Be enticed into Eden with Nurture Eden’s top ten temptations
Journey to Cumbria’s secret Eden this year and discover the multitude of temptations that have made this area a true hidden gem from dawn to dusk.
England’s real Eden is being fostered by Nurture Eden, which is helping it rapidly move towards becoming the country’s first responsible tourism destination, green, tranquil and welcoming, with a variety of sustainable options to take up, if you wish to help keep Eden as a stress-free paradise for other visitors.
If peaceful villages, stunning views, empty roads and rich heritage is not enough to lure you to a destination just a few hours from London by train, Nurture Eden has suggested a top ten of temptations that only those with the strongest will power could resist.
The apple of every Eden visitor’s eye should be the town of Appleby. The town is most famous for its iconic horse fair in June, at which travellers trade their horses, having given them a freshwater dip in the River Eden and ridden them through the town. But Appleby has much more than this, boasting delightful riverside walks, a charming coffee culture, fabulous historic buildings in the form of St Lawrence’s Church, cloisters designed in 1811 by Sir Robert Smirke, the Moot Hall and the Hospital of St Anne. Its main street, Boroughgate, is unusually wide and said to be one of the finest in England, marked at one end by the High Cross and at the other by the Low Cross. Add to this a history indelibly linked with the amazing seventeenth century figure, Lady Anne Clifford, who built or restored many of the buildings in Appleby, and it’s a great starting point for Eden exploration.
2. A Little Tipple
Being tempted by a tipple is easy in Eden, where there are several micro-breweries including the Tirril Brewery (Long Marton – 017683 61846) and the Nine Standards Brewery (Kirkby Stephen – 01768 371389), which can be visited by appointment. If beer and visiting breweries isn’t your thing, you could get a group together and head to High Cup Wines (017683 53714) at the Townhead Farm and winery, to find out more about their delightful range of fruit wines.
3. Serene Cycling
Eden is a haven for those wishing to enjoy the freedom of two wheels, on quiet roads and lanes where taking time to indulge in the views is part of the beauty of a stay in this tranquil, regenerative location. With natural assets in abundance, Eden has a variety of extraordinary cycle routes to follow, available at visiteden.co.uk, whether you wish to explore Appleby and Kirkby Stephen, Ullswater, Penrith, or a higher route around Alston, on the edge of the North Pennines. With riverside rides, mountain bike tracks, family cycling on Ullswater’s lake shore and on a dismantled railway line at Kirkby Stephen, electric bike hire available in Penrith and classic climbs up the world famous Hartside, there’s a level of cycling to suit everyone.
Additionally, Eden is positioned on the C2C route and the Pennine Cycleway and boasts both the Eden Valley Circular Cycle Route and part of the Wheels to the Wild Cycle Route making it a truly attractive cycling base camp for anyone wishing to get into the saddle.
4. Toffee, Chocolate, Fudge
Eden is a paradise for the sweet-toothed, with the world-famous Toffee Shop in Penrith, as frequented by Prince Charles, Kennedy’s Fine Chocolates with its delicious handmade temptations in its shop in Orton and a variety of other fudge and chocolate makers. Make sure you leave time to indulge while visiting!
5. Farm Fresh and Local Food
Staying with a Nurture Eden member, as highlighted at agreeneden.org gives you every opportunity to be introduced to the fresh smack of farm fresh and local produce, whether that is home-cured bacon at Drybeck Farm, or cheeses from the Appleby Creamery. Just one taste and you’ll be hooked on the sensational tastes of Eden.
6. The Romance of Steam
The Settle to Carlisle Railway runs through the lush rolling hills of the Eden Valley, offering spectacular views as it travels across viaducts and, on special charter days, beckoning to anyone who is seduced by the romance of steam. Trains call at the Eden towns and villages of Kirkby Stephen, Appleby, Langwathby, Lazonby and Armathwaite on the route between Settle and Carlisle and guided walks can be taken from stations, giving you every reason to leave the car behind and travel by a combination of train and trainers!
7. A Roam With A View
Eden is unspoilt, undiscovered and undeniably different, something that strikes anyone taking to exploration on two feet. From walking routes leading from the lakeshore at Ullswater, to those that will take you through empty countryside that could have a castle or a cairn just around the corner, Eden is walking heaven. Buy yourself some walking boots, choose a base at which to park up the car and then explore Eden to your heart’s content.
8. Antique Allure
If you love exploring the past, the antiques haven of Kirkby Stephen is the place to which to head. Take the Settle to Carlisle train, hop off at Kirkby Stephen station and spend time getting to know the town and its many antique shops.
9. Eden by Evening
Watching the sun set over the serene Eden Valley, behind Helvellyn after a lake cruise with Ullswater Steamers, or around the incredibly atmospheric stone circle of Long Meg and her Daughters is the stuff of which memories for a lifetime are made.
10. Nostalgic Charm
Those wishing to step back in time will find almost nothing as enchanting as the joy of hopping aboard a Classic Coaches heritage bus from the Eden village of Ravenstonedale or from Kirkby Stephen and heading off for the day to explore a yet undiscovered location such as Barnard Castle via the High Force waterfall, or the Dales town of Hawes, where the Wensleydale Creamery awaits cheese lovers. A hail and ride service is also available for those wishing to ride on board one of the 1940s and 1950s buses and see amazing scenery, as well as sights such as the heritage-rich Pendragon Castle.
With so much to tempt you into Eden’s ‘garden’ of simple pleasures, taking the decision to sample a taste of what this amazing area has to offer is very easy. Head to agreeneden.org to source sustainable accommodation that will point you in all the right directions when it comes to exploring by bike, on foot, by steam train, or on classic coach! Escape to Eden and indulge in a destination that’s totally different.