Penrith - Middle Eden Valley drive

A drive around Penrith and the unspoilt Eden Valley that features a number of historic buildings and prehistoric monuments. The scenic and gently undulating route also leads through some lovely old sandstone built villages, typical of this area.




Route Map




Summary of main attractions on route (click on name for detail)
Distance Attraction Car Park Coordinates
0 miles Penrith N 54.66496, W 2.75523
2.2 miles Rheged Visitor Centre N 54.64782, W 2.78089
4.1 miles Dalemain House & Gardens N 54.63466, W 2.80809
6.4 miles Dacre Village N 54.63187, W 2.83961
10.4 miles Greystoke Village N 54.66991, W 2.86841
14.8 miles Hutton-In-The-Forest N 54.71708, W 2.83822
22.1 miles Eden Bridge picnic site N 54.75544, W 2.70107
24.0 miles Lacy's Caves N 54.74881, W 2.67643
25.3 miles St Michael's Church N 54.73828, W 2.66210
26.2 miles Little Meg Stone Circle N 54.73102, W 2.65655
27.2 miles Long Meg Stone Circle N 54.72735, W 2.66714
28.4 miles Little Salkeld Watermill N 54.71680, W 2.67440
35.8 miles Acorn Bank N 54.64710, W 2.60235
41.2 miles Brougham Castle N 54.65446, W 2.71662
42.2 miles Brougham Hall N 54.64831, W 2.73221
42.6 miles King Arthur's Round Table N 54.64810, W 2.73927
43.0 miles Mayburgh Henge N 54.64722, W 2.74519
45.0 miles Penrith N 54.66496, W 2.75523



The Drive

Distance: 0 miles         Location: Penrith, Bluebell Lane car park          Coordinates: N 54.66496, W 2.75523

Market Square, Penrith
Penrith is a busy market town on the eastern edge of the Lake District. It is an important hub for Eastern Cumbria being at the junction of the M6 and the A66, as well as having a railway station on the main west coast line. The location makes it a busy thoroughfare for traffic, but despite this the town centre retains a certain amount of charm and is worth exploring. The old town centre buildings are mostly local red sandstone which epitomises many of the buildings in this area. There are plenty of old streets and shops to explore and Penrith Museum, housed within the Tourist Information Centre, will tell you more about the area and its history. The attractive St Andrew’s Church is just off the market square and up the hill from there, opposite the railway station, is the 14th century Penrith Castle which is now in ruins but the remains are interesting and free entry. Car park is pay and display with nearby public toilets.

Travelling:

Leave the car park and at the T junction turn left up the hill. Soon pass Booths supermarket on the right and Morrisons supermarket on the left. Take the second exit at the Morrisons mini-roundabout then very shortly, third exit at the next mini-roundabout. Pass Penrith Castle immediately on the left and carry on along the A592 towards the M6. After approx 0.4 miles pass Cranstons food store on the right and take the first exit at the following mini-roundabout. This soon leads to traffic lights at the giant M6/A66 roundabout. The right lanes are marked ‘A66W’ and you can follow these to take the third exit which is the A66 towards Keswick. The dual carriageway A66 leads for approx 0.8 miles, passing a Little Chef restaurant on the left, to reach another big roundabout. The first exit leads to the Rheged Visitor Centre.

Distance: 2.2 miles         Location: Rheged Visitor Centre          Coordinates: N 54.64782, W 2.78089

Rheged Visitor Centre
Rheged is an interesting visitor centre with a good selection of attractions for the whole family. It claims to be Europe’s largest grass covered building and the clever design certainly hides it from the surrounding countryside. There are various different shops, childrens play areas, a big 3D cinema showing regular short films, exhibitions on the local area and events. Parking and entry is free for visitors, with cafes and toilet facilities inside. Open daily.

Travelling:

Return to the A66 roundabout where you take the first exit which is the A592 towards Ullswater. After approx 0.7 miles on the right is the Alpaca Centre specialising in all things Alpaca. Continue on the A592 for approx 0.8 miles until a signposted track on the right takes you to Dalemain House.

