• Meet the Team
  • Talk to The Broke Backpacker
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • Scandinavia
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Budget Travel
  • Work & Travel
  • The Broke Backpacker Manifesto
  • Travel Resources
  • How to Travel on $10/day

Home » Europe » United Kingdom » England » Lake District

12 BEST Places to Visit in Lake District (2024)

England’s Lake District National Park covers over 2,300 square kilometres in the northwest of the country and is one of the most popular destinations for both British and international holidaymakers alike.

As well as lakes, it’s known for forests, mountains, and quaint villages. The area’s history includes several famous literary icons too, including Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. Although you can have many types of holiday in the Lake District, hiking trails or walking is by far the most popular activity here.

In this post, I’ll take a look at the best places to visit in the Lake District. Since the Lake District is so large, these activities are set across a large area.

If your budget stretches to it, it’s a good idea to rent a car while travelling in this part of England, as public transport is quite infrequent here!

You can make back that money by staying in hostels or at campsites!

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Lake District:

These are the best places to visit in lake district, faq on the best places to visit in lake district.

Grasmere, Lake District

Located slightly north of Ambleside is the idyllic village of Grasmere. One of the cutest towns in the Lake District National Park, Grasmere is perfect for travellers and tourists looking for a quiet, serene and peaceful base surrounded by stunning nature. For photographers, painters, artists and enthusiasts, Grasmere is a wonderful place to stay just to enjoy and be inspired by all the views.

  • Climb to the top of Helm Crag.
  • Stop for a spot of tea and a clotted cream scone at Faeryland.
  • Visit Dove Cottage, home to Williams Wordsworth, Britain’s best-loved poet.

Before you start reading, check out where to stay in the Lake District ESPECIALLY if you are planning on tackling Scafell Pike. You will need a place all booked and ready for those tired blistered toes to rest at the end of the day!

best places to visit in the lake district

Unlock Our GREATEST Travel Secrets!

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best travel tips delivered right to your inbox.

#1 – Scafell Pike – A beautiful and scenic place to check out in The Lake District!

Scafell Pike

  • Hike one of several trails to the summit
  • Conquer the highest mountain in England
  • One of the most famous places in The Lake District National Park!

Why it’s awesome: For starters, it’s the highest mountain in England! So, if you’re a walker or a climber, then Scafell Pike should definitely be on your Lake District itinerary. Although 978m doesn’t sound that high, and it can be done in a day, it’s not an easy hike to the top.

Scafell Pike is at the edge of 3 microclimates, meaning that the weather is notoriously unpredictable! So, if you want to add England’s highest mountain to your list of conquered summits, you’ll need to be adequately prepared!

What to do there: Of course, the best thing to do with Scafell Pike is to hike up it. To be able to say you’ve climbed the tallest mountain in any country is an impressive achievement!

If you’re travelling with the family or you’re new to hiking, the best route to take is the Corridor Route from Styhead Tarn near beautiful Borrowdale valley. That’s on Derwentwater, very near to Keswick! If you’re a more experienced hiker, why not have a go from Ill Crag? If it’s not foggy at the top, you’ll get some fantastic views so make sure you take a camera!

#2 – Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage

  • Visit the former home of poet William Wordsworth
  • Learn about the poet in the museum next door
  • One of the top points of interest in The Lake District National Park for literature lovers

Why it’s awesome: If you’ve spent a few days walking or the weather’s bad in the Lake District, then you’ll be happy to know that an activity like Dove Cottage is interesting and exciting but doesn’t require a lot of energy or getting wet to visit!

Find out all about arguably England’s most famous poet, who was partly responsible for launching the Romantic Age of English literature. Dove Cottage is in the village of Grasmere, which you can reach by public transport from near Windermere and Keswick.

You could even opt for staying in one of the best hostels in the Lake District near Windermere to get the most out of your experience.

What to do there: Not only can you visit the museum at Dove Cottage to find out more about the life and works of Wordsworth, but you can take part in a guided tour or talk.

Friendly and knowledgeable guides run these approximately 30-minute talks daily, and they’re a great insight into the poet’s life. You can explore Dove Cottage’s extensive library, complete with rare books. And when you’re done there, head out into the gardens to catch some sun or relax on one of the benches!

Windermere is also free fishing for anyone with a fishing license. Grab some travel fishing gear and give it a go!

#3 – Hill Top House (Children’s Author Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse)

Hilltop House (Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse)

  • See the former farmhouse of one of the UK’s best loved authors
  • Find out what inspired many of her tales
  • A Lake District must see!

Why it’s awesome: William Wordsworth wasn’t the only famous writer from the Lake District, as fans of Peter Rabbit will tell you! This beautiful farmhouse, also known as Hill Top, is where the author bought and worked from the royalties of her first book.

When visiting the victorian era house, you’ll see the different aspects that inspired her tales of Peter Rabbit. Plus the house itself is immaculately kept by the National Trust, with its original stone floors and antique furnishings, you can really feel what life would have been like back then.

Each room contains a reference to a different one of her ‘tales’. You can’t pre-book a visit here, so it’s advisable to turn up early. If the house gets too busy you might be turned away!

What to do there: You’ll want to spend some time at Hill Top to feel the magic of Beatrix Potter’s books, but after an hour or two, you’ll be satisfied with what you’ve seen. Luckily, it’s very close to the shores of the idyllic Lake Windermere, so after you visit you could always take a cruise out on the water!

If you can’t get enough of Beatrix Potter and want to learn more, there’s also a museum dedicated to her works in Bowness-on-Windermere. Hill Top House is near Hawkshead in Ambleside.

#4 – Buttermere – A nice quiet place to see in The Lake District


  • One of the prettiest villages in the region
  • Enjoy lunch at a country pub
  • Take a walk around Buttermere Lake

Why it’s awesome: If you enjoy driving, you’ll want to go through the Honister Pass, one of the most beautiful roads in the whole of the UK. And waiting at the end of it you’ll find the charming village and lake of Buttermere.

The village sits between this lake and Crummock water, which was initially one large glacial lake! Hike up to High Stile Ridge to get stunning views of the village and two lakes, and truly appreciate one of the best places in The Lake District!

What to do there: Buttermere is a small and quiet village but there’s still enough to keep you entertained for a day there. Walking around the lakes is an easy and flat hike for even the most inexperienced hiker before you head back to one of two village pubs for a hearty lunch.

In the afternoon, choose between a tea and an ice cream and one of the quaint little eateries, or a more challenging walk. Highly recommended is a walk to Scale Force, the highest waterfall in The Lake District.

#5 – Ullswater Valley


  • Take a lake cruise on the famous “Ullswater steamers”
  • Visit one of the quaint towns and villages around the lake
  • Try a range of watersports

Why it’s awesome: One of the best places to visit in the Lake District for the sheer number of outdoor activities on offer, it’s no surprise that Ullswater valley has made my list! Referred to by locals as “England’s most beautiful lake” (although that’s probably true of several in the Lake District), it offers something for every kind of holiday.

Traditional villages and hamlets dot the shores of the lake where you can enjoy some of the best places to eat in The Lake District or just stop off for a refuelling coffee before your next walk!

What to do there: There are lots to do on Ullswater. First, is something that is unique to this lake. The Ullswater Steamers are classic vessels that date back to the 19th century and are the perfect way to see this gorgeous lake.

If you’d prefer something more active, then take out a kayak or even just have a swim in the lake! Don’t want to get wet? Helvellyn is very close to Ullswater, but I’ll get to that in more depth later!

#6 – Castlerigg Stone Circle – An unknown (but awesome) place to see in the lake District

Castlerigg Stone Circle

  • See the most beautiful of England’s stone circles in the UK
  • Devise your own theory on its use
  • One of the more unusual landmarks in the Lake District

Why it’s awesome: Within a stone’s throw of the biggest town in the National Park, Keswick, you’ll definitely want to add the Castlerigg Stone Circle, one of the more unusual attractions to your Lake District itinerary.

Incredibly, there are over 1,000 stone circles in the UK, with the most famous being Stonehenge in Wiltshire. However, Castlerigg dates back further than that – to over 3,000 years BC!

It’s in a much more dramatic location too and can offer unparalleled views and has unbelievable views of three of the Lake District’s highest mountains: Skiddaw, Blencathra, and Hellvellyn.

What to do there: The first thing to decide is how you’re going to get there. Just a mile and a half east of Keswick, it’s possible to go in the car if you want this just to be a quick in and out activity.

However, for such a beautiful place you may as well spend some time taking in the atmosphere and beautiful scenery. So, instead, why not take a walk or a cycle from Keswick (a walk will only take you half an hour) and stretch those legs!

After all, walking is probably the number one activity when visiting the Lake District!

mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and  ditch the plastic .

#7 – Derwent Pencil Museum – Quite the quirky place in the Lake District

Derwent Pencil Museum

  • See the world’s largest colouring pencil
  • A great way to fill an hour or two in Keswick
  • Learn about the history of pencils and graphite

Why it’s awesome: Often regarded as one of the most unusual museums in the UK, the Derwent Pencil Museum is actually a lot more exciting than it sounds. Surprisingly, if you’re a fan of James Bond, this place might interest you too!

The military inventor and inspiration for “Q” in the James Bond novels approached the Cumberland Pencil Co (now the museum) to help him develop a pencil that British Prisoners of War could use to help them escape!

This is just one of the many stories that you’ll hear at one of the most unusual things to do in the Lake District!

What to do there: As well as the story above, you can learn all about the manufacturing of graphite and pencils here in the northwest of England. Be astounded by the world’s largest colouring pencil too, which is 26 feet long and weighs just under half a ton.

I’m not sure if anyone has ever tried using it though! If you’re an artist or enjoy colouring, stop by the gift shop. Derwent Pencils are some of the finest made in the entire UK!

#8 – Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere

  • Take a boat trip on one of the country’s largest lakes.
  • Get views across the lake and fells from Orrest Head
  • One of the most beautiful attractions in the Lake District

Why it’s awesome: England’s largest natural lake is a very popular attraction in the Lake District, with many tourists choosing to stay on its shores. And it’s with good reason too!

Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside are two of the larger towns inside the National Park and there are plenty of places to stay, eat, and relax. The lake itself offers lots of outdoor activities such as cruises, boating, and even water sports.

On dry land, there are awesome walks with spectacular views! You could easily spend your whole holiday here!

If you do elect to spend your whole holiday here, why not check out the best Airbnbs in the Lake District , with many in the area.

What to do there: There are a plethora of things to add to your Lake District itinerary at Windermere. If you want to hike, then Orrest Head is a great spot as it offers some of the prettiest views of the lake and also to the fells!

Wray Castle, a National Trust property is another great day out, especially if you’re travelling with kids! Earlier on I mentioned Hill Top House and the Beatrix Potter Museum, these are both nearby too.

No trip to Lake Windermere would be complete without going on one of the Windermere lake cruises. If you’re travelling with kids, they will love the Lakes aquarium on the southern end of the lake.

#9 – Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway – One of the Lake District’s coolest historical sites

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

  • 7 mile scenic railway journey
  • Ride a traditional steam train
  • A Lake District must do!

Why it’s awesome: For all the beauty in The Lake District, it only has one UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yes, I was surprised too! That site is Ravenglass, a village in the west of the national park.

The Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway is a beautifully restored steam engine route that takes you across an estuary and through the rolling, green, Cumbrian hills. There are seven stops on the journey before the final station of Dalegarth, 7 miles away!

What to do there: Taking this steam train is a great activity if you’re travelling with the family, or you just want to have a relaxing and unique day out.

As the journey is only 7 miles, you probably won’t spend the whole day on the train, and it’s more likely to be a half-day trip. That means you can spend the rest of the day strolling around west lakes and checking out some boat tours.

However, with that being the case you can always enjoy the gorgeous village of Ravenglass. Once you’ve walked through the cute streets of the hamlet, head to Muncaster Castle where there is an owl and bird of prey centre!

If you’re a fan of steam trains, you can also catch the Haverthwaite steam railway from Lakeside to Haverthwaite, which is a 5km journey.

#10 – Helvellyn


  • Get to the summit of England’s 2 nd  highest mountain
  • Get stunning views of Thirlmere and Ullswater lakes
  • One of the best places in the Lake District for hiking

Why it’s awesome: With a summit just 30 metres lower than Scafell Pike, Helvellyn is another great achievement for walkers in the Lakes! It’s the highest point on the Helvellyn Range and as with many of the mountains in this area, there’s not just one route to the top.

There are several, with each being suitable for a different difficulty and expertise level. On some of the routes there may be a little scrambling involved, so do be extra careful if you’re climbing in wet or windy weather!

What to do there: If you’re new to hiking and don’t fancy going up Helvellyn alone (the weather can be very changeable the higher up you get), then how about trying it as a guided walk?

Striding Edge is an extremely popular way to get up the mountain and offers stunning views at several points on the trail. So that you don’t go off the beaten track or if you have any difficulty while up there, a guided walk will make sure that you get back down the mountain safe and sound!

#11 – Furness Abbey – One of the most religious places to see in the Lake District

Furness Abbey

  • Explore the Lake District’s most famous ruin
  • The abbey dates back to the 12 th  century
  • The former home of a wealthy and powerful monastic order

Why it’s awesome: Technically outside the Lake District National Park, Furness Abbey, located in the town of Barrow-in-Furness, is well worth making a detour for. It dates all the way back to 1120 and was in operation for more than 400 years.

However, in the 16 th century, the King at the time, Henry VIII dissolved the abbey. But why’s that? Well, according to him, the Cistercian lifestyle had become too lavish. And he did have a point – at that point, it was the second richest abbey in the UK!

What to do there: Nowadays, you can explore the haunting ruins of the abbey and imagine what life was like all those years ago. There are a number of walks around the abbey that are worth doing too. It’s not just the ruins that are left, as there are some exhibitions on the abbey’s history.

One of the most intriguing is from a grave excavation – you can see a monk’s gemstone ring and crozier! Don’t miss one of the most important religious landmarks in the Lake District!

#12 – Enjoy a Steamer Yacht on the Lake and Coniston Village

Coniston Water Lake District

  • Enjoy a classic steamer yacht ride
  • Hire your own motorboat from C oniston boating centre
  • See the third largest lake in the national park and where Sir Malcolm Campbell set the world water speed record

Why it’s awesome: Coniston is the third largest lake in the Lake District National Park, but it is the longest, which makes it the top place to be for water sports.

Surrounded by mountains, lush greenery, and is on the steam train route, you can’t miss Coniston when travelling to the lake district.

It’s also where you can enjoy one of the iconic steam yacht cruises or hire a motorboat of your own if you’re feeling adventurous.

What to do there: One of the best things to do at Coniston is to take out a boat and explore this massive lake. If you’re not sure about hiring a boat, I recommend the Coniston boating centre because they are highly experienced. You can also rent a bike and ride along the water’s edge, stroll along the nearby hiking trails, or just enjoy the quaint little village.

Get insured for your trip to Lake District!

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

best places to visit in the lake district

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Find out what people want to know about the best places to visit in Lake District

What should you not miss in the lake district?

The Beatrix Potter Museum is one of my favourite attractions in the lake district, and you should also make sure to take a boat cruise on Lake Windermere.

What is the most beautiful part of the lake district?

Buttermere and Ullswater are in my opinion, two of the most beautiful parts of the lake district.

What can I do in the lake district?

Aside from swimming in the lakes, the lake district is an ideal place for hiking and sailing. I would strongly recommend the Scafell Pike hike as its views are amazing.

Can you swim in the lake district?

Yes, you can swim in any of the lakes. The only exceptions are reservoirs as they are the drinking water supply and privately owned lakes.

Final Thoughts

So, that concludes my list of the best places to visit in The Lake District. I hope that this list has proven useful and informative and has helped you a little bit when deciding to visit places in the Lake District.

Also, you should have a better idea of the best place to base yourself while visiting The Lake District too!

The Lake District is the perfect place for so many different types of holiday. Whether you want to get to know British culture better in the small and quaint villages with a country pub or afternoon tea, or whether you want to get out walking in some of the most beautiful rolling hills and mountains in the UK.

You could even book a spa hotel to disconnect from the world for a few days!

So, now that you’ve enjoyed the list of the best places to visit in The Lake District, I hope that you enjoy your holiday there.

Especially now that you know not only where to visit, but how to travel to The Lake District and live like a local!

best places to visit in the lake district

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Sophie Steinebach

Sophie Steinebach

Places to Visit in Lake District Pinterest Image

Share or save this post

promotional sidebar image for booking.com

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

The most beautiful places in the Lake District

Book your individual trip , stress-free with local travel experts

  • roughguides.com
  • most-beautiful-places-in-the-lake-district

written by Joanne Owen

updated 14.12.2023


With romantic peaks to ramble, idyllic villages to discover, and inspirational literary locations to explore, the Lake District in Cumbria , England , is as much a dream destination for culture vultures as it is for walkers, hikers and nature-lovers. The Lake District is also a top spot for family breaks, with the region’s Beatrix Potter connections and exciting outdoor activities. If you are wondering what are the most beautiful places in the Lake District to visit read on for our top picks, with further inspiration (and practical information) available in our travel guide  Rough Guide Staycations: The Lake District .

1. Lake Windermere: best for beauty-spot boating

2. grizedale forest: best for hikers and bikers.

  • 3. Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top: best for little booklovers
  • 4. Aira Forces fall: best for romantics and poets
  • 5. Cartmel Medieval village: best for foodies
  • 6. Ravenglass Railway: best for family fun
  • 7. Great Langdale: best for adventurous ramblers
  • 8. Castlerigg Stone Circle: best for history buffs
  • 9. Honister's Iron Way: best for thrill-seekers
  • 10. Bassenthwaite Lake: best for birders

11. Ullswater: best for pastoral pleasure-seekers

  • 12. Hardknott Roman Fort: best for ruin-roamers

Tailor-made travel itineraries for England, created by local experts

The Great British Road Trip

20 days  / from 3018 USD

The Great British Road Trip

Get ready to explore Britain on this unique self-drive road trip. Choose the car of your liking before you hit the road: from the Cotswolds and its picturesque villages over the Beatle's favorite hang-out in Liverpool to Scotland's capital Edinburgh: this trip includes many highlights to be explored

Refreshing English Countryside Break

5 days  / from 643 USD

Refreshing English Countryside Break

Outside of London, England is known with a countryside full of history, picturesque villages, patchwork hills, and winding country roads. Explore the countryside with its castles, parks, and historical cities such as Oxford.

Walking around vintage England and picturesque Scotland

14 days  / from 3248 USD

Walking around vintage England and picturesque Scotland

Visit two traditional capitals, London and Edinburgh, and enjoy a trek through the Loch Lomond national park. This trip will let you discover peaceful Scottish islands by foot, with several days of detailed walking tours included in the trip.

Hiking in out-of-the way Northern Cornwall

12 days  / from 2894 USD

Hiking in out-of-the way Northern Cornwall

Northern Cornwall is a hiker's paradise and this itinerary includes the most scenic parts. You will start your journey in London with some unique activities to get to know the city, before setting off on a 5-day walk across Cornwall. End your trip in Bath and explore the backdrop of Bridgerton.

A walking holiday on the Jurassic Coast

12 days  / from 2686 USD

A walking holiday on the Jurassic Coast

Walking the Jurassic Coast is one of the best ways to truly appreciate the spectacular scenery. Walks range from easy to challenging. 6 days walking are included in this itinerary, as is an extensive pre-program in London and a last night back in the capital.

England Historical Highlights

11 days  / from 1298 USD

England Historical Highlights

Discover the highlands of England: From busy London and its Buckingham Palace over historical Oxford to the mysterious Stonehenge. England has plenty to offer and this self-drive itinerary allows you the freedom and flexibility to choose activities to your liking.

