Three reasons you should visit Borrowdale

So many have dreams of visiting the Lake District, and with the varied and dramatic landscape, it’s easy to see why. However, the vastness can seem intimidating to the first time visitor, so we’ve gathered a few facts about one of our favourite places to help you along.

1. There are lots of historic activities

Long a haunt of lovers of history, Borrowdale features a remarkable amount of important historic sites. Perhaps the most famous is the visually striking and continuously impressive Castlerigg Stone Circle, the Neolithic monument blanketed in mystery and regarded as a major prehistoric landmark around the world.

The Lake District has also played a major part in the country’s literary history, with writers and artists such as Beatrix Potter drawn to its magic and inspired by its dramatic landscapes.

2. It’s destined to be a major Star Wars attraction

Filming for the latest Star Wars film took place in the summer of 2014, and continued until December. It’s well known that the popularity of Game of Thrones boosted tourism in Northern Ireland; the same can be expected in the Lake District after the release of the highly anticipated Star Wars film. Seeing the area’s natural landscape for yourself before the rush is an absolute must.

3. England’s highest peak is yours for the conquering

For those searching for adventure, there’s surely no greater challenge in England than Scafell Pike, the beautiful 978 metre tall mountain nearby, and one of the three British peaks climbed as part of the National Three Peak Challenge. Situated in a dramatic horseshoe of stunning fells, the mountain is perfectly situated for visitors to Borrowdale who are eager to try their hand at climbing.

Why not make the most of your trip and stay over with us here at The Borrowdale Gates for a truly wonderful experience.

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Bringing your classic car rally to the Lake District

With its stunning scenery and amazing driving routes, the Lake District is a fantastic place to give your prized vintage motor a good run, and to fully enjoy the experience of driving such a beautiful machine. It’s also a great location for classic car rallies, with access from all areas of the country and a stunning backdrop to show off your vehicle properly.

Borrowdale Gates is a 4 star hotel in Keswick, in the heart of the Lake District, and we welcome your motoring event to our superb venue. We offer a great range of facilities including catering and accommodation, and our grounds and car park are both spacious and secure. Stay with us for the weekend, or host a single day event – we’re very flexible and here to accommodate your needs. If you’re looking to hold an event for vintage motor owners and you need a location, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

From Aston Martins and Jaguars to Bentleys and Rolls Royces, any vehicle will be at home on Cumbria’s amazing driving stretches. Bring your classic cars out of the city and push their performance to the max with drives along the Lake District’s country roads, through National Park land. No matter what you drive, you’re sure to find a trail you’ll love when you visit. Looking to get some shots of classic cars in a rural location? There are lots of local spots that are perfect for vehicle photography – we’ll be happy to advise.

Borrowdale Gates Driving Route

Location: The Bowder Stone car park

Famous glacial erratic stone which is about 30 feet high and estimated to be 2000 tons in weight.

Continue on to Rosthwaite village where there is a small National Trust pay and display car park. This is great walking country and the village also has some good refreshment stops.

Back on the B5289 through Rosthwaite, continue approx. 0.5 miles to the left turn for Stonethwaite which is a short way down the minor dead end road.

Quaint village in lovely setting

Return to the B5289 and turn left. After approx. 1 mile there is a left turn to the hamlet of Seathwaite which can be found approx. 1 mile along the dead end road.

Tiny hamlet of Seathwaite is enclosed by some impressive peaks. The rain gauge shows this to be the wettest inhabited place in England and holds some impressive records for rainfall totals. During the November 2009 flood, 316mm of rain was recorded here in 24hrs, a UK record. Graphite was discovered in the valley in the 16th century and this was eventually mined and used at the original Pencil Factory in Keswick.

Go back to the B5289 and turn left and then enter village of Seatoller, which is another attractive small village which is mainly used as a centre for walking. This marks the end of the Borrowdale valley before the road climbs steeply up the Honister Pass.

The road quickly becomes narrow and very steep for almost a mile until the gradient eases and there is another 0.5 mile steady climb before the summit of Honister Pass at 356m.

Honister Slate Mine is at the summit where this famous old mine is still producing slate today, with plenty of visitor attractions, including gift shop, showroom, café and mine tours. The mine is open all year apart from early January.