Distance: 4.1 miles         Location: Dalemain House & Gardens          Coordinates: N 54.63466, W 2.80809

Dalemain House
The historic estate of Dalemain lies midway between Penrith and Ullswater. The house has an interesting history with different parts and various artefacts being added at different times. The attractive front of the house is actually a Georgian façade but some parts of the building are several centuries old. You can pay to tour the house and/or the gardens and it is a justifiably popular tourist attraction. There is a cafe and gift shop on site with free car park for visitors. The house is open Sunday to Thursday, April to November. The gardens normally remain open until December.

Travelling:

Return to the A592 and turn right towards Ullswater. The road runs alongside the River Eamont and you can see the hills surrounding Ullswater in the distance. After approx 1 mile, take the first right turn, signposted to Dacre. After approx 0.8 miles there is a small layby on the right alongside Dacre Beck where there is a picnic table adjacent to the river. Continue driving over the road bridge where you enter the village of Dacre. Drive up the hill passing through the village until you reach the Horse & Farrier pub on the left. There is roadside parking opposite the pub.

Distance: 6.4 miles         Location: Dacre Village          Coordinates: N 54.63187, W 2.83961

St Andrew's Church, Dacre
Dacre is an attractive small village with some historic connections that are worth stopping for. St Andrew’s Church occupies the site of a former monastery and has a lovely churchyard with benches to enjoy the surroundings. Beyond each corner of the church can be found the Dacre Bears which are four weather beaten carvings apparently telling the story of bears sleeping, being attacked by a cat, grabbing the cat and eating the cat. From the churchyard you can see nearby Dacre Castle which in fact is a 14th century Pele Tower. It is now a private residence on the Dalemain Estate but a nearby footpath runs past the building for a better view. The Horse & Farrier pub in the village is a traditional Lakeland Inn and provides refreshments. Parking in the village is opposite the pub where there is a free layby but there are no public toilets.

Travelling:

Continue up the hill leaving the village behind. After approx 0.8 miles the road meets the main A66 at a T junction. Turn left towards Keswick on the A66 which is dual carriageway. After approx 0.8 miles, take the right turn towards Greystoke just before the end of the dual carriageway. Follow the narrow road for just over 1.5 miles to a T junction where you turn right on the B5288. Shortly, enter the village of Greystoke and continue to the village green on the left. Beyond this the main road bears right and the village car park is a short distance on the right.

Distance: 10.4 miles         Location: Greystoke Village car park          Coordinates: N 54.66991, W 2.86841

Greystoke Village Green
Greystoke is a pleasant village centred around the village green and ancient market cross. The impressive gateway off the northern side of the green leads to Greystoke Castle which runs various activities but unfortunately has no public access and no connection with Tarzan! The village has a heated open air swimming pool for the brave which is open to the public from April to September. The historic St Andrew’s Church is an impressive size and contains some interesting artefacts. Greystoke Cycle Cafe, a short distance along the Blencow road, is a lovely tearoom catering mainly for cyclists on the C2C (coast to coast) route. It also has a small bike shop and various ‘Quirky Workshops’ although opening times are very limited if you're not on a bike. Overlooking the village green is the Boot & Shoe pub which serves refreshments in traditional surroundings and there is a small village shop. Parking is free but there are no public toilets.

Travelling:

Leaving the village car park, turn left towards the village green, then immediate right towards Blencow. Continue along this road for approx 1.5 miles and enter the village of Blencow. There is a small village green on the right leading down to some attractive grassy areas next to the river. On the left is the Crown Inn. Continue for approx 2 miles to a T junction with the B5305 where you turn right towards Penrith. After approx 0.3 miles, the entrance to Hutton-In-The-Forest is signposted on the right.

Distance: 14.8 miles         Location: Hutton-In-The-Forest          Coordinates: N 54.71708, W 2.83822

Hutton-In-The-Forest House
Hutton-In-The-Forest is a magnificent stately home and estate owned by Lord Inglewood. The enormous house has been built over a number of centuries, starting life as a medieval stronghold and built around the old Pele Tower. A tour of the house is well worthwhile as are the lovely gardens, especially the walled garden. There is a fee for access to the house and gardens which includes car parking, a cafe and toilet facilities. The house is only open Weds, Thurs and Sundays from April to September. The gardens are open every day except Saturdays, April to October. There are also various events on during the summer months.