Discover 'All Creatures Great and Small' - England & Scotland

8 days  / from 3969 USD

Discover 'All Creatures Great and Small' - England & Scotland

Explore the sets of the TV show "All Creatures Great and Small". The show follows the adventures of a young veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales during the 1930s. Start in London and make your way up to Yorkshire and then further to Edinburgh in Scotland.

Ten and a half miles long, and a little over 200ft deep, Lake Windermere - England’s largest lake - is Cumbria’s crowning glory. With some of the best views in the Lake District (to the north, the central fells; to the south, a wooded shoreline), taking a boat trip is hands-down the best way to appreciate the lake’s beauty. And the good news is, there are several options to do just that - from  cruises  to  cross-lake ferries . 

If you’re near Windermere Jetty, be sure to explore the  museum's  matchless collection of Victorian and Edwardian steam launches and historic boats, among them Margaret, the world’s oldest yacht, and Arthur Ransome’s Coch-y-Bondhu, the real-life water craft behind one of his  Swallows and Amazons  boats.


Stunning sunset over Lake Windermere showcasing its scale and serene beauty as one of the most beautiful places in the Lake District, England © Shutterstock

As for where to stay, glamping doesn’t get better than Windermere’s  Low Wray National Trust campsite , with cool accommodation options ranging from tree tents and camping pods, to spacious woodland safari tents. If camping (however glamourous) isn’t your style, you could always book a room in an elegant lake-view guesthouse, like the heavenly Angel Inn . Either way, if you choose to stay in the vicinity of Lake Windermere, you'll be blessed with some of Cumbria's most beautiful views.

Separating Coniston Water from Windermere,  Grizedale Forest’s  emerald expanse is a natural paradise for travellers of all ages and inclinations. Though this ancient forest was somewhat depleted by the eighteenth-century, impressive regeneration has restored oak, spruce, larch and pine woodland to its green glory. As a result, the forest offers rich habitats for badgers, squirrels, grouse, woodcock and woodpeckers, with red deer seen occasionally too.

Autumn Fall landscape image of the view from Catbells in the Lake District © Matt Gibson/Shutterstock

The Lake District's forests are blessed with atmosphere and beauty all through the year © Matt Gibson/Shutterstock

Head to the Grizedale Visitor Centre to pick up a map of the ten  walking trails , then watch out for forty fabulous woodland sculptures as you wander. The longest trail is the Silurian Way, which passes many of the sculptures as it climbs to Carron Crag, the forest’s highest point. 

In addition, the forest features  nine cycling and mountain bike trails and a children’s play area. Little monkeys will also adore the  Grizedale Go Ape experience, offering as it does all manner of aerial escapades, from the family-friendly Treetop Adventure course, to the dare-devil’s delight Zip Trekking Adventure, which featuress seven forest ziplines over 3km.

3. Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top: best for little booklovers

Chockful of the author’s most beloved possessions, Beatrix Potter’s seventeenth-century  Hill Top farmhouse - a National Trust property - oozes English countryside charm . With the author's furnishings and personal effects exactly as they were when Beatrix lived here - a condition of her will - visitors will be touched by the sight of her boots and hat near a fireside chair, and by the clock ticking in her kitchen. 

Then there's the charismatic cottage garden, replete with a higgledy-piggledy blast of wild flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables. In need of refreshment? Head next door to the  Tower Bank Arms , which was featured in The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck .

Beatrix Potter house hill top © A D Harvey/Shutterstock

Beatrix Potter's postcard-perfect Hill Top farmhouse - the epitome of English chocolate box charm © A D Harvey/Shutterstock

If you’re travelling with little ones,  The World of Beatrix Potter  takes a more child-centred approach, with all 23 tales featured in sensory 3D form, plus an assortment of interactive attractions, and an adorable themed tea room. For a convenient way to enjoy all the region’s Beatrix Potter sites, this  guided all-inclusive tour  covers Hill Top, the  Beatrix Potter Gallery , the  Armitt museum , and  Wray Castle .

4. Aira Forces fall: best for romantics and poets

Staying with the literature theme, walking the  Gowbarrow trail to the Aira Force waterfall  takes in the dazzling landscape of William Wordsworth’s “lonely as a cloud” daffodil wanderings. From the carpark, it’s only a thirty-minute walk to the fall via a soul-stirring walk through pine-carpeted, lushly-ferned woodland glades, all framed by towering conifers.

The landscape of Aira Force © Puripat Lertpunyaroj/Shutterstock

It's plain to see why Wordsworth took inspiration from the environs of Aira Force waterfall © Puripat Lertpunyaroj/Shutterstock

Whether viewed from the bottom of its 70ft drop, or from stone bridges that span the top, the cascading, thundering Aira Force fall is unquestionably one of the most beautiful places in the Lake District. Though there are some steep sections to navigate along the way to the waterfall, for a more challenging route in this area, take the adjacent Gowbarrow Fell trail - climbable in an hour from Aira Force car park. 

While we’re on the subject of Wordsworth, head to  Wordsworth House  in the village of Cockermouth to see where the great man was born. The riverside gardens are gorgeous, while the house is presented it was during the poet’s childhood. With an attractive riverside setting and tree-lined streets of stunning Georgian houses, Cockermouth itself has plenty going for it too. While here, you’d do well to enjoy a pint produced by Jennings Brewery - they're been brewing beer here since 1828.

Related articles from the blog

View of Rio de Janeiro and Sugarloaf Mountain from Corcovado view point, Brazil © galaro/Shutterstock

5. Cartmel Medieval village: best for foodies

The picturesque south lakeland village of Cartmel is a must-visit for foodies and gift-hunters, particularly if you’re into one-of-a-kind antiques and unique hand-crafted talking points. Cartmel’s cobbled streets and winding lanes are speckled with quality artisan food stores (don’t miss the to-die-for sticky toffee pudding sold in Cartmel Village Shop).

With an ethos of harnessing  “the powerful connect between food and nature,"   the village’s celebrated Michelin-starred restaurant,  L’Enclume , draw gourmands from far and wide. If you’re feeling flush you could  stay  in one L’Enclume’s elegant sixteen rooms dotted around the village.

Holker Hall country house near Cartmel © kentaylordesign/Shutterstock

Holker Hall stately home near Cartmel has style and beauy in abundance © kentaylordesign/Shutterstock

While in the area, don’t miss the town's 12th-century  Cartmel Priory , or grand  Holker Hall . A few miles west of the village, this is one of Cumbria’s finest stately homes. Still in use by the Cavendish family, who’ve owned it since the late seventeenth-century, it boasts beautiful 25-acre gardens with a sunken garden, grotto, stone labyrinth, huge sundial, and sweeping views. 

Antique-lovers should head a few miles northeast to Low Newton’s  Yew Tree Barn , a fabulous architectural salvage and antique reclamation yard and gallery. All in all, welcoming Cartmel offers rewarding cultural pursuits in a marvellously quaint milieu.

6. Ravenglass Railway: best for family fun

If you’re wondering what to do in the Lake District with your kids, taking a trip on the  Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway  comes highly recommended. Known as “La’al Ratty”, this narrow-gauge steam train transports passengers from the Esk estuary to the foot of the western fells on a seven-mile, forty-minute ride up two of the Lake District’s prettiest valleys - first along Miterdale under Muncaster Fell and then into the valley of the River Esk - before terminating at Dalegarth station. The ticket allows you to get off and walk from one of the half-dozen stations along the way.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway © Pecold/Shutterstock

The fun Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway traverses some of the Lake District's most gorgeous valleys © Pecold/Shutterstock

Another fantastic family day out can be enjoyed at Muncaster Castle . Home to the Pennington family since the thirteenth-century (family members still live here today), the castle was built around a medieval tower. With expansive gardens to delight all ages, children - especially - love the owl and hawk displays and castle's ghost stories. For an atmospheric overnight experience, you could  stay in the self-catering Coachman’s Quarters.

7. Great Langdale: best for adventurous ramblers

To enjoy the best rugged walking in the central fells, head for the peerless  Langdale Valley . Flanked by some of the Lake District’s most famous peaks - Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes - Great Langdale sits in an awe-inspiring valley. It’s also one of the oldest occupied parts of the region, with archaeological evidence dating back to the Stone Age. 

The Rough Guides to England and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

The Rough Guide to Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford

Awe-inspiring views of the Langdale Valley in the Lake District © Shutterstock

The walk to Pavey Ark, a formidable cliff-face rising to 2297ft, can be climbed relatively easily if you approach it up the grassy path to its rear. More daring walkers with a head for heights will want to make the more dramatic climb up the Jack’s Rake cleft - the most difficult commonly used route in the Lake District (in parts, it’s pretty much full-on rock-climbing).

8. Castlerigg Stone Circle: best for history buffs

Striking powerful poses above Keswick , the dramatically sited  standing stones at Castlerigg  are the most prominent reminder of the Lake District’s ancient inhabitants, and the area’s most mysterious landmark. Sitting atop a sweeping plateau, and dwarfed by the encroaching fells, the site comprises thirty-eight slabs of Borrowdale volcanic stone (the largest of which is almost 8ft tall) arranged into a circle.

Thought to have been constructed around 3000 BC with an astronomical or timekeeping function, this is one of Britain’s earliest stone circles. It also boasts the unusual feature of having a rectangle of stone blocks within the circle. And, since the site has yet to be extensively excavated, more mysteries might yet be unveiled - and understood.


Mystery and mountain-backed scenery at the Lake District's Stone Circle © Shutterstock

To explore Castlerigg Stone Circle alongside more of the most beautiful places in the Lake District, this full-day, ten-lake tour  has you covered. And, while in the Keswick area, you can also  rent mountain bikes , or book outdoor activities  like canoeing, ghyll-scrambling, raft-building, crag-climbing and abseiling.

9. Honister's Iron Way: best for thrill-seekers

Rescued by local entrepreneurs in 1996 and now in full operation as a sustainable enterprise,  Honister  is home to England’s last working slate mine , with slate having been quarried from the area since Elizabethan times. 

To get a feel for life as a miner through the centuries, take a mine tour - it’s a fascinating journey through narrow tunnels into illuminated echoing caverns. Though not your typical Lake District beauty-spot of lakes, mountains and woodland, it's attractive in its own way, while the centre's excellent  canyoning activities  take in the majesty of the surrounding mountains.

The Mountain Fleetwith Pike as seen from the shore line of Buttermere Lake in Cumbria @ Garry Basnett/Shutterstock

Formidable Fleetwith Pike - scaled by daredevils who undertake the Honister Slade Mine's Iron Way © Garry Basnett/Shutterstock

The mine’s major attraction is the  Via Ferrata  (“Iron Way”) climbing experience that employs a system pioneered in the Italian Dolomites. Using a permanently fixed cableway and clip-on harness, daredevils follow the miners’ old routes up the mountain face, clambering iron rungs, ladders and supports to reach the top of Fleetwith Pike. 

For an even more intense experience,  Via Ferrata Xtreme  throws in further vertical climbs, cliff-face ladders, an Indiana Jones-style “Infinity Bridge” across a gaping 2000ft chasm, plus a giant scramble net. Don't say we didn't warn you.

10. Bassenthwaite Lake: best for birders

Three miles from Keswick, and the northernmost of the Lake District’s major expanses of water, Bassenthwaite Lake’s shoreline habitat is the best preserved of the region’s National Park. Home to over seventy species of bird and wildfowl, it’s most known for its wild ospreys. 

After recolonising the area in 2001, they've returned every year since to nest and breed on the lakeshore. Usually arriving in early April, their eggs hatch in June, before adults and young head to Africa in August or September.

Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake © Michael Conrad/Shutterstock

Bassenthwaite Lake - a Lake District beauty spot beloved by birders © Michael Conrad/Shutterstock

These majestic birds are protected here by the  Lake District Osprey Project , a partnership between the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park, and the RSPB. To view them plunging to catch fish from the lake, take the quarter-mile path from the Old Sawmill Tearooms to the lower viewpoint, with an upper viewpoint another thirty-minute climb ahead. Seeing these magnificent raptors up close and in action is a breath-taking experience, as is their Bassenthwaite Lake location.

Wordsworth was on the mark when he declared Ullswater , "the happiest combination of beauty and grandeur, which any of the Lakes affords.”  Surrounded by epic mountain scenery to the south, and gentle hills to the north, Ullswater Lake is the second largest lake in England, and walking the 20-mile  Ullswater Way  around the lake is a wonderful way to appreciate its beauty, with some of the best views in the Lake District.

Ullswater lake curves through the mountains of the English Lake District at Glenridding © Joe Dunckley/Shutterstock

Ullswater Lake curves through the mountains at Glenridding, simply one of the most beautiful places in the Lake District © Joe Dunckley/Shutterstock

Alternately, you could combine walking with cruising - five vintage Ullswater Steamers  operate a year-round service, one of which, Lady of the Lake, might just be the oldest working passenger vessel in the world (it was launched in 1877). 

Services run from Glenridding to Howtown, and on to Pooley Bridge, plus there’s also a route between Glenridding and the National Trust Aira Force Pier. The small village of Glenridding is also a popular starting point for walkers heading up Helvellyn mountain.

12. Hardknott Roman Fort: best for ruin-roamers

Known as Mediobogdum to the Romans, the remains of  Hardknott Roman Fort  are a striking testament to how serious the Romans were about defending their conquests. Commanding a strategic panoramic position below Hardknott Pass, this mighty fortification was built during Hadrian’s reign and originally boasted 12ft thick walls, a double-towered gateway, and multiple granaries and bathhouses, while its commandant enjoyed pretty plush living quarters.

Hardknott Roman Fort © Kevin Standage/Shutterstock

You can roam Roman ruins in epic surroundings at hulking Hardknott Roman Fort © Kevin Standage/Shutterstock

Today most of the lower part of the defensive wall is the handiwork of the original Romans, while the foundations of the granaries and various other buildings have been re-erected. The surrounding heather and bracken provide a beautiful backdrop to this impressive historic site, while the views down into Eskdale and up to the Scafells are out-of-this-world. 

If this guide to the most beautiful places in the Lake District has piqued your interest in visiting the region, take a look at the practical and inspirational Rough Guide Staycations: The Lake District . As a bonus, purchase of the print guidebook comes with access to a free eBook - very handy if you're out and about and don't want to lug it around, but do want all that vital info to hand.

Ready to travel to England ? Find out about the best time to go and the best places to see and things to do in England . For inspiration use the England itineraries from The Rough Guide to England and created by local travel agents in England . A bit more hands on, learn about getting there , getting around England and where to stay once you are there. And don't forget to https://www.books.roughguides.com/travel-insurance/?_ga=2.217601554.507231792.1632048345-48127756.1631030096 "> buy travel insurance before you go.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Header image: crystalline waters and epic mountains in the Lake District, Cumbria, England © Shutterstock

Joanne Owen

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

  • Nature & Wildlife
  • National Parks & Reserves
  • History Culture Heritage
  • Inspiration
  • See & Do

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Travel advice for England

From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to England

  • Eating and drinking in England
  • Sports and Outdoor activities in England
  • Travel Tips England for planning and on the go
  • Getting around England: Transportation Tips
  • How to get to England
  • Shopping tips for England
  • Best time to visit England

Find even more inspiration for 57 here

Ready to travel and discover england, get support from our local experts for stress-free planning & worry-free travels.

  • Travel advice
  • Where to stay


14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the Lake District, England

Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers Updated Mar 30, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

England's Lake District is located in Cumbria and named for the 16 glacial lakes that lie in long ribbons among its fells, moors, and green valleys. In this area, which measures only about 48 by 64 kilometers, there are 180 fells of more than 609 meters in altitude, one of which is 978-meter Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England .

Much of the tourist activity is in the southern half of the region, where most of the historic literary attractions lie, while the quieter north's natural features are more appreciated by hikers and nature lovers. The Lakes District provided inspiration for writers, including William Wordsworth, John Ruskin, and Beatrix Potter, whose homes are popular places to visit, as well as artists Gainsborough, Turner, and Constable.

Most of the region is included in the Lakes District National Park . You can travel to the Lake District by train, and you'll find hotel accommodation throughout the region as well as B&Bs in country cottages.

You'll be certain to find the best places to visit and things to do using our handy list of the top tourist attractions in England's Lake District.

See also: Where to Stay in the Lake District

1. Lake District National Park

2. lake windermere, 3. derwentwater, 4. helvellyn, 5. ullswater, 6. beatrix potter's hill top, 7. hike catbells high ridge, 8. dove cottage, 9. castlerigg stone circle, 10. coniston water, 11. levens hall & topiary gardens, 12. aira force, 13. rydal mount & gardens, 14. hire a boat at coniston boating centre, map of tourist attractions in the lake district, england, where to stay in the lake district for sightseeing.

Lake District National Park

The 1,343-square-kilometer Lake District National Park includes some of the country's largest lakes, its tallest peak, and some of its loveliest scenery. The scenery and nature inspired writers, poets, and artists, some of whom made their homes here.

Several of the lakes have historic boats you can ride , and the entire region is laced with a network of walking and hiking trails . You can explore the area by car, bus, bike, or on foot, and there is train access to Windermere from Kendal, where the park headquarters is located. A park visitor center is at Brockhole and a boating center at Coniston.

Along with the lakes, some of the scenic highlights are the beautiful Newlands Valley , the magnificent views from Sphinx Rock , and the dramatic drive over Kirkstone Pass (the scenery is best going north).

Throughout the park are lakeside villages with activities and places to visit, as well as miles of scenic roads and trails for sightseeing.

Lake Windermere

The best known and busiest of the lakes, Windermere is about 16 kilometers long, and you can explore it with Windermere Lake Cruises , which also serves as a ferry between points. At the southern end of the lake, locomotives of the Haverthwaite Steam Railway carry tourists into the Leven Valley. You can combine that trip with a lake cruise.

Also at the southern end is the Lakes Aquarium, a popular attraction with the UK's largest collection of freshwater fish. At the restored Victorian Fell Foot Park, near Newby Bridge, you can picnic and hire rowboats at the beautifully restored old boathouses to explore the lake and the River Leven. The park also has a good playground for kids.


Less than five kilometers long, Derwentwater is an idyllic lake in the northern part of the national park, and a 10-minute walk from the center of Keswick. On its west is the ridge of Catbells, and extending into the lake on the east is Friar's Crag, a favorite viewpoint. Beautiful Borrowdale Valley opens at its southern end.

Keswick Launch Co. makes a one-hour circuit of the lake on small boats that stop at seven points, where you can hop off to explore, or follow lakeside trails and catch the next boat at another stop. Around the entire perimeter of the lake is a 12-kilometer walk.

In Keswick, it's hard to resist a stop at the quirky Pencil Museum , where you'll learn how they are manufactured and how the discovery of graphite began a whole local industry.

View over the Lake District from Helvellyn

One of the highest peaks in the English Lake District, Helvellyn is also one of its most popular hikes , for both casual climbers and those who relish a rugged scramble. The Helvellyn Horseshoe is a result of two geologic eras, first a volcano that left a bowl-shaped caldera, then the glaciers that scoured it out and carved one rim into the knife-edge ridge known as Striding Edge.

The view from any place along its rim, especially from the summit, is spectacular, out across the lakes and mountains, or looking down onto the high-set mountain lake of Red Tarn .

On the other side of the horseshoe, the trail most casual hikers use runs along the grassy crest of a broad ridge with views across to the knife edge and down into the valley lakes.


At 14 kilometers long and less than two kilometers wide, Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District . Its setting is also beautiful, under Helvellyn Mountain. You can explore the lake on the 1887 Lady of the Lake or the 1889 Raven, both of which leave from the attractive village of Pooley Bridge, whose origins go back to the 16th century.

Ullswater is a particular favorite for hikers and walkers, who can follow the 32-kilometer Ullswater Way around the lake or combine the trail with boat rides for a 12-kilometer hike. Between Pooley Bridge and Aira Force, the Ullswater Way leads to Maiden Castle , a former hillfort with spectacular views of the Ullswater Valley.

