I stayed at Dale Bottom last year and really liked it. It was peak season, summer, hot, full of children, but I still managed to find a quiet enough spot. I wanted to return at a quieter time to enjoy it’s great location and to tackle some Wainwrights in the ‘Central Fells’. I booked ahead of time although you don’t need to. And the weather was poor….but you have to make the most of it when you have limited days off out of the school holidays. I was a bit disppointed when I arrived because the field which they opened last year wasn’t open this time. This field is by a stream and has views down the valley…..I had to camp in the main caravan bit on bumpy ground….
It is situated 2 miles outside of Keswick on the main road heading to Grasmere via Thirlmere. Although by the main road the entrance and dip down the hill means you can’t hear the road. There is a bus stop by the farm which has services to Keswick and Grasmere. And from Keswick you can get basically anywhere in the Lakes on public transport. From the campsite you can walk to the famous stone circles, 1.5 miles, or walk into Keswick (ideal to avoid parking charges in the town). Of course there are numerous other walks from the campsite – St John’s in the Vale, and Thirlmere were among my favourites.
Friendly welcome – I came last year and they remembered me. I wasn’t shown around or anything, but that wasn’t needed. Short and sweet.
As mentioned above the pitch I was hoping for wasn’t available so I had to pick from bumpy, fairly unkept grass. Because the weather was awful I chose some ground under a tree and in a sheltered spot. This was ideal for keeping out the rain and wind so was good…..but……the ground wasnt even and the tent pegs wouldn’t go in more than half way because of the rocks underneath. Last year when I pitched in the level field I had no problem. I was a bit disappointed. I think it would put me off visiting again unless I knew i could get into the other field.
It was windy when i visited so the wind through the trees was the main one. There were swallows and house martins dancing in the evenings and being by the farm, some farm traffic and sheep. But nothing negative. If you wanted to you could hear the cars on the road but it would have to be very still, and the campsite very quiet for you to be disturbed by it.
On the website it said £7 but when I got there i was charge £8 and then when i went to pay for an extra night a member of staff said it was £10! I pointed out that I had paid £8 the day before so I paid £8 not £10. £8 is fair for the Lakes…but it is £1 for a shower.
There is a small on-site shop in the reception which sells essentials and is really useful should you forget anything. The toilet and shower block was clean and soap was provided. The shower was really hot and worth the £1. There is a separate block for washing-up. There are hook ups for caravans. There are alot of water taps around the site….but…..all come from a spring so you have to boil the water before you drink it. Me being a ‘back to basics’ camper couldn’t boil the water so this was a problem. Well, it wasn’t because I just drank it anyway but I suppose i shouldn’t have. Lots of bins, recycling area etc. There is a phone signal in places. 4G if you put your hand in the right direction.
The location of this campsite is great because you can enjoy all the facilities/public transport/amenities of Keswick without actually staying in the (in my opinion) unattractive town centre. There are many campsites near the centre which are busy. This one is further out, less busy, and because the site it quite large you can get your own private spot. I think the main draw back is the pitch – the condition of the grass wasn’t great, it was rocky and uneven. But if the other field had been open I’d have been happy. For me this is the only campsite within walking distance of Keswick which I would stay at. All the others are too big, busy and noisey.
And what did I do when I stayed? Day 1 I walked from Keswick to Grasmere via High Seat and then got the bus back. Day 2 I parked at Grange and walked to Rosthwaite and then up to Dock Tarn, returning via Ashness Bridge, and my favouite boardwalk ever at the head of Derwentwater. Day 3 I had an unexpected, climb up a hidden gem. I walked from the campsite to Raven Crag. An amazing forest walk to the top of a crag with views over Thirlmere.
I great little break – next stop? Borrowdale.