With over ten years of experience within the travel industry, Carl enjoyed positions both in the UK and overseas before joining the team at Cumbrian Cottages. Now the regional manager at the Keswick Office, he has a unique insight into the draws and delights of the area.
Living in the quaint village of Little Bampton, Carl devotes the majority of his spare time to exploring the great outdoors. Here, he shares his top tips on some of the best things to do locally:
What’s your favourite thing about living and working in this area?
Without a doubt, my favourite thing about Keswick is the friendliness of the locals. The people who live in the area are so easy going and eager to please that you can’t help but feel at home. This welcome extends to pets as well. Cumbria is a brilliantly pet friendly destination and the range of outdoor activities that you can get your dog involved with means that you don’t have to worry about being restricted while you’re away.
If someone is looking for an action-packed holiday, what are the best activities to try in the area?
Cumbria is great for travellers who are on the lookout for a bit of exercise or a burst of adrenaline. Of course, many of the visitors to the Lake District will be eager to get out on the water and one of the more popular activities in recent years has been paddle boarding. I would recommend going to Lake Derwent for this. Alternatively, if you want a more extreme activity, you can try paragliding and get a bird’s eye view of the landscape!
If people are travelling with children, which attractions would you recommend?
The Go Ape in Whinlatter Forest is a real favourite with those travelling with kids, offering the chance to walk, jump and swing through the trees, as well as a forest Segway adventure. However, there’s also a number of family attractions that are more specific to Cumbria. The centre at Brockhole offers treetop treks in addition to archery, mini golf, pony rides and boat hire on Lake Windermere. There’s an onsite café for when the little ones need to recharge and it’s always worth checking out the packed events calendar!
Where’s best to go for culture vultures?
History lovers are certainly well catered for in Cumbria. My personal favourite, Carlisle Castle is over 900 years old and its position near the border between England and Scotland has contributed towards a turbulent and interesting past. There’s plenty to see and do while exploring the impressive grounds but make sure to visit Queen Mary’s Tower, where Mary Queen of Scots was held at the order of Elizabeth I. Alternatively, Keswick Museum is an award winning attraction, with collections of local artefacts, literature and fine art. A particular favourite with kids, is the ‘extremely dead cat’ – an impressively well preserved, mummified cat!
What’s your favourite place for local food?
I find it very hard to choose between all of the little delis in the centre of Keswick, so I’d recommend going to as many as possible! If I had to pick a favourite, I’d say The Wild Strawberry Café because their cakes are brilliant!
Are there any must-try local pubs or breweries?
Not being a drinker myself, this isn’t my strongest area of expertise, but everyone knows that the Lake District is home to some of the best pubs in the country. One of the most popular local pubs is The George; the building dates back to the 17th century and has a traditional, beamed interior with a roaring fire. If you like your spirits, then The Lakes Distillery has built a very strong reputation for itself. Their tours are certainly comprehensive, taking guests on a 25-mile journey from the source of the river Derwent and tracing the journey to the distillery rooms where the whisky, gin and vodka is produced.
Do you have a favourite scenic spot?
My favourite view in the whole region is from the top of Latrigg. It is one of the lowest fells in the Lake District, with wooded areas, and it is a relatively gentle climb. For me, the views over Keswick and the Borrowdale valley at sunset is almost unbeatable!