Beatrix Potter's Hill Top cottage

Bought in 1905 with proceeds from her first book, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, the 17th-century farmhouse at Hill Top and the surrounding countryside inspired many of Beatrix Potter's books . When she left the house and farm to the National Trust, she stipulated that it be shown in the same condition as when she lived here, and in each room you can see objects that relate to her stories.

Along with the doll house setting for The Tale of Two Bad Mice, you'll see the desk where she wrote. The garden is a charming and seemingly random mix of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit, where you will half expect to see one of her characters scampering away. This is a very popular attraction, and there is often a wait to enter the house; the timed tickets cannot be booked in advance.

Address: Near Sawrey, Ambleside

Official site: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top

Catbells High Ridge Hike

The distinctive peak of Catbells lures walkers of all capabilities, a short half-day climb to the final fell on a long ridge that separates Derwentwater from the Newlands Valley. The peak is 451 meters high, and you can hike up and back from Keswick for a spectacular view.

Although it's a short climb and the trail is good, it is steep in places. Once on top, strong walkers won't be able to resist following the ridge along the fells of Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth, and Robinson before descending into the Newlands Valley. It's a 14-kilometer hike, with dramatic scenery along the entire open ridge line.

Dove Cottage

The first family home of the great British poet William Wordsworth , Dove Cottage is a traditional Lakeland cottage with dark wood-paneled walls and stone floors, heated by coal fires. Still furnished with the Wordsworth family belongings, the cottage looks much as it did when the poet lived and wrote here, and is a mirror of life in the early 19th century.

Next door in a separate museum, you can see memorabilia about the poet, his family, his travels, and his work. The years at Dove Cottage were among his most productive, when he was inspired by the Lakeland scenery and the garden he and his sister planted outside their cottage. He wrote some of his poetry here amid the flowers, vegetables, butterflies, and birds.

Address: Grasmere, Ambleside

Official site: https://wordsworth.org.uk/

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Of the more than 300 stone circles in England, Castlerigg is not only among the oldest, it is one of the most atmospheric. It is dramatically sited, with 38 stones aligned with the tallest of the surrounding fells, and the scene uncluttered by admissions offices or souvenir stands. Yours may be the only car there.

Unlike most of England's stone circles, which are Bronze Age burial sites dating from 2000 to 800 BC, this one was constructed about 3000 BC in the Neolithic period. More than 30 meters in diameter, the circle originally had 42 stones, some more than two meters high. For the full dramatic effect, go at sunset.

Address: Castle Lane, Underskiddaw, Keswick, Cumbria

Coniston Water

About eight kilometers long and less than a kilometer wide, Coniston Water lies beneath the eastern slope of the mountain known as the Old Man of Coniston , which towers above the lake and Coniston Village. You can explore the lake on board the 1859 steam yacht Gondola or the solar-powered Coniston Launch, or go under your own steam, hiring a boat or bike from Coniston Boating Centre.

Scenic boat rides include a stop at Brantwood , home of John Ruskin, one of the most influential minds of the Victorian era. His former home offers insights into his work, as well as fine art and objects collected in his extensive travels. The house is set in gardens that frame views of the lake and fells. In the village is the Ruskin Museum, which tells the story of Coniston from its early Stone Age inhabitants.

Official site: http://www.brantwood.org.uk

Topiary Gardens at Levens Hall

At the entrance to the Lake District National Park, Levens Hall began about 1250 as a Pele Tower, and grew into a magnificent Elizabethan manor house. You can tour the interior, with its fine oak paneling and ornate plasterwork, antique furnishings, and works of art.

Beautiful as it is, Levens Hall is more famous for its remarkable gardens. These include the oldest topiary gardens in the world , begun in the 1690s and largely unchanged since that time. Hidden behind a stone wall, these ancient box and yew trees have been trained and sculpted into geometric and freeform shapes, and clipped to form walls and gates. Surrounding these green sculptures are masses of luxuriant perennials flowers and seasonal bedding plants, all grown in the estate's greenhouses.

Beyond are more flowers in one of England's finest herbaceous borders, a rose garden, and kitchen gardens. A wildflower meadow, lawns, and a labyrinth of willows combine to make these one of England's premier garden attractions.

Address: Kendal, Cumbria

Official site: https://www.levenshall.co.uk/gardens

Aira Force Waterfall

A graceful stone arched bridge poised over its top adds the finishing touch to this beautiful waterfall as it drops 19 meters, in stages, through a rocky ravine. The path from the car park to the falls is an easy one, and there are nature trails to follow, including one devoted to the wide variety of local trees.

Those who want to see more of this former hunting ground that inspired Wordsworth's poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud can follow the new off-road footpath between Aira Force and Glencoyne Bay.

A scenic approach to this valley is from Ambleside, over the steep and solitary Kirkstone Pass. Or relax on board a ferry and avoid the parking fee; Ullswater Steamers from Glenridding will bring you to Aira Force.

Rydal Mount & Gardens

Poet William Wordsworth lived at Rydal Mount from 1813 to his death in 1850, at the age of 80. At this home overlooking Lake Windermere, Rydal Water, and the fells, he wrote some of his best-loved works and revised many of his earlier works for publication, including his best-known poem Daffodils.

Larger rooms were added to the original Tudor cottage in 1750, but the original stone floors and wooden beams remain in the dining room, part of the old cottage. Elsewhere, you'll see bedrooms and Wordsworth's attic study. Throughout the house are portraits, mementos, and first editions of Wordsworth's works.

Compared to the garden the poet created at Dove Cottage, the one at Rydal Mount is a more spacious four acres, with terraces, rock pools, rare species, and brilliant displays of blooms in various seasons. It has been kept much as he originally designed it. In good weather, March through October, the tea room spills out onto a garden terrace, and savoring a cup of tea in Wordsworth's garden is one of the most popular things to do for poetry lovers.

Address: Rydal Mount, Ambleside

Official site: www.rydalmount.co.uk/

Coniston Boating Centre

With all these lakes, you'll certainly want to take to the water at some point in your trip. While several lakes have boat tours, you can explore Coniston Water on your own in a Canadian-style canoe, an open-top kayak, rowboat, or electric motor boat rented at the Boating Center at Coniston.

If you know how to sail, you can also hire a sailing dinghy here and join the others skimming across the lake in the wind. The center also rents stand up paddleboards, and bicycles for those who prefer to explore the shore on two wheels.

Address: Lake Road, Coniston, Cumbria

Official site: https://www.conistonboatingcentre.co.uk/

We recommend these delightful hotels and guesthouses within easy reach of the top tourist attractions in the Lake District:

  • The Villa Levens : This Grand Victorian-style country hotel has well-decorated spacious rooms and is close to attractions of the Lake District National Park.
  • Lyzzick Hall Hotel : This family run, 3-star country guesthouse offers beautiful views, a wonderful restaurant, indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, and whirlpool.
  • Waterhead Hotel : This lakefront, mid-range Ambleside hotel comes with spacious rooms, turndown service, and gingerbread treats.
  • Travelodge Kendal : If you're traveling on a budget, this hotel offers good value, clean rooms, and free parking.

instagram logo

More on England

England Travel Guide

Top Things to Do in Lake District, Cumbria - Lake District Attractions

Things to do in lake district, explore popular experiences, popular cities in lake district.

best places to visit in the lake district

Ways to tour Lake District

best places to visit in the lake district

Windermere & Lake District Tour from Manchester Including Cruise

best places to visit in the lake district

  • Mountain Goat Full Day Tour: Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District

best places to visit in the lake district

"All Creatures Great and Small" Tour from the Lake District

best places to visit in the lake district

  • Lake District Adventure Sightseeing Day Trip from Liverpool

best places to visit in the lake district

Ghyll Scrambling Water Adventure in the Lake District

best places to visit in the lake district

5-Day York, Lake District & Hadrian's Wall Tour from Edinburgh

best places to visit in the lake district

Brilliant White Water Rafting in the Lake District UK

best places to visit in the lake district

4-Hour Private Lake Tours by 4x4

best places to visit in the lake district

Beatrix Potter Afternoon Half Day Tour with Expert Guide- includes entrance fees

best places to visit in the lake district

3-Day Lake District Explorer Small-Group Tour from Manchester

Top attractions in lake district.

best places to visit in the lake district

1. Lake Windermere

best places to visit in the lake district

2. Alpacaly Ever After

best places to visit in the lake district

3. Aira Force Waterfall

best places to visit in the lake district

4. Derwentwater


5. Muncaster Castle

best places to visit in the lake district

6. The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

best places to visit in the lake district

7. Catbells Lakeland Walk


8. Orrest Head


9. Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's House

best places to visit in the lake district

10. The Lakes Distillery

best places to visit in the lake district

11. Lowther Castle and Gardens

best places to visit in the lake district

12. Buttermere Lake


Historical Tours

best places to visit in the lake district

Outdoor Activities

best places to visit in the lake district

Private & Custom Tours

best places to visit in the lake district

Walking & Biking Tours

best places to visit in the lake district

Full-day Tours

best places to visit in the lake district

Cultural Tours

best places to visit in the lake district

What travellers are saying


  • Catbells Lakeland Walk
  • Lake Windermere
  • Aira Force Waterfall
  • Loughrigg Fell
  • Alpacaly Ever After
  • Predator Experience
  • Lake District National Park Guided Walks
  • Hallin Fell
  • Windermere & Lake District Tour from Manchester Including Cruise
  • The Lake District from Manchester
  • 10 Lakes Winter Scenic Tour - Expert Guide - Photo Stops - Magnificent Locations
  • Mobile Adventure - Day Adventures
  • Keswick Adventures
  • Path to Adventure
  • Mountain Memories

Lake District Attractions Information

Awesome, you're subscribed!

Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!

The best things in life are free.

Sign up for our email to enjoy your city without spending a thing (as well as some options when you’re feeling flush).

Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

By entering your email address you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receive emails from Time Out about news, events, offers and partner promotions.

Love the mag?

Our newsletter hand-delivers the best bits to your inbox. Sign up to unlock our digital magazines and also receive the latest news, events, offers and partner promotions.

  • Los Angeles

Get us in your inbox

🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

Rydal Mount

The 15 best things to do in the Lake District

From breathtaking hikes to theatre and culture, here's how to spend the perfect three days in the Lake District

Rob Martin

The beauty of the Lake District is no secret, but you can’t really imagine just how beautiful it is unless you’ve seen it yourself. The Lake District is England’s largest national park, and its characterised for its huge wooded areas, serene lakes and the kind of rolling hills you think only exist as desktop backgrounds. 

But if you’re planning a trip there, there’s a whole lot more to get stuck into too. Think theatres looking over a lake, enchanting stone circles and beer tasting in some seriously cosy pubs. And yes, even a museum about pencils. We’ve made sure to compile food, drink and a ton of activities into our guide, ranking them on their affordability and fun. Whether you’ve got three days or a week here, these are our picks of the best things to do in the Lake District. 

RECOMMENDED: 🏨 The best hotels in the Lake District 🏞️ The most beautiful national parks in the UK 🥾 The best places to visit in the UK

An email you’ll actually love

Best things to do in the Lake District

See Lake Windermere

1.  See Lake Windermere

What is it?  This huge body of water is the largest natural lake in England, and a prime example of the picturesque Lake District.  

Why go?  No trip to the Lake District would be complete without a visit to Lake Windermere, with its exceptional views and bags full of fun activities. You can walk, climb, cycle and even Segway around it, but the most fun is had in the water. Or on it... hopefully. Escape hoi polloi and bag yourself a self-drive or rowboat. Don’t worry, you’ll get all the training and safety guidance you need.

Climb the highest point in England, Scafell Pike

2.  Climb the highest point in England, Scafell Pike

What is it?  Standing at 978m,  Scafell Pike is  the highest point in England. 

Why go?  A   journey to its summit and back will likely leave you with blisters and wind or rain-blasted skin. But you’ll also get a stunning view of the National Park and an enormous sense of smugness. Just make sure you prepare properly! That means checking the mountain forecast and getting the right gear (primarily, decent footwear). Sure it’s fun, but it's also a pretty chunky undertaking.

Watch the birdie at the Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre

3.  Watch the birdie at the Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre

What is it? The chance to get close to some of the Lake District’s birds of prey. Why go?  Ever wanted to meet an owl? Pet a falcon or a hawk? Feed an eagle or vulture? Now you can, with the ‘basic experience’ at the Cumberland Bird of Prey Centre lasting for up to two hours. And if you want to stay longer? There are courses lasting a few days or even a week for those serious about their bird-handling skills.

See a play at Theatre By The Lake

4.  See a play at Theatre By The Lake

What is it? Guess... Why go? This Cumbrian creative hub boats one of the loveliest settings of any theatre, with stunning views of Derwentwater that make a visit to the café as worthwhile as seeing something on the stage. With its varied and always interesting programme though, it’s well worth getting a ticket for as this theatre is a highlight of any visit to the Lakes.

Hike to the Castlerigg Stone Circle

5.  Hike to the Castlerigg Stone Circle

What is it?  A fascinatingly intriguing collection of boulders that dates back to the Neolithic period, putting it on an equal footing with Stonehenge. 

Why go?   From the centre of Keswick it’ll take you roughly half an hour to walk to the circle. Look out for grazing sheep while you’re at it: they roam freely around the stone circle.  If you’re after something free and family or dog-friendly, this is a good option. Plus, the Stone Circle has a solar alignment, so head along for summer solstice – it’s one of the more tranquil midsummer celebrations.

Follow the Beatrix Potter trail at Hill Top

6.  Follow the Beatrix Potter trail at Hill Top

What is it?  The verdant and charming former home of children’s author Beatrix Potter. She bequeathed her house to the National Trust upon her death in 1943, along with thousands of objects and personal effects.

Why go? At Hill Top you’ll see furniture, photos, unusual porcelain, paintings by Potter and much more – and you’ll get the chance to roam her famous garden. If you’re really bitten by the Potter bug, the National Trust offers a downloadable ‘Beatrix Potter trail’, taking explorers around parts of the Lake District that inspired her writing.

Get starry-eyed at Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre

7.  Get starry-eyed at Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre

What is it? An activity centre and place to stay in  England’s least inhabited valley. 

Why go?  When the nights draw in early, the Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre leads stargazing events with talks and telescopes. Thanks to its isolated location free of light pollution,  Low Gillerthwaite has  been officially named a Dark Sky Discovery Site and on a clear night you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. Become a member and bag yourself a whole bunch of perks, including discounted rates, newsletters and invitations to events.

Explore Rydal Mount, William Wordsworth’s former home

8.  Explore Rydal Mount, William Wordsworth’s former home

What is it?  Where William Wordsworth properly laid his hat, in the postcard-pretty little village of Ambleside.

Why go? The late Romantic poet was born in Cumbria and left his mark all over the Lake District. As a young man, he moved around various spots in Grasmere before he finally settled in Ambleside in 1813, where he lived until his death in 1850. While the poet’s childhood home in Cockermouth is pegged as the Wordsworth abode to visit, this quaint sixteenth-century cottage known as Rydal Mount offers a different view of the man. Wander the stunning gardens that Wordsworth landscaped himself, peek inside his ‘writing hut’ and attic study, see his personal possessions and browse his library.

Have a brew with a view at The Drunken Duck

9.  Have a brew with a view at The Drunken Duck

What is it?  A gorgeous pub, dining room and hotel with good food and a  range of exceptional beers.

Why go? Who could resist a brew with a view? Especially when the view in question is full of fells and your pint has only travelled a few feet from the brewery next door. Barngates Brewery has been crafting lagers, ales and stouts beside the Drunken Duck Inn since 1997. You’ll find a range of their beverages at the inn, as well as a menu of British fusion food. If it’s on, try the Barngates Brathay Gold – it’s an absolute belter of a golden ale. Plus it’s very refreshing… which might come in handy with all that walking.

Pig out on Grasmere Gingerbread

10.  Pig out on Grasmere Gingerbread

What is it?  This little shop that sells the famous Grasmere Gingerbread is in fact where the sweet, ginger-flavoured treat was born. 

Why go?  Victorian baker Sarah Nelson, who once lived in the cottage, came up with the concoction there in 1854. This delicate, spiced, wonderfully chewy gingerbread has been a big seller ever since, and you can only get it from a few select places. Our recommendations would be the shop, naturally, or the Wordsworth Hotel next door, where you can sit down and enjoy your gingerbread with a cuppa. Trust us on this: try it with cheese, ideally bought from the Keswick Cheese Deli – it’s one of the Lake District's best.

Get cosy at The Mortal Man

11.  Get cosy at The Mortal Man

What is it? An old-school inn and lodgings that has been here since 1689 and oozes character, from the low, beamed ceilings to the roaring log fire. 

Why go?  Just outside Windermere and Ambleside you’ll find Troutbeck Valley, home to The Mortal Man. The menu is traditional British fare and is especially enjoyable in the garden on a summer’s day. Keep an eye on the events schedule: depending on what nights you’re there, you can either see some live music, spoken word (performers get a free drink) or join in on the quiz.

Tuck into a locally-sourced meal at Old Stamp House

12.  Tuck into a locally-sourced meal at Old Stamp House

What is it? A unique restaurant offering a taste of the Lake District and a dose of literary history – in 1813, Wordsworth was appointed Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland and he worked out of this very building.

Why go? Ingredients are sourced from the surrounding woodlands, forests, mountains and coastline and turned into contemporary dishes. Roasted wild brill, Herdwick hogget (lamb) and hand-dived scallop are just some of the items on the menu. Make sure you book as it can get busy. And if you’re watching the pennies? Go for lunch – there’s a great-value set lunch menu.

Sink a drink at The Lakes Distillery

13.  Sink a drink at The Lakes Distillery

What is it?  A top-notch distillery producing gin, whisky and vodka using loads of local produce.

Why go? The Lakes Distillery is a relative newbie to the scene, having only opened in 2014, but it’s fast becoming a go-to- destination in Cumbria. Tours and tastings run daily, and at the weekend you can meet their resident alpacas! There’s also a fully-stocked shop, should you want to take a little something home. Need to soak up some of that booze? There’s a very decent little restaurant here, too.

Visit the quirky Derwent Pencil Museum

14.  Visit the quirky Derwent Pencil Museum

What is it?  A quirky – but brilliant – museum about one of the more mundane things in life. 

Why go?  This modest building, which sits in the shadow of the old Cumberland Pencils factory, is home to the world’s first ever pencil. You’ll also find spy pencils from World War Two, an 8m colouring pencil, a café and a shop. Keen artists should take a look at the ‘Artist in Residence’ courses, with notable and local artists hosting classy-looking workshops.

See the last working mine in England

15.  See the last working mine in England

What is it?  Honister Slate Mine is the last working mine in England and the producer of green slate extracted from Fleetwith Pike.

Why go? This fascinating place   does a range of activities for all ages and abilities. From the relatively gentle tour through the underground mine shafts to scaling the side and inside of a mountain, as well as crossing a terrifying infinity bridge, you have plenty to keep you occupied here. Fun fact: Honister is also home to the highest café in the National Park. Make a beeline for a surprisingly good souvenirs shop, too – it sells stuff a step above the usual overpriced tat.

[image] [title]

Discover Time Out original video

  • Press office
  • Investor relations
  • Work for Time Out
  • Editorial guidelines
  • Privacy notice
  • Do not sell my information
  • Cookie policy
  • Accessibility statement
  • Terms of use
  • Modern slavery statement
  • Manage cookies
  • Advertising
  • Time Out Market

The Times & The Sunday Times

  • South Africa
  • Philippines
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • Dominican Republic
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • City breaks
  • Staycations
  • Best uk hotels

Best things to do in the Lake District

best places to visit in the lake district

Andrew Eames

Wednesday February 8 2023, 18:41pm

The Lake District is a painterly canvas of placid water, rough pasture and heathery wilderness, stitched together with dry-stone walls. Its dales are laden with mature oaks and lined with clearwater becks, and many of its manorial residences have become  fine hotels . It has long been a source of inspiration for artists and poets, and it has the double accolade of being a Unesco world heritage site and the  Lake District  National Park. Moreover, with 16 beautiful lakes and the top ten highest mountains in England, there’s a special place here for everyone. After a few days surrounded by such beauty you can’t help but feel that the world is a far, far better place. Lakeland, its celebrated guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright wrote, has “the power to soothe and heal”.

