Has anybody heard of Penrith?
I first came across Penrith while I was preparing for my trip to Lake District. Penrith is a gate to idyllic, rustic, poetic and fairy-tale land called Lake District. So, what are the attractions of Penrith?
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Penrith and Lake District were home to many known and worshipped poets of the Romanticism. To name just a few, William Wordsworth, Samuel T. Coleridge, Robert Southey, were the most important ones. Their works are still discussed at British schools and during literature classes at universities. I think I haven’t mentioned it here, but I did English studies at university and English literature was my favourite subject. Reading endlessly books and literary criticism was a true pleasure for me and I didn’t understand those who complained about the obligation to read. I was very excited at the opportunity to see the places I knew from poems (the legendary Daffodils!) and check, if they would inspire me as much as they inspired the Lake Poets.
Penrith is a small town known mostly for being a jumping base for tourists, cyclists, and wanderers heading to the Lake District. Besides that, Penrith is also the main stopover on the popular among the British C2C biking route. C2C, which stands for either “sea to sea” or “coast to coast” starts in the Cumbrian Whiteheaven, but there are also some options starting in Workington. Having biked through the picturesque Lake District, the way leads to the east and ends either in Newcastle upon Tyne or Sunderland. It counts approximately 310 km. At the hostel we stayed in Penrith, we met whole families doing the ride. I would actually love to cover that distance, but the English weather might be a huge challenge for me. It’s unbearably whimsical.
The Castle Ruins
Although Penrith cannot be deemed spectacular, it has it’s unique atmosphere. The first and most visible highlight of the town are the Roman castle ruins. Nowadays, they are the meeting point for the local teenagers. We saw a few couples having a date there. J It’s also a great spot to watch the sunset, as long as it’s not raining.
The Castle Park and the cricket pitch
When Joanna and I were having a stroll around the beautiful castle park, a group of elderly, genteel men were having a game of cricket. We sat and watched for a while.
The most popular pub in town is Robin Hood. At least that’s what the receptions at our hostel said. Sadly, we didn’t have a chance to check it out, since the pub was nearly empty. We decided to buy some drinks at the local supermarket and relax in the hostel.
Small-town peace and quiet
Penrith is a gorgeous town which you can visit within a day. I’m not sure if it would stay interesting if we were to spend there more time. If you’re into peace and quiet, then Penrith nails it. However, since we like the hustle and bustle of busier towns, Penrith remains just the gate to Lake District.
We stayed at the Wayfarers Independent Hostel on the 19 Brunswick Square and can totally recommend it. It’s clean and tidy, has a spacious kitchen, bathrooms are nice and modern. It has a big library and the staff is very friendly. Since we stayed there from Monday to Tuesday, we actually had a whole 6-person dorm for ourselves. Bathroom included. J
Buses to Lake District go from the bus stop just near the train station. To places like Keswick, Windermere, Glenridding, busses leave every hour. At the city information at the train station, you can get most up-to-date bus schedules.