How To Spend A Weekend In The Lakes
The Lake District in Cumbria, England, is a beautiful and stunning destination for those who love nature and adventure. With its picturesque landscapes, towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and enchanting villages, it's no wonder that it attracts millions of visitors every year. If you're planning to spend a weekend adventuring in the Lake District, here are some tips to make the most of your trip.
Firstly, it's essential to plan your accommodation in advance. The Lake District is a popular destination, and finding a place to stay can be challenging, especially during peak season. There are many options available, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, camping sites, and cottages. You can choose to stay in one of the larger towns like Ambleside, Keswick, or Windermere, or opt for a more secluded location. Whatever your preference, book your accommodation well in advance to avoid disappointment.
There are many wonderful places to stay in the Lake District, ranging from hotels to B&Bs to self-catering cottages. Here are five options to consider:
- The Samling Hotel - This luxurious hotel is located in the heart of the Lake District and offers stunning views of Lake Windermere. The Samling has won numerous awards for its exceptional service, beautiful grounds, and exquisite food.
- The Wordsworth Hotel & Spa - This historic hotel in the village of Grasmere was once home to the famous poet William Wordsworth. The hotel has been beautifully restored and now offers elegant rooms, a spa, and award-winning dining.
- The Inn on the Lake - This beautiful hotel is situated on the shores of Ullswater and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The Inn on the Lake has a range of accommodation options, including rooms with lake views and self-catering apartments.
- Skelwith Fold Caravan Park - For those who prefer self-catering accommodation, Skelwith Fold Caravan Park is a great option. This family-friendly park offers a range of static caravans and lodges set in beautiful woodland surroundings.
- The Pheasant Inn - This traditional inn is located in the village of Bassenthwaite and offers cosy accommodation, a popular restaurant, and a welcoming pub with log fires. The Pheasant Inn is a great base for exploring the northern part of the Lake District.
Once you've settled in, it's time to start exploring. The Lake District is home to many hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. One of the most popular trails is the Catbells walk, which is a moderate 3-hour hike that takes you up to the summit of Catbells Fell. From the top, you can see panoramic views of Derwentwater and the surrounding mountains. Another popular hike is the Helvellyn walk, which is a more challenging 5-hour trek that takes you to the summit of the third-highest mountain in England. The views from the top are truly spectacular and worth the effort.
The Lake District is a hiker's paradise, with an abundance of stunning trails and walks to choose from. Here are five hikes in the Lake District to consider:
- Scafell Pike - At 978 metres (3,209 feet), Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England and a must-do for many hikers. The trail to the summit is challenging but offers breathtaking views of the surrounding fells and valleys.
- Helvellyn via Striding Edge - Helvellyn is another iconic Lake District mountain, and the route via Striding Edge is a thrilling and challenging way to reach the summit. The exposed ridge requires some scrambling and can be dangerous in bad weather, but the views are unforgettable.
- Catbells - This popular walk offers stunning views of Derwentwater and the surrounding fells. The 3-mile circular route is relatively easy and suitable for families and less experienced hikers.
- Old Man of Coniston - The Old Man of Coniston is a 803-metre (2,634-foot) mountain that offers panoramic