Main photo: Barrow Bay, Derwentwater (Alamy)

This article contains affiliate links.

Our travel journalism is written and edited by independent experts to inform, inspire and advise our readers about the best choices for your holidays. We also feature properties and itineraries from a specially selected list of trusted operators. These buttons and adverts are clearly signposted, and provide direct links through to external sites. If you click and buy a product, we may earn revenue.

best places to visit in the lake district

1. Admire the fells from Windermere

Day trippers and international visitors descend in multitudes on the two closely connected towns of Bowness and Windermere, on Lake Windermere’s eastern shore and the Lake District’s front door. Large numbers of yachts and high-end hotels sit on the lake here, offering endless opportunities to buy fudge and sip cocktails while admiring the fells from afar. And while Windermere is slightly inland, the shopping and rail terminus Bowness is right on the lake shore and is the hub of Windermere Lake Cruises, the region’s most popular attraction, with a range of up-lake and down-lake itineraries. At the Windermere Jetty Museum you can discover the history of boating in the Lake District and see the 1869 Esperance, the model for Captain Flint’s houseboat in Swallows and Amazons .

best places to visit in the lake district

2. Take the family to Brockhole

The Lake District Visitor Centre is far more than just an information point run by the National Park Authority. On the shores of Lake Windermere, a couple of miles north of town, its house is a 19th-century Arts and Crafts villa, but the extensive grounds that run down to the lake shore are the main attraction. There’s a treetops rope adventure, pony riding, archery, croquet, kayaking and boat rides, plus three cafés. All set in glorious gardens.


best places to visit in the lake district

3. Browse Keswick market

The pretty northern lakeland town of Keswick mixes visitor interest with a slice of Cumbrian life, which means hill farmers stomping through in their wellies. Pedestrianised streets nurture butchers, bakers and a street market (Thursdays and Saturdays) that sells everything from binoculars to “lemon cheese”, the local version of lemon curd. There’s a repertory theatre down by the lakeside, with the very pretty Hope Gardens, a teahouse and a proper putting course en route. Check out George Fisher, a homegrown outdoor clothing retailer with real expertise — and a great café up in the rafters.


best places to visit in the lake district

4. Boat and hike to Cat Bells

Keswick offers a perennially popular combination of boat trip and hill walk. Take a beautifully varnished turn-of-the-century Keswick Launch across Derwentwater, a still lake dimpled with islands. In autumn the waterside oak, copper beech and long-fingered sweet chestnut trees run through a whole colour chart of ochres, russets and golds. Jump off at Hawes End and start the slow ascent up the lakeside fell of Cat Bells, from where you can look down at Derwentwater’s tan sails doing their slow dance.


best places to visit in the lake district

5. Go to Grasmere for gingerbread

One of the most chic of all the Lake District settlements, with its own pocket-sized lake, Grasmere is a place to appreciate the finer things of life. Wordsworth, who lived here, described it as the “loveliest spot that man hath ever found”. A visit to his home, Dove Cottage , is a must. It’s packed with memorabilia, including the poet’s passport, his sister Dorothy’s sketchbook and a portrait of their dog Pepper. There are many art galleries, craft shops, interior design boutiques and tea gardens in Grasmere — don’t leave without trying Grasmere gingerbread, a cross between cake and biscuit still made according to an 1854 recipe from the Victorian cook Sarah Nelson .

best places to visit in the lake district

6. Emulate the Swallows and Amazons crew

Cupped in hills and dotted with islands, Coniston Water is in many ways a dream location and was the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s  Swallows and Amazons . It’s a perfect place for emulating John, Susan and the gang by renting a little rowing boat, or even booking a passage on the elegant Steam Yacht Gondola, which trails its white ribbon of smoke up and down the lake several times a day. Coniston’s placid surface made it the choice for Donald Campbell’s ill-fated attempt on the world water speed record in 1967.

best places to visit in the lake district

7. Follow in the footsteps of Wainwright

Wainwright’s seven meticulous  Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells  have inspired hill walkers ever since they were first published in the 1960s. In them he talks of “man’s subconscious search for beauty growing keener as the world grows uglier”. Pay your respects to him at his plaque in Buttermere’s tiny St James’ Church, and then adjourn to his favourite mountain, Haystacks. Start from Gatesgarth, climbing up through ankle-snapping rocks and looking back at one of his favourite views: Buttermere lake, which lies under a film of mist.

best places to visit in the lake district

8. Take the bus

It’s very tempting to take your car to the Lakes, but just think of the unwelcome pollution, the congestion and the struggle to find suitable car parks. Far better to rely on the bus, if you can. Stagecoach operates services to virtually every lake and significant settlement, and some of its double-deckers are open-top, with wi-fi. In particular, ride route 77, a midibus that runs out from Keswick, down Borrowdale’s twisting lanes and over the Honister pass to Buttermere. It must be one of the most tortuous assignments of any bus driver in the UK — and one of the most spectacular for passengers.


best places to visit in the lake district

9. Climb the Old Man

So you want to go to the top? The choice of peak depends on you. Scafell Pike, England’s highest at 978m, is savage and raw, while Helvellyn (960m) sits among companionable rolling hills. A compromise, easily accessible in about three hours for someone of moderate fitness, is the Old Man of Coniston, with views to Lake Coniston opening up as you climb. At the halfway point is the slate blue Low Water Tarn — for a cold-water dip — and the summit offers views out to the Irish Sea, cloud cover permitting.

best places to visit in the lake district

10. Explore Wordsworth country

Wordsworth has played a crucial role in fomenting appreciation of our countryside, advising readers to “Let nature be your teacher”. He was born in Cockermouth, on the region’s northwestern edge, and spent virtually his whole lifetime in and around the Lakes, often with his friend and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Wordsworth’s most famous poem,  Daffodils , was inspired by a stretch of shoreline on Ullswater, although these days the most glorious display is on Dora’s Field in Grasmere, cared for by the National Trust. Wordsworth lived in Grasmere for many years, first in Dove Cottage, then in Allan Bank, and finally moving to Rydal Mount, towards Ambleside.

best places to visit in the lake district

11. Arrive by boat

The most romantic way of entering the Lake District is by embarking on the Ullswater steamer Raven (built in 1889) from the gentle countryside at Pooley Bridge, a short bus ride from the mainline railway station at Penrith. As the steamer heads southwards down the blade of steely blue that is Ullswater, the second biggest of the lakes, the fells start to rise from both sides, casting off their soft waterside furs of oak and birch. By the time you disembark at Glenridding they stand high and proud, and you can climb directly up Helvellyn from the pier, a hike that will take about four hours.


best places to visit in the lake district

12. Track down Beatrix Potter

As a child, the creator of Peter Rabbit holidayed in the Lake District, and so fell in love with the place that she used the proceeds of her first literary successes to buy Hill Top, a 17th-century farmhouse between Windermere and Coniston. The house is a time capsule of her life, and it is a couple of miles south of Hawkshead, the outrageously pretty village that hosts the Beatrix Potter Gallery exhibiting some of her original illustrations. Meanwhile, Bowness itself is home to the ever-popular World of Beatrix Potter, where many of the author’s characters and stories are brought to life.

best places to visit in the lake district

13. Complete the passes

It’s all too easy to think of the Lake District as genteel and gentle — but try traversing the twisting road from Ambleside to Eskdale in winter and you’ll soon realise it can be nothing of the kind. Wrynose Pass is swiftly followed by Hardknott Pass, the latter vying for the title of the steepest in England, with a gradient of one in three. Also, the enterprising former slate quarry on Honister Pass, which connects Borrowdale to Buttermere, has made an adventure attraction out of desolation, with a via ferrata and tours underground.


best places to visit in the lake district

14. Ride La’al Ratty

There are so many Lake District attractions that La’al Ratty (“little railway” in local dialect) is often overlooked, but this narrow-gauge steam railway rattles up from the small town of Ravenglass on the southern coast of Cumbria into the shadow of Scafell Pike, at the heart of the Lake District. It is one of the UK’s oldest heritage railways, with a gauge that makes it extra nimble in the hills. Originally built to transport iron ore, its pint-sized carriages are partly open-topped so that passengers can get the full benefit of the setting.


best places to visit in the lake district

15. Stay in the UK’s most remote hostel

The Youth Hostel Association (23 properties in the Lake District) has changed a lot in recent years, as evidenced by its state-of-the-art, 249-bed property at Ambleside on Lake Windermere. But it also still has the Black Sail Hostel in its portfolio, a converted, thick-walled shepherd’s bothy that sits up above the tree line in an amphitheatre of peaks, which include Great Gable. Black Sail accommodates 16 and can only be reached on foot, about 60 minutes’ hike from the nearest road. The dark sky here is stellar, as is the cross-section of hikers.

16. Walk with other enthusiasts

The walking holiday operator HF Holidays, which was established in 1913 with the altruistic aim of encouraging working people to get out in the fresh air, owns two country house properties in the Lakes. One is at Derwentwater and one at Coniston, and both are centres for companionable guided walking in the company of like-minded others led by enthusiastic volunteers. There’s a choice of degrees of difficulty in the daily itineraries, and all meals are provided back at base. A very sociable ethic creates a loyal following.


best places to visit in the lake district

17. Feel the Force

Sometimes there really is a magic money tree. In fact, one sits beside the footpath to Aira Force, a popular waterfall by the western shore of Ullswater. Here a fallen trunk gleams with a multitude of coins, hammered into the wood in the belief that the act will alleviate ill health and ensure safe passage on a difficult journey. Talking of which, if the walk to the Force is not far enough, there’s also a fine longer loop to be done around Gowbarrow Fell.


best places to visit in the lake district

18. Dance with the stones

Majestic settings have had a spiritual dimension since the dawn of man, so it is no surprise to find stone circles dotted around the Lakes. Two of the best are up north: Long Meg and her Daughters sit in a field between Carlisle and Penrith, with Long Meg herself aligned with where the sun sets in the winter solstice. Local legend has it that they were turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath. Meanwhile, the  Castlerigg Stone Circle , a neolithic circle just outside Keswick, offers a view worth dancing for, down the valley to Helvellyn and her sister peaks.

best places to visit in the lake district

19. Visit a couple of castles

No corner of England is without its fortifications, and the Lakes have a particularly fine pair of castles. Up by Penrith, Lowther Castle is actually an intriguing visual trick: from afar it looks complete, but up close it turns out to be a façade. Not so at Muncaster, down by the southwest shore near Ravenglass. Here the Pennington family have been in residence for centuries, and they’ve shown great enterprise in turning their home, some of which dates from the 13th century, into a family-friendly day out, with gardens, ghost tours and birds of prey displays.

best places to visit in the lake district

20. Branch out at Grizedale

It’s not all water and mountains in the Lakes; there’s forest here too. Specifically, Grizedale, a mix of deciduous and pine between Coniston and Windermere, famous for its mountain biking, sculpture trails and treetop adventure run by Go Ape. There’s bike hire on site with suitable wheels for tailor-made mountain-bike trails of varying technical difficulty. As for the sculptures, some 50 of them are scattered widely, but seek out the Lady of the Water and the Clockwork Forest, trees with giant keys that, when wound, play music.


21. Tour ten lakes in one day

Want to see as much as possible, and in the least possible time? The regional specialist Mountain Goat offers the chance to tick off as many as ten lakes in a day on its guided minibus tours. The Ten Lakes Spectacular departs daily from Windermere and heads for the big names north and west, such as Grasmere, Ullswater and Derwentwater, with longer stops at Keswick and at the Castlerigg Stones, as well as plenty of photo pauses en route.

Great Langdale is one of the best places to visit in the Lake District

22. Conquer Great Langdale

For scale and drama, the majestic valley of Great Langdale is hard to top. Cutting a deep glacial slash into the central fells to the southwest of Ambleside, it’s a favourite of fellwalkers, many of whom come here to tackle the popular peak-bagging circuit around the chain of peaks known as the Langdale Pikes, or to brave hairier, scarier routes such as the one over Bowfell and Crinkle Crags. There are plenty of easier walks, though, including the short stroll to the waterfall at Dungeon Ghyll — and, afterwards, you can sink a pint at the old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel (known to regulars as the ODG).

Brantwood House is one of the best places to visit in the Lake District

23. Discover John Ruskin

It’s hard to imagine now how influential the philosopher, painter and design guru John Ruskin was to Victorian tastes. He expounded thoughts on subjects ranging from wallpaper design to lacemaking, and was influential in the development of the Arts and Crafts movement, which championed handmade goods over industrial products. His Lakeland home, Brantwood House, stands proudly above the eastern shore of Coniston Water, and commands a glorious view of the lake. It also offers a fascinating insight into the great man’s eclectic tastes: among other things, look out for his shell collection and canvases by JMW Turner. The best way to arrive is aboard the Steam Yacht Gondola, a lovingly restored Victorian launch.

Tarn Hows, near Hawkshead, Lake District, Cumbria

24. Spot squirrels near Tarn Hows

You’ll be surprised to discover that this picturesque lake is actually man-made. It was created by a former owner, James Garth Marshall, who re-landscaped three adjoining tarns in the 19th century. Subsequently owned by Beatrix Potter, Tarn Hows was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1930. Various level woodland trails wind around the shoreline and, with luck, you may spot red squirrels darting about in the treetops.

The Altura Trail in Whinlatter Forest

25. Cycle through Whinlatter Forest

This dense woodland of pine, spruce and larch is the only true mountain forest in England. It rises to 790m to the west of Bassenthwaite Lake, and attracts mountain bikers and walkers to its network of trails, as well as young Tarzans to its treetop assault course. It’s also a red squirrel refuge: you can watch video feeds in the visitor centre.

Best spa hotels in the Lake District

Best hotels in the Lake District

Take me there

Inspired to visit the Lake District but yet to book your trip? Here are the best places to stay from  Vrbo and  Hotels.com . These are the best tours of Lake District from our trusted partners .

Lake District Cedar Manor Windermere

30 must-see places in the Lake District

There are so many wonderful places to visit in the Lake District that sometimes it’s hard to pick! So here’s our quick guide of 30 locations in the Lake District that you must see during your stay. And if you can’t fit them all in during one trip, well, you’ll just have to visit time and time again!

And don’t forget to take a look at our cottage search to find your dream holiday cottage!

1. Derwentwater

Must-see places Lake District

With stunning views into the “jaws” of Borrowdale , small islands to explore, and boat hire available, there’s lots of excitement to be had on Derwentwater.

2. Windermere

Windermere is England’s longest lake and the Lake District’s most popular! Explore all the attractions on the shore or take in the sites from the water with a cruise.

3. Hill Top

Once home to Beatrix Potter , Hill Top is a time-capsule of the beloved author’s life. 

4. Scafell Pike

Must-see places Lake District

If you’re a keen, well-prepared walker, England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike , has to be on your bucket list! If you’re not a walker, you can still admire the impressive fell from the valleys of Eskdale or Wasdale .

The pretty market town of Keswick is an eternal favourite thanks to its gorgeous views, variety of activities, and easy access to Derwentwater and the surrounding fells.

6. Bowness-on-Windermere

Bowness sits right on the shores of Windermere and is the perfect place for exploring the stunning South Lakes.

7. Wastwater

Must-see places Lake District

Famous as England’s deepest lake and for the dramatic screes that tumble into the water, Wastwater is also a tranquil spot to reflect while you take in the rugged Wasdale scenery.

8. Helvellyn and Striding Edge

Voted England’s favourite walk, Helvellyn is a popular ascent for well-equipped and knowledgeable walkers. It also makes an impressive backdrop to beautiful Ullswater.

9. Dove Cottage, Grasmere

Must-see places Lake District

Once home to Romantic poet William Wordsworth , Dove Cottage now offers a glimpse back in time, with personal belongings of the Wordsworth family on display.

10. Honister Pass & Honister Slate Mine

One of Cumbria’s highest and steepest roads, Honister Pass offers spectacular views across Borrowdale . Honister Slate Mine at the top is a fascinating look into the area's history and gives you the chance to test your mettle with its Via Ferrata.

11. Buttermere

Must-see places Lake District

Often regarded as England’s best view, Buttermere makes for an easy, family-friendly walk with gentle paths and a tunnel carved into the rock on the north-east side.

12. Ravenglass

The only coastal village in the Lake District, Ravenglass is a peaceful place where you can step back in time to explore its Roman heritage .

13. The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

Known locally as the La’al Ratty , this miniature steam train tootles along the valley from Ravenglass on the coast, to Boot in the heart of Eskdale .

14. Catbells

Must-see places Lake District

The iconic, family-friendly fell is perfect if you’re looking for some hillwalking without too much effort!

15. Muncaster Castle

Proudly looking over the valley, Muncaster Castle near Ravenglass boasts a fascinating history, gorgeous gardens, and regular events.

16. Orrest Head

Said to be where Alfred Wainwright first got a taste for the region, Orrest Head is an easy fell walk that rewards you with stunning views over Windermere .

17. Aira Force

Must-see places Lake District

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Lake District, Aira Force near Ullswater is surrounded by woodland and has viewing platforms to make the most of the sight of cascading water. Best visited after heavy rain!

18. The Bowder Stone

Apparently defying gravity, the Bowder Stone in Borrowdale is a 2,000-tonne, 30-foot-high rock standing precariously on its edge.

19. Surprise View and Ashness Bridge

This popular viewpoint is one of the most photographed in the Lake District and it’s not hard to see why!

20. Lowther Castle

Must-see places Lake District

Though now a ruin, this still-spectacular castle dates back to medieval times and has plenty to explore in its extensive grounds including beautiful gardens and The Lost Castle play area.

21. Rannerdale

The ‘hidden’ valley is awash with beautiful bluebells in the spring. Remember to avoid trampling the flowers so future visitors can also enjoy the spectacle too!

22. Theatre by the Lake

Sitting on the shores of Derwentwater, the Theatre by the Lake provides an exciting programme of performances throughout the year.

23. Whinlatter Forest

Must-see places Lake District

England’s only true mountain forest, Whinlatter has many waymarked footpaths, mountain biking routes, and a Go Ape! high ropes course.

24. Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House

Overlooking Windermere , Blackwell is a Grade I-listed building that is a masterpiece of Arts and Crafts design.

25. Tarn Hows

This pretty tarn offers an easy, accessible walk that takes in some of the gorgeous scenery of the South Lakes . 

26. Bridge House, Ambleside

Must-see places Lake District

One of the most iconic and most photographed buildings in the Lake District, Bridge House in Ambleside is a tiny house that was built over Stock Beck in order to escape land tax!

27. Stanley Ghyll

Follow flowing rivers through the tranquil woodland of Eskdale to reach the wonderful Stanley Ghyll waterfall thundering into the splash pool below.

28. Steam Yacht Gondola, Coniston

Take a trip across Coniston on a rebuilt Victorian steam-powered yacht and enjoy a taste of tourism from the past.

29. Wray Castle

Must-see places Lake District

Looking somewhat unusual on the shores of Windermere , Wray Castle is nonetheless a fascinating and quirky Victorian folly that’s well worth a visit!

30. Castlerigg Stone Circle

Sitting high above Keswick and with breathtaking panoramic views, this mysterious stone circle is the oldest in Britain.

Must-see places Lake District

There's so much to be seen in the Lake District that we couldn't possibly include them all in this quick guide! You can take a look at our in-depth guides for more ideas, or get in touch if you would like more suggestions from our friendly, local team!

