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If you’re tired of all the regular tourist activities in the Lake District like boat rides, William Wordsworth and easy strolls – why not try something a little more unique?
As part of my recent trip to Cumbria with Go Lakes, I headed out on a seriously wild ride with Graythwaite Adventure.
We hopped in one of their Land Rovers and escaped off-road around the Graythwaite estate, riding over rugged terrain, navigating steep hills and discovering some magnificent views along the way.
Of all the things I did on my trip here in the Lakes, this was what I remember the most. Mainly as I had a serious adrenalin rush driving the Land Rover myself!
So, come and join me on a thrilling Graythwaite Adventure and see why you need to try this for yourself in Cumbria.
Heads up: my Graythwaite adventure was sponsored on my trip to the Lake District with Go Lakes. Although I was a guest all photos and opinions are my own.
Why choose Graythwaite Adventure in the Lake District?
Although Graythwaite Adventure is a relatively new brand, they have been running out of CBA events since the 1990s. A well-known company based in Keswick.
They are an award-winning experience company here in Cumbria that provides unique adventures out of their 5,000-acre estate and around the Lake District National Park!
Not only that, but they are currently the only experience company that have their own private off-road course approved and accredited by BORDA (British Off-Road Driving Association).
So, this not only means that it’s had the thumbs up from them on the route but also they have BORDA certified instructors too.
There is an endless list of things you can get up to with these guys too including archery and even axe throwing.
Whatever activity or event you choose, you’re in completely safe hands and are guaranteed to have a singular day out that’s for sure!
How to prepare for your Graythwaite Adventure – my top tips
Having now been on a Graythwaite Adventure myself, looking back there are a few things I wish I had prepared for before I went.
The team will give you all appropriate guidance before your visit, but here are some of my personal tips too;
Driving licence – I had NO idea that I would be driving the Land Rover before I went! But, I always keep my licence on my regardless. It’s best to bring it with you before you drive. Just in case.
Appropriate clothes – the Lake District has some of the most changeable weather in the country. It could be sunny in one valley, with a thunderstorm in the next. I would personally bring comfortable clothes for the experience but also things that will keep you warm and dry!
Phone signal – it was a little hard for me finding the estate as it is in quite a remote area of the National Park a few miles from Hawkshead. Once you’re here, the phone signal is almost non-existent.
So, make sure you have a SatNav on hand or something offline to find it! I was almost half an hour late (oops) because I got lost in the Graythwaite Hall. Tip – don’t drive in there. It’s just beyond it.
Drinks and snacks – drinks and snacks are provided on your adventures. So, don’t worry about packing any!
What to expect on your 4X4 Off Road Driving Experience in the Lake District
Hand on heart, although I knew I was coming for an off-road driving experience in the Lake District I had no idea what to expect at all.
I have done some off-roading experiences in the past in the deserts of India, Dubai and Egypt, but nothing like driving in the peaks of the English countryside!
I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I thought I’d share my experience so you’re a little more prepared and know what to expect on the day.
Arriving at Graythwaite Adventure & driving on the estate
When you arrive at their estate, there will be signs for the Graythwaite Adventure by the gate and a friendly member of the team will be waiting for you to let you in!
There is a gravel path that is quite deep in places as you drive inside. My little Ford Ka was fine along the gravel path into the estate but it is recommended that if you have a low sitting car or sports car, that you ask them first before driving in.
Once you arrive, you’ll meet one of the team members who will meet and greet you into their beautiful wooden Scandi hut. It’s here I met Matt who was going to be my instructor for the off-roading driving experience.
There was a roaring fire which was lovely to see on such a cold day and it was so cosy inside too!
Here, they will take you through the itinerary of the experience over a warm drink from their bar and what to expect. Plus, you’ll need to sign an all-important safety waiver.
It’s here when I thought ‘there’s no going back now’. Usually, for any activity that I have to sign a safety waiver for I don’t tell my mum about it until it’s finished haha! There’s less worry that way.
