Best places to explore in England's Lake District

Top 13 Places To Explore In England’s Lake District

Last Updated on September 20, 2022

Do you need to de-stress from work? Or do you want to get out of your comfort zone and try new activities? If so, you might want to pack up your things for a great adventure of a lifetime. And if you’ve got no place to go, consider visiting the Lake District in England.

The Lake District is a stunningly gorgeous 885-square-mile national park in England. It was also declared the nation’s favorite national park in 2018. So, there’s no reason for you not to include this heavenly paradise on your bucket list.

This not-so-hidden gem of England is famous for its breathtaking lakes, picturesque mountains, paradisiacal valleys, and hauntingly beautiful coastline. The Lake District also offers plenty of accessible walks and terrain suitable for those with a limited range of motion.

Aside from stunning scenery and relaxing walks, the national park is also known for its great outdoor activities. Such activities range from mountain climbing to gorge walking and water-based leisure sports such as kayaking.

The Lake District is also ideal for families blessed with furry creatures. You may check out this page for pet-friendly cottages while staying in the national park. Furthermore, below are some of the best places you must explore in England’s best national parks.

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere is a busy lake located at the heart of the Lake District. It’s also the biggest lake in England, with a length of 10.5 miles and a depth of 220 feet. If you want to explore the tranquility of Lake Windermere, you’ll need to ride a ferry courtesy of Windermere Lake Cruises.

At Lake Windermere’s southern end, you’ll find the Haverthwaite Railway and its train engines that will take you to Leven Valley. In the same location, you’ll find the Lakeside Pier and the famous Aquarium of the Lakes.

Aside from top attractions, the lake is also one of the best when it comes to water sports. It offers sailing, windsurfing, and other water-based activities. If you don’t know how to do these water activities, some available instructors can teach and guide you.

Ambleside

Ambleside, Lake District

Ambleside is a great place to explore the townships of the Lake District. It’s a popular tourist attraction filled with movie theaters, cozy restaurants, eye-catching shops, and a wide array of places for accommodation.

The small town offers horse-drawn carriages to appreciate its mesmerizing beauty, especially during summer. The carriage will take you to Waterhead Pier, where you can feed several ducks and swans in the area or rent a rowing boat for a peaceful trip down the waters.

With a ferry ride from Waterhead, you’ll discover Brockhole, where the national park’s center is located. This place offers a wide range of activities, such as boating, biking, archery, treetop trekking, and shooting. Also, it’s highly accessible to all people with different abilities.

Derwentwater

Derwentwater, Keswick

Derwentwater, also known as Derwent Water or Keswick’s Lake, is a picturesque lake with a length of three miles and a depth of 72 feet. It’s only a short walk (around ten minutes) from the center of Keswick.

Aside from taking walks around its shorelines, you can also appreciate its mesmerizing beauty by boarding a ferry ride courtesy of Keswick Launches. It stops at Nichol and Hawes End, Lodore, Ashness Gate, and Brandlehow.

Derwentwater is another great spot for water-based activities, such as sailing and windsurfing. It also offers rental boats (motor and rowing) you can use to explore the lake. And despite the numerous activities, the lake remains astonishingly calm and solemn.

Aira Force

Aira Force

Aira Force is one of the Lake District’s well-known waterfalls, with a height of 70 feet. It offers majestic scenery of rock formations, an arboretum, and a glimpse of the famous Victoria Park. You can also enjoy the view of the falls from the stone bridge developed by the National Trust.

In addition, Aira Force is a perfect getaway for those who want to discover the natural beauty of the Lake District, explore adventures, and create fun-filled memories with their loved ones. Here, you can play through the streams or look for red squirrels in the area.

In the parking area, you’ll find a tea shop and a small kiosk that offer souvenirs and small bites, such as ice cream, short pastries, cold drinks, and sandwiches. The tea shop is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but it’s closed during the week of Christmas.

Ullswater

Ullswater, Lake District

Ullswater is one of the largest lakes in the Lake District, second only to Lake Windermere. It spans a length of 7.5 miles and a depth of 205 feet. It’s also around six miles closer to the northernmost part of the town of Penrith.

During the summer, Ullswater Cruises operates using its two boats, the Lady of the Lake and Raven. But if you want to take a walk instead, check out the trail between the villages of Glenridding and Howtown.

Ullswater also offers water-based activities such as sailing and windsurfing. You can also rent a boat if you want to explore the lake on your own. For a better boating experience, you can visit the Glenridding Sailing Centre for a range of boats, such as kayaks, canoes, and dinghies.

Catbells

View from Catbells Lake District UK

Located near the town of Keswick, Catbells is one of the Lake District’s most famous walking areas—and for good reasons. First, you’ll discover a hauntingly beautiful view across the lakes once you reach the peak of the high ridge. And second, each walk offers breathtaking scenery, making this mini mountain a good option for those who want to experience a daytime adventure.

If you’re asking how long it would take to finish a single walk, the answer would depend on your fitness level. For athletic individuals, the walk may only last around two hours, but for those who are not, the walk may last up to four hours.

When you climb up the hill, you’ll discover the memorial to Thomas Arthur Leonard. Continue walking until you reach the rocky area of the mountain. From here, you’ll be mesmerized by the beauty of Skiddaw—the mountain range with a glaze of snow on top. And down below, you’ll be able to gaze at the busy town of Keswick.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

The Castlerigg Stone Circle is a prehistoric monument similar to the famous Stonehenge but smaller. Aside from that, it’s also one of England’s earliest stone circles and has great importance and significance due to its contribution to prehistoric geometry and astronomy.

