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Penrith in Cumbria is ripe with historic monuments and fantastic walks. Penrith Castle, which still stands today, serves as a statement of the town’s culture and history. Plus, it’s just an hour and 40 minutes from Manchester and only 50 minutes from Preston.
The bus station is just a 10-minute walk from Penrith train station for onward travel across the district – go here for timetables. For local travel, there is a taxi rank at the station entrance.
Penrith Castle is directly opposite the train station. This medieval battlement defended the region against regular Scottish raids in the 15th century. A few miles out of town you’ll find Lacy’s Chambers. These 5 chambers in the cliff over the River Eden were named after a Colonel Lacy who used them to entertain guests. Just over a mile from Penrith centre is Mayburgh Henge, which contains a standing stone enclosed by man-made banks dating back 3,000 years. Across the road, 400 metres away, is King Arthur’s Round Table, a Neolithic henge.
On the way to Ullswater is The Horse and Farrier, an old inn that serves filling food for people wandering through this amazing scenery. For those who come to Penrith looking for a friendly Peruvian welcome, you’re in luck. The Llama Karma Kafe is a boutique hotel, cafe and activity centre where you can take the children on a llama tour and then fill up on lovely grub. The Sportsman Inn is a dog-friendly pub that does bar and restaurant food and is popular with the locals – which is always a good sign.
The 200-year-old Macdonald Leeming House is an AA 4-star hotel with direct access to the shores of Ullswater so there’s little wonder that it’s ever-popular with guests. Roundthorn Country House has amazing views of the Eden Valley and the Lakeland Fells and is less than 10 minutes taxi ride from the station. They also do a very popular afternoon tea. The North Lakes Hotel is a 4-star Thwaites hotel and spa that’s a 10-minute walk from the station.
After wandering the spectacular countryside, the best thing to do in Penrith is go to the Rheged Centre. Ideal for wet and windy days. Everyone loves a lido and Shap Swimming Pool is the highest heated open-air pool in the UK. With a castle, immaculate gardens, fantastically impressive adventure play and even more, Lowther Castle is another must see and do when you’re in Penrith.
On the third Tuesday of each month from March to December head to the town centre for the Penrith Farmers Market for tasty local fare. The Toffee Shop has been making fudge and toffee since 1910 and is, according to Lord Lichfield, “easily the best in the world”. That’s an accolade that needs to be tested. Thoroughly. The Blue Hedgehog Bookshop has a great children’s section and is another one to keep up your sleeve for rainy days.
For more ideas on what to do in Penrith, see Visit Cumbria.