The Lake District
There is a huge list of activities in the Lake District that are going to offer you endless pleasure. I have categorized these activities and attractions to help you read and understand better.
Lake Windermere is the largest of all the lakes and is probably the busiest with tourists. The one-day trips mostly come with a plan of lake cruise which shows them around the Windermere lake. We already discussed that Windermere is a mere and not a lake, but we can call it a lake to ease the confusion. The lake is beautiful, clean and is surrounded by many towns like Windermere (the town), Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere. Windermere Lake is also called a Ribbon Lake because of its shape.
The England’s largest lake is 220 ft deep and 10.5 miles long. Windermere Lake was formed around 13,000 year ago from the melting water of the glaciers. You will also notice many beautiful homes on the shores of the Lake. These homes belong to many entrepreneurs who built their lavish houses here when the tourism began in the Victorian times. Most of them have turned to hotels and restaurants.
Wastwater is famous as the deepest lake of England. This is not as large as other lakes and is 2.9 square kilometers in size. This magnificent lake is surrounded by many mountains including the highest of all “The Scafell Pike”. The Wasdale Head which leads to the top of Scafell Pike is located at the Wastwater Lake.
Tarn “Hows” of the Lake District
Tarn Hows is located in the Coniston Waters and was handed over to the National Trust by Beatrix Potter, the famous author of the children’s book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”. This has become one of the most famous spots for wonderful views and walks. The walk is also wheelchair friendly and a lot of families visit here for a gentle walk in the beautiful scenery.
Lake Cruises in the Lake District
Even if it is a one-day trip or a 4 day-stay of an exploratory visit, cruising around the beautiful lakes is one of the top activities in Lake District. Windermere lake is the largest and the most popular lake for the cruise. The 16-kilometer-long lake offers a great cruise experience where you can enjoy the awesome views around with mountains, blue waters and the beautiful houses and towns on the lake shore. Lakes Aquarium at the south end of Windermere Lake has the largest collection of freshwater fish in UK. The Victorian Fell Foot Park has also been restored and is a great place to stop and walk around with beautiful views.
There is a steam-boat tour available at the Coniston Water (Lake). The beautiful lake and the views of the high mountain right above the lake are breathtaking. This lake is half the size of Windermere Lake.
Another marvelous lake cruise experience is around the Ullswater (Lake). The steamers will take you for an unforgettable journey around this wonderful lake. One of the tour boats is more than 140 years old and was launched in 1877.
There is one more wonderful lake cruise in the Derwentwater (Lake). This lake is located under the Catbells mountain’s ridge. The cruises tour takes around 1 hour for the round trip. You can also choose to stay in the Keswick area and explore the lake, surroundings and area.
Scafell Pike of the Lake District
Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. The Peak is 3,209 ft high and only experienced hikers can climb it. The hiking is not easy but, the views from the top pay back all your hard work. The breathtaking views will become a beautiful life-time memory for you. If you are lucky on a clear day, you can see up to the Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The quickest route to the top is from Wasdale Head which takes around 3 hours. It means that this is a complete day trip for you. If you are planning for a hike to Scafell Pike, always prepare properly and plan your trip according to the weather conditions.
Brant Fell of the Lake District
Brant fell may not be among the ten highest mountains of the Lake District, but it surely is a wonderful place to hike and enjoy the lovely views. The mountain is located behind the Bowness-on windermere with a great view of the lake. The climb will test your fitness levels, so it is recommended to go prepared.
Orrest Head Hill
If you are looking for a shorter hike, you can choose the Orrest Head Hill. It is located near the Windermere railway station and it takes around 20 minutes hike to reach the top. You will encounter stunning views of the Windermere Lake from the top including the beautifully aligned mountains of Lake District. This is a favorite spot for the photographers and painters.