The stone circle sits on a massive plateau, giving you a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. In addition, it has 38 standing stones, with an average height of 10 feet. Historians believe these stones were built around 4000 to 5000 years ago in the Neolithic period.

Until now, no one, not even historians, has deciphered the main purpose of the stone circle, but there are several theories worth mentioning. First, it could be a meeting place for social gatherings; second, it could be a site dedicated to conducting rituals and other religious sacrifices.

Regardless, what’s important is that many people can experience how history unfolds in front of them. And that alone is enough to watch.

Keswick

Keswick

Keswick is a small town on the northern tip of the Lake District, located between the Skiddaw mountain range and Derwentwater. This historic town offers plenty of attractions to locals and tourists alike, from historical museums to a wide array of restaurants and shops.

If you’re looking for fun outdoor activities, Keswick is one of the best places to go. It offers water-based activities, such as boating and fishing, near Derwentwater, and other leisure activities, such as indoor climbing, mountain biking, and glamping.

If you want to experience the fun and exciting side of Keswick, be sure to visit it every May or June for the Keswick Mountain Festival. It is one of England’s biggest mountain festivals, so be sure not to miss this once-a-year event.

During this event, more than 20,000 locals and tourists visit and participate to enjoy the three days filled with fun and family-friendly activities. These include film watching, trail running, triathlon, cycling, and live music from different bands on the lakeside.

Hawkshead

Hawkshead is a prehistoric town village that has developed and proliferated since the age of the Vikings, around 700 to 1066 AD. Soon after, it was bestowed and remained under the ownership of Furness Abbey—a Cistercian monastery—until the 1200s.

In the early 1600s, the monastery was dissolved and became no longer the owner of the town. Soon, it became a rich market town filled with gorgeous buildings, many of which can be dated back to the 1700s.

Here are other buildings and centers you might want to explore in Hawkshead:

  • The old Quaker meeting house in Colthouse
  • The Beatrix Potter Gallery
  • The Church of St. Michael and All Angels
  • The Old Grammar School

You’ll find the peaceful and relaxing Grizedale Forest around two miles from the town of Hawkshead. It offers tea rooms and a wide range of outdoor activities, such as tree-top trekking, mountain biking, and forest walks.

Coniston Water

Coniston Water

Coniston Water is the third largest lake in the Lake District, with a length of five miles and an average width of about a half mile. Here, you can rent a boat for your family to explore and discover more of the lake. Some boats include paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, motorboats, etc.

Aside from boat rentals, Coniston Water also offers cruises around the lake. The route starts at the Coniston Boating Centre with different stops, sailing throughout the year but not every day, particularly from November to February.

You can also try riding the steam yacht gondola developed by the National Trust. It doesn’t sail all year round, but from spring until fall.

Not a fan of boat rides? Consider spending your time taking leisure walks through Coniston Village. Here, you’ll discover the Old Man of Coniston, Tilberthwaite Slate quarries, Coniston Hall, and the Monk Coniston estate.

Kendal

Kendal

Kendal is a historic market town on the outer edge of the Lake District. It’s one of the first stops you’ll explore once you reach the district by train.

Because it’s situated on the fringes of the region, many people tend to forget to take a look and explore the area. It is especially true for those who want to visit the main destinations, such as Lake Windermere, Keswick, and Derwentwater.

If you’re here, ensure to drop by the Kendal Museum and the ruins of Kendal Castle to learn more about the town’s rich history. Don’t forget to visit the famous 1657 Chocolate House to taste locally-made and handcrafted chocolates before you board the train.

Rydal Mount

Rydal Mount

Rydal Mount is a historical house located deep in the heart of the Lake District with a stunning view of Rydal Water, Lake Windermere, and other nearby fells. It is where the famous English romantic poet, William Wordsworth, lived until 1850.

Inside the house, you’ll discover the rooms of William and Mary’s daughters, Dora and Dorothy, as well as the study room in the attic. You’ll also find some of the original works, personal belongings, and portraits of the poet.

Wordsworth is also famously known for being a great gardener. So, every part and detailed element of his four-acre garden landscape has been carefully preserved until now. The garden contains a lot of shrubs, an ancient mound, rock pools, lawns, and terraces.

Lake Wastwater

Wastwater, Elterwater, United Kingdom

Lake Wastwater is probably the most astonishing and breathtaking lake in the Lake District—thanks to its mountain ranges. These include the Red Pike, Great Gable, Kirk Fell, and Scafell Pike. Also, it’s England’s deepest lake.

The deepest lake in all of England offers a wide range of activities. These include boating, fishing, ghyll scrambling, and biking. In addition, here are the top destinations to visit in Lake Wastwater:

  • Eskdale Moor Stone Circles
  • St. Olaf’s Church
  • Eskdale Mill

If time is on your side, take the time to visit these places. You will surely enjoy and treasure your experiences in these remarkable places.

Final Words

The Lake District is home to many hauntingly beautiful places nestled in the region of Cumbria. They offer great deals, from relaxing walks to adventurous outdoor activities, to fill the hearts of locals and tourists who want to explore England’s rich history and heritage.

If you’re interested, book your tickets ahead of time, and be sure to prepare everything you need for the greatest and most memorable trip of a lifetime.

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