You can use our cottage search to find the perfect self-catering cottage for your stay.

You might also enjoy:

  • 10 of the Lake District's best kept secrets
  • Top 9 views in the Lake District
  • 9 family-friendly fell walks
  • Best walks in the Lake District

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

Read more like this

A guide to cumbria's michelin-starred restaurants, hidden destinations to visit this winter, arts and entertainment in the lake district.

Useful information

Let with us

Work with us

The essentials

Terms of use

Booking terms

Sunset over Windermere in the Lake District.


The Lake District

The Lake District (or Lakeland, as it's commonly known round these parts) is by far the UK's most popular national park. Every year, some 15 million people pitch up to explore the region's fells and countryside, and it's not hard to see why. Ever since the Romantic poets arrived in the 19th century, its postcard panorama of craggy hilltops, mountain tarns and glittering lakes has been stirring the imaginations of visitors. Since 2017 it has also been a Unesco World Heritage Site, in recognition of its unique hill-farming culture.

Your next trip starts here

Go from dreaming to planning with trip planning options made to help you craft your ideal itinerary.


Must-see attractions for your itinerary.


Two miles south of Hawkshead, in the tiny village of Near Sawrey, this idyllic farmhouse was purchased in 1905 by Beatrix Potter and was used as…

best places to visit in the lake district

Rydal Mount

The poet William Wordsworth's most famous residence in the Lake District is undoubtedly Dove Cottage, but he actually spent a great deal more time at…

best places to visit in the lake district

Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Museum

On the edge of Grasmere, this tiny, creeper-clad cottage (formerly a pub called the Dove & Olive Bough) was famously inhabited by William Wordsworth…

Wordsworth House

Wordsworth House

The poet William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 at this handsome Georgian house at the end of Main St. Built around 1745, the house has been…

Windermere & the Islands

Windermere & the Islands

Windermere gets its name from the old Norse, Vinandr mere (Vinandr's lake; so 'Lake Windermere' is actually tautologous). Encompassing 5.7 sq miles…

Honister Slate Mine

Honister Slate Mine

This old slate mine has been reinvented as a centre for all kinds of activities: you could venture underground into the bowels of the old 'Edge' and …

Keswick Museum

Keswick Museum

Keswick's quirky town museum explores the area's history, from ancient archaeology through to the arrival of industry in the Lakes. It's a diverse…

Wray Castle

Wray Castle

An impressive sight with its turrets and battlements, this mock-Gothic castle was built in 1840 for James Dawson, a retired doctor from Liverpool, but it…

Latest stories from The Lake District

Filter by interest:

  • All Interests
  • Adventure Travel
  • Art & Culture
  • Beaches, Coasts & Islands
  • Food & Drink

Young multi ethnic guys jumping off a jetty into a lake in Derwent Water in Cumbria

May 7, 2022 • 6 min read

The Lake District is one of the most scenic places in England. Here are the best things to do while you're there.

in partnership with getyourguide

Book popular activities in The Lake District

Purchase our award-winning guidebooks.

Get to the heart of The Lake District with one of our in-depth, award-winning guidebooks, covering maps, itineraries, and expert guidance.

The Lake District and beyond

Keswick and mist covered Derwent Water at dawn, Lake District National Park, Cumbria, England, United Kingdom, Europe

9 Most Beautiful Places in England’s Lake District

Home > Blog > 9 Most Beautiful Places in England’s Lake District

England’s Lake District is renowned as one of the most stunning places in the world. With over 16 million visitors per year, it packs a huge amount of awe-inspiring sights into almost one thousand square miles of spectacular scenery.

From sparkling lakes to quaint villages to an unending landscape of craggy fells, the Lake District has magnificent sights in every direction. With so much on offer, it can be tricky to choose where to go.

To inspire your next road trip , we’ve narrowed it down to our nine favourite beautiful places to visit …

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by 📍 Lake District & Cumbria UK (@onelakedistrict)

Beautiful Buttermere might be one of the Lake District’s smallest lakes, but is a firm favourite amongst visitors. It’s easy to see why, with towering pines looming above the shore and tranquil, deep-blue waters.

Only one single-track road leads to Buttermere, meaning it’s more secluded and has remained safe from over-development, with only a handful of hotels and pubs in the village.

Photographers are spoiled for choice here. Some favour the woody banks and others prefer to capture the reflective lake nestled against the dramatic fells; Fleetwith Pike and Great Gable. A circular walk around Buttermere is 4.5 miles and offers some of the best scenery in the Lake District for the least amount of effort.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Photos Of Britain 🇬🇧 (@photosofbritain)

Crummock Water

We can’t mention Buttermere without including its twin; Crummock Water. The two were once a single post-glacial lake, however, materials shifted over time from the fells to form a central stretch of fertile farmland between the two.

What makes Crummock Water so special is the incredible vistas of the breathtaking mountains that surround this beautiful valley. For those who dare, the best views can be seen by submerging yourself in the crystal clear waters and enjoying a 360-degree panoramic view.

Crummock is a great place for swimming, as the southern shore has a gently-sloping pebble beach. Limited parking means that it’s not uncommon to enjoy the magic of this lake in a tranquil setting.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Scale Hill Hotel, est.1620 (@scalehillhotel)

Few people could talk about the Lake District with such authority as the legendary fellwalker Alfred Wainwright. He adored the area and dedicated his life to exploring and mapping the Lakes.

His favourite place was on top of Haystacks , which provides sweeping views of both Buttermere, Crummock and the surrounding fells. He loved it so much that this is the very spot where he requested to have his ashes scattered.

Many people complete the 597m climb today and are rewarded with breathtaking views of hidden lakes and stunning rock formations.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Ryan Thompson | Lake District📍 (@rythoson)

Wastwater & The Wasdale Valley

Moving towards the west of the Lake District sits Wastwater – England’s deepest lake at 260 feet. It also lies at the foot of England’s highest mountain; Scafell Pike.

Much like the north-western lakes, Wastwater can only be accessed by a single-track road, making it a more peaceful place to soak up the scenery.

The view over Wastwater’s east shore is its most awe-inspiring, with Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Lingmell providing a dramatic backdrop over the serene waters. This spot has been voted ‘Britain’s favourite view’ and is so well-loved that it makes up the logo for the Lake District’s official branding.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by 𝐃𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐝 𝐁𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐨𝐧 (@davidbensonphoto)

St Herbert’s Island on Derwentwater

Just a ten-minute walk from the bustling market town of Keswick lies Derwentwater. What makes this lake so beautiful is its islands which appear like mini floating forests. The three most famous are Lord’s Island, Derwent Island and St Herbert’s Island.

Lord’s Island was home to the Earl of Derwentwater, and the ruins of his abode are still visible in the undergrowth.

Derwent Island is the only one with a property still on it, which is now under the management of the National Trust. It’s open to the public several days a year, and visitors are encouraged to canoe there as the water levels change so frequently.

However, the most beautiful of the islands, and the one most sought-out by photographers, is St Herbert’s Island. It lies in the middle of the lake, and at five acres is the largest island. It took its name from St Herbert, a 7th-century hermit who was responsible for bringing Christianity to the area. St Herbert took up residence on the island and the remains of his cell can still be seen. It was also the inspiration for Beatrix Potter’s ‘Owl Island’.

Boats are currently allowed to land on the island to explore and can be hired from Keswick Launch Co.

You could also hike the 10-mile loop around the lake and witness the islands from different settings.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Mark Worley (@mark.worley.photography)

Galleny Force Waterfall & Fairy Glen

You’ll find Galleny Force Waterfall in the heart of the Lake District on Stonethwaite Beck. It’s a spot where several classic English walking trails meet – the Cumbria Way , Coast to Coast and the Tour of the Lake District .

Galleny Force is a series of little waterfalls with several turquoise and crystal clear rock pools forming at their base. The area has a mystic quality, and is affectionately known as ‘Fairy Glen’. This is a great place to take a picnic and spend all day immersed in the magical scenery.

There are two ways to get to Galleny Force Waterfall. You can take a gentle 1-mile walk from Stonethwaite, or a 4-mile walk from Rosthwaite and enjoy the valley scenery.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Charlie C (@miss.charlie.cees)

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Whilst the Lake District is well known for its striking natural scenery, there are several man-made sights that add to its charm.

Nestled on a plateau in the Thirlmere Valley sits Castlerigg Stone Circle . The site is 30 meters wide and consists of 38 stones.

Whilst the UK is home to many stone circles, perhaps none can claim such a beautiful location. Castlerigg is set on a sweeping plain against some of the Lake Districts finest peaks; Helvellyn and High Seat.

The stones were assembled in the Neolithic period and are one of the earliest examples of such practices in Britain. Unlike other such sites, they were not assembled for burial purposes, and we still don’t know exactly why it was built – although possible uses include trade, meetings, rituals, religion or astrology.

The mystery that still surrounds Castlerigg Stone Circle makes it a magical place to visit!

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Nigel Eve (@castleriggstonecircle)

Grasmere Village

When people picture a quaint English village, what they have in mind probably looks a lot like Grasmere. It’s an idyllic part of the country, with stone and slate cottages and a river running through it.

Grasmere is not only beautiful but is a place of huge literary significance. William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived in various cottages around Grasmere between 1799 and 1813. Most famously they inhabited Dove Cottage , which has been restored to look as it did in Wordsworth’s day. Many other famous poets were guests, including Walter Scott and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Wordsworth firmly believed the Lake District to be the most beautiful place on earth, and his walks there inspired some of his most famous works, such as ‘The Daffodil’.

Today, Grasmere is a busy tourism hub. Avoid visiting during peak summer for a better chance of enjoying its quaint charm the way Wordsworth did.

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Lake District (@lakedistrict)

Hawkshead Village

Last, but by no means least, is pretty Hawkshead in the southern lakes. This was a prominent village in the Norse times and a visit here is like stepping back in time.

The whitewashed houses, cobbled alleys and traditional shops feel as though they belong to a different century altogether. Hawkshead is also a traffic-free zone, so it’s not only beautiful but also a peaceful place to visit.

This is a perfect place to have a wander and enjoy some of their local delicacies, such as Hawkshead Relish , The Chocolate Factory , or Hawkshead Brewery .

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Sarah | Travel & Lifestyle (@asnapshotofengland)

Ready to visit the Lake District?

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with an Absolute Escapes travel specialist to plan your dream escape to the Lake District.

Our Highlights of The Lake District self-drive holiday takes in many of these spectacular locations, so why not experience them on an unforgettable road trip?

Lottie Smart

Mountain scene

A journey of discovery

Uncover hidden gems and holiday inspiration from our team of travel specialists. Sign up today and start discovering.

" (Required) " indicates required fields

Road leading to mountain

Expand your horizons

Sign up for our newsletter and unlock exclusive tips and inspiration from our team of travel specialists.

Visit Cumbria

Places to Visit

Places to visit in the lake district & cumbria.

There is probably a greater variety of things to do and places to visit in the Lake District & Cumbria than anywhere else in the UK. Discover where to go and things to do in the Lake District.

Things to do in the Lake District for Families

Including family attractions, things to do in the Lake District with children, what to do when it’s raining in the Lake District and the most popular Lake District attractions for all ages.

best places to visit in the lake district

Things to do in the Lake District landscape

Explore the mountains, fells, valleys and dales and visit the lakes and tarns of the Lake District & Cumbria. Discover hidden places to visit in the Lake District forests, woods, waterfalls, rivers and caves.

image of pine trees on an island reflected in derwentwater lake which is an image link to the lakes and tarns to visit in the lake district and cumbria page

Historic Places to Visit in the Lake District & Cumbria

There is a wealth of historic places to visit in the Lake District & Cumbria, including some of the earliest stone circles in Britain, the remains of the Roman Empire, abbeys and priories, ancient churches, castles and pele towers, through to more recent industrial history such as water mills, and mines.

image of roman ruins at birdoswald which is an image link to the roman remains and roman sites to visit in the lake district and cumbria page

Visit by Area, Lake District & Cumbria

Cumbria is home to the Lake District National Park which sits in the hilly centre of the county. This is the most popular with visitors however the area of Cumbria outside the National Park is becoming more popular with visitors looking for a quieter holiday. Nearly all Lake District attractions are within easy daily driving distance of anywhere in the larger area of Cumbria.

Places to Visit in the Lake District

The most popular area to visit in the Lake District is the area around Windermere. This is also known as the South Lakes and is slightly more accessible from the south of England. The area around Keswick and Derwentwater, or North Lakes, is an extremely close second in popularity.

The East Lakes includes the beautiful lake Ullswater and the Penrith Area. The West Lakes is pretty and unspoiled and includes the Eskdale Valley and Wastwater, voted England’s favourite view. Both the east and west Lakes are recently becoming more popular places to visit in the Lake District.

an aerial image of windermere lake which is an image link to the information page for the south lakes area places to visit in the lake district

Places to Visit in Cumbria

There are lots of things to do in the Lake District but did you know that the area outside the National Park is also beautiful, and that some of the best attractions in Cumbria can be found here?

image of the exterior of carlisle citadel which is an image link to the information page for the north cumbria area places to visit in

Book your accommodation with Visit Cumbria

If you have found Visit Cumbria’s “Places to Visit in the Lake District” page useful please help to support us by booking your accommodation though our pages. It takes a lot of work, and quite a bit of money, to keep Visit Cumbria’s 1,500+ free information pages online and updated. We don’t receive a penny of public funding and rely on a network of local contributors and volunteers. Your support helps us to maintain our independence and impartiality and is genuinely very much appreciated. Thank you.

Best Lake District Things To Do For First Time Visitors

Lake district england itinerary.

Considering a first-time road trip from London to The Lake District UK?   In this 5 day Lake District itinerary, discover where to stay in the region of Cumbria to maximize your time, discover beautiful passes, enjoy tasty Windermere restaurants, hire a boat, and experience the very best the Lake District offers.

If a UK road trip is what you’re seeking, this Lake District itinerary is for you.   And even if you choose to take the train, this post covers what to do in the Lake District over the course of your visit.   Read on to learn why everyone wants to go to the Lake District UK or save it for later when you have time to take notes!

Lake District Things To Do 5 Day Itinerary

Pin things to do in the Lake District for later!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means I may make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking a link but costs you nothing more). Read here for the full disclosure policy .

Table of Contents

This post contains a lot of detail about all the things to do in the Lake District over 5 days.  If you don’t have the time to read it in full:

  • The train takes 3.5 hours from London Euston to Windermere or 5 hours by car
  • Rent a car to tour the Lake District so you can see the best of Cumbria
  • Stay in Bowness-on Windermere at The Belsfield Laura Ashley Hotel
  • Day 1 : Spend the day in Windermere
  • Day 2 : Explore things to do around Ullswater Lake
  • Day 3 : Go sightseeing around Derwent Water
  • Day 4 : Head north of Cumbria to Hadrian’s Wall
  • Day 5 : Visit Wray Castle before departing home or continue a road trip to Wales
  • For the most quirky thing to do in the Lake District: see the world’s biggest colouring pencil at the Cumberland Pencil Museum in Keswick
  • Book restaurant reservations in advance at Jackson’s Bistro and Positano
  • For the best souvenirs from the Lake District, shop at Love The Lakes and Rebecca Cropper’s studio in Bowness-on-Windermere

Lake District Things To Do 5 Day Itinerary

Lake Windermere is a great location for your stay

How To Get To The Lake District From London

While you can get to the Lake District by train from various cities in England, the Lake District is an awesome destination for a UK road trip.   There are so many things to do in the Lake District that to truly experience it requires having your own car or booking sightseeing tours with a bus company.

Getting to the Lake District from London takes approximately 5 hours, compared to 3.5 hours by train from London Euston Station to Windermere.

With small children under 10 and occasional motion sickness, there are many winding passes and roads in the Lake District to consider how you choose to get there.

A car makes a perfect choice to have the freedom to stop or pull over whenever you want to.   And trust me, you’ll want to with Lake District places to visit like this.

Kirkstone Pass along the road

Lake District Itinerary day 2 starts in Kirkstone Pass

Nevertheless, there are many tour operators ready and waiting to show you why 16 million visitors go to the Lake District of England every year.

Where To Stay In The Lake District: Windermere

You know you want to go to the Lake District but you’re not really sure which part of the Lake District to stay. Because there are so many choices of where to stay and types of accommodation, it can make planning a first time visit to the Lake District a bit overwhelming.

Deciding whether to stay in the south of Cumbria near Windermere or go north to Keswick for convenient Lake District places to see such as Bassenthwaite (the only ‘official’ lake in the Lake District; the others are called meres) – will really depend upon the type of accommodation, conveniences and overall holiday you seek.

Admittedly, after our first time visit to the Lake District region of Cumbria, I learned that there is so much beauty that you really can’t go wrong.

Lake District cottage in Windermere

Pretty bluey grey stone cottages match the Lake District landscape

In the end, Bowness-on-Windermere is where we chose to stay for our first time visit.   If (when) we go back, I would stay in Bowness again or in Ambleside.   Here’s why to help you decide if Bowness-on-Windermere is the best town to stay for your first time Lake District visit, too:

Bowness-on-Windermere Highlights

  • Quick arrival to the Lake District from London
  • Easy arrival/departure town when combining the Lake District with Wales for a UK road trip
  • Many restaurants and pubs all accessible by foot, including waterfront dining options
  • Unique and abundant shopping options accessible by foot
  • Lake Windermere boat hire options and lake cruises throughout the day
  • Home to The World of Beatrix Potter
  • The Belsfield Laura Ashley Hotel for a 5-star holiday

The downside to staying in Bowness-on-Windermere is the traffic driving through Ambleside to head north.   Other than that, it’s hard to think of any other reason not to consider staying there.

Ambleside offers similar food and shopping benefits as staying in Bowness-on-Windermere.   It’s super charming with a water mill in the center of town.   The Waterhead Hotel is impressive and The Giggling Goose Cafe draws you in as you navigate your way through Ambleside.

Nevertheless, The Belsfield Windermere water views, 5-star service, and large family rooms outfitted in the prettiest Laura Ashley wallpapers you ever did see make this a win-win for the whole family.   In fact, The Belsfield may just be the best place to stay in Lake District England.

The Belsfield Lake District Lounge

Stunning hotel for a Lake District visit: The Belsfield

More On The Belsfield As Your Place To Stay In The Lake District

Kendal Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3EL

We loved our first visit to the Lake District and stay at The Belsfield so much that we actually turned what was intentionally supposed to be a 4-day visit into a 5-day one.  

The Belsfield Hotel staff is so accommodating that despite being sold out of family rooms, they were able to rearrange 2 side-by-side rooms for an extra night’s stay the day before our departure.   And if that doesn’t sound convincing, here are a few more things about this Laura Ashley Lake District hotel.

  • Car parking is free.
  • A sticker that seals the door to prevent unwanted entry is added to each guest room by housekeeping letting you know it’s been deep cleaned and sanitized.
  • Not all amenities were open during Covid, such as the indoor atrium-style swimming pool, but the hill and gardens overlooking the lake serve as a great place for the kids to roll (because it’s far too tempting not to!) and even play outdoor games.
  • Yes, it’s kid-friendly – and respectably so by its guests (minus my kids rolling down the hill). 🤣
  • The Belsfield can arrange a restaurant booking for you at sold-out hotspot restaurants when you can’t get in yourself.  I share more about restaurants later in this post.
  • The hotel sits atop a hill overlooking Lake Windermere, making its terrace bar a prime location for enjoying gorgeous views both morning and night while wrapped up in a complimentary Laura Ashley blanket.
  • A family favorite: complimentary water, treats, and chocolates in the guest room.