Travelling:

Continue on the B5305 towards Penrith. After approx 0.5 miles, take the left turn signposted to Plumpton. This road soon crosses the M6 motorway before entering the village of Plumpton. At the far end of the village is a cross roads with the main A6. Go straight across the A6 on the B6413 towards Lazonby. Continue for approx 3 miles on the open road with good views of the Pennines ahead, before the road descends towards Lazonby and soon enters the village. Continue through the village, passing the entrance to Lazonby & Kirkoswald Station on the left just before a small supermarket on the right and the Midland Hotel pub on the left. Pass under the Settle to Carlisle railway and beyond on the left is the imposing St Nicholas's Church. Continue down through the village to a sharp left turn in the road where you meet the River Eden. On the right at this bend is Lazonby heated open air swimming pool which is open to the public in season. The road continues a short distance alongside the river until you reach Eden Bridge picnic site on the right.

Distance: 22.1 miles         Location: Eden Bridge picnic site          Coordinates: N 54.75544, W 2.70107

Eden Bridge picnic site
A small grassy picnic area and car park set above the mighty River Eden. There are a couple of picnic tables looking out over the river and towards Eden Bridge which is an impressive old sandstone structure originally constructed 1762. At the far end of the site is 'Cypher Piece' stone sculpture which is one of the Eden Benchmarks, a series of ten stone sculptures, commissioned to commemorate the new millenium and located at strategic points along the River Eden. There are also steps to the river for canoe access. Free parking and access but no facilities on site, the nearest being in Lazonby.

Travelling:

Continue on the B6413 over the narrow Eden Bridge and soon enter the village of Kirkoswald. As the road begins to climb you pass the entrance gate to St Oswald's Church which has a lovely old approach avenue and is in a peaceful setting. On the hill above the church is a completely separate bell tower which can be reached via the stile and track beyond the churchyard. Kirkoswald is a pretty little village with attractive red sandstone buildings and is worth a wonder around. There are also a couple of pubs for refreshments. Back on the road, beyond the church you take the first right towards Glassonby. Continue for approx 1 mile until the road descends to a dip and crosses Glassonby Beck. Immediately beyond the bridge is a small layby on the right from where you can walk to Lacy's Caves.

Distance: 24.0 miles         Location: Lacy's Caves          Coordinates: N 54.74881, W 2.67643

Lacy's Caves
Lacy’s Caves are a man made wonder on the banks of the scenic River Eden. It is approx 0.8 mile walk to the caves from the car park but it is a lovely walk on a reasonable (sometimes muddy) path along the river bank. The caves have been carved in to the sandstone cliff and are just beyond a sharp rise and fall in the path, off to the right. They were named after Colonel Samuel Lacy of Salkeld Hall who commissioned their carving in the 18th century. The exact reason seems unknown but it is believed they were used for entertaining guests amongst other things. The five chambers are certainly impressive and have wonderful views over the river although beware of steep drops. Free parking and access but no facilities on site.

Travelling:

Continue on the minor road which climbs away from the river for approx 1 mile to the small village of Glassonby. The road bears right and you continue to climb up through the village. Just beyond the village the road levels out and there is an isolated farm building on the right immediately beyond which you can turn right to St Michael’s Church. The church is a short distance down the dead end road.

Distance: 25.3 miles         Location: St Michael & All Angels Church, Addingham         Coordinates: N 54.73828, W 2.66210

St Michael & All Angels Church
St Michael & All Angels is an attractive church and churchyard in a peaceful setting. It is believed to have been rebuilt here in the early 16th century when the River Eden destroyed the original church and the nearby village of Addingham. It is worth a visit and you can admire the well preserved Anglo-Saxon cross near the entrance. Free parking but no facilities on site.

Travelling:

Return to the minor Glassonby road and turn right. Soon the road bears sharply right and you continue for approx 0.3 miles, admiring the open views, to a double gate on the right hand side. The left hand gate of the two allows access to Little Meg stone circle.

Distance: 26.2 miles         Location: Little Meg Stone Circle          Coordinates: N 54.73102, W 2.65655

Little Meg Stone Circle
Little Meg is one of the smallest stone circles in the country, measuring only a few metres across. The stones are somewhat hidden at the edge of an unmarked field and appear to have been disturbed over time but they are still worth seeing. They are approx 150m walk along the left edge of the field. Free roadside parking and access but no facilities on site.