Heading out in the Land Rover on the Graythwaite Estate off-road course
Once the formalities were over, it was time to start the adventure driving off into the wild countryside.
The team have some awesome Land Rovers (don’t call them Jeeps or you’ll be told off) that will be your off-roading buddies for the day.
My awesome instructor Matt was driving and brought along a cracking sense of humour too as we ascended from the flat main road onto the off-roading course.
We made our way up and down steep rocky hills, crashing through muddy bodies of water and tipping the Land Rover over to almost 30 degrees while driving. So, it’s not the faint-hearted.
I was super excited (in fact, I couldn’t stop laughing) as we made our way through the course. It really bumpy but Matt knew what he was doing and I knew I was in safe hands.
That’s until he asked me to take the wheel…my heart almost sank!
Driving a Land Rover on the Graythwaite Estate!
After having a mild meltdown convinced I was going to crash the car and flat out refusing to go, Matt convinced me that it wasn’t as hard as all that to drive the Land Rover on the course.
He picked out a flat, easy, risk-free route that I could have a go driving on. So, I felt a little more comfortable knowing I wasn’t going to completely trash the 4X4 or hurt anybody.
Plus, I didn’t have to push any pedals or even touch the gear stick, just move the steering wheel. That seemed easy enough. So, I did sheepishly take the wheel and started to drive us along the course.
I was terrified but looking back I didn’t have much to worry about.
It was really simple and easy to drive but I think if there was a prize for the slowest and most cautious off-road driver, it would be yours truly.
I felt proud that I had a go but I was relieved and happy to hand the baton back to my instructor who was the expert!
Arriving at ‘The View’ for a tea break
The biggest highlight for me, aside from taking the wheel, was arriving at a private viewpoint on the off-road course called ‘The View’.
There are so many viewpoints in the Lake District, but not many spectacular ones that you can access by vehicle.
I’m not an avid hiker myself so reaching these sorts of heights usually means a long and tough journey. So I loved the fact that we got here easily in our 4X4!
I was so amazed by the views from up there.
You could see Lake Windermere and some of the islands on the lake too.
Luckily, it didn’t rain that day which meant we could see a clear view as well.
Up here we were treated to a much-needed tea break with the view from their hamper which was tea or coffee which some yummy biscuits were thrown in.
Heading back down to solid ground
So, once we had finished admiring the majestic views, we were ready to head back down to Earth in the Land Rover. Thankfully, this time I didn’t have to drive!
Having driven through the off-road course, it felt really strange leaving and driving on normal roads again. Especially not bumping about in the car and securing everything.
We arrived safely back at the Graythwaite Adventure site and the only thing left to do was take some more photos and say goodbye.
I had such an amazing and hilarious time on the off-roading course with my instructor Matt and I would definitely do it all over again if I got the chance. My sides hurt from laughing so much.
Even though I was a solo traveller here in the Lake District, this was such an epic thing to do and one of my favourite activities on my adventures here.
Unique experiences in Cumbria
4X4 off-road driving experiences in the Lake District isn’t all that Graythwaite Adventure has on offer here. In fact, they have a whole range of unique experiences that you can try out for yourself.
On their estate, you can try axe throwing or you can try your hand at archery, something that I loved doing as a kid. Plus, they also do lots of water sports.
Or, you can go for something more relaxing like their drive ’n’ dine or picnic packages that would make the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion.
How to find Graythwaite Adventure in the Lake District
The Graythwaite Adventure site is in a remote area of the Lake District which is just a few miles from Hawkshead. This is home to Hawkshead Village and Hill Top that was home to Beatrix Potter.
It’s easiest if you have your own means of transport to access the site as the infrastructure here is quite limited for public transport.
I got terribly lost trying to find it and even drove inside Graythwaite Hall (don’t do this).
The phone signal is terrible too so make sure you have a SatNav plugged in or you follow the map pin towards the estate while you have service.
The full address is Graythwaite Estate, Near Hawkshead, Cumbria, LA12 8AZ.