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WHERE TO GO

Where to Go

If you’re making your maiden voyage to the Lake District and are feeling overwhelmed by all the options, you’ve come to the right spot.


We’ve selected some of our top choices and are presenting you with quick glimpses of destinations in the Lake District, along with their respective activities, nearby lakes, hikes, and more.


However, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive guide, check out our directory of well-known towns in the Lake District and the 16 major lakes.


Towns

  • Keswick
  • Keswick, the charming market town, has won the hearts of many due to its stunning vistas, a diverse range of things to do, and convenient proximity to Derwentwater and the neighbouring hills.
  • Cockermouth
  • Situated on the western boundary of the Lake District, Cockermouth is an ancient market town located in the borough of Allerdale in Cumbria. The town’s location provides convenient entry to the region’s most breathtaking and unexplored vistas.
  • Penrith
  • Penrith, the striking red-brick town, is the primary entrance to explore the Eden Valley. Its accessible road and rail connections make it effortless to enter and exit Cumbria’s ancient capital.
  • Glenridding
  • Located at the base of the renowned Kirkstone Pass at the southern tip of Ullswater Lake, Glenridding serves as the primary hub for the Ullswater region. A favoured destination for hikers, the area boasts numerous trails suitable for all levels of experience.
  • Carlisle
  • Carlisle, a contemporary metropolis between the Lake District National Park and Hadrian’s Wall, has witnessed over 2,000 years of history, making it an important historical site. The city’s imposing castle, which once held Mary Queen of Scots, is one of England’s most remarkable fortifications, constructed from stones pilfered from the neighbouring Hadrian’s Wall, a testament to the region’s rich history.
  • Grasmere
  • Renowned as the abode of William Wordsworth, Grasmere is a location he once acclaimed as “The loveliest spot that man hath found.” Situated adjacent to Grasmere Lake, the town is enshrouded by a stunning range of fells and mountains, offering the same ambience that Wordsworth and the Romantic poets so ardently cherished.
  • Kendal
  • Kendal, a bustling town, serves as a primary entrance to the Lake District, earning its moniker as the ‘Auld Grey Town’ due to the unique limestone that constructs many of its buildings. While grey may be the town’s prevalent colour, it doesn’t dull its liveliness, with an array of excellent restaurants, a bustling shopping district, and a creative arts centre, all contributing to a vibrant atmosphere.
  • Hawkshead
  • Located immediately to the north of Esthwaite Water, Hawkshead is a charming marketplace village characterized by a jumbled assortment of stone houses, old arches, and squares that mesmerized both William Wordsworth – who received his schooling here – and later Beatrix Potter, who resided at Hill Top, a quick five-minute drive away in Sawrey.
  • Coniston
  • Coniston village is highly favoured by hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, mainly due to its location. It is situated at the base of the Old Man of Coniston, one of Cumbria’s most sought-after fells, and beside the western coast of Coniston Water, one of England’s most extensive lakes, stretching over five miles (8km).
  • Bowness-on-Windermere
  • Numerous visitors often equate Windermere with the Lake District since it is the most significant lake in England and the most frequently visited. It has been a vital tourist destination since 1847 when the first trains arrived, carrying passengers eager to inhale the fresh air and admire the picturesque scenery. The town’s appeal has remained constant ever since.
  • Ambleside
  • Ambleside, a beloved market town located at the heart of the national park, is located at Windermere’s northern end. Magnificent Lakeland fells surround the town. Although it traces its roots to the medieval woollen trade, today’s architecture is primarily Victorian and built using traditional grey slate.
  • Ravenglass
  • Ravenglass, the isolated coastal village in the Lake District, is a serene location that allows you to travel back in time and discover its Roman legacy.
  • Furness Peninsula: Barrow-in-Furness & Ulverston
  • While the Furness Peninsula is not within the official boundaries of the Lake District National Park, it is still a destination worth exploring. Visitors can enjoy various attractions in the area, such as the South Lakes Safari Zoo, where they can observe exotic wildlife up close. The peninsula is situated along Morecambe Bay and is home to several significant nature reserves and Piel Island, where the historic Ship Inn can be found.