The Belsfield Laura Ashley Family Room

The Belsfield Laura Ashley Family Room

A 5 Day Lake District Itinerary

While the Lake District region of Cumbria is a destination for long walks, hikes, climbing, and all things nature, the intention of this visit is to cover as many must-see places in the Lake District as possible in essentially 4-5 days.   As a result, this is a very active Lake District itinerary.  While not everyone has that much time for a holiday or interest in non-stop activities for that matter, you can pick and choose or mix-and-match days with attractions of most interest to suit your Lake District visit.

A super fun resource for the whole family to use and understand the layout of Cumbria for organizing what to see when is Rachel Dixon’s Maps of The United Kingdom .   It’s a book outlining all the counties of the UK in super fun and colorful illustrative ways – an essential book for UK road trips with kids.   In fact, it’s how I discovered Hadrian’s Wall being far closer to where we were than we realized and added that to our itinerary over the course of our visit.

best places to visit in the lake district

Maps of the United Kingdom

Buy On Amazon

As of February 12, 2024 23:45:27 More Info Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Day 1 – Lake Windermere

Day 1 of your Lake District road trip is all about getting there and getting to know the best of your home base.

Afternoon – Lake Windermere

After traveling all morning, arrive at the Lake District around 2-3pm.   Check into your hotel and have a look around at the place you’ll easily call home for the next 5 days.

Since you’ve been traveling all morning, plan on spending the late afternoon getting to know all that Bowness-on-Windermere has to offer.   Take special attention to learning the hours of restaurants, shops, and even activity centers since many places are seasonal. This will help with planning dinner reservations and souvenir shopping later during your visit. I share the best shops later in this post.

A private boat hire or Lake Windermere Cruise is the perfect way to unwind after a long car or train ride.   This is a hit with the whole family because you get to control your own boat, although the speed is capped for everyone’s safety.   Nevertheless, boat hire is rated as the #1 Lake District thing to do during your visit.

Lake Windermere Boat Hire

Lake Windermere Boat Hire

Early Evening – The Belsfield Terrace

On the first night of your Lake District visit, relax and enjoy sunset water views from The Belsfield Terrace.

Although the waterfront is considered busy, with the exception of one night (which was more like a fun party scene from the Ozarks than the Lake District) it was incredibly quiet, peaceful, and absolutely stunning.

Lake Windermere Waterfront from The Belsfield

Terrace Bar View from The Belsfield

Day 2 – Sightseeing To & Around Ullswater Lake

The day 2 itinerary is centered around the best Lake District things to do around Ullswater Lake.

Morning – Kirkstone Pass & Glenridding

Lake District things to do on the way to Ullswater Lake start at Kirkstone Pass.    Just be careful driving along the winding pass because there could be goats or sheep at any turn.   There are areas to pull off to snap photos or have a closer look.

Being the highest pass in the Lake District, plan for all types of weather as you drive the Kirkstone Pass.   You might start the journey with warm rays of sunshine and minutes later be in a rainy patch with fog.   It’s incredibly mysterious and beautiful.  

A great place to pull over safely and take a break is at the Kirkstone Pass Inn – the third highest public house in England.   The car park is free.

Kirkstone Pass

Kirstone Pass, Lake District UK

Glenridding is where you can catch the Ullswater Steamer Boat.   Be sure to book tickets in advance since the boat is running at limited capacity and dates/times during Covid.

Ullswater Steamer Glenridding Lake District

Ullswater Steamer Dock, Glenridding

Take Ullswater Steamer Boat from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge.   There are more options available to experience the boat if you prefer a shorter ride, but taking it from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge allows you to see the full extent of Ullswater Lake.

Dress warm because even on the sunniest of days, the wind off the lake can be quite cold and wet!

You’ll see paddleboarders, sailboats, possibly swimmers, amazing waterside hotels (one which claims the sticky toffee pudding invention), and Lady of the Lake which is believed to be the oldest working passenger vessel in the world dating back to 1877.

Ullswater Lake England

Ullswater Lake

Afternoon – Pooley Bridge & Aira Force Waterfall

Upon arrival in Pooley Bridge, enjoy a pub lunch at Pooley Bridge Inn but manage the time so that you can explore the countryside before boarding the boat again.

Before leaving the main street, be sure to show the kids the fish atop the monument in the center of the village and even atop St Paul’s Church.

While in Pooley, hike to Cockpit Stone Circle.  

Cockpit Stone Circle

This is a 1.5-mile hike from the village to the circle which resembles a very small version of Stonehenge.   The hike offers beautiful views of the lake and even horseback riders along the way.   There is a moderate incline on the way there, but nothing too strenuous.   Overall, Cockpit Stone Circle is a fairly easy hike.

Directions to Cockpit Stone Circle are a bit tricky because signs aren’t clearly marked, but Google Maps will send you in the right direction.   If you feel lost, ask a fellow visitor along the trail.

If you want a more difficult hike or a leisure afternoon, Ullswater Steamer provides several different Pooley Bridge itineraries .

Cockpit Stone Circle

Aira Force Waterfall

Back in Glenridding, drive about 15 minutes north to Aira Force Waterfall in Penwith before returning to Bowness.   This impressive 20-meter waterfall is one of the best Lake District things to do hands down.   Totally unexpected and easy to get to after a long day of exploring.   Parking is available near the trail for a fee so it doesn’t require hiking from a distance to enjoy this beauty.

Aira Force Waterfall

Side view from the top of the Aira Force Waterfall

Day 3 – Sightseeing To & Around Derwent Water

The day 3 itinerary is centered around the best Lake District things to do near Derwent Water.   Plan an early start because Lake District day 3 is packed.   We started later than planned so had a late lunch and barely made it to Grasmere in time for gingerbread, which you won’t want to miss!

Lake District Day 3 Map – save this map to your phone

Morning – Castlerigg Stone Circle, Ashness Bridge & Surprise View

Castlerigg Stone Circle is a ring of 38 stones dating back to around 3000 BC.   It’s considered mini Stonehenge offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.   To see this via a helicopter would be amazing but the most practical way is to drive.

While Stonehenge is shockingly visible from the A303, Castlerigg Stone Circle has quite a dramatic entrance.   We questioned the road to get there as more a walking path vs a road, but when in England!

If the short drive on Castle Lane to Castlerigg seems more adventurous than you desire, you can take Eleventrees off the A591.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Ashness Bridge

The next adventurous Lake District thing to do on day 3 is Ashness Bridge.   We nearly turned around after approaching this stone-built bridge but given it’s a single-track road, a fellow visitor helped us safely cross the bridge.   Turning around wasn’t much of an option without crossing the bridge first!   If we can cross in a Jaguar F-Pace SUV, you will be fine!

There is a car park at Ashness Bridge which makes it easy to have a breather after crossing the bridge in a wide car.   Driving aside, it’s such a beautiful location and voted as a favorite Lake District thing to do by my son at the end of the trip.

Ashness Bridge is a popular picnic stop or even starting point for a 15-minute walk up the road to Surprise View.   While it wasn’t overly busy while we were there, it’s certainly easy to see why it’s such a popular tourist attraction.

Ashness Bridge

Given our schedule, we parked, climbed the hills a bit, and explored the area before moving on to Surprise View.

Surprise View

Surprise View overlooks Derwent Water, which also happens to be a filming location for Star Wars The Force Awakens.   It’s so impressive it’s understandable why.

There are benches and rocks large enough to enjoy a picnic or snack while taking in the view. Just make sure to supervise small children as there isn’t much separating the view from the steep cliff drop off.

Surprise View Lake District UK

Derwent Water

Afternoon – Honister Pass & Grasmere

Next up is Honister Pass and the Honister Pass Slate Mine.   Even if you think seeing Kirkstone Pass was enough, wait until you come upon Honister Pass.   The drive is simply gorgeous.   You’ll want to stop at every opportunity for a photo.   Of all the places in the Lake District to visit, this is one that exceeds expectations.

Honister Pass England

Honister Pass

Honister Pass Slate Mine

The Honister Pass Slate Mine is a great stop to explore and purchase a piece of slate to cherish your Lake District visit forever.   The Slate Mine offers tours but if you’re pressed for time, as we were, go into the shop and talk with the staff.   They are happy to answer any questions and give you super fun facts for the kids, such as:

  • The Honister Pass Slate is what’s used to roof Buckingham Palace.

We were already planning to buy our house number in slate, but after learning it sources Buckingham Palace, we ordered an entire house sign to take to the USA.   If that’s more than you can carry, there are small broken slate chips on the driveway that are fun for the kids to pick one and pocket as a memory.

Where to eat lunch on Lake District day 3

On the return drive, stop at Mary Mount in Borrowdale for lunch.   This could be an option for before or after Honister Pass.   We chose to wait till after Honister Pass to spread out the driving.

Mary Mount offers great indoor or outdoor dining overlooking the green fields and Derwent Water.   Highly recommend the tomato bisque soup as seen here next to my slate memento.

Mary Mount

Lunch at Mary Mount, Borrowdale

After lunch, make the village of Grasmere your final day 3 destination.   Aside from it being a super cute English village to not miss, it also happens to be where gingerbread was invented.

While I was expecting the building to be the size of a typical bakery that holds at least a dozen patrons, this gingerbread shop is like no other.   Adjacent to Grasmere Parish Church, Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread Shop is the only place in the world where you’ll have gingerbread like this. Be sure to get your phone ready for a photo because the time allowed inside is quick!

Grasmere Gingerbread Sarah Nelson

Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread

Expect to wait in line for Sarah’s gingerbread, so plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to closing. While there, be sure to also buy Kendall mint cake.   We bought more after our first round of it!

If you find to have the time and energy for more Lake District activities after visiting Grasmere, I highly suggest Ambleside:

  • Rydal Caves for a fun hike to the water caves with the kids.   It’s a 40-minute walk to the caves and back to the car park. Use LA22 9SD to get there.
  • Ambleside town center for exploring the shops, water mill and pubs.

Day 4 – Bowness-on-Windermere & Hadrian’s Wall

The day 4 itinerary is split between shopping for unique Lake District one-of-a-kinds before leaving on day 5, and venturing to the furthest point on this Cumbria road trip: Hadrian’s Wall.   This gives the family a chill morning before the drive to almost Scotland.

Morning – Bowness-on-Windermere

Although only planned for a half day, you could easily spend more time exploring all the boutiques and galleries in Bowness-on-Windermere, not to mention the World of Beatrix Potter.   During our Lake District visit, the attraction was closed but the Petter Rabbit & Friends store was open.  The store is a great alternative for your child to not feel disappointed if they have their heart set on the World of Beatrix Potter. Although being in the Lake District makes you feel like you’re about to run into Mr. McGregor at any time.

Lake District cottage

Can you imagine Peter Rabbit here?

In addition to letting your littles pick out their favorite Peter Rabbit stuffy and Peter Rabbit book, Bowness has a few boutiques you absolutely must shop.  

My top 3 favorite Lake District shops

Rebecca cropper.

Lake Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere LA23 3AP, United Kingdom

Rebecca Cropper Art Lake District

Rebecca Cropper, Bowness-on-Windermere

I loved this store from the outside so much I went back 3 times until I could catch it during open hours.   With a busy itinerary and its limited hours, be sure to find time to visit this one-of-a-kind place.

Rebecca is lovely and her prints are individually hand-painted so no two pieces are identical.   She does her painting in the gallery, so you can catch a sneak peek of what she’s currently working on. My kids were utterly impressed with her drawing in-progress and how sweet she is.

Artwork that is focused entirely on the surrounding nature, her collection is the perfect gift or reminder of your first time visit to the Lake District.   I left with a butterfly pillow, a butterfly tea towel and a butterfly double-oven mitt.   Rebecca Cropper also ships to the USA.

Love The Lakes

Ash Street, Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3EB

Whether you’re looking for pretty wool fabric gifts or Lakes gin unique to this area, I swear this shop covers all genres and interests.

My husband and children aren’t necessarily interested in souvenir shopping, but this is one Lake District store that we couldn’t get enough of.

From vintage lake prints to gin, to a wood doorstopper, it would be impossible to not find something you love in this store.  There is also one in Keswick.

Christmas On The Lakes

Unit 59, Quarry Rigg, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3DU

While our Christmas tree is getting a bit heavy with all the ornaments collected over the years, Christmas On The Lakes sells a hand-painted Lakes District Christmas bulb that’s really hard to say no to.

It’s hand-painted by a local woman wrapped in a beautiful box to protect it year after year.   If collecting Christmas ornaments from your travels is a hobby, this is the one you want.

Christmas On The Lakes

Afternoon – Hadrian’s Wall

To save some time either in the morning or the afternoon, grab takeaway lunch for your journey to Hadrian’s Wall.   We chose Cornish-style pasties from Bryson’s Tea Room and Bakery.

The M6 drive to Hadrian’s Wall is far less curvy, narrow, and winding as compared to day 1 through day 3.   It’s an impressive drive, arriving in an easy 1.5 hours from Bowness-on-Windermere.  Given how close Hadrian’s Wall is to Windermere relative to London, it felt silly to not include a visit as part of our Lake District road trip.

Book tickets in advance to Birdoswald Roman Fort and save 10%.     The English Heritage Roman Fort borders the edge of where Hadrian’s Wall begins in northwest England – at least what you can see of what remains today.

Hadrian’s Wall or Western Wall

While driving towards Birdoswald Roman Fort, you believe the wall on both sides is in fact Hadrian’s Wall, but as you come upon the Fort, Hadrian’s Wall becomes far more clear and more impressive.   It is truly distinguished from the wall leading up to it and appears to go on forever.

Unbeknownst prior to climbing the wall for a photo opportunity, it’s requested to NOT actually do this.   The sign to not climb isn’t visible from the car park walk to the fort.   Others were doing it so I assumed it was ok.   Otherwise, I would have followed the rules since I’m a total rule follower.

Nevertheless, this photo conveys the magnitude and significance Hadrian’s Wall played in separating Scotland from England 1900 years ago. The Western Wall is the longest continuous remaining stretch built by the Romans in 120AD.

Hadrians Wall Cumbria

Hadrian’s Wall Cumbria

Don’t worry about a shortage of photo opportunities here.   The Roman Fort offers glorious views of Irthing Valley.

Birdoswald Roman Fort

Birdoswald Roman Fort

But if you’re interested in far more than the Western Wall and valley views after a 1.5 hour drive, the Roman Fort offers historical insights into its purpose, how the Romans protected England from Scotland, and an entire timeline of history dating back to when the idea for the wall came about.   There are sensory tables, a gift shop, and a snack shop for guests.  

For walkers and hikers, the Hadrian’s Wall Path is an 84-mile coast-to-coast trail across northern England. You can purchase a trail map from the Birdoswald gift shop.

Day 5 – Wray Castle & Departure

The day 5 itinerary covers the final place to see in the Lake District before departing onto Wales (or wherever your Lake District road trip leads you to next).

Morning – Wray Castle

Whether or not Wray Castle is open for tours inside, experiencing the Castle from the outside is a must-do on your holiday.   The grounds are open with paths in various directions.   There is a short walk to the beach that is a local favorite and there are signs on the property letting you know how to get there.

In fact, Wray Castle is recommended by locals as the best place in the Lake District for a sunset view.   Since we didn’t learn about the beach sunsets until day 2, a morning visit best suited our family.

However, depending upon how tired the family is on day 1, enjoying the sunset from the beach at Wray Castle could be a fabulous way to kickstart your Lake District visit.  Weather permitting.  😉

Wray Castle

Wray Castle

Afternoon – Departure

After a picnic at Wray Castle, plan your departure home or wherever your travel takes you next.   For us, Wales was next but it very easily could have been Scotland …more about that in another post. 😉

Lake District Restaurants for Bowness-On-Windermere

While Bowness-on-Windermere offers many dining options that don’t require reservations, it’s nice looking forward to a meal without having to sort it out after a long day of mind-blowing scenery.   If you’re a planner or simply want to play a game of chance getting into some of these finer dining establishments, this is where to book:

Unique & Cosy Restaurants

  • Positano – You think you’re in the Lake District but then you dine here and feel the Amalfi Coast.   Family-owned and super nice, this charming restaurant with only a few tables is very hard to get into. Ask your hotel to help squeeze you in if you forget to book Positano in advance . 
  • Jackson’s Bistro – While not overly impressive on the outside, the menu will make you hungry even if you’re not.   And they have sticky toffee pudding.   Enough said, right?   You need to make reservations if you really want to eat at Jackson’s Bistro.   Unfortunately, we didn’t get to dine here and they don’t offer takeaway (at least no takeaway during the pandemic).   This restaurant will be first on our list on our next Lake District visit.
  • The Angel Inn – This is a lovely garden pub atop a hill with an extensive patio dining area.   We had our own table in our own little garden secluded to the side from everyone. The Angel Inn is perfect for a casual meal or just to enjoy a glass of wine.
  • The Albert – This pub in the center of town is impossible to miss.   The pub garden is lively and the salmon is incredibly good here.   Salmon isn’t something we typically order over fish and chips but would absolutely do it again…and again.   Get the salmon.

The Angel Inn Windermere Lake District

The Angel Inn has the best pub garden & amazing views of Windermere

  • The Belsfield – As referenced above, the Terrace Bar is where to request dinner, weather permitting, so that the kids can play outside and you can enjoy the activity and Lake Windermere views.   They also serve sticky toffee pudding.

Fun & Quirky Lake District Things To Do If You Have More Time

Aside from hiking, kayaking, boating, and outdoor activities that draw visitors to the Lake District year-over-year consider these other kid-friendly options to add to your list:

  • We didn’t have time to see Whinlatter Pass but there is a Go Ape Course which is a great option if you need to break up sightseeing with a more kid-friendly option. 
  • Whinlatter Pass is covered in more forest than the other passes   and offers the Whinlatter Forest Visitor Centre at the top.   At the Visitor Center you can find a cafe, forest walks, and other year-round activities.
  • Cumberland Pencil Museum (Keswick) is home to the world’s biggest colouring pencil.   Keswick is where the first pencil factory opened in 1832.  We threatened our kids that we were going to take them.   Secretly, I wish we had because not only did I really want to see it, I have no doubt it would be one of those silly sightseeing stops the kids would never forget…like seeing the world’s largest frying pan in Illinois.

Final Thoughts To Make Your Lake District Visit Perfect

The Lake District weather is notorious for yucky weather.   In fact, Seathwaite is the wettest place in England and happens to be here.

Pack for all sorts of weather, but plan on wet, wet, wet, and cold, too.   We got lucky with amazing weather in July but didn’t pack any different than if it had been October: wellies , hiking boots , raincoats, sweaters, puffer jackets, change of shoes in the boot, gloves, hats, and even shorts.  And if you love the watch as seen on me in the Lake District, you’ll want to bring that too.

But don’t let the erratic (or consistent) weather steer you from visiting the Lake District.   It’s simply gorgeous and one of those places you’ll wonder why it took so long to get there.

This road trip itinerary covers the best Lake District things to do in 5 days.   If you have more time, lucky you!   And if you don’t, you’ll find a way to go back. Share what I missed and need to do on our next Lake District visit in the comments.

aBroad purpose signature

Looking for more UK road trip ideas?

  • 13 Best Things To Do In York England
  • 13 Best Things To Do In Edinburgh, Scotland (& Where To Stay)
  • England Bucket List


Get the FREE Moving to UK checklist and other helpful moving and travel freebies when you join the newsletter.

Email Address:

I consent to receive emails from aBroadpurpose.com.

10 Embracing Change Quotes To Fix A Negative Mindset

11 pretty things to do on a wales road trip, leave a comment cancel reply.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

You may also like

King charles coronation 2023: where to get the..., 10 best things to do on isle of..., uk holiday parks: what americans need to know..., where to see new forest ponies in england, 10 best things to do in canterbury that..., christmas in london england – 18 things you..., 6 fun things to do in london with..., 11 must things to do in bibury england..., 11 pretty things to do on a wales..., 7 tips for traveling in london with a....

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Accept Read More

You will be redirected to your dashboard shortly. We will also call you back in 24 hrs .