Go over the summit and start descending towards Buttermere. Again steep and narrow, the road is hemmed in by some very impressive peaks but soon descends to the more open valley floor and follows the pleasing river along Gatesgarthdale.

Often used in car adverts

Continue along the B5289 which soon follows the shore of Buttermere lake and after roughly 2 miles, you reach Buttermere village in a postcard setting setting between Buttermere lake and Crummock Water. The village has a couple of notable refreshment stops and it is worth taking the half mile walk to either lake to admire the views.

From Buttermere, turn right to retrace your steps for a very short distance on the B5289. The Newlands Pass road junction is up the short steep hill, just past the small attractive church on the left. Take the Newlands road which climbs quite steeply away from Buttermere. The road is a little narrow and steep in places but well made and the climb to Newlands Pass is quite straightforward.
The summit of the Pass is known as Newlands Hause and at 333m altitude it provides a good place to park and admire the views. A short distance to the south can be seen the impressive Moss Beck waterfall.

From Newlands Hause, the descent is long and steady down Newlands valley. This is a lovely valley, the birth place of Mrs Tiggy Wingle (re Beatrix Potter) towards Braithwaite Village, a relatively quiet village set at the foot of some impressive hills, just off the main A66 road.

Leave Braithwaite on the B5292 towards Keswick and shortly meet the main A66. Turn right towards Keswick. After approx. 1 mile, turn right on the B5289 and after 1 more mile, this road approaches the centre of Keswick.

A little way out of the town centre, this area next to Derwent Water, where you can explore the lake either by boat or the footpath which runs right around the lake. It is definitely worth walking the short distance to Friar’s Crag which offers beautiful views down the lake. The popular Theatre by the Lake is also here which has its own facilities.

Return to the B5289 roundabout and turn right then shortly right again at the next roundabout towards Borrowdale. Continue for approx. 1 mile to Great Wood car park on the left.

Directly across the road from Great Wood car park, a short footpath leads to the picturesque Calfclose Bay with a lake shore footpath and shingle beaches.

Continue along the B5289 towards Borrowdale. The road follows the lake and after approx. 0.5 miles there is a left turn signposted to Ashness Bridge and Watendlath. If you take this left, the dead end road is single track with passing places, steep and windy in places but the attractions along this road are well worth visiting. Continue up hill for approx. 0.5 miles to Ashness Bridge.

Ashness Bridge is a famous old packhorse bridge with an open riverbank area upstream from where you can admire one of the most photographed views in the Lakes.

Continue up the minor road towards Watendlath to a car park for Surprise View.
The surprise might be that Derwent Water is hidden from the road by trees until you reach this point so the view is quite unexpected. Beware of steep drops from viewpoint.

The minor road continues to wind up through the trees but shortly becomes more level and leaves the trees behind to pass along the scenic valley floor. Eventually, the hamlet of Watendlath is reached.

Watendlath is a picturesque hamlet and tarn owned by the National Trust and located at the head of a remote high valley.

Retrace your steps all the way back down the Watendlath road to the B5289 Borrowdale Road and turn left towards Borrowdale.

Continue on to Kettlewell Car Park if you want to see the Lodore Falls waterfall. The falls are where Watendlath Beck cascades down to the lake from the high valley above.

Back on the B5289, continue along the road for a short distance before it comes alongside the River Derwent on the right and you see a double arched bridge over the river. Cross this bridge to enter the village of Grange in Borrowdale and back to the Borrowdale Gates Hotel.

Pop in for a drink

Why not pop in for a drink and see what the Borrowdale Gates Hotel has to offer.

Fresh air and fine food in the Lake District

With its beautiful patchwork of lakes, mountains, fells and woodlands, the Lake District is a fantastic place to get out into the fresh air. The scenery is stunning, and it is no wonder people visit from all over the world to enjoy walking, climbing and cycling in the National Park.

Dining excellence

However, a day outdoors does work up an appetite, and for those who want to not just eat well, but enjoy the best of what the Lake District has to offer, a night or two at a four star hotel with an AA Rosette restaurant is just the ticket.

At the Borrowdale Gates Hotel in Keswick, the best that Cumbrian cuisine has to offer is teamed with culinary excellence. Guests will sample locally sourced treats such as Borrowdale fish, Herdwick lamb, Highgate turkey and Peaks fine meats. Even the cheese, milk and oils are from Cumbria.