Ambleside Town of the Lake District
Ambleside is a beautiful small town on the shore of Windermere Lake. The town is full of lovely stone houses, restaurants and shops. A lot of tourists like to stay in Ambleside during their exploration tour of Lake District. The town itself is a lovely place to walk and explore around the beautiful streets. There is a waterfall at Stock Ghyll Force which is at a walking distance from the center of the city. A short walk to the Jenkins Crag will bring you to the beautiful viewing site for the Windermere Lake. Moreover, Ambleside has a house that belongs to the famous poet William Wordsworth and his family. It is called Rydal Mount. There is also an interesting place to visit in Ambleside called Galava Roman Fort. This is a Roman heritage site with grassy fields near the Waterhead Ambleside.
This is another beautiful small town around Lake Windermere and is a popular holiday resort among the tourists. The town has many shops and restaurants. The town is a wonderful place to walk around in the pedestrian friendly streets. Famous attractions of the town include the steamboat museum and the World of Beatrix Potter.
Windermere Town of the Lake District
The town of Windermere grew around the Windermere railway station. If you arrive to Lake District by train, you will reach the Windermere train station which is itself a beautiful work of art. The walls of the station have been painted by the talented art students. From here you can find bus tours that take you through the town to the shores of Windermere Lake. There is also an information center and a postcard shop near the train station. There are many shops, restaurants, bars and hotels in the town.
Grasmere Village of the Lake District
Grasmere is a magnificent village in the Lake District which is also home to the Dove Cottage (The former house of William Wordsworth). The beautiful village has many stone cottages and there are tea shops around every corner. One of the great ways to enjoy the village is to walk around as the village is in center of mountains. You will be taken off your feet with the wonderful views including the lakes. Also try one of the beautiful tea shops, where you can have tea in a calm environment with the views of the Grasmere lake.
Visiting the Homes of Famous English Writers
If you love books like me, you will be happy to know that Lake District is associated with many famous English writers.
Dove Cottage in Grasmere is the family home to the famous poet William Wordsworth. This is a very traditional Lakeland cottage. The cottage is furnished with the original Wordsworth family belongings. There is a small museum next door where you can learn in detail about the poet’s life and travels. William Wordsworth also had another house in Ambleside which is called Rydal Mount. Rydal Mount is much larger than Dove Cottage.
If you want to checkout the home of famous John Ruskin, visit the Brantwood near Coniston. The house also displays some fine arts and objects which were collected by John Ruskins during his journeys. The gardens of the house are absolutely wonderful with beautiful views of the lake and the mountains: such a beautiful place for inspiration, relaxation and writing.
The most famous of all is the 17th century farmhouse on the hilltop which was bought by Beatrix Potter from the income of her first book “The tale of Peter Rabbit”. She has taken inspirations from the surroundings of Lake District for many of her books. Her house is still maintained in the same condition since she left. The house and the gardens have display of the objects that appear in her stories. Normally, there is a long que of visitors to this house. In the beginning of the tour, you are introduced with the writer, her illustrations and stories. After that you will continue your tour observing around 7 more different categories including the 3d display of the writer’s stories.
Museums in the Lake District
There are plenty of museums in lake District and you cannot cover all of them within one day. That is why lake district will keep inviting you for more trips because there is so much to do. We have talked about the houses of writers and poets turned into museums but there are many more, including the history of pencils.
There is a museum called The Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steams and Stories. This museum as the name suggests displays an impressive collection of boats and their history.
Another Interesting Museum is the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston. Laurel and Hardy was a comedy series and has a huge following. The museum exhibits some of the belongings of the actors and their movies.
Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum displays information about the mining and Quarry industries with machines, tools and tunnels.
The Beacon Museum in Whitehaven displays the information about the history of West Cumbria. You can learn about how the early Romans were settled here and how the area revolutionized.
There is a complete miniature model of a village. It is called as Lakeland Miniature Village and located in Grange-over-Sands. This small village model attracts a lot of visitors because of the magnificent replicas of the houses, lakes and trains in the village.
Derwent Pencil Museum displays the history and evolution of Pencil. The world’s first ever pencil is displayed in this museum. You will be amazed to see the spy pencils from World War II. There is an 8-meter-long coloring pencil on the display.