  • 7 Amazing Places To Visit In Lake District That Will Change Your Perspective In 2024!

29 Oct 2021

Lake District is a very beautiful region and a magnificent national park in Cumbria, northwest England. Some of the remarkable features of this beautiful place include the glacial ribbon lakes and rugged fell mountains left alone its historic literary associations. It is reputed and recognized as one of the finest holiday destinations and few of the market towns like Kendal, Keswick and Ambleside are known for its scenic beauty all around the globe. So, if you are planning to explore this destination then this list of the top places to visit in Lake District will help you plan a perfect vacation.

7 Best Places To Visit In Lake District

Here are some of the hand-picked places to visit in Lake District that no one can afford to miss on their trip. Check them out and pick the best ones for yourself.

1. Lake District National Park

 Lake District National Park

Image Source

Home to the country’s largest lakes, the Lake District National Park is known to be one of the best places to visit in the Lake District. It spreads over 1,343 square km and its tall peaks with some of the most amazing scenery which can be viewed from here certainly make it stand out from the rest in terms of beauty in diversity. It is said to be home to many writers, poets, and artists who were highly influenced by the place’s scenery and natural beauty. What can be more beautiful than a ride in some of the mesmerizing historic boats?

This blessed holiday destination is known to be a haven for adventure enthusiasts as the region is well-reputed for its remarkable walking and hiking trails. Those who desire to explore the place can choose the mode of transport among car, bus or bike and many visitors did have a great experience while exploring the region on foot as one may get to experience the fascinating beauty of the surroundings. There is a train service between Windermere and Kendal and the former is known to be the park’s headquarters. Some of the popular attractions are the Newlands Valley, Sphinx Rock and an undoubtedly mind-blowing drive over the magnificent Kirk Stone Pass. The scenic roads and trails in and around the Lake District National Park are worth a view and the visitors traveling here with friends and family will not be disappointed for sure.

Location: England, UK

Must Read: 10 Best Day Trips From London To Explore This Extravagant Capital City In England!

Europe Holiday Packages On TravelTriangle

best places to visit in the lake district

Magnificent Switzerland Holiday 6D/5N Package @ Rs 69,999

Plan your trip today!

best places to visit in the lake district

Magnificent Europe Tour 7D/6N Package @ Rs 70,975

Get quotes from multiple travel experts.

best places to visit in the lake district

France & Switzerland Tour Package 8D/7N @ Rs 90,000

Compare & customize quotes before booking.

best places to visit in the lake district

Scintillating Spain & Portugal Tour 11D/10N @ Rs 101,150

Have Questions? Talk to our travel experts today.

best places to visit in the lake district

6 Country Europe Tour Package 12D/11N @ Rs 118,650

Best prices guaranteed. EMI option available.

best places to visit in the lake district


2. Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere

This fascinating 16 km long lake is known to be the most beautiful lake in the region and is said to have a maximum depth of 64 m. It is certainly the largest natural lake in England and one of the best places to visit in Lake District. There are Windermere Lake Cruises precisely and dedicatedly serving the guests to offer the best views of the area. These cruises are also known to be a service ferry between points. Locomotives of the Haverthwaite Steam Railway are used to carry the visitors/tourists to the Leven Valley. Right at the southern end of the lake, there is a very popular tourist attraction known as the Lakes Aquarium which beholds the United Kingdom’s largest collection of freshwater fish. This beautiful place includes a tourist’s hotspot named Victorian Fell Foot Park right beside Newby Bridge which is certainly well known to be a great picnic spot and you can also hire rowboats in pursuit of exploring the lake and the River Leven. Visitors/travelers with kids do have access to the playground specially designed for kids. There is a huge number of tourists who visit the said lake throughout the year to experience its beauty and to have a great time with their loved ones amid such a naturally blessed environment.

Suggested Read: Cricket Stadiums In England: 10 Architectural Masterpieces

3. Ullswater Lake

Ullswater Lake

It is known to be the second largest lake in the Lake District which is 14 km long and 2 km wide. It is well-rested amid Helvellyn Mountain and is known to be one of the finest places to visit in Lake District. Dating back to the 16th century, the beautiful village of Pooley Bridge is quite a place which is explored by almost every tourist to witness the beautiful lake on the 1887 Lady of the Lake or the 1889 Raven. It is for sure heaven for adventure enthusiasts as the place is known to be a hiker’s paradise owing to its 32 km long Ullswater Way around the lake left alone the boat ride which stretches for a 12 km hike. The must-see Falls of Aira which is well situated between the Aira Force and Glenridding is worth a visit to witness the 19 m fascinating waterfall. Let us not forget to mention the Maiden Castle which is said to be a magnificent hillfort that is reputed to offer some spectacular views of the Ullswater Valley and it is resting right between Pooley Bridge and Aira Force. The place often witnesses a huge number of tourists flying down here with their friends and families to experience a journey of their lifetime. It is also known to be a great place or couples and solo travelers.

Suggested Read: 15 Vibrant Festivals In United Kingdom That Are Rejoiced With Ultimate Splendor

4. Rydal Mount & Gardens


There may not be many or none who haven’t heard about the great poet of his time, Mr. William Wordsworth who lived here at Rydal Mount from 1813 until his last days in 1850. He is said to have died at the age of 80. Having the opportunity to live in such a magnificent place, he was greatly inspired by the natural beauty flowing in and around the surroundings, he did come up with some great works which including the very famous and well-known poem ‘Daffodils’. His Tudor cottage is now a very famous tourist attraction which is visited by several visitors throughout the year and is said that there were larger rooms added to the original cottage in 1750. There are still original stone floors and wooden beams left intact in the dining room and you can have a good view of the legendary Woodsworth’s bedrooms and attic study. It is a pleasure to witness the portraits, mementos and first editions of great Wordsworth’s works right in the house. Beside the garden at the Dove Cottage, the one at Rydal Mount is considerably more spacious which is about four acres and well equipped with terraces, rock pools and with a magnificent display of blooms in given seasons. It is said to be left in a similar manner in which the great poet has originally designed it to have the feel still afresh.

Location: Rydal Mount, Rydal, Ambleside LA22 9LU, United Kingdom

Suggested Read: Gateshead Millennium Bridge: A Handy Guide To Know About This Charming Gem In England

5. Derwentwater


It is a very popular place which is widely visited by tourists and is known to be an idyllic lake right in the northern part of the national park. This 5 km long lake is about a 10-minute walk from the center of Keswick. It is well resting between the ridge of Cat bells on its west and Friar’s Crag which is a magnificent viewpoint to its east. The description of the said lake is incomplete without the mention of the beautiful Borrowdale Valley which opens at its southern end. Speaking of the recognized Keswick Launch Co. which is known to offer remarkable small boat rides is for sure an excellent activity to experience and is worth it for certain. It is said to stop at 7 points and the visitors can hop off to explore the place and can also catch the next boat at another stop. If we consider the entire perimeter of the lake then it is supposedly a 12 km walk. The famous and very beautiful Pencil Museum is for sure a must-visit which will give you a knowledge of how it is manufactured and will explain how the discovery of graphite alone began a whole local industry.

Suggested Read: London In January: A Handy Guide For The Most Extravagant Tour Of This City In England!

6. Coniston Water

Coniston Water

It lies beneath the eastern slope of the Old Man of Coniston which is towered above the lake and Coniston Village. It is said to be 8 km long and 1 km wide. Visitors are welcome to explore the lake on the 1859 steam yacht Gondola or the solar-powered Coniston Launch. You can also opt for a boat or bike from Coniston Boating Centre let alone under your own steam. While exploring the place, you can always take some time out to witness the beauty of Brantwood which is home to John Ruskin known to be one of the most influential minds during the Victorian era. The said legend’s insight into his work, some of his excellent art and objects which he collected during his extensive travels can be witnessed here. The said home is so well set in gardens which undoubtedly offers such magnificent views that cannot be expressed in words. There is a very beautiful museum which goes by the name of Ruskin Museum, a brilliantly built property which is reputed and recognized to give you a glimpse of history. This is known to be a very beautiful yet utmost popular tourist attraction which is highly recommended for visitors with friends and family to experience the bliss of the beautiful nature and to witness what it has to offer.

Location: United Kingdom

Suggested Read: 7 Best Villas In London For An Ultimate Holiday In This Stunning England City

7. Hill Top

Hill Top

Beatrix Potter, a renowned and great writer of her time is said to have been highly inspired by this heavenly place called Hill Top. She bought a farmhouse here with the earnings from her first book titled, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. This 17th-century farmhouse and the surroundings of Hill Top is said to have inspired many other books of the said writer and for sure this inspiration made her a legend in the world of writing. By the time when she left the house and farm to the National Trust, she had made a clause that the property will be shown in the exact condition as when she lived there. Even today, each room is filled with objects that somewhere relate to their stories. The desk which she used to write is still there along with the dollhouse which set the Tale of Two Bad Mice. Speaking of the garden, there are varieties of flowers, vegetables, herbs, and fruits. Being a very popular attraction, there are often a queue to enter this magnificent house and the timed tickets cannot be booked in advance. With the touch of history and art, this has to be the very best attraction for tourists to visit with friends and family and it is also said to be a haven for couples as well as solo travelers.

Location: Near Sawrey, Ambleside LA22 0LF, United Kingdom

Further Read: A Tour Around The Windsor Castle In England Will Show You How To Live Life Queen Size!

To visit such a magnificent and fascinating place is nothing less than a blessing and to be here with your loved ones can be an add-on. Owing to its beauty in diversity, Lake District is for sure a great tourist attraction and his paradise will never fail to surprise you with its natural beauty. So, plan your trip to UK this very hour and make sure that you include all these places to visit in Lake District in your itinerary.

Disclaimer: TravelTriangle claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on TravelTriangle, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Please Note: Any information published by TravelTriangle in any form of content is not intended to be a substitute for any kind of medical advice, and one must not take any action before consulting a professional medical expert of their own choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Lake District

Is Lake District worth visiting?

Yes, Lake District is worth a visit owing to its beauty in diversity. It is a great holiday destination to explore with friends and family.

Where is Lake District located?

It is well situated in the northwest corner of England right in the county of Cumbria.

What is Lake District known for?

Besides being a home to John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter it is also known for the magnificent and fascinating lakes. Being a famous tourist attraction, it is known for its forests and mountains.

Which are the best places to visit in the Lake District?

Lake Windermere, Hill Top, and Rydal Mount and Gardens are known to be the best places to visit in the Lake District.

What can the couples visit in the Lake District?

Coniston Water and Derwentwater are said to be a haven for couples. It is known to offer a great experience owing to its cozy environment and beautiful natural surroundings.

Which are the best things to do in winter?

Hill Top, Lake Windermere, and Ullswater Lake are simply perfect to visit during winters.

How is the climate of the Lake District?

Being close to the sea, it is known to have mild winters and cooler summers compared to the other northern areas of England.

Looking To Book An International Holiday?

best places to visit in the lake district

Trip to Sri Lanka at Rs 13,500/-

Plan Your Vacation Today!

best places to visit in the lake district

Trip to Singapore at Rs 20,499/-

Get Quotes From Local Experts

best places to visit in the lake district

Mauritius Holiday Starting at Rs 65,000/-

Talk to Our Experts Today

best places to visit in the lake district

Maldives Honeymoon Trip at Rs 39,800/-

Pay with easy EMI Option

best places to visit in the lake district

Europe Trip at Rs 89,999/-

All Inclusive Deals

best places to visit in the lake district

Vacation in Dubai at Rs 27,499/-

best places to visit in the lake district

Hong Kong Holiday at Rs 24,999/-

Money Safe Guarantee

best places to visit in the lake district

Thailand Holiday at Rs 7,999/-

Flights Excluded

People Also Read:

Places To Visit In Nice Places To Visit In Salzburg Places To Visit In Paris

Recent Posts

best places to visit in the lake district

13 Must Visit Museums in Sharjah

best places to visit in the lake district

Future Museum in Dubai: Step Into A Better Tomorrow

best places to visit in the lake district

Lieux à visiter en février dans le monde pour une tournée internationale romantique en 2024

places to visit in ras al khaimah

8 Famous Places To Visit In Ras Al Khaimah To Unveil The History

La vue incroyable de Lac,

30 Meilleurs endroits à visiter en février en Inde en 2024

couple on a honeymoon in Kashmir

7 Best Honeymoon Places In India Under 50000

Trending Blogs

best places to visit in the lake district

20 Mysterious Places In India To Visit In 2023 More Bizarre Than The Bermuda Triangle

best places to visit in the lake district

10 Scariest Roads In India That Are A Driver’s Nightmare

best places to visit in the lake district

101 Places To Visit In India Before You Turn 30 in 2024

Skiing In Krasnaya Polyana

35 Exotic Places To Visit In December In India 2024 To Enjoy A Surreal Vacation

a couple in front of taj mahal

60 Best Honeymoon Destinations In India In 2024

Best honeymoon destinations in the world

95 Best Honeymoon Destinations In The World In 2023 For A Romantic Escape!

Best Places To Visit In India By Month

Best places to visit outside india by month.

  • TravelTriangle
  • United Kingdom »
  • Tour Packages
  • Honeymoon Packages
  • Family Packages
  • Budget Tour Packages
  • Luxury Tour Packages
  • Adventure Tour Packages
  • Group Tour Packages
  • Kerala Tour Packages
  • Goa Tour Packages
  • Andaman Tour Packages
  • Sikkim Tour Packages
  • Himachal Tour Packages
  • Uttarakhand Tour Packages
  • Rajasthan Tour Packages
  • Tour Packages From Delhi
  • Tour Packages From Mumbai
  • Tour Packages From Bangalore
  • Tour Packages From Chennai
  • Tour Packages From Kolkata
  • Tour Packages From Hyderabad
  • Tour Packages From Ahmedabad
  • Kerala Tourism
  • Goa Tourism
  • Sikkim Tourism
  • Andaman Tourism
  • Himachal Tourism
  • Uttarakhand Tourism
  • Rajasthan Tourism
  • Hotels in Kerala
  • Hotels in Goa
  • Hotels in Sikkim
  • Hotels in Andaman
  • Hotels in Himachal
  • Hotels in Uttarakhand
  • Hotels in Rajasthan

The Telegraph

The 16 best things to do in the Lake District

T he Lake District, undoubtedly, has some of Britain’s finest scenery and fell-walking. But it has much more – much (not surprisingly) as a consequence of its headline-grabbing views. Writers, poets and artists (such as Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth) were drawn here, leaving fascinating homes to explore. Wealthy folk built grand houses and gardens to capitalise on the landscapes. Quirky things to do include a distillery tour, slate mine and pencil museum – but honestly nothing beats a lake cruise for complete relaxation.

For further Lake District inspiration, see our guides to the area's best  hotels ,  restaurants ,  pubs  and  walks . Use our  expert guide  to plan the perfect holiday in the Lake District.

Windermere and around

Take a cruise along england's longest lake.

For many people, Windermere, which stretches for over 10 miles between Ambleside and Newby Bridge, is the heart of the Lake District. Inevitably, it attracts swarms of visitors, particularly at its Bowness pier, but a ride on one of its lake cruisers, gliding past its 18 islets, is an undeniably enjoyable way to take in the lovely scenery. There’s a choice of routes, and you can usually break the journey at one of the landing stages.

Insider tip:  During the winter months, buy a 48-hour ticket and enjoy unlimited travel on any of the cruise routes. 

Contact:   windermere-lakecruises.co.uk

Price:  ££

Visit Beatrix Potter's perfectly preserved house

The 17th-century farmhouse Hill Top is where children’s author, Beatrix Potter, created some of her best-known stories. It’s still furnished as she left it when she died in 1943: in the entrance hall are her straw hat and clogs, in the bedroom are the bed hangings that she embroidered. Most fun is to be had by spotting the scenes illustrated in her books: the grandfather clock from The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, the chimney stack that Tom Kitten failed to escape from and Mr McGregor’s cottage garden.

Insider tip: In summer, it heaves with visitors so visit early on a weekday if you can.

Contact:  nationaltrust.org.uk

Learn all about life by the water

The strikingly designed copper-and-glass building of the Windermere Jetty Museum – worth a trip just to view – is a rare new construction on the shores of Windermere, and is designed to reflect the area’s traditional boat-houses. You don’t have to be a nautical nerd to be captured by the workmanship, fun and romance of its collection of vintage steam launches, speedboats and rowing boats that celebrate the area’s connection with all things watery. Marvel at a grand Victorian saloon launch, at the plainness of Beatrix Potter’s rowing boat (very uncomfortable), or at the cleverness of early life-jackets (pockets filled with corks), then watch craftsmen repair boats using traditional skills.

Insider’s tip:  Take a cruise boat from Bowness (in winter, request stop only) to arrive in suitable style. See windermere-lakecruises.co.uk for details.

Contact:   lakelandarts.org.uk/windermere-jetty-museum/

Price:  £

Explore a grand Victorian-era holiday home

Blackwell House, a gem of an Arts and Crafts house overlooking Windermere, was designed in 1898 by leading architect M H Baillie Scott as a holiday home for a wealthy Manchester brewer. It’s a delight of original handmade details from William De Morgan tiled fireplaces to carved oak panelling, jewel-coloured stained glass windows to a sweeping peacock frieze. But it’s the space, the light, the attention to detail - window latches are individually carved - that staggers.

Insider tip: Time your visit for later in the day so you can sit in the window of the White Drawing Room and watch the light fade over Windermere.

Contact:   blackwell.org.uk

Grasmere and Rydal Water

See inside william wordsworth's whitewashed cottage.

Whitewashed Dove Cottage, where William Wordsworth lived for eight years from 1799 and wrote his most famous works, recreates the atmosphere – sights, smells, sounds – of the poet’s day. Look out for the chair where he dictated to his sister Dorothy or wife, Mary (he composed when out walking), his skating boots (he boasted he could carve his initials on the ice of Grasmere) and friend Thomas de Quincey’s opium scales. Don’t miss the small restored garden-orchard behind the cottage of which William and Dorothy were so fond. 

Insider tip: From behind the cottage, it's a lovely two-mile walk – despite its name, the Coffin Trail – with views of Grasmere, to the poet's last home,  Rydal Mount , and its 'romantic-style’ gardens.

Contact:   wordsworth.org.uk

Price:  ££

Keswick and the north

Stroll around a lakeland market town.

While many towns here feel like tourist attractions, Keswick retains the jaunty, working air of a Lakeland market town. On the shores of pretty Derwentwater, it offers something for everyone from lake cruises (hop on and off to combine with a lakeside stroll), the Derwent Pencil Museum (see one of the world’s longest pencils), outdoors shops and arty shops, a twice-weekly market, Castlerigg Stone Circle and an excellent theatre .  

Insider tip: Take an early-morning walk to Friar’s Crag on the lakeshore for memorable views up the lake to 'the jaws of Borrowdale' – the local name for the entrance to the steep-sided valley.

Tour a distillery and taste some Lake District whisky

Craft beers are well-known in the Lake District, but whisky was an entirely new proposition when the Lakes Distillery opened in 2014. But why not? Crystal-clear river water filtered by the fells is key to the taste. On the site of a Victorian model farm, beside Bassenthwaite Lake, the distillery’s behind-the-scenes tour – and tasting – lets you discover how the whisky, gin and vodka are produced.

Insider tip: Children needn't be bored; they can take an alpaca for a walk from the on-site herd.

Contact:   lakesdistillery.com

Price:  ££-£££

Take a trip down England's last working slate mine

Drop deep inside a mine or scale the steep and rocky Fleetwith Pike (no experience needed for either) at Honister Slate Mine, England’s last working slate mine. At the top of the 1-in-4 Honister Pass, this slate mine has been worked commercially since the 18th century. Take a guided mine tour or get high on adrenaline on Europe’s longest high-wire bridge or on one of two Via Ferratas (routes with fixed cables and ladders) that let you scale vertical rock faces in safety, despite dizzying drops beneath.

