School visits and 360° Education + Adventure

Derwentwater Independent Hostel (Barrow House) has been welcoming school groups for over 50 years, with many groups coming back year after year. The hostel is particularly suited to school groups, with spacious grounds and dormitories, homemade food, and a quiet location 2 miles from Keswick.

Many groups do their own activities, but we also offer 360° Education + Adventure: bespoke itineraries, resources, educational activities, and a general helping hand, from talks for university students to guided farm visits for primary schools.

Whether you want to explore a cross-curricular theme (such as Vikings or Farming), study a particular subject (such as Geology or English Literature), or do adventurous activities only (such as climbing and kayaking), we have the ideas, resources, local knowledge, and local partnerships to help you create a fantastic residential programme. Please click here for information about the field work and environmental education sessions that the Field Studies Council offer in our grounds and the local area.

Themes (aimed at Key Stages 1 and 2)

We have developed a variety of themes, from Mining to Tourism, that can be explored from Derwentwater Independent Hostel. This website provides a brief introduction to each theme, as well as some sample activities, but if you want more information and itinerary ideas please get in touch at or ring 017687 77246.

Subjects (aimed at Key Stage 3 and above)

We have created information sheets for a number of subjects that can be studied from Derwentwater Independent Hostel. The list of subjects, ideas, and resources is not exhaustive, so please get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions. Subject to the availability of our staff and partners, we can design and/or lead subject-specific activities at the level you require, and we can customise information sheets for specific exam boards. Please get in touch at or ring 017687 77246.

Adventure activities

Our local partners at Glaramara  provide an exciting range of adventure activities. These activities can be booked and paid for through us. However, you are of course welcome to make your own activity arrangements or bring your own equipment (please contact us in advance to discuss storage requirements) and provide your own instruction. You can launch small watercraft (kayaks, canoes, and windsurfers) on the lake-shore opposite our driveway.

Revision residentials

Many schools find it highly beneficial to take small groups on revision residentials.

We hope that our spacious grounds, delicious meals, quiet location, friendly staff, and inspiring views will motivate students to fulfil their potential. Revision residentials allow teachers and students to concentrate effectively, working together for long-lasting benefits.

An itinerary which includes free time in the grounds, a local walk, or some adventure activities (such as kayaking on the lake) makes revision fun and rewarding. In addition, a residential experience, no matter how short, fosters co-operation and respect between students and leaders, with personal confidence and stronger working relationships developing beyond the residential.

We expect groups to provide their own tuition for revision residentials, but please let us know if you require help with a particular topic. 

The aims of 360° Education + Adventure:

  • To help every guest develop a personal engagement with the local environment 
  • To provide stimulating ideas and real-world contexts for learning
  • To introduce young people to unfamiliar outdoor environments and activities
  • To foster co-operation and respect between group members
  • To help young people challenge themselves and grow in confidence
  • To create happy and memorable experiences for every guest

Examples of 360° Education + Adventure in action:

  • Walk to the Lodore Falls and discuss the The Cataract of Lodore by Robert Southey. Look at sketches, paintings and engravings of the Lodore Falls by JMW Turner. Use mixed-media to create your own representation of the Borrowdale waterfalls. Visit Dove Cottage to learn more about creative responses to the Lake District landscape.
  • Walk along Barrow Beck from source to mouth. Make measurements of the channel and flow, draw field sketches, and describe its course in story form. Go ghyll scrambling and kayaking for more fun on the water!
  • Use role play to simulate a mountain rescue scenario. Look at the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team website and present incident data in the form of graphs and charts. Listen to a talk by one of the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team.

What shall I do next?

  • Explore the themes, subjects, and adventure activities on our website.
  • Get in touch by phone, email, or a personal visit so that we can discuss your itinerary, accommodation, catering, and travel requirements: and 017687 77246
  • If you book a group visit then you will receive all of the details for your chosen activities. Activities offered by our partners can be booked and paid for through us.
  • You will be offered a free leader-orientation visit so that you can familiarise yourself with the hostel and the activity areas.

You can of course provide your own instruction and we will provide the food, accommodation and any advice you require. Just let us know if you need the help of a local expert for your subject.

Derwentwater Independent Hostel
Barrow House
CA12 5UR
Telephone: 017687 77246

Thank you to Geoff Williams, Rebecca Laff, Fiona McCarthy, John and Sam Snyder, and KTA for generously providing inspiring photographs.
Thank you to Lisa Bamford at Stoats and Weasels for designing our website, and to Sam Snyder for building it.
© 2013 Derwentwater Independent Hostel. All rights reserved. Registered charity: 1145368