Lakeland Motor Museum
This wonderful museum has a huge collection of about 30,000 exhibits. There are around 140 classic cars on display. The museum is located in the Leven Valley and is open 7 days a week for the visitors. The collection includes both motor and manual vehicles. The collections include a jaguar XK140, Bentley 4 ¼ liter, Willys MB Jeep and a Star 15.9 from 1913. You will also see a full-size replica of a 1967 jet hydroplane Bluebird K7, a Blue Bird car from 1935 and a Blue Bird Boat K$ from 1939.
If you are in the Leven Valley, then also try the breathtaking railway ride of Haverthwaite Steam Railway. You can explore the locomotives and ride one of these incredible old trains. This is a great chance to go back into the history of trains.
Fell Foot Park
As we discussed above, Fell Foot Park is a wonderful place to visit with the family in summers. Located at the southern shore of the Windermere Lake, the park has stunning views of the mountains combined with the lake. There are many playgrounds and relaxation spots in the park. You will also see many swimmers and divers enjoying the lake water in the park. The park was part of a mansion that was demolished in 1907 but in 1948 the park was acquired by the National Trust. Hence restored and now serves to the delight of the visitors. There is a boathouse that has been converted into a café. You can hire a rowing boat from this café and explore the lake.
Holehird Gardens of the Lake District
The Holhird Gardens are no ordinary gardens but 3 marvelous gardens of different types of flowers and plants that bloom in the soil of Lake District. These are located in the North of Windermere town. The gardens were actually created in 19th century. They have been renovated a lot of times and are not in their original shape anymore, but they are a wonderful display of magnificent beauty. There is a display house and many glasshouses in the gardens. Beatrix Potter was a regular visitor of the gardens. The views from the garden are amazing. Interestingly, the gardens are maintained by volunteers of the Lakeland Horticultural Society.
Hiking and Trekking in the Lake District
The National Park is so huge and hence there are endless possibilities of hiking and trekking. There are around 2000 kilometers of footpaths available for public to explore the area. There is a huge variety of routes that you can choose according to your health, fitness and age. There are many guided and self-guided routes available in the area. There are many wonderful spots for the families to enjoy some hiking, explore around and find a perfect spot for beautiful views and picnic. You can get maps from the visitor’s center which can help you with all these routes and offers. As now we know that the Lake District is home to the highest mountains of England, so this is a heaven for mountain climbing and hiking lovers.
Wildlife in the Lake District
Due to a wide range of lakes, forest, mountains and valleys, Lake District is home to a superb variety of wildlife. There are colonies of butterworts and sundews which are native carnivorous plants of England. Lake District has the largest population of Red Squirrels in England. The only Golden Eagle in England is seen in the Lake District. Ospreys also frequently visit and nest in this area in the Springs. There are many other wonderful bird species which are present in the forests and surroundings such as Red Kite, Dipper, Peregrine, Raven, Buzzard.
Lakes of the are also home to a huge variety of fish species including some of the rare and endangered ones like Vendace, Schelly and the Arctic Charr.
Grizedale Forest of the Lake District
This magnificent 2,500 Hectares forest is located right in the heart of the Lake District between Windermere and Coniston Water. This beautiful forest offers great activities like camping, walking, hiking and trekking. There are proper marked footpaths and tracks for mountain biking. There is also a sculpture trail in the forest which has around 90 sculptures made from wood and stone.
Adding to your adventure, there are also ziplines for adults and children who are older than 10 years. There are also rope bridges and Tarzan swing ropes in the forest. You can easily spend a whole day here, that is why I suggest when you plan to visit Lake District, plan for at least 4 days. There are several amazing spots for family picnics in the forest. Overall, this is going to be a wonderful experience for you where you can have fun in a forest, surrounded by mountains and lakes with breathtaking views and fresh air.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Stonehenge (The stone circle) is now famous all over the world. A similar stone circle is also present in the Lake District which is now called Castlerigg Stone Circle. Actually, there are around 300 smaller and unique stone circles all around England.