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A breath of fresh air

While staying in the Lake District, there are some fantastic places to visit and this includes the newly opened Lakes Distillery next to Bassenthwaite Lake, which is on the site of a renovated 1850s Victorian model farm. But for those who want to rest their feet while still getting out and about, there are many driving routes that take in some of the delights of the Lake District. Have a look at Lake District Drives for some fantastic routes. A number of them are in the Keswick area and allow drivers to see local highlights including Derwent Water, Kirkstone Pass and Newlands Valley.

Borrowdale and Castle Crag Fell Walk

Here are the Borrowdale Gates hotel, our location makes us the perfect choice for fell walkers. When you step outside the hotel you are in the heart of the national park and there are many walks to discover and challenge.

Castle Crag Fell Walk

Rosthwaite to Castle Crag Walk

In the middle of Borrowdale is Castle Crag. From its summit you can view up and down the valley and take in the spectacular views that are on offer. From its flanks you can experience the intimacy of the surrounding woods and river banks. Castle Crag is a rather small, perfectly formed little peak, a walk round and up it is a unique experience in the Lake District as no other valley in the area has a similar feature.

Essentially a low level walk but the ground is rough in parts and shelter can take time to get to so dress for higher fells.

  • Grade: Time / Effort 1, Navigation 2, Technicality 2
  • Start/Finish: Rosthwaite, GR NY257148 – parking at Rosthwaite or bus service from Keswick to Rosthwaite.
  • Distance: 3.7 miles (6km)
  • Time: 2 hours height gain 263m
  • Superwalker: (1:25.000) Lakeland West, British Mountain Maps Lake District (1:40.000).


1. Turn right out of the car park and head along the lane to the River Derwent. Follow the path to New Bridge. Cross the bridge and follow the path into the woodland. The path leaves the river and climbs steadily through the trees. After 1km you will reach a junction with a bridleway.

2. Follow the stony bridleway as it climbs for 600m until just past the foot of the crags of Castle Crag to a steep path on the left.

3. Follow this path to a ladder stile. Continue along the path as it climbs to a col then as it zig-zags north to the summit of Castle Crag – take care near the quarry edges.

4. Back-track to the col then take the path that leads down to the side of the River Derwent. Join the path and follow it to New Bridge. Cross the bridge then retrace your steps back to Rosthwaite.

Come and discover this wonderful fell walk that will take your breath away. Remember to bring a camera, your photos will be a fantastic way to keep this special day in the forefront of your mind.

Personal Walking Instructor

If you would like a walking instructor, we can arrange for Mandy Granville from “Women Rock” to come to the hotel to show you what we have to offer here in the Lake District.

Book Your Stay With Us

Make the most of your trip to the Lakes by staying over with us in our luxury 4 Star hotel, set in the tranquil, stunning scenery of the Borrowdale Valley. We look forward to your visit.

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Head from Borrowdale Gates to Bassenthwaite for great local spirits

While the Lake District is known for its relaxing holidays and hiking, cycling and golf breaks, there is always something new happening in the area. By Bassenthwaite Lake – under a half hour drive from Borrowdale Gates – you’ll find a brand new distillery producing local malt whisky, gin and vodka under the name of The Lakes Distillery.

The Lakes Distillery

Lakes Distillery Logo

The Lakes Distillery opened its doors to the public in December 2014, meaning that we now have England’s largest distillery on our doorstep. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for something to break up your commune with nature, and it’s also a great place to buy a souvenir to take home.

Those who choose to visit the Lakes Distillery will begin their tour in the Visitor Centre, where they will learn how the Lakes Vodka, Lakes Gin and Lakes Whisky are made. A cinematic feature will tell the story of the drinks from start (water from the Derwent) to finish, and will include tales of smugglers and distillers along the way. Visitors will also be able to see the whiskey maturing in the distillery’s warehouse, and will conclude their tour with a trip to the Tasting Room, where they can take part in a tutored tasting of the drinks that the distillery produces.

Here in the Lake District, we’re surrounded by fantastic food and drink producers – many of whom we work with to supply our AA Rosette restaurant. We’re always happy to see more great local businesses opening, and wish the Lakes Distillery every success!