C2C - Route 71
Route Section: Keswick > Alston
From Start: 74km (46m) | From Finish: 314km (196m)
Penrith 13km (8m)
Alston 47km (29m)
There's a decent pub in the village where you can eat as well as drink. It's curious name The Boot & Shoe relates to the habit of a former Duke of Norfolk, an ancestor of Tarzan of Greystoke, of wearing a shoe on one foot and a boot on the other, to ease the pain of crippling gout. Whether or not, thus clad, he shuffled down the long drive and across the green to the pub is not recorded.
Greystoke Cycle Cafe has a lovely tea garden and is perfectly geared up for cyclists. It is open 12-6pm from Easter until end of September and from 10-6pm every Saturday and Sunday. There is a barn with some basic bike maintenance kit.
Paying homage to the original Tarzan This traditional English village, 8km west of Penrith, was built around a green with a pub and a church the size of a cathedral. Discreetly hidden at the top of a long drive and behind a curtain of trees in a 3,000-acre wooded park is Greystoke Castle, seat of the Howard family since the 1500s, when they were emerging as movers and shakers behind the monarchies of the late Tudors and early Stuarts.
Tarzan is modelled on one former Baron Greystoke, and there are certainly enough trees for any Lord of the Apes to practice on. It is a family home and business rather than a theme park, so not much is made of the Tarzan link, but I thought Tarzan fans might be interested.
The village is probably Roman in origin, lying alongside the road they built from Penrith to Troutbeck. The name means 'place by the River Creik', a small stream nearby. The village was known as Creistock in early Medieval times. Though most of the village dates from the 17th century, the foundation of the Perpendicular-style church was laid in the mid-1200s, though building did not start until 1382, and went on into the next century. The bells that still ring out in Greystoke date from the Middle Ages.
Inside is some fine Medieval and Victorian stained glass. The Spillers Stone in the village was thought to be a plague stone, where plague victims left coins in a pool of vinegar on its concave surface. The vinegar was supposed to protect the healthy, who left food there for sufferers.
According to the Cumbria Directory, Greystoke Castle was an integral part of village life, the first version being constructed in 1129 as protection against Scottish Border raiders, precursors of the Reivers who came to dominate the area.
Oliver Cromwell destroyed much of Greystoke and a devastating fire in 1868 ensured that only the fortified medieval pele tower and a few Georgian interiors survived and the present building, though it mimics the Elizabethan style, actually dates from the 19th century.
The nearby countryside boasts a number of fine old fortified houses complete with pele towers, notably Blencowe Hall, built in 1590, Greenthwaite Hall, and Johnby Hall. All are reminders of the bloody times in the Borders.
In the saddle
The village is also home of the Greystoke Stables, a successful racehorse training yard. Notable victories include Lucius (1978) and Hallo Dandy (1982) in the Grand National and three successes in the King George VI Chase, the feature face at Kempton Park's Boxing Day meeting.
Where to Eat and Drink
Boot & Shoe and the Cycle Cafe. See above.
Where To Sleep
Run by: Jill McAlea
Grade II listed 17th century smallholding with pigs and hens, neighbouring Greystoke castle and only 100 metres from the Boot & Shoe. Beech House is part of Lattendales country house, and is a splendid spot. All rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, TV and wifi.
Rooms: 1D, 2F (3 and 4 beds in each).
B&B: £40. Single occ £50-£60.
Pk lunch: by arrangement.
Secure cycle storage: yes.
Boot & Shoe
Run by: Jan & Ben Mandale
The Boot & Shoe is one of the great success stories of the C2C since Jan and Ben took the reins eight years ago. There's a real buzz about the place; cyclists, visitors and locals jostle for place while Jan hands out steaming plates of excellent food, ranging from chicken balti to local dishes like lamb Henry. A real community hub. Log fire in the bar, stove in the lounge, plus selection of well kept real ales. Evening meals and bar meals served in the restaurant, bar or outside in the beer garden or on the patio.
Rooms: 4T+1D/T (en-suite).
B&B (full English): £44-£55 (single occ).
Eve meal: £5.95-£12.95 (main courses). Secure lock-up cycle shed.
Greystoke Cycle Cafe
Run by: Annie Swarbrick
Greystoke Cycle Café offers art and craft days (Quirky Workshops) perfect for Cycle support drivers to come and enjoy a day out. Workshop guests often travel considerable distances for these courses. If support drivers are passing make sure not to miss o
Run by: Christine Mole
Comfortable barn conversion on the outskirts of the village with a warm welcome and hearty breakfasts using local produce. Secure storage plus washing and drying facilities.
Rooms: 1T, 2F.
B&B: £40 (en-suite)
Pk lunch: £4.50. On route.
Pub 300 yds.
Run by: Pippa Maddams
Lovely old farm cottages a mile or so before Greystoke village ideal for small groups. There are two triple rooms and a double and Pippa offers a good continental breakfast with healthy options for those wishing to sidestep the traditional Cumbrian fry. Peaceful and spacious with secure cycle storage.
Rooms: 1Tpl, 1D.
Eve meal: Boot & Shoe.
Pk lunch: yes. Secure cycle storage and drying facilities