Travelling:

Continue down the long straight road, with good distant views, for approx 0.7 miles to a crossroads where you turn right, signposted to Long Meg. The minor dead end road soon bears right, crosses a cattle grid and reaches Long Meg stone circle.

Distance: 27.2 miles         Location: Long Meg And Her Daughters Stone Circle          Coordinates: N 54.72735, W 2.66714

Long Meg And Her Daughters
Long Meg stone circle is geographically very close to Little Meg but the opposite end of the spectrum in size. With a diameter of approx 100m, this is one of the largest prehistoric stone circles in the country and possibly the only drive-through one! The road runs straight across the middle of the circle although it is private beyond. The stones in the circle are the Daughters and Long Meg is the tall sandstone pillar to the south west of the circle. It is believed there were many more stones originally but it is still an impressive sight and the peaceful and scenic setting help to enhance the experience. Free roadside parking and access but no facilities on site.

Travelling:

Retrace your steps back to the road junction where you turn right and descend towards the village of Little Salkeld. Soon enter the small village and continue to a dip in the road where there is a bridge over Robberby Water. Just before the bridge on the left is Little Salkeld Watermill.

Distance: 28.4 miles         Location: Little Salkeld Watermill          Coordinates: N 54.71680, W 2.67440

Little Salkeld Watermill
The 18th century Little Salkeld Watermill is one of the country’s few working water powered corn mills still producing stoneground flour the traditional way. The colourful quirky buildings certainly have a very traditional feel and for a small fee you can tour the workings of the mill including the mill race with its two overshot waterwheels. There’s also a tearoom where you can try the homemade bread and cake, plus a shop specialising in organic produce. The mill is generally open daily, except Wednesdays, and has a small free car park and toilets for customers.

Travelling:

Continue past the village and under the Settle to Carlisle railway line again. After approx 1 mile, enter the village of Langwathby. There is an attractive and large village green which is overlooked by the small village store, St Peter's church and The Shepherds Inn. The road then joins the main A686 where you turn left. Very shortly there is a crossroads where you turn right on the B6412 towards Culgaith. Continue for approx 3 miles to the village of Culgaith. Enter the village and bear left to pass the Black Swan Inn on the left and beyond this is All Saints Church on the right. The road continues through the village, bearing right before dropping steeply downhill to cross the Settle to Carlisle railway at a level crossing. Adjacent is a traditional old signal box. Just beyond this on the right is Hazel Dene garden centre with shop and tearoom. Continue on the B6412 for approx 0.7 miles to a dip where the road crosses Crowdundale Beck. Immediately beyond the bridge, take the left turn towards Newbiggin and in a further 0.3 miles a left turn leads in to Acorn Bank.



Distance: 35.8 miles         Location: Acorn Bank          Coordinates: N 54.64710, W 2.60235

Acorn Bank House
Acorn Bank is an historic National Trust property consisting of a delightful garden, house and partially restored watermill. The impressive house has recently been partially opened up to the public and this is where the shop and ticket office are now located. The gardens are renowned for their comprehensive herb collection and traditional fruit orchards which are what many come for. There are also lovely woodland walks along Crowdundale Beck where you can see an impressive display of snowdrops and daffodils in spring. You can explore the watermill but the machinery is only operational weekend afternoons. Open daily except Tuesdays between March and November. Otherwise open weekends only but closed in January. Admission fee applies including parking. There is also a tea room and toilets for visitors.

Travelling:

Return to the B6412 junction and turn left. Shortly come to a junction with the old A66 road and turn right to cross the River Eden. The new A66 is nearby and is dual carriageway, built to bypass the nearby village of Temple Sowerby. Continue past the bridge for approx 0.5 miles, where you can take the second left turn to the A66 towards Penrith. Alternatively, just beyond this turning on the right are Winderwath Gardens which are lovely privately owned gardens open to the public from March to October. Continue on the busy A66 for just over 3 miles, passing Whinfell Forest holiday village on the left. Just before the road becomes dual carriageway again, take the left turn which is the B6262 towards Brougham Castle. Very shortly turn right at a crossroads and Brougham Castle is ahead on the left.

