACES!
- Mrs F’s Fine Food Emporium: Does exactly what it says on the tin but also a brilliant little find as these guys will fill your water bottles for you if you are running low. How lovely!
- Laura in the Lakes: As it says on their menu ‘the biggest scones you have ever seen’ pop in here for a little afternoon pick me up, slather on the clotted cream and jam and enjoy.
- Java Coffee Shop: This place is a real gem, you can’t miss it, just look for the massive chocolate fountain in the window. Head in and you’ll find there is so much to choose from, the cakes here are superb but if you are feeling you want something lighter go for one of their veg smoothies. All made in front of you to order, choose from their menu or freestyle and DIY.
- Jasper’s: Lastly but not at all least my new favourite place. Named after two lovely little dogs, (who were also visiting when I was!) This dog friendly café has hit the nail on the head. In the time we were in Keswick we couldn’t help but eat there twice. These guys do the biggest sausage rolls ever and they are delicious, a real hunk of sausage meat in fluffy homemade pastry. Not to be missed.
So that’s that, the lakes in 48. I hope you have as much fun exploring these places and trying all that’s on offer as I did.
Happy running…and of course cake re-fuelling.