Local Area


Just a 20 minute walk (1.1 miles) or a few minutes by car/X5 bus, is Braithwaite village. There are a number of good pubs and restaurants, and a village shop. 

For pubs that are both dog and muddy boot friendly, head to the Coledale Inn or Middle Rudding Inn. Both have car parking on site.

Whinlatter Forest Park & Visitor Centre

You can reach Whinlatter Visitor Centre direct from Thornthwaite by footpath, or by car via Braithwaite and the Whinlatter Pass. Whinlatter Visitor Centre boasts it is England's only mountain forest and has the toughest biking trails in the UK but is also a great place for walking, and there are activities available for kids of all ages.

You can hire a bike at the Centre from Cyclewise or take your own. It offers a number of graded walks through the forest on marked trails and a series of children's outdoor play areas including Go Ape, the  treetop adventure.  The centre features live pictures of the world famous nesting Ospreys.

  • Go Ape high ropes course
  • Visitor Centre and gift shop, tea-room
  • Adventure playground
  • Cycling trails and walks graded for all ages and abilities
  • Ample parking at the centre (Pay & Display)
  • Acre upon acre of quiet forest
  • Spectacular views
  • Weekly Park run (Saturday 9am)


Just 3 miles from Ridgeway is Keswick, a thriving town, the heart of which is the Market Square, pedestrianised for a relaxing experience. The main building in the Market Square is The Moot Hall, an ancient home to the Lake District National Park Tourist Information Centre, used in the past as a covered market, a courthouse, a museum and a prison.

A short walk from the Market Square are two large public parks. Hope Park has beautifully tended gardens and is one of Keswick's major attractions positioned between the town and Derwentwater. Fitz Park has a superb children's play area and riverside picnic tables. With Derwentwater as its stunning backdrop, Keswick has an enviable location.

Though only a small town, Keswick has a wide range of independent shops and art galleries selling photographs, paintings, pottery and jewellery by local artists. You are well catered for if you need outdoor gear plus you will find a good range of gift shops.

There are too many good restaurants, cafes and bars to mention - a good link to explore all that Keswick has to offers is visit keswick.org.

There are two supermarkets with onsite parking - Co-op and Booths. Booths provides the widest selection of groceries, and is well stocked with locally sourced produce.

Derwent Water

Keswick's local lake is only a ten minute walk from the centre of town. To its west rise the fells of Cat Bells. To the east is the fantastic viewpoint of Friar's Crag, jutting into the lake. And its southern foot is the entrance to the beautiful Borrowdale valley.

You can walk the eight miles around the lake - check out the Derwentwater Walk leaflet. Or take a 50 minute round the lake cruise on Keswick Launch. There are seven landing stages.

Take a look at a Derwentwater lake users' guide (PDF) and Derwentwater map (PDF).


A pretty market town just 15 minutes drive from Ridgeway, this is the site of the birthplace of William Wordsworth. Less of a "tourist trap" than Keswick, Cockermouth offers a good range of independent shops, including a decent butcher, fishmonger, and several deli's and coffee shops, a Sainsbury's (which operates a local food delivery service to Ridgeway), Aldi and an excellent extensive homewares centre. 

Lakes Distillery

5 miles away from Ridgeway and just off the A66 is the excellent Lakes Distillery.

Opened in December 2014 in an idyllic setting next to the river Derwent, the distillery is housed in a converted farm building near Bassenthwaite. There is a visitor centre, artisan bar and bistro, alpaca farm, and a shop selling distillery products as well as locally produced goods.

At the visitor centre you can find out how the Lakes Malt, Lakes Gin and Lakes Vodka are made, and have a tour of the site including the still room and the distillery’s warehouse where the whisky matures.