10 Reasons to Stay

10 Reasons to Stay With Us in Bampton

The Lowther valley, Mardale, Bampton and Bampton Grange – this is a beautiful area of Cumbria to come and stay a while. So we've put together a list of 10 reasons why you should come and spend a while with us at Bampton Shop and Tea Rooms – though this is just a sample and there are plenty more! We hope to see you soon…

1. The Walking

Step out the door of your room and you can take a lovely, low level walk without even having to get in the car. You can choose from an easy flat walk along the river; a gentle uphill wander to explore the open access land of the Howes; a circular walk that includes a pub; or a hike up to Knipe Scar and its great views across the villages and the valley.

Head a little further afield, to the village of Burnbanks, and walk up the hill behind it for fabulous views of Haweswater; or take an 

easy stroll around Naddle Woods. Continue along the side of the reservoir for a mile or two, and you'll find a steep walk up the eerily named Old Corpse Road; or go to the head of the reservoir and walk up to Smallwater for great views back along the lake.

For those who take (or would like to take) their walking a bit more seriously, there's some great hill and mountain walking here too – to rival any of the Lake District's more famous peaks. We've High Street, Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell and Kidsty Pike to name just a few. Pack a picnic (or we'll make you one!) and make a day of it. And of course we have our own mountain walking expert on hand, Graham Uney, who will be happy to advise and help, or can even be hired to guide you on your adventure. Visit grahamuneymountaineering.co.uk to find out more.

2. The Scenery

This is a beautiful part of the Lake District National Park, with the added advantage that it is a lot quieter than some of the more-talked-about areas. You can enjoy the stunning mountain scenery around Haweswater without a constant stream of other walkers and tourists spoiling your photos. Want to see some spectacular waterfalls? Why jostle the crowds at Aira Force, when a short walk up the Old Corpse Road takes you to Rowantreethwaite Gill, or there's the wonderfully named Hobgrumble Gill in Swindale. There are even smaller, tumbling waterfalls right here in the village! If it's woodland scenery you're after, head for the neighbouring village of Burnbanks (see No 6 History), where Naddle Wood is chock-a-block with bluebells in spring, and fascinating fungi in autumn. Knipe Scar, our very own 'peak', is worth the climb to find the limestone pavement, and to enjoy glorious views across both villages.

3. The Friendliness

Bampton and Bampton Grange are the friendliest villages in the Lakes! This is a truly lovely village community, where people say hello to you as you pass them on the pavement, and where you are guaranteed to strike up a conversation with locals and other visitors alike in the pub, or in the tea room. There are all sorts of events going on all year round, and visitors are always welcome to join in – including a monthly cinema night in the village hall during winter; sports days; raft races; duck races and more. Find out more at the village website – bamptonlakedistrict.org.uk

4. The Beer

This is a great area for microbreweries and good beer (and you’ll find a good selection in our shop!) Particular favourites of ours include Appleby Brewery, actually based in the village of Morland about five miles away. We love the humour with which brewer Fred has named his beers, including MidLife Crisis, Senior Moment and Middle Aged Spread. Importantly though, as well as being amusingly named his beers taste great! Eden Brewery, meanwhile, has become so popular that it recently outgrew its home at Brougham Hall, and had to move to bigger premises in Penrith. We don't hold that against them, though, not when they're providing us with beers such as Blonde Knight and Eden Gold. There are far too many local breweries to mention, so if you're an ale aficionado, why not come for a visit and explore some of the nearby pubs to discover some new brews?

5. The Breakfasts

We are frequently told that ours is the ‘best breakfast on the C2C (so far)!’ and we pride ourselves on using only the best local produce to create our renowned fry ups. Our ingredients include sausages and bacon from Low Howgill butchers in Appleby; free range eggs from the Lakes Egg Co; butter from Wintertarn Dairy (the only butter made in Cumbria, and just up the road at Newby); and jams and marmalades made by Jeannie at the Old Chapel here in Bampton. We also offer vegetarian alternatives, and soya milk and gluten free options.

6. The History

The story of the building of the Haweswater dam, the flooding of Mardale and the creation of the village of Burnbanks is a fascinating one. We have a number of books created by the local history society, telling these great stories – you can come and sit in the tea room and browse a copy, and if you decide you want to take one home, you can buy it in the shop! Then go and take a look for yourself at Burnbanks and the reservoir. We also have a number of old photographs of the village here in the shop, which make for fascinating viewing.

More recent history that has made Bampton famous was the filming of cult classic Withnail And I in the 1980s, starring Paul McGann and Richard E Grant. The red phone box still stands on the edge of the village, where you can add to the quotes and reminiscences in the visitor's book, while a walk at nearby Wet Sleddale will afford you views of Sleddale Hall, which stood in for Uncle Monty's cottage in the film.

Just up the road, of course, is Lowther Castle, a mighty building with a fascinating and colourful history of its own. Now roofless, the castle itself is being turned into a garden – it's a wonderful project, and well worth a look at any time of year. 

7. The Wildlife

Buzzards, kestrels, sparrowhawks, badgers, foxes, brown hares and, of course, red squirrels are some of the more exciting wildlife you can spot on a walk up on the Howes – or even on occasion, from a table outside the tea room! Take a stroll along the river and you stand a good chance of seeing a kingfisher and if you’re very lucky (and very quiet) you might even spot an otter. In nearby Martindale and Swindale, red deer can be seen grazing in herds on the hillside, or you might even be lucky enough to round a corner and spot one low down in the valley, as we have done from time to time!

8 The Local Produce

This area has some of the best local produce to try – we've already mentioned some things under No 5 The Breakfasts, and of course we've given the local beer a section all of its own. Among the other things you'll find as you browse in the shop are Jeannie's jams and chutneys (all handmade and much of it using produce from her kitchen garden); gluten free cakes from Fiends Fell Pantry; absolutely sublime honey from Jim Lowther (yes, of Lowther Castle fame); coffee and tea from Farrers of Kendal; gorgeous crumbly fudge from Wintertarn Dairy; toffee vodka from Kin Vodka; and fruit wines from High Cup winery (though these are becoming scarce now as the winemakers have retired). Great gifts (for yourself or others) can be created with tins of Kendal Mint Cake, cards by local artists and photographers, and luxurious toiletries from the Keswick Soap Co.

9. The Cake

Olivia's millionaire's shortbread is fast making a name for itself as one of the must-do things when coming to the Lake District. Her lemon drizzle cake is also extremely popular, and other specialities include banana and walnut cake, a rich and fruity tea loaf, and a sumptuous chocolate brownie. And don't forget Graham's very own Cumbrian crag cakes! We also offer lovely tray bakes from Tray Bakes of Penrith, including their Caramel Crispie, Honeycomb Crunch and Bakewell Slice, and we have gluten free cakes from Fiends Fell Pantry – very popular even with those who aren't allergic to gluten is the chocolate cake, served warm, with a melting chocolate topping.

10. To Meet Bert

Well, what more needs to be said? He is, without doubt, the best dog in the world, and he loves to meet all our visitors in the tea room and the shop. Plus, of course, if you have dogs of your own, you're very welcome to bring them to meet us and Bert too. We pride ourselves on being super dog friendly. Children, on the other hand, can be tied up outside the tea room. (OK, just joking…)
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