The drive from the main road is stunning: narrow, twisty and with wide sensational views at every turn; you are in the quietest valley but still at 1,200 feet. Your cottage, like any well-loved family home, is crammed with original art (much painted by the owners), photographs, books, games, open fires; plenty to keep young and old happy. The kitchen is big, beamed and Aga-simmered; a squishy sofa at one end next to an overflowing bookcase ensures whoever cooks will have company.
Once here you can forget your car if you wish: walk straight onto the fell from the cottage to Helvellyn, the Dodds and Gowbarrow, a 15-minute walk takes you to the village, its hotel and a roaring fire, or simply explore the 25 acres of woodland here. Aira Beck runs past – the deepest pools are grand for wild swimming – and there are paths to meander, seats on which to ponder and plenty of trees for children to climb or make dens under. Views from the top of the wood soar over the Ullswater fells.
You’ll feel very peaceful here – stock up with supplies in Keswick, which has a good farm shop, and settle in for an evening by the roaring fire. You’ll find plenty of OS maps and suggestions for walking routes so you can plan your next adventure.