Thursday, 1 March 2018

Why You Need to Stay in Rydal, England

To be quiet honest I didn't know what exactly the Lake District was when I first heard about it. A whole region named after a distinguishing geographic element, all I could imagine was the most picturesque setting of sunsets over glistening bodies of water. After doing some research I discovered that actually the Lake District has only one true lake in it (Bassenthwaite Lake) but is home to plenty of waters, meres, and tarns to deserve its name. The fells and hills created the waters, and human interaction/interference created the modern landscape over the centuries.

Thousands of tourists visit the region each year, climbing the ridges and topping the summits to glimpse the rolling, rocky countryside, dotted with trees, waterways and wildlife.

The Lake District is spectacular and whether you are an expert fellwalker or an amateur hiker, there's a footpath or byway for everyone.

{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District

For our trip to the Lake District, we didn't mess about and went straight for the middle to a small village in Cumbria. Rydal is found between Ambleside and Grasmere and made up of a small cluster of houses, a church, and a large hotel. It might not seem like much upon first view, and you might miss it if you aren't careful, but hear out my reasons why you too need to pick Rydal as your Lake District hiking base.

Rydal Hall
{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District: Rydal Hall
This Grade II listed building and spectacularly Grade II listed gardens. It's now a hotel with some beautiful interiors (go in an have a peek). The Old School Room Tea Shop located on the grounds is a great spot to stop after wandering around the formal gardens. The Grot and waterfalls were even the subject of a William Wordsworth poem published in 1793, 'An Evening Walk'.

Coffin Trail
{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Coffin Trail
This trail runs from Grasmere to Rydal and is so named because it was the path used to take the dead from Rydal to the consecrated church grounds in Grasmere for burial. The path winds on the high ground, through tress and across fields. From this route you can spy Rydal Water below and the hills above. The Lake District is full of great walks, but really this little route is not one to be missed.

{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Coffin Trail

{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Coffin Trail


Rydal Caves
{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Rydal Caves

{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District: Rydal Caves
Rydal Caves aren't actually caves but rather disused slate quarries from 200 years ago located in Loughrigg Fell. Man made or not, this cave is beautiful. There's a stagnant pool that runs into the shallow depths of the cave walls. Climbing on top of the cave there are views of Rydal Water and the rolling hills around. It's a great spot to stop and have a packed lunch.

{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Rydal Caves

{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Rydal Caves


Badger Bar
{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Badger Bar
The Badger Bar is a proper oldie worldie pub in the Glen Rothay Hotel. Kind of a funny name for a pub (scratch that, this is England, so actually it's a completely normal name for a pub), but it's really a literal name as come dark you can head out to the back garden as watch real live badgers feed. They also have 4 locally brewed ales, 40 whiskeys, food, board games, welcome dogs and loos built into the rock face. But did you hear me? Badgers! And if you can't get enough of them live you can watch them feeding on the webcam.

Rydal Mount and Rydal Church
{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Rydal Church
Rydal Mount was the home of poet William Wordsworth from 1813 until his death in 1850 and today it's run as a museum and gardens to the poet. It is a beautiful and pleasant setting and even offers an afternoon cream tea in the old saddlery above the coach house.

We visited the gift shop but didn't actually go inside. We did, however, go into its neighbour down the street, Rydal Church, build in 1824 and where Wordsworth worshiped when he lived in the village. Next to the churchyard is Dora's field, originally planted by Wordsworth and his wife with hundreds of Daffodils to memorialize their daughter who had died in 1847. Today the field is still filled with hundreds of Daffodils and we even spotted a deer strolling through.

Rydal Water
{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Rydal Water
It's not a very large lake, but sits in the centre of the Lake District and its glittering shores can be seen from many of the surrounding fells. There's a path that follows around it which passes the caves and the two homes Wordsworth lived in; Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. But you can only admire these calm waters from the shore as only residences of Rydal Hall are permitted to navigate the lake.

Rydal Lodge 
{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; Rydal Lodge
Rydal is dotted with houses and many of them are actually hotels, bed and breakfasts, and lodges. We stayed at the Rydal Lodge located right on Rydal Road. It was super convenient the bus we took in from Kendal train station stopped right outside the hotel. Rydal Lodge is made up of several constructions some of it even dating back to the 16th century! As you can imagine, wifi was a bit spotty in some of the older bits (#firstworldproblems). The gardens of the lodge are lush and back on to the River Rothay. There are several spots perfect to rest after a hike and enjoy a book.
I love an English breakfast and the one served at Rydal Lodge ticked this box perfectly.

Close to Ambleside{Erin Out and About} Staying in Rydal, Cumbria Lake District; near Ambleside
Rydal is conveniently located between Grasmere (if you found a need or want to go to Grasmere) and Ambleside. Taking some of the paths, you can walk to Ambleside in an enjoyable 35 minutes. Once there, you have your pick of restaurants and pubs, and honestly, we didn't have a bad meal while there. Along with food and drink there are a few things to do in Ambleside; visit the Roman ruins, pop into The Bridge House, there's the Armitt Museum and Library, and even a relaxing spa.

{Erin Out and About} Why You Must Stay in Rydal


The village of Rydal is tiny, but really it's at the centre of it all. To me, it's the perfect spot to start and end a day in the Lake District.

Do you agree? What do you think of Rydal as your Lake District home base?

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