Unlike, Stonehenge, Castlerigg is a quiet and calm place and only few tourists around the world know about it. There are 38 stones that form this circle over 30 meters in diameters in the high mountain areas of Keswick. There is a possibility that when you will visit this place, you will be the only one exploring it around. Like the other stone circles, this one was also constructed somewhere around 3000 BC in the Neolithic era. Because most of these stones are aligned with the sun, they look more wonderful during the sunrise, sunset and the summer solstice. Until, today nobody knows what the actual reason behind the construction of all these stone circles was.
Stargazing at Low Gillerthwaite Field Center
Being the largest National Park and very low residency rate, Lake District is a place with very low pollution especially light pollution. The area of Low Gillerthwaite has been officially named as a Dark Sky Discovery Site. During Winters, Low Gillerthwaite hosts many events for star gazing where you can learn about the stars, Milky Way and planets from the experts who happily provide the interesting information. People also share their stories and you can also access the telescopes to dig deep into the sky. During the clear evenings, you can even see Milky Way from your naked eye. This is simply the best place in England to view the night sky and even the northern lights have been spotted here a few times.
Honister Slate Mine
This mine located at the head of the beautiful Honister Pass, is the only producer of the world’s famous Westmorland Green Slate. This is also the last working slate mine in England. You can enjoy a wonderful and informative tour of the underground mine shafts. You can challenge yourself for crossing the daring infinite bridge or you can take the Via Ferrata to reach up the Fleetwith Pike.
The café at Honister is the highest café in the National Park. There is a souvenir shop from where you can buy the slate products and gifts for your friends or for your home decoration.
Kendal Castle of the Lake District
This ruined castle is located at the top of a steep hill. The Kendal Castle was built in the 12th century but it started to turn into ruins during the Tudor times. The grassy areas around the castle are now used for public picnics.
Shap Abbey of the Lake District
The drive to Shap Abbey is also one of the most scenic routes in Lake District. The Abbey was founded in late 12th century. It is mostly turned into ruins but a beautiful 15th century tower has withstood the tests of time.
As I suggested, you need at least 4 days to explore the place and still you will feel the need of coming back to this place again. There is so much, and so many amazing things in Lake District to view and explore. Take an example of the Kirkstone Pass, where you can test your driving skills. This is one of the most beautiful drive routes in England where even the expert drivers will feel the need to be cautious as the blind curves and steep gradients are going to increase your adrenaline levels.
The villages in the Lake District are connected by small, curved roads where one side is covered with the long stone walls. The whole drive is a wonderful experience especially the patch between Ambleside and Patterdale. There are a few pullovers where you can stop and take rest and take pictures around.
Electric Bike Tour
There are a lot of small villages and towns connected through small trails in the Lake District. The electric bike tour is a wonderful way to explore these villages in short time. You can hire an electric bike and roam around in the beautiful surroundings easily without spreading pollution. For your ease, you will find many charging stations along the way. Many pubs and cafes also have the charging stations.
Watersports in the Lake District
Now that we clearly know that Lake District is huge with 100s of activities and outdoor activities. There is also no shortage of watersports activities. There are many lakes, and many lakes and there are also some lakes in this area (I am again mentioning about the Lakes, Meres and Tarns 😊). I love Lake District and it is one of my most favorite places in UK. You can enjoy kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, jet skiing and canoeing. There is something for everyone and for every age. You can also enjoy paddle boating, water-skiing, raft and boat racing. There is a 10 miles per hour speed limit if you are using a boat.
Windermere Lake hosts an annual event “Great North Swim” which is the biggest open water swimming event in United Kingdom.
Most of the great places are associated with a typical food of the area. Talking about Lake District bring the subject of Grasmere Gingerbread which is the most famous local gingerbread of the area. Why is this gingerbread so famous? Because, this is not any regular normal gingerbread that you taste every day. This is a sweet and spicy cross between a cake and biscuit. It is crumbly from the top and soft in the middle.
Grasmere Gingerbread was developed by Sarah Nelson in 1854, a hardworking house maid turned entrepreneur with the excellent gingerbread formula. The reputation grew quickly and widely. The tourism boosted the business even more. Today the Grasmere gingerbread shop that is set in Sarah Nelson’s Original home, attracts the visitors from all over the world.