Located about halfway between Lancaster and Kendal, the gateway to the Lake District, visitors to Priest Hutton can enjoy all the benefits of the countryside without the crowds found in holiday hotspots. Ivy Cottage is an ideal base for serious walkers, occasional ramblers and cyclists alike. There are easy country walks and cycle routes from your doorstep, and we also provide lots of maps and walking books to help guests plan excursions further afield. The obvious day-trip destination is the Lake District and its variety of world-renowned fells, but a popular alternative route is the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
A rather more sedate, and local, outing for bird lovers is a visit to RSPB Leighton Moss, home of the BBC’s ‘Autumnwatch’ until 2014, where you can observe birds from hides dotted all around the wetland reserve.
Within a few miles' drive there is an abundance of towns and villages just perfect for pottering. Don't miss the quaint market town of Kirkby Lonsdale, full of little independent shops and eateries, and the small seaside town of Arnside, overlooking Morecambe Bay, which, with neighbouring Silverdale, is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Alternatively, pop in to Carnforth Station Heritage Centre and see the exhibition about David Lean’s 1945 film ‘Brief Encounter’, which was filmed there.
The nearest Lake District resort is Bowness-on-Windermere, a bustling hub offering shopping, eateries and lake cruises. Bibliophiles will enjoy a visit to Sedburgh for its selection of second-hand bookshops, and just up the road from there Farfield Mill Arts & Heritage Centre is a must if you are in the area.
Country houses abound in this part of the world too. Leighton Hall, originally the home of the Lancashire Gillow (furniture makers) family, is just 5 miles away, and also nearby are Levens Hall, a stunning Elizabethan house with world-famous garden topiary, and medieval Sizergh Castle (NT). A little further afield, in Grange-over-Sands, is Holker Hall, home of the Cavendish family, which can easily be combined with a visit to Cartmel, equally famous for its Priory, the Whitsun weekend race meeting and its sticky toffee pudding!
Younger visitors might like to let off steam at Greenlands Farm Village (only a mile away) where there’s a soft play area, crazy golf and Open Farm, or see all kinds of animals up close and personal at The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis. More adventurous types would no doubt love the Go Ape high ropes course in the Grizedale Forest, where there’s also a sculpture trail.