If you decide to base yourself in a Windermere spa hotel, why not take your time to explore the lakes and villages in Cumbria during your stay?
Shap is a small village, located amongst the fells and isolated dales in Eden district, Cumbria. Situated close to the M6 motorway, the village is just 10 miles from Penrith and 15 miles from Kendal in the Lake District.
With four pubs, restaurants, a supermarket, café and ceramic art studio, Shap offers visitors plenty of places to explore. Anglican and Methodist churches are also situated in the village, and the West Coast Main Line Railway opened by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway on 17th December, 1846 still runs along the eastern edge of the village. Shap Railway Station was closed in 1968.
Shap is technically a market town, and has a charter dating back to the 17th Century. Originally, the granite works, which are situated a mile outside the village, were a completely separate community.
The village of Shap is located on the route of the Coast to Coast Walk, and some of the scenes from the feature film, Withnail and I, were filmed in Shap. In 1999, a Hawk Jet from RAF Leeming crashed into an empty barn in the town before exploding across a railway line. Both pilots were killed, but were hailed as heroes for steering the jet away from the village instead of ejecting.
The main centre of Shap consists of two long lines of grey stone houses, which date back to the 18th Century, and line the A6 road which runs through the village. The market hall is situated in the centre of the village, and the curious windows and rounded arches date back to 1687 when the village was first granted its market charter.
Several stone circles dot the landscape around Shap, which are said to date back to Neolithic times. Shap Abbey is half a mile west of the village, and it stands next to the River Lowther. This beautiful abbey was built in 1199, and was the last abbey to be founded in England and the last to be dissolved in 1540 by King Henry VIII.
The Medieval Keld Chapel is owned by the National Trust, and is well worth a visit. One of the more remote religious sites, the chapel boasts 12th Century elements, along with a tower which dates back to the reign of George IV, and a Victorian chancel.
Shap, Kendal and Penrith are three of the most beautiful areas of the Eden and Lake District, and there is plenty to see and do in the region. Shap is a good base for visitors who want to explore the outlying regions of Cumbria, and also within easy driving distance of the more popular resorts of Windermere and Bowness.