In collaboration with Hotels.com, but all views are my own
There are very few places in the UK that are as peaceful, relaxing and generally stunning as the Lake District. We’ve been there as a family on three occasions over the past ten years and have loved it every time. Whether you enjoy walks, cycling, hiking or just fresh air and amazing scenery there really is something for everyone.
Each time we’ve been up to the Lake District we’ve stayed in a different area, but wherever you go up there you won’t have far to travel to see beautiful lakes surrounded by gorgeous countryside.
One of the biggest attractions for us is the feeling of space. Of course, the towns and some of the more popular little villages can get busy, but the Lake District is so vast, with so many wonderful spots to visit that it really feels like you’re in a different, much calmer world!
With COVID-19 still an important part of everyone’s thinking at present there are few better places to head for a bit of space and a feeling of safety. To help visitors plan ahead they’ve even put together a website full of useful resources. This includes details of local attractions and any restrictions in place, along with regularly updated information on how busy the various car parks are on any given day.
As long as you visit responsibly, observing social distancing requirements, following the restrictions in place at each of the attractions and shops and plan ahead, now is a perfect time to visit. With so much uncertainty about foreign travel and quarantine requirements it’s a great time for a UK holiday!
If you are tempted to book a last minute deal, here are some of our photo highlights from the past ten years to help inspire you.
As you can see above, even with my limited photography skills, some of the sights around the Lake District really are beautiful and you would struggle not to be blown away with some of the things you will see.
Lake Windermere, Derwentwater & Buttermere
As you can imagine, the biggest attractions of the Lake District are the sixteen lakes themselves. We’ve spent time at the majority of them over the years, but probably the most visited and most popular generally are Lake Windermere and Derwentwater.
Windermere is the largest natural lake in England at over ten miles long, and is lovely for a long walk around. You can also take a boat trip across the lake, which we did and would definitely recommend. However, it is probably the busiest lake in the country, so social distancing isn’t quite as easy as in some other locations around the Lake District.
Derwentwater is much smaller, but is just a 15 minute walk from the town of Keswick and is surrounded by fells so is perfect for a woodland walk if you’re staying in that area. Buttermere is one of the smallest lakes, but is probably our personal favourite, because the views against the mountain backdrop are a photographer’s dream, as you can see above. Perfect for a short walk with stunning views.
Aside from the lakes, there are other bodies of water called tarns, which are effectively small mountain lakes. Again we’ve seen a few of these over the years, but our favourite is Tarn Hows, which really is lovely and gives a really nice 1.5mile walk around the tarn itself. The area was donated to the National Trust from the estate of Beatrix Potter and you can even complete your day with a visit to the Beatrix Potter gallery in nearby Hawkshead. Again the views here are spectacular and it is suitable for everyone, including buggies and wheelchairs, so well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Grasmere & Ambleside
There are pretty little towns and villages aplenty throughout the Lake District, and Grasmere and Ambleside are two of our favourite shopping spots. Lovely little stone buildings dating back hundreds of years are everywhere and both places have a really lovely atmosphere, despite being popular tourist spots. Grasmere has a lovely lake next to it, but is possibly most famous for the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, which is a tiny, tiny shop in an old school dated 1630 that sells the best gingerbread we’ve tasted! Grasmere is also famous for being the home of William Wordsworth for 14 years, where he described it as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’ – quite the compliment! Ambleside has a good variety of shops, bars and restaurants, but also has a wealth of lovely old buildings, and we’ve eaten out there many times after a day out at Lake Windermere.
Aira Force Waterfall
There are a few lovely waterfalls dotted around the Lake District, but Aira Force is the one we remember the most. It has a bridge at the top and the bottom and lies on land owned by the National Trust, with the main force falling 70 ft from below a stone footbridge. It has a car park, cafe and good public access paths, and is now accessible from an Ullswater Steamer so is well worth a visit, as is a trip on the Steamers themselves.
Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway
This offers a 20 minute journey on a steam train through some lovely countryside, along the side of hills with excellent views. There is a tea room, playground, gift shop and woodland walk at Haverthwaite Station, which adds to the experience. Currently there is a reduced timetable with online bookings only.
The Lake District really does have it all, and far more than I would ever hope to mention in one short blog post. We’ve been there as a couple, with our son and as an extended family and would love to go back again, so if you’re looking for a 2020 UK holiday it’s definitely well worth a look.
For more on our holidays and days out check out our Travel page.