Distance: 41.2 miles         Location: Brougham Castle          Coordinates: N 54.65446, W 2.71662

Brougham Castle and River Eamont
Brougham Castle is an imposing and interesting 13th century castle in a picturesque setting on the banks of the River Eamont. Although mostly ruined there is still plenty to see including the old keep which you can climb to give some lovely views across the surrounding countryside. The castle and riverbank also provide a good place for a family picnic. The castle is actually built on an old Roman fort and the outline of the remaining fort foundations can be seen in the field to the south. There is a small shop, toilets and an exhibition giving more information on the history. Open daily from April to November, otherwise weekends only. Admission fee applies with free car parking on the roadside.

Travelling:

Return to the B6262 junction and turn right. Continue for approx 0.8 miles to Brougham Hall. Parking is on the right opposite the main entrance.

Distance: 42.2 miles         Location: Brougham Hall          Coordinates: N 54.64831, W 2.73221

Brougham Hall inner courtyard
The former home of the Brougham family, Brougham Hall is a 14th century building with a long and interesting history. The buildings are currently undergoing major renovation after becoming derelict in the last century but you can still see some of the old structure including the massive outer walls and small church across the bridge over the road. Prior to becoming derelict, the hall was known as the ‘Windsor of the North’ as the royal family often stayed here in the 19th century. The site is normally open daily and also houses a number of small businesses, a cafe and toilets. There is no admission fee but a donation is welcomed. Free parking on the opposite side of the road.

Travelling:

Continue on the B6262 and shortly reach a T junction with the A6 where you turn right towards Penrith. The road immediately crosses the River Lowther and just beyond on the left is King Arthur's Round Table. Parking is in the layby on the right.

Distance: 42.6 miles         Location: King Arthur's Round Table          Coordinates: N 54.64810, W 2.73927

King Arthur's Round Table
Despite the name, the prehistoric henge of King Arthur's Round Table has nothing to do with the legendary King Arthur, preceding his time by a few thousand years. There isn’t much to see now apart from the circular ditches which are interesting but unfortunately not quite complete due to the adjacent road covering part of it. It is believed there was at one time a stone circle but that has long gone. Free roadside parking and access but no facilities on site.

Travelling:

Continue on the A6 where you immediately meet a mini-roundabout. Turn left here on the B5320 towards Pooley Bridge and after approx 0.1 miles, take the minor right turn towards Mayburgh Henge. On the left just after the turn is the Eden Millennium Monument which is a 50 tonne block of granite placed to commemorate the Eden Millennium Festival in 2000. Continue a short distance along this road to a layby parking area on the left, just where the road bears sharply right. Mayburgh Henge is approx 100m further along the road on the right.

Distance: 43.0 miles         Location: Mayburgh Henge          Coordinates: N 54.64722, W 2.74519

Mayburgh Henge
The prehistoric Mayburgh Henge is probably related to nearby King Arthur's Round Table, with both estimated to be about 4000 years old. However, this is significantly more impressive. It is estimated that over 5 million cobbles from the local river were used in the construction and it is mind boggling to imagine how much effort was involved. The outer bank is several metres high and approx 100m diameter and provides good views of the surrounding area. A single upright stone exists in the centre of the arena which is all that remains of the original standing stones. Free roadside parking and access but no facilities on site.

Travelling:

Return to the mini-roundabout at the A6 junction and turn left towards Penrith. Immediately pass through the village of Eamont Bridge and over the River Eamont on the old narrow bridge with traffic lights. Before the M6 was built, this bridge was on the main route to Scotland and used to cause horrendous traffic jams but it’s a lot less busy now. Shortly you meet a big busy roundabout which is the A66/A6 junction. Take the second exit following the A6 and enter Penrith town. Continue approx 0.7 miles to the market square where the road bears left and up the hill. At the top of the hill is the mini-roundabout adjacent to the castle where we passed through at the start. Take the second exit and then second exit at the following Morrisons mini-roundabout. Drop down the hill and Bluebell Lane car park is first turning on the right.

Distance: 45.0 miles         Location: Penrith, Bluebell Lane car park          Coordinates: N 54.66496, W 2.75523

Penrith Castle
Return to start point.