Are you looking for things to do in Bassenthwaite with teens and tweens?
Like many families, we’ve decided to stay in the UK for holidays this year. No judgement if you chose differently, I just can’t quite get my head around airports and planes, just now.
Like many self-employed people I’m also a tiny bit completely broke, so we were definitely looking for affordable holiday ideas in the UK that would keep a teen occupied.
Things to do in Bassenthwaite with Teens
Thank the lord for my aunt and uncle, who own a row of three cottages just a 10-minute drive from Bassenthwaite, on the Northern edge of the Lake District. My aunt and uncle live in one of the cottages, my cousin and his family use one as a holiday home and the middle cottage is – empty!
So we were invited to spend a week in the cottage, which was perfectly cosy with gorgeous gardens, a wood burning stove and fresh produce from my aunt’s quite staggering vegetable patch, which includes pretty much every sort of fruit or vegetable you can imagine.
I wasn’t sure how entertained my teenager would be with a week in a quiet cottage in one of the rainiest parts of the UK. But it turns out there are loads of things to do in Bassenthwaite with teens and older children.
Get a Kayak or go for a Swim
One of my top recommendations if you’re looking for things to do in Bassenthwaite with teens is to GET ON THE WATER! We took both kayaks with us, and spent a gorgeous couple of days swimming and kayaking at Bassenthwaite Lake. The weather was mixed, but the water here isn’t overly cold.
Bassenthwaite is one of the more peaceful lakes in the Lake District, since no powered craft are allowed on the water. The lake is designated as a protected environment due to the flora and fauna, meaning it’s also really beautiful. It also means novice kayak types (like us) aren’t going to be toppled over by the wake from a passing speedboat, so it just makes for a really peaceful, relaxing day.
Parking at Bassenthwaite is different to other Lake District sites in that there are no car parks as such. Instead there are lay-bys down the Western side of the lake, giving access to specific sites. We recommend parking by Hursthole Point about two third down. This area is a little sheltered if it’s windy, and there are gorgeous green areas where you can sit for a picnic after having a swim.
We popped into nearby Keswick for supplies, the local Booths offers hot sandwiches and freshly made chips to take away, which we took back to the lake and ate on the shore.
You do need a permit to kayak at Bassenthwaite. They aren’t expensive and you can buy them online or at the Keswick Tourist Information Office, for a day, week, month or even a year at a time. Check out our post here for tips on which lakes in the Lake District are best for kayak and canoe trips. Or this post for tips on what to do on a short break in Ullswater.
Hire a Bike and Explore the Trails
Prefer to stay on dry land? Head into Keswick and you’ll find half a dozen retailers offering bike hire including mountain bikes and e-bikes. This site gives you a nice overview of bike trails around Bassenthwaite.
If you are cycling, do bear in mind the road to the West of the lake can get busy, with traffic moving at 50mph, so this is better for teens than younger, less confident riders.
Bassenthwaite is a short drive from Maryport, and it turns out my aunt and uncle’s next door neighbour keeps his 30 foot cruiser in the marina here. So mid-way through the week, we went on a cruise around the Solway Firth. We spotted dolphins and Flea learned how to navigate the boat. We were so lucky with the weather, it was a gorgeous day. We did sail up to look at the Scottish coast but you can’t land here yet, due to lockdown rules.
Have Fish and Chips at Sillith
Maryport isn’t the prettiest town but if you take a short drive down the coast to Sillith, there is a pretty green on the seafront where (in better times) there are fairs and village amusements of all sorts. There is also a traditional amusement arcade and fish and chip shop here. We bought fish and chips and ate them on the beach, having a fierce debate about whether mushy peas are the devil’s food, or a gift from the heavens.
Take to the Skies
Because I like nothing more than to worry about my baby’s wellbeing, I agreed when my uncle offered to take Flea up in his plane. I really, REALLY wasn’t sure about it. But I figured I can’t say I want Flea to have a life filled with interesting adventures if I’m going to let her miss out just because of my own fears.
My uncle flies light aircraft, and he took Flea up twice in this tiny little plane. Apparently they flew over the Lake District, then over the coast and up to Scotland. A few days later they went up again, and this time Flea remembered to take photos. Flea found the whole experience SO exciting, that I almost forgot that before takeoff the plane got stuck in a pothole and I had to help my uncle roll it towards the runway. Almost.
Flea shared this photo from the plane cockpit. Isn’t is amazing? If you fancy it, why not take a trip up in a gyrocopter, from around £145. Such a fun thing to do with teens or older kids!
Take a Trip to Derwentwater
From Bassenthwaite it’s a short run to Derwentwater and the pretty town of Keswick. We came down here at sunset, and there are lovely lawns just by the theatre on the lake here with amazing views over the lake and hills beyond. You can swim and kayak here, although do check as there are limited places where you are allowed to launch. If you don’t have your own kayak, Derwentwater is the place to be. You can hire canoes and kayaks and paddle boards, and take lessons here.
Watch the Sunset over Ancient Stones
If you want a truly spectacular sunset, head up to Castle Rigg Stones. This ancient stone circle is thought to be 4,500 years old and as the sun sets behind the mountains, the stones take on the most gorgeous golden colour and the views are honestly just breathtaking.
We took a flask of tea and just enjoyed the atmosphere, before the cold got a bit too much and we drove back into Keswick.
I think overall, it was a perfect week. It was lovely to spend time with my aunt and uncle, and we were so incredibly lucky to be given free accommodation at their cottage. Because we cooked for ourselves and had a lot of picnics, we only really spent about £100 on the whole week, mostly on fuel and the kayak permits. Big thanks to my Uncle David and Aunt Ingrid for a marvellous week away, and to the wonderful Dennis and Gail for taking us sailing.