Lakes

  • Elter Water
  • Despite being one of the smaller lakes, due to its near-perfect seclusion in the Langdale Valley, and split into three separate sections. Accessible by the B5383 and public footpaths, the lake is surrounded by woodland, providing a hidden oasis for visitors. Located west of the renowned walking town of Ambleside, Elter Water is an ideal spot for hikers to relax and unwind after a strenuous climb up one of the nearby peaks.
  • Wastwater
  • Wastwater, another glacier-carved lake, is the deepest in England and is owned by the National Trust. Although not easily accessible, except for crows, the A595 provides access to Cumbria’s western coast. The lake’s northern point is Wasdale Head, home to a remote campsite and the last pub for miles. It is popular with walkers climbing Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. A circular lake walk is available, and the rugged wilderness is unbeatable.
  • Ullswater
  • Ullswater, formed by a glacier, is the second-largest lake in the Lake District, stretching for nine miles. Ullswater’ Steamers’ cruises allow visitors to enjoy the entire length of the lake from Pooley Bridge in the north to Glenridding in the south, passing through Howtown in between. Martindale Common is one of the many fantastic walks available nearby for those who want to combine boat and foot travel. The A592 runs along the lake’s entire northwestern side, making it easy to locate and appreciate.
  • Thirlmere
  • Thirlmere, located east of Helvellyn, is a reservoir with a convenient road on its eastern side and a peaceful route on the western shore. Like Hawes Water, the Manchester Corporation built a dam at the northern end in the 19th century, creating a storage facility for the city’s water supply needs. Experienced walkers and climbers can enjoy the best views of Thirlmere from Helvellyn, including the infamous Striding Edge, but less experienced walkers should stick to the shoreline.
  • Rydal Water
  • Just like people, lakes are said to have a perfect match, which is undoubtedly true in the case of Rydal Water. This small lake has a cosy, rural location that complements its slightly larger cousin, Grasmere. Located less than a mile apart, you can see them both if you visit one. In addition, there are several nearby walking routes, and Rydal is connected to Grasmere and ultimately drains to Windermere.
  • Grasmere
  • Grasmere, located next to its namesake village, is a smaller lake that is a must-visit during your Lake District getaway. It is conveniently located on the A591 route that connects the South Lakes with the North, making it hard to miss. If driving, it’s best to set off early, especially on a good weather day, to witness a new day in the middle of the national park. However, visitors must remember not to drop their Grasmere Gingerbread into the water.
  • Windermere
  • As England’s lengthiest lake and the most frequented destination in the Lake District, Windermere offers a variety of onshore activities and a captivating cruising experience to take in its magnificent sights.
  • Loweswater
  • Loweswater is often forgotten and needs to have official name recognition. However, it’s a small and picturesque lake that completes a row of three lakes, which includes Buttermere and Crummock Water. It’s a great addition to any western Lake District itinerary. Visitors can take a circular walk to enjoy views across the water or the surrounding fells from any point along its shoreline.
  • Ennerdale Water
  • Ennerdale Water, the westernmost lake on this list, is considered a well-kept secret by many Lake District enthusiasts due to its far-flung location. Access is limited by road, and visitors must enter via the National Park’s western side along a small road on the lake’s north-easterly edge from the A5086. Although it requires “taking a long way around,” a trip to Ennerdale Water provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to explore some of Cumbria’s hidden gems en-route, such as Cockermouth and Egremont, depending on the direction of travel.
  • Derwent Water
  • Derwent Water is a popular destination for campers due to its proximity to Keswick Campsite, located right on the shoreline. The lake features seven lakeside marinas and several islands to explore and was used as a filming location for Star Wars: Episode VII, The Force Awakens. Despite its appearance in the movie, the lake is a tranquil and peaceful place to visit, although visitors may spot a few tourists dressed in Star Wars attire. A visit to Derwent Water and a trip to the dog-friendly town of Keswick is a great day out, with the B5289 running along the lake’s eastern shore. Learn more about the area, and may the force be with you.
  • Crummock Water
  • Crummock Water, a popular destination for wild swimmers, is a hidden gem worth visiting. You can access it via the B5289 and enjoy the nearby Buttermere and Loweswater during the same trip. For those looking for an adventure-filled day, you can hike three lakes and cap it off with a refreshing wild swim.
  • Coniston Water
  • Coniston Water, known for Donald Campbell’s Bluebird and his tragic end, is a beloved lake in the South of Lake District. Surrounded by woodland and famous villages, it’s home to the peak Coniston Old Man and Swallows and Amazons tale. Visitors can recreate the adventure with a canoe or take a leisurely trip on the Coniston Launch or National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola. The journey itself is also full of stunning vistas.
  • Buttermere
  • Buttermere, one of the smallest lakes on this list, provides abundant peace. A single road skirts the shore briefly at its eastern end, and a trip over Honister Pass leads to an ideal spot to park and stroll down to the water’s edge.
  • Bassenthwaite Lake
  • Bassenthwaite Lake, located in Cumbria, is the most northern lake on this list and stretches for four miles with a width of around ¾ of a mile. It is easily accessible by road and public transport, flanked by the A66 on its western shore and offers plenty of lay-bys to pull over and enjoy the views. However, for a more peaceful experience, take the A591 on the lake’s eastern side and follow a public footpath to the shore.
  • Haweswater
  • Haweswater, one of the easternmost lakes in the national park, offers visitors excellent opportunities for peace in Cumbria. To reach it, take the Shap exit off the M6 and follow narrow, winding roads alongside the largely uninhabited eastern shore. Driving along this road in the morning provides stunning views of the lake and the imposing shadows of nearby fells. Although it’s partly artificial and serves as a reservoir, the trip is worthwhile. The lakeside road leads to a parking area at the southern end, where visitors can reflect on the two villages that were intentionally flooded to make way for Manchester’s water storage needs.


Disclaimer: Please note that every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided at the time of writing.However, it is essential to verify the information carefully before making any decisions based on the contents of this article.

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