Insider tip: Whatever the weather, make sure you come in waterproofs, gloves and strong footwear.

Contact:  honister.com

Price: ££-£££

Take to the water without getting wet

If you want to get close to the water but not actually in it (except by accident), hire one of the craft from Derwent Water Marina in Portinscale, a 15-minute walk (or five-minute drive) across the northern end of the lake from Keswick. Derwentwater is less busy and more sheltered than the other main boating lakes – and, many would argue, the prettiest of all. Choose from paddle boards, canoes and kayaks to rowing boats and pedalos.

Insider tip: Pack a picnic for landing on three of the lake’s four islands ( all owned by the National Trust ), St Herbert’s Island, Rampsholme Island and Derwent Island, the latter the only inhabited island and only open on specific days of the year.

Contact: derwentwatermarina.co.uk

Southern Lakeland

Amble through a picturesque village.

There's more than sticky toffee pudding to ludicrously pretty Cartmel – though you should still make sure to pop in to the Village Shop to buy some. Elsewhere you’ll find artisan cheeses and breads, craft beer, funky homewares and a clutch of antique shops. Or just enjoy wandering its crooked lanes and calling in at its fine 12th-century priory church – and work up the appetite to eat at one of its starry establishments: L'Enclume (three stars) and Rogan & Co (one star).

Insider tip: Time your visit for one of the races at Cartmel Racecourse , surely Britain's prettiest?

Enjoy a brisk walk up to a knoll with staggering views

If you want to tick off a (minor) hill but don’t fancy one of the big-hitters then Gummer's How, a little knoll at the southern end of Windermere, fits the bill. Around 30 to 40 minutes gets you to the summit from where you’ll be rewarded with staggering views: on a clear day south to Morecambe Bay, east to the Pennines, north to the Lakeland fells, while below is shimmering Windermere.

Insider tip: Two miles along the road (away from the lake) from the start/finish of the walk is the Masons Arms , just the spot for a good pub lunch and a rest on the terrace overlooking the Winster valley.

Coniston and Langdale

Discover a sizeable art collection in an historic house.

The home of the formidable Victorian art critic, philosopher and artist John Ruskin, Brantwood has a peerless position overlooking Coniston Water. There's as much to see outside as inside (look out for his collection of Turners as well as his own fine watercolours), as Ruskin was a pioneering environmentalist, creating separate 'garden rooms' in his steep-sided garden.

Insider tip:  The finest way to arrive is by water in the, appropriately Victorian, Steam Yacht Gondola ( nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola , mid-March-October) with its rich upholstery and stately pace.

Contact: brantwood.org.uk

Burn off some energy, or enjoy a picnic, amongst the trees

Spread over low hills, dotted with tarns, between Esthwaite Water and Coniston Water, Grizedale Forest offers entertainment for outdoors-lovers of all abilities. There are walking trails, cycling and mountain biking trails (bikes to hire), orienteering courses, Go Ape tree-top zipwire and assault courses, and picnic spots for those who prefer to stroll and watch others do the hard work. Fun can be had spotting the sculptures and installations dotted around the forest, from a giant key in a tree to a totem pole and a huge tilted Polo-shaped tree-trunk that doubles as a seat.  

Insider’s tip: For fine views, take the trail to Carron Crag, the highest point (314m, 1030ft) where, on clear days, Morecambe Bay can be seen as well as Helvellyn, the Landale Pikes and Coniston Old Man.

Contact: forestryengland.uk/grizedale

Price: Free entry and for trails; parking charges; ££-£££ for some activities

Ullswater and around

Hike up to a beautiful waterfall.

It's an uphill walk, but not too steep and not too far (around 20 minutes from the car park), and undeniably romantic as you zig-zag up woodland paths to this beautiful waterfall, Aira Force. Like a mane of Rapunzel's hair, it plunges 70 feet into magical pools, and is most spectacular after heavy rainfall – which, let's face it, isn’t too hard to achieve in the Lakes.

Insider tip: Just to the east of here, on the shores of Ullswater around Glencoyne Bay, is where William Wordsworth saw a 'host of golden daffodils' and was inspired to write his famous poem.

Contact: nationaltrust.org.uk

Price: Free; parking charges

Outlying areas

Explore a lived-in castle and have fun and games in the grounds.

Not only is this splendid castle – with its towers and battlements and ghosts – still lived-in, but lived in by the same family since the 13th century. Extensively renovated – most notably by Victorian architect, Anthony Salvin – it’s as much about what‘s on offer outside as the grand rooms inside, and that makes it a good family day out. The 70 acres of gardens and woodland include rare and exotic specimens, a riot of rhododendrons, an enchanted trail, ‘meadowvole maze’ and a hawk and owl centre – from vultures, kites and eagles to the cute southern white-faced owl – with daily flying displays.

Insider tip: Check out the busy and varied events programme from Easter egg hunts and Halloween frights to open-air theatre, music and medieval weekends.

Contact: muncaster.co.uk

Price: £-££

Journey through fields on board a mini steam train

Despite your best efforts to appear cool, you’ll still get ridiculously excited as you board the Thomas-the-Tank-Engine style Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, which steams upwards through fields and woodland on the former iron-ore route from Ravenglass up Eskdale. It's cute as kittens with its gleaming brass, wooden floors, and choo-chooing engine.

Insider tip: You can hop off at any station and walk to any of the others to board again. There's also a quiet circular walk from the final station, Dalegarth, through Boot to Doctor Bridge and back along the pretty River Esk via St Catherine's Church.

Contact:   ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Sign up to the Front Page newsletter for free: Your essential guide to the day's agenda from The Telegraph - direct to your inbox seven days a week.

Aira Force, Lake District - Brian Sherwen


  • Places to go

Things to do

Where to stay.

  • Plan your visit

Enjoy one of our up and coming events!

  • What to pack
  • Information centres
  • Places to visit
  • The Countryside Code
  • Car parks in the Lake District
  • Plan your winter visit to the Lake District
  • Getting to and around the Lake District
  • Accessible for all
  • Coronavirus (Covid-19) news
  • Weather in the Lakes
  • Webcams, videos and photos
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Supporting the National Park

Text over a fell in the Lake District: We all have a mountain to climb, come prepared to climb our. Lake District Kind.

  • Visiting >

Plan your visit and be Lake District Kind

Welcome to the Lake District National Park.

Let's get started. Whether you’re new to the area or a seasoned visitor, please be #LakeDistrictKind and help us look after the landscape you love. On this page you’ll find ways to make your visit memorable, while also keeping it a safe and beautiful place to be.

Be Lake District Kind - know before you go:

  • What to pack when visiting the Lake District
  • Low level and accessible routes
  • Stay safe when enjoying the water
  • Shuttle buses, boats, trains, sustainable travel options that make the journey part of your adventure
  • Leave no trace, please take your litter and dog poo home
  • Do not block gates or road access
  • Dogs must be on leads anywhere there may be livestock
  • Fly camping by the side of lakes and in laybys is not allowed.
  • Wild camping is only allowed with the permission of the land owner.
  • Fires/BBQs are not permitted in our National Park unless stated on private land
  • Campervans and motorhomes should stay in designated sites overnight
  • If you need to travel by car, plan ahead using car parks

Treat our home like its your home. Please bin your litter or take it home.

Treat our home like its your home. Please bin your litter or take it home.

It's a National Park. Not a car park. Please park your vehicle sensibly. Think about farmers and emergency vehicles.

It's a National Park. Not a car park. Please park your vehicle sensibly. Think about farmers and emergency vehicles.

Set your heart on fire, not our countryside. Wild fires and barbecues can destroy our landscapes, kill our animals and ruin habitats.

Set your heart on fire, not our countryside. Wild fires and barbecues can destroy our landscapes, kill our animals and ruin habitats.

We all have a mountain to climb. Come prepared to climb ours. Please know your limits on the mountains and in our lakes. Be prepared and stay safe.

We all have a mountain to climb. Come prepared to climb ours. Please know your limits on the mountains and in our lakes. Be prepared and stay safe.

Don't get out of your depth. While our lakes look inviting, open water can be dangerous, please be careful and know your limits.

Don't get out of your depth. While our lakes look inviting, open water can be dangerous, please be careful and know your limits.

Enjoy the sites. Keep the Lake District looking beautiful, use one of our many local campsites.

Enjoy the sites. Keep the Lake District looking beautiful, use one of our many local campsites.

Livestock is livelihood. Please keep your dogs on leads. Sheep worrying is a crime.

Livestock is livelihood. Please keep your dogs on leads. Sheep worrying is a crime.

Wander lonely as a cloud. This year, broaden your horizons and explore further afield. You'll be surprised with what you'll find.

Wander lonely as a cloud. This year, broaden your horizons and explore further afield. You'll be surprised with what you'll find.

Our farmers don't know the meaning of 9 to 5. Please park sensibly. Respect access for farmers and locals.

Our farmers don't know the meaning of 9 to 5. Please park sensibly. Respect access for farmers and locals.

We all love the Lake District and we want to keep it looking stunningly beautiful.

Let’s all do our bit to help by parking sensibly, taking our litter home, avoiding crowded areas and knowing our limits on the hills and in our lakes.

Tips for first time visitors

What can you do? Can you camp and have fires? Where can you take your paddleboard? Where do you park? Our frequently asked questions are great for first time visitors to the Lake District.

Guides to areas of the Lake District

Beginners taster map of the Lake District

  • Explore Coniston Water - surrounded by mountains and woodland
  • Explore Derwentwater and Keswick -  nearest lake to Keswick
  • Explore Grasmere/Rydal and Rydal Water
  • Explore Langdale Valley running west of Ambleside
  • Explore Northern Lakes - Buttermere, Crummock Water, Loweswater, Bassenthwaite.
  • Explore Ullswater and Glenridding - including Helvelyn
  • Explore Wastwater and West coast - England's deepest lake, explore the western coastline
  • Explore Windermere and Ambleside - England's largest lake with bustling tourist towns Bowness and Ambleside

Keswick 555

Travel and transport

Make the journey part of your adventure, with

  • Boats, bikes, buses, beat traffic, travel sustainably
  • Full list of car parks across the Lake District
  • Vanlife guide for campervans and motorhomes
  • Bike hire and quiet cycle routes to e.g. Langdale, Elterwater, Coniston, Windermere shore

Walking in the Lakes

Walking in the Lake District

  • Miles without Stiles - 50+ more accessible routes
  • Walker's checklist - things to pack to enjoy your walk whatever the weather or terrain
  • How to 'go' in the countryside - toilet tips

Paddleboarding in Lakes

Get on the water

  • Guide to activities on lakes, permits and byelaws
  • Paddleboarding guide in the Lake District
  • On the water - Boat hire, trips, swimming, fishing
  • Hire boats, kayaks/paddleboards at Coniston 
  • Hire boats, kayaks/paddleboards and kayak tours at Brockhole

Things to do

  • Things to do for families and young children
  • Things to do for young people
  • Things to do with dogs
  • Hire electric/mountain bikes for quiet off-roading
  • Historical places to visit , stone circles and Roman remains to historic houses and gardens
  • Things to do on a rainy day
  • Itineraries and ideas for great days out

Where to Stay

  • Where to stay - search and book hotels, holiday cottages, campsites and other accommodation
  • Dog friendly accommodation

Respect. Protect. Enjoy.

Respect. Protect. Enjoy

Tips on how to be a caring visitor to the Lake District, from be prepared, to taking your litter home.

The Countryside Code in the Lake District

Lake District online shop products, coffee cups, water bottles and shopping bags.

Shopping here, supports here

Every penny you spend in our online shop goes back into protecting the Lake District National Park.

From re-usable water bottles and coffee cups, to bags, t-shirts and even Lake District Monopoly, its a great way to take a bit of the Lake District with you everywhere.

Lake District online shop

The latest on Instagram

Share your pictures on Instagram and #lakedistrict and we could feature your photos on our site!

The English Lake District World Heritage Site

The Lake District National Park Authority looks after this unique corner of England, encouraging people to enjoy and understand its beauty and helping those who live and work here. Our staff include rangers and field workers, advisers at our visitor centres, planners and ecologists.


  • Accessibility, cookies & privacy
  • Volunteer login
  • Weatherline

best places to visit in the lake district


  1. Top 10 places to visit in the Lake District

    best places to visit in the lake district

  2. Top 15 Most Beautiful Places To Visit In The Lake District

    best places to visit in the lake district

  3. 14 Beautiful Places to Visit in the Lake District

    best places to visit in the lake district

  4. Lake District National Park Best Viewpoints

    best places to visit in the lake district

  5. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Lake District

    best places to visit in the lake district

  6. The 13 Best Places To Visit In The Lake District

    best places to visit in the lake district


  1. 12 BEST Places to Visit in Lake District (2024)

    #1 - Scafell Pike - A beautiful and scenic place to check out in The Lake District! Hike one of several trails to the summit Conquer the highest mountain in England

  2. 12 most beautiful places in the Lake District, Cumbria

    10. Bassenthwaite Lake: best for birders. Three miles from Keswick, and the northernmost of the Lake District's major expanses of water, Bassenthwaite Lake's shoreline habitat is the best preserved of the region's National Park. Home to over seventy species of bird and wildfowl, it's most known for its wild ospreys.

  3. 14 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the Lake District, England

    1. Lake District National Park 2. Lake Windermere 3. Derwentwater 4. Helvellyn 5. Ullswater 6. Beatrix Potter's Hill Top 7. Hike Catbells High Ridge 8. Dove Cottage 9. Castlerigg Stone Circle 10. Coniston Water 11. Levens Hall & Topiary Gardens 12. Aira Force 13. Rydal Mount & Gardens

  4. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in Lake District

    Top Things to Do in Lake District, Cumbria - Lake District Attractions Things to Do in Lake District Explore popular experiences See what other travellers like to do, based on ratings and number of bookings. Bus Tours (91) Day Trips (33) Hiking Trails (36) Historical Tours (40) Full-day Tours (60) Mountains (28) Cultural Tours (20) 4WD Tours (7)

  5. A beginner's guide to England's Lake District

    Windermere Bowness-on-Windermere is still the entry point for most visitors. Its adjacent namesake lake ribbons for 11 glorious miles through the gently undulating southern portion of the park. Taking a cruise here is a classic Lakeland experience, albeit one you'll share with plenty of fellow sightseers.

  6. Places to Visit

    Explore the stunning lakes, mountains, valleys and coastline of England's largest National Park. Find the best attractions and places to visit in the most popular regions, such as Windermere, Coniston, Keswick, Grasmere and more.

  7. 15 Best Things To Do in the Lake District

    1. See Lake Windermere What is it? This huge body of water is the largest natural lake in England, and a prime example of the picturesque Lake District. Why go? No trip to the Lake...

  8. Best things to do in the Lake District

    1. Admire the fells from Windermere Day trippers and international visitors descend in multitudes on the two closely connected towns of Bowness and Windermere, on Lake Windermere's eastern shore...

  9. Lake District Attractions

    The Lake District Wildlife Park Sublime Symmetry: William De Morgan Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's House Ravenglass Railway Museum Eskdale Mill Keswick Alhambra Cinema Brantwood, Home of John Ruskin The Old Courthouse Gallery Lakeland Maze Farm Park The Heaton Cooper Studio The Ruskin Museum Windermere Jetty Museum Rookin House Activity Centre

  10. 30 Must-See Places in the Lake District

    1. Derwentwater With stunning views into the "jaws" of Borrowdale, small islands to explore, and boat hire available, there's lots of excitement to be had on Derwentwater. 2. Windermere Windermere is England's longest lake and the Lake District's most popular!

  11. 12 Most Beautiful Places in the Lake District to Visit for Epic Views

    1. Aira Forces Fall Tucked away amidst the verdant landscapes of the Lake District, Aira Forces fall is a sight to behold. Cascading waters dance down the rocks, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that has captured the hearts of many.

  12. Things to Do in the Lake District and Cumbria

    Walk. Explore. For an unforgettable Lake District experience, step aboard a heritage vessel and take a scenic lake cruise on Ullswater. The best family days out inthe Lake District, Cumbria. From farm experiences to taking to the water in a kayak, we have exactly what it takes to keep the whole family happy.

  13. The Lake District travel

    01 / Attractions Must-see attractions for your itinerary Hill Top The Lake District Two miles south of Hawkshead, in the tiny village of Near Sawrey, this idyllic farmhouse was purchased in 1905 by Beatrix Potter and was used as… Rydal Mount The Lake District

  14. Visiting The Lake District

    Home > Visiting Visiting the Lake District Visiting the Lake District is one of the most popular holiday choices for people around the UK and further afield. Our Lake District National...

  15. 9 Most Beautiful Places in England's Lake District

    Moving towards the west of the Lake District sits Wastwater - England's deepest lake at 260 feet. It also lies at the foot of England's highest mountain; Scafell Pike. Much like the north-western lakes, Wastwater can only be accessed by a single-track road, making it a more peaceful place to soak up the scenery.

  16. Places to visit in the Lake District

    Places to visit in the Lake District. Visit the Lake District National Park for sights like no other. Take it all in on a traditional steamboat chugging through tranquil lakes, or scale the highest mountains England has to offer and enjoy a jaw-dropping view. From the top of Scafell Pike it's easy to see how Cumbria's lakes captivated ...

  17. Places to Visit in the Lake District

    Historic Places to Visit in the Lake District & Cumbria. There is a wealth of historic places to visit in the Lake District & Cumbria, including some of the earliest stone circles in Britain, the remains of the Roman Empire, abbeys and priories, ancient churches, castles and pele towers, through to more recent industrial history such as water mills, and mines.

  18. Things to do in the Lake District

    Home > Visiting > Things to do Things to do in the Lake District Discover the Lake District There are a wide range of activities and things to do in the Lake District, and with more than...

  19. Best Lake District Things To Do For First Time Visitors

    Rent a car to tour the Lake District so you can see the best of Cumbria. Stay in Bowness-on Windermere at The Belsfield Laura Ashley Hotel. Things to do in the Lake District: Day 1: Spend the day in Windermere. Day 2: Explore things to do around Ullswater Lake. Day 3: Go sightseeing around Derwent Water.

  20. 7 Places To Visit In Lake District Which Is A Paradise In England!

    Best prices guaranteed. EMI option available. 2. Lake Windermere. This fascinating 16 km long lake is known to be the most beautiful lake in the region and is said to have a maximum depth of 64 m. It is certainly the largest natural lake in England and one of the best places to visit in Lake District.

  21. Best Places To Stay In The Lake District (2024 Area Guide) + Map

    KESWICK | BORROWDALE | WINDERMERE | GRASMERE | LANGDALE | WASDALE | CARTMEL | ULLSWATER BEST OF THE LAKES Here are our overall picks for the best Lake District accommodation. Further down in the guide we breakdown each region in the Lake District and why you should stay there. LAKE DISTRICT REGION MAP


    Suitcase Monkey 697K views 1 year ago England's Most Beautiful Destination: The Lake District | Free Documentary Nature Free Documentary - Nature

  23. The 16 best things to do in the Lake District

    For further Lake District inspiration, see our guides to the area's best hotels, restaurants, pubs and walks. Use our expert guide to plan the perfect holiday in the Lake District. Windermere and ...

  24. Texas primary election voter guide: 2024 key races, candidates

    Justice, Supreme Court, Place 2 (Democrat) Democrat Dasaen Jones Judge, 45. Jones, a Harris County district court judge and Army veteran, narrowly won re-election to his seat in 2022 after a ...

  25. Plan your visit and be Lake District Kind

    Plan your visit and be Lake District Kind : Lake District National Park. What to pack when visiting the Lake District. Low level and accessible routes. Stay safe when enjoying the water. Shuttle buses, boats, trains, sustainable travel options that make the journey part of your adventure. Leave no trace, please take your litter and dog poo home.