Activities and services
We think that Hartsop is the Lake District’s most beautiful village: it is certainly one of its best kept secrets. Perched in the rising valley up to High Street, some two miles south of Ullswater, the mellow 17th and 18th century stone buildings and dry stone walls of the twenty or so farmsteads and miners cottages that make up Hartsop have remained remarkably unchanged over the years.
Hartsop has a perfect location, just far enough off the beaten track at the end of the lane (no street lights, nightlife or souvenir shops), but within easy reach of local village pubs and shops, the lovely towns of Ambleside and Windermere, the more extensive facilities of Penrith, and the extraordinary natural landscape all around.
Hartsop is one of the best places to be based for outdoor activities. Many wonderful walks from the front door take you up onto the high fells, or there are several easier walks to suit young children. You can walk every day on a different route from the front door without ever getting in the car. The variety is almost limitless, from lakeside strolls to airy scrambles along ridges, so walking can be tuned to weather conditions without wasting a day outdoors. There is an excellent, very detailed weather forecast for the surrounding hills.
Ullswater is great for sailing and kayaking, with a sailing/kayaking centre that welcomes visitors and offers RYA courses for children and adult learners, and delightful steamer cruises. It is lovely to take the steamer from Glenridding to Howtown, and walk back on the paths along the south shore of the lake where there is no road. Road cycling is increasingly popular. Again, for those who don’t fancy the climb over Kirkstone Pass, a great cycle ride is to go round Ullswater via Pooley Bridge to Howtown, and get the steamer home to Glenridding.
Unusually for old farmhouses in the Lake District, Thomas Grove has large south facing windows, low cills, and window seats, so gazing out by the fireside at the dramatic panoramic views of the hills and the approaching weather is also a tempting option.
The Brotherswater Inn is an easy 20 minute walk over the fields and along the lake shore or along the road, the nearby villages of Patterdale and Glenridding are good for village shopping and pub food, while Ambleside and Windermere are within easy driving distance for entertainment or stocking up. Sainsbury’s and Asda will deliver an internet shop to Hartsop, while Windermere has the very popular supermarket Booth’s, who specialise in carefully sourced local produce from the north of England.
There are historic houses nearby: Townend in Troutbeck, Dalemain on the north shore of Ullswater, Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in Grasmere, and Beatrix Potter’s home, Hill Top near Hawkshead. There are independent cinemas in Ambleside and Windermere, and a theatre in Keswick.