When my parents first told me that they were moving away from our hometown of York up to Penrith, Cumbria, I had a mixture of feelings.
I was elated for them and their new adventure and I knew it would be so amazing to visit them in one of my favourite places in the UK (The Lake District), but I also knew it meant that I would be seeing them significantly less.
However, since they moved last September, I’ve spent a good few weekends up there with them; exploring the local walks, trying out a few of the local restaurants, bars and cafes as well as learning a few things from the rest of my family that they love to do there.
With that in mind, I wanted to share my tips with you guys on the best things to do in Penrith, Cumbria.
What to do in Penrith
When I first visited Penrith, I was worried that it was an incredibly quaint and quiet market town; and I was absolutely correct. It is a very quiet town with little to do compared to some of the UK’s bigger towns and cities.
However, that’s not to say that it’s any less interesting or that there isn’t anything to do there. In fact, the slower pace of life actually appeals to me when I go up and visit on a weekend; I’m a thorough ‘big city girl’ at heart, but there’s something about the countryside and slower pace that Penrith offers that really is special.
I actually only recently experienced Penrith Beacon for myself last time I was staying at my parents’ house and I can definitely vouch for its impressive views and hiking trail.
Residing on top of Beacon Hill (which you’ll have to climb to reach the summit), Penrith Beacon sits proudly looking down on the town below.
Built in 1719, the monument is a true test of history to the town of Penrith and once you reach the top of the hill, not only will you get to experience the impressiveness of the Beacon, but also the surrounding views that seem to go on for miles.
The Rheged Centre
While I haven’t actually ever been to the Rheged Centre, I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things from my family about it.
Its name reminding me somewhat of a Targaryen character from Game of Thrones, the Rheged Centre is home to a 6-storey high cinema screen, numerous shops, cafes and a huge outdoor activity centre for both children and adults to enjoy.
It’s open all year round and is ideal for almost all weather conditions due to its indoor and outdoor facilities.
Penrith Leisure Centre
Located literally next door to my brother and sister’s school is Penrith Leisure Centre.
Home to an array of incredible facilities and activities, it’s a place that can be visited almost all year round.
From a 25 metre swimming pool, a fantastic gym equipped with many facilities, as well as a climbing wall and indoor bowling, the Penrith Leisure Centre makes for an excellent day out.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of Ullswater Lake to share with you, as when we went I was too in awe of the vast expanse of beautiful scenery that I forgot to even get my phone out!
The lake is the second largest in the Lake District, stretching for seven and a half miles long and boasts impressive views, both from the lakeside and from the middle of the lake itself.
There are a number of activities to take part in on the lake, including kayaking and canoeing; something which my family and I took part in last year; an activity that was truly one of my fondest memories of last year.
Ullswater Lake is such a beautiful sight to behold, and whether you enjoy moseying around the lake on a canoe, or you just admire the views from the cosy lakeside cafe, it’s definitely something that I’d recommend doing while in and around Penrith.
Lowther Castle is another place in Penrith that has been highly recommended to me by my family.
Equipped with dramatic castle ruins, an abundance of spectacular garden areas as well as an outdoor adventure playground, Lowther Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Penrith and Cumbria.
The Lowther family have lived within the grounds for over 850 years, so while it’s absolutely teeming with history, Lowther Castle is also home to a plethora of fun and intriguing activities for the whole family to enjoy.
I can’t wait for a day in the next few months where the weather is a little warmer so I can finally go and experience it for myself with my family.
Where to eat in Penrith
The adorable town of Penrith is home to dozens of pubs, cafes and quaint little eateries and during my visits there, I’ve been lucky enough to try out a few.
I’m starting this list of places to eat in Penrith with my most recent (and favourite) eatery discovery in Penrith.
When I headed up to my parents’ house last weekend, my mum and I spent the morning wandering around the town before stopping for lunch at a lovely cafe called Chapter 12.
Neither of us had ever been before and we were overwhelmed by the impressive menu, cake selection, as well as the most wonderfully welcoming and accommodating service I’d experienced in a very long time.
You all know by now just how much I adore brunch and the food that we ate at Chapter 12 was on a whole new level.
After perusing the menu and really struggling to choose just one thing each, my mum and I decided to order three dishes to share; the small full English breakfast, the garlic mushrooms with garlic toast and the pulled pork sandwich.
I’m a frequent eater of brunch but I can safely say that this food exceeded all my expectations; it was utterly divine. The hot chocolate that I also indulged in was incredibly decadent and luxurious. I would HIGHLY recommend paying a visit to Chapter 12 if you’re ever looking for a place to eat in Penrith.
North Lakes Hotel
While of course the North Lakes Hotel is first and foremost a hotel, it’s also home to an incredible restaurant and bar that can be used by non-residents of the hotel.
For my brother’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, we headed to the North Lakes Hotel for a meal and I was delighted to discover that the menu offered some of my absolute favourite dishes.
The interior of the hotel’s restaurant is absolutely stunning; with a vast array of tables on different levels, as well as an open fire grill where the chef cooks the likes of steaks and burgers right in front of you!
As I was still in the process of attempting Dry January, I opted for the raspberry lemonade mocktail which was unbelievably tasty and refreshing.
For starter, my mum and I shared the honey and mustard chipolatas which were so, so yummy and ridiculously moreish.
As for my main, I’m sure you can all guess what my first (and only) choice was; the signature steak served with thick cut chips, garlic and herb marinate and lashings of peppercorn sauce.
While the flavours of the steak were incredibly scrumptious, I can’t vouch for the quality of steak unfortunately; it was just a tad too fatty. However, I saw numerous other diners with the other offerings of steak and they all looked (and smelled) absolutely wonderful.
The rest of my family ate the likes of fish and chips (a huge success from my brother and grandma), the lamb shepherd’s pie (which I would highly recommend after trying my mum’s) and the salmon, king prawn and monkfish kebab that my dad tucked into.
We didn’t actually try out any of the desserts as we already had birthday cake waiting for us back at home but they all looked and sounded amazing!
The General Wolfe pub resides just a few doors down from the Chapter 12 cafe and makes for the perfect place to stop for a drink and a bite to eat.
We ate at the General Wolfe pub just before Christmas and the atmosphere was abundantly lively and the food was delicious.
I had a Christmas sandwich stuffed with the likes of turkey, bacon and stuffing. However, they also serve plenty of other pub grub dishes to indulge in.
Other things to do in Penrith
Of course, I haven’t really even began to scratch the surface of everything that Penrith has to offer, so here’s a few more ideas of the things that you (and I) can enjoy in Penrith!
- Penrith Castle
- Aira Force
- Hallin Fell
- Bird of Prey Centre
- Long Meg and her Daughters
- Lacy’s Caves
Have you ever been to Penrith, Cumbria? What’s your favourite place in the Lake District? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @imjustagirl_16.