Surrounded on all sides by spectacular landscapes, Penrith outdoor activity centres offer a range of outdoor experiences across the Pennines and the Lake District and there's plenty of opportunity for walking and cycling around the town. Walking around Penrith is exceptional, catering for all tastes from leisurely family strolls around nearby Ullswater and the Penrith town centre heritage trail to challenging fell walking around the Orton Fells. Favourite long distance walking trails the Coast-to-Coast Walk and the Pennine Way pass through the Eden Valley around Penrith.
The area is also a hotspot for cycling with numerous circular cycling trails branching out from Penrith and three long distance cycle routes featuring in the area including the C2C trail, the Walney to Wear and Whitby Trail and the Pennine Cycleway. Classic cycle climbs around Penrith include the famous twisting and turning climb to the Hartside summit in the Pennines. A choice of Penrith outdoor activity centres offer guided walks, cycle hire and a range of outdoor experiences in the Lakes from ghyll scrambling and rock climbing to team building adventure days and challenging fell walking.
The history of Penrith and the Eden Valley is explored in-depth in the Penrith and Eden Museum housed within a striking Elizabethan building which served as a school right up to the 1970s. This fascinating museum explores the history, geology and archaeology of the Penrith area, with varied exhibits which include Roman pottery from the Roman Fort near Plumpton, and 'cup and ring' stones from Maughanby. Detail on local character Lady Anne Clifford of Brougham Castle fame also features in exhibits and the museum has an impressive fine art collection.
Essential visiting for art fans is the acclaimed Beckstones Art Gallery near Penrith at Greystoke Ghyll, just a few minutes drive off the M6/J40. This contemporary art gallery gem has art work for sale by some of the best current Lake District landscape artists as well as a range of contemporary art forms and styles.
Another great art gallery around Penrith is the Upfront Gallery & Coffee Shop which also features a Puppet Theatre. For great theatre and live music events in the town centre head to the Playhouse Theatre, home of the Penrith Players, which often showcases fantastic drama plays written by local playwrights.
Fun family animal parks and wildlife centres can be found around Penrith. Llama centres are great fun family days out trekking with friendly llamas and the Penrith area is where to find them. Browse fine clothing and gifts at the Alpaca Centre near Penrith with on-site shop and tearoom.
Boat trips on Ullswater are easily accessed from Penrith and a selection of beautiful gardens, heritage watermills and birds of prey centres are in the area. The Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre just south of Penrith sits on the edge of the Lakes and is home to a range of owls, falcons and eagles, and offers exciting flying displays. Take in the beautiful herb gardens and fruit orchards at the National Trust's Acorn Bank Garden and Watermill near Penrith or relax in the mature gardens at Winderwath Gardens.