“Lake District. Absolutely Lake District. The lakes, no doubt.” That is the only answer we were given to the question “what is the total must-see spot in England, in your opinion?” As the result, we were keeping the Lake District “for the dessert” and planning to visit it right before moving from Saltburn. Finally here we are!
We still can’t recover after our cycling trip to the Yorkshire Moors, that’s why we said “no” to the idea of a tandem trip even before it was born. Lake District or county Cumbria is notorious namely for its mountains (AND lakes, sure thing) which made the final point on the classic road trip. Even if there are more than enough of brave cyclists who tackle Cumbria by bike!
A good old piece of advice: do travel there off-season to avoid traffic in the most popular areas as well as parking troubles. Though keep in mind, that parking there is rarely free, even in a spots that are supposed to be “lost in nature”.
Unfortunately, we weren’t very lucky with the weather – out of 4 days spent in the area, only on the last day we were honored with some sunlight. Here is our itinerary that we proudly call “a bit of everything” – a glimpse on the majority of lakes and the cutest villages.
Day 1: Windemere and Bowness – Ambleside
On our entrance to the Lake district we were surprised first of all by the atmosphere of the mountain village, just as if we were in Innsbruck or Grenoble – with all shops of sports equipment and stands selling various sport activities. Even off season the town was quite animated and charming with its picturesque harbor and an unbelievable quantity of ducks and swans on the quays. Very peaceful scenery.
Accommodation: Ambleside – Low Wray Campsite
Day 2: Ambleside – Seascale – Keswick
Picturesque no doubt, but (and I hate saying that) monotonous. We made a small detour to Seascale to see the west coast once again and had to confirm that we enjoyed the almost-saltburn-scenery more than these notorious lakes.
Castlerigg Stone Circle: like Stonehenge but for free
Special Cumbria sheep breed: brown fur, white head
Accommodation: Castlerigg Hall Caravan & Camping Park
Day 3: Penrith – Ambleside – Grasmere – Keswick
Some more nature beauty.
Aira Force – beautiful waterfall
Red Squirrel: if ever you can spot one! Just imagine, British squirrels are normally grey!
Accommodation: Thirlspot Farm Camping
Day 4: Hiking to Hellvelyn
Here we come to the apotheosis of the whole trip. First of all due to the weather which finally decided to uncover and show a bit of light. And, naturally, a short hiking trip.
Walking and hiking is one of the most favorite British activities, and Lake District is the first destination for that matter. Therefore, there are hundreds (!!!) of walking and hiking trails for any level and near each lake. At the beginning we were a bit lost in this selection, but at least we got the answer why people keep coming back to the lakes – the possibilities are endless! Once again we recommend an excellent website of all kinds of walks in the UK with the most relevant name – Walking Englishman. Finally, we decided to challenge ourselves into a walk labeled “hard” and picked a trail to Helvellyn – one of the district’s summits.
However, “hard” revealed to be not harder than Ukrainian Hoverla and with quite similar landscapes. Still gorgeous though. Needless to say, that in order to get most of it, you should wake up in an early hour to avoid contrasted light and crowds.
To sum it up, Lake District is a beautiful area, but if to be honest, we would never suggest it as the most spectacular in England. Not because it’s bad, but because it is… ordinary. If you look for some really striking sceneries, we would recommend rather the Yorkshire Dales National Park or the Farne Islands.
We would really love to hear your opinion about it or if you have any other tips or places to recommend in the Lake District. Please, share in the comments!