Birkmere Barn and Cottages offers a 15-minute stroll into Greystoke Village, complete with traditional village shop. There’s a stables, too, and the sound of horses clip-clopping their way back from the gallops is one best enjoyed with a pint in hand outside The Boot and Shoe, a traditional Lakeland pub. The hardy will enjoy the heated outdoor pool, while Greystoke Castle’s deer park is open for country walks.
Walking is king here in the Eden Valley. Go further afield and take on the trek up to Aira Force waterfall then press on for a stiffer challenge up Gowbarrow Fell. The views over Ullswater make every step worth it. Reward yourself with a cuppa and a scone in the car park tea rooms.
Let your legs take you to Lacey’s Caves or to Long Meg and her Daughters, an ancient stone circle. With little climbing, it’s a walk that brings the generations together.
If the heavens open, take the car along the Kirkstone Pass from Patterdale to Ambleside, or try the Honister Pass. Get distracted along the way at the Honister Slate Mines with fast zip line or by a picnic at Aira Force.
Elsewhere, see both lake and landscape by Ullswater steamer, or trek the treetops, see the Bard’s old pad, munch proper gingerbread at Grasmere, see the sights by pony or watch the wildlife at Bassenthwaite.
If you need refreshment, pubs, restaurants and tea rooms are plentiful.
A cruise across Ullswater comes with kids’ club, complete with activities and child-friendly maps. On dry land, hours disappear at Crafty Monkeys in Penrith, a pottery palace where kids can mess around with pottery wheels, pottery painting, glass painting, mosaic making and plant-pot painting.
You can let your little monkeys Go Ape! at Whinlatter or enjoy pirate events, rafting, Swallows and Amazons, sailing and picnics at the Glenridding Activity Centre.
Around Coniston, there’s pony trekking, boating or biking. Younger ones can meet Postman Pat in Greendale or bring the world of Beatrix Potter alive in Bowness. Pack your wellies and build dams at Aira Force or ride the Laal Ratty narrow-gauge railway back to the steam age.
Steam your way around Ullswater and enjoy the best of both worlds: serene lake cruising and a walk up Helvellyn. Meanwhile, pony trekking will give you another perspective on the scenery, with panoramic views from Barton Fell.
Walking to Aira Force waterfall takes two hours, but they’re well spent, and well rewarded with the 65-foot drop surrounded by pretty woodland. Challenge yourself further with a march up to High Force or Gowbarrow Fell. Take your camera and snap a red squirrel.
Back down to earth, you can stare goggle-eyed at 3D films at Rheged at Penrith, raid Greystone House Farm for delicious local produce, fly falcons at the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre, and try a quirky workshop or two. Ever wanted to bake artisan bread or craft an English longbow?
Pubs are a great place to revive aching limbs: the Boot and Shoe Inn at Greystoke has great grub and a warm atmosphere. For more-sober refreshment, try the plethora of restaurants, tea rooms and coffee bars. For history buffs, houses, gardens, abbeys and castles appear at every turn.