Location and Things to Do
“Elterwater is at the heart of the Lake District”
With stunning scenery all around us, and the conveniently central nature of our location, whatever your reason for visiting the lakes, Elterwater provides an ideal base from which to experience all that Lakeland has to offer.
With endless excellent hiking and cycling options from the doorstep, and top climbing opportunities nearby, Elterwater is certainly perfect for the adventurous visitor. There are also plenty of gentler options with numerous low level walks and gentle strolls from the hostel.
Nearby, Ambleside and Grasmere offer a variety of cultural attractions, including the Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth museums, as well as many restaurants and cafés. Similarly, Elterwater itself is home to one of England’s best old pubs, The Britannia Inn , with an ever-changing selection of locally brewed ales and a hugely popular menu.
Our knowledgeable staff will be delighted to help you plan your stay with us and can recommend an array of hiking and cycling routes, as well as other local attractions and activities, to suit your interests, abilities and budget.
Hiking and Walks
Described by the Wainwright Society as “a perfect base for fellwalking, with so many notable fells in the vicinity”, Elterwater is surrounded by walks and hikes for all abilities. When you arrive, ask us for recommendations based on your experience, ability and current local conditions. If you’re looking for ideas before you arrive, we’ve partnered with walklakes.co.uk to start you off with some walking ideas.
With an abundance of trails and tracks for the mountain bikers, and plenty of thigh burning passes for the tarmac lovers, you won’t be disappointed with the cycling options from Elterwater. As with hikes and walks, our staff are well placed to point you in the direction of a good route to match your ability and you preferences. In addition, Pedal North have a good selection of Lake District routes, and will be adding a number of routes from Elterwater soon. For those without their own, bikes can be hired from Coniston Bike Hire.
For longer, multi day hikes and cycles, The Sherpa Van will transport your bags from hostel to hostel at a very good price, freeing you up to carry just what you need for your day in on the trail!
History and Culture
Our corner of Lakeland is blessed with a strong literary history, having been home to both William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. Wordsworth lived at both Rydal Mount and Allan Bank. Rydal Mount contains many of the poets possessions and first editions of his works. In addition, the gardens, as designed by Wordsworth himself, are well worth a visit. Allan Bank, rescued from the ravages of fire in 2011, was also home to National Trust founder Canon Rawnsley. Now partially restored and undecorated, the house offers you the opportunity to see and touch the many layers of this home’s fascinating history – Wordsworth described it as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”.
Beatrix Potter, author of the Peter Rabbit stories, loved Hill Top and based many of her stories there. The National Trust owned property remains very much as she left it and “appears as if Beatrix had just stepped out for a walk”. The World of Beatrix Potter attraction allows children (young and old) to immerse themselves in some of literature’s best loved children’s stories and characters.
Away from literature, but well worth a visit are:
- Ambleside Roman Fort – The well-marked remains of a 2nd-century fort with large granaries, probably built under Hadrian’s rule to guard the Roman road from Brougham to Ravenglass and act as a supply base. Managed by the National Trust.
- The Ruskin Museum – An award-winning Cabinet of Curiosities which tells the Story of Coniston, and has been described by Rough Guides as “The most thought-provoking [museum] in the Lakes”, for its telling of The Story of Coniston from the first Stone Age fell-walkers, who made and traded stone axes, to the Jet Era when the 1950s speed ace Donald Campbell used Coniston Water as Bluebird K7’s race-track.
Activity and Adventure
There are activities for young and old all across Lakeland. Why not hire a boat on Consiton, pack a picnic, and find your own secluded bay, or Island on the Water that inspired Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons adventures. For the more adventurous, why not try a guided ghyll scramble, or other family activity with Highpoint Mountain guides.
Alternatively, visit one of Lakeland’s wildlife hotspots or perhaps the Lake District Osprey Project, which has an interesting exhibition on these rare birds with HD cameras in their nests, as well as a number of viewpoints.
The Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole has a range of exhibitions and activities to keep the kids entertained. While the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway takes in some of the Lake Districts most stunning scenes from the comfort of a train carriage.
Food and Drink
Elterwater itself is home to the Britannia Inn, one of Lakeland’s finest pubs (in our humble opinion), as well as the Eltermere Inn, both of which offer fantastic food and drink options. Further afield, Ambleside has a mouth watering selection of eateries to suit any budget.
For beer, we’re surrounded by fantastic pubs, with too many to name, but Hawksead Brewery offer brewery tours, while Conisiton Brewing Company has an on site pub offering award winning Ales straight from the brewery!
Historic Houses and Gardens
Nearby Holehird Gardens is a 17 acre hillside garden including a great variety of planting – specimen trees and shrubs, extensive rock and heather gardens, a walled garden, alpine houses and herbaceous borders. Meanwhile, Blackwell, a masterpiece of twentieth-century design, is one of Britain’s finest Arts and Crafts historic houses and makes for a fascinating day out, with regular events and exhibitions.
For more ideas check out our What’s On? page, which we keep updated with upcoming events, shows, races and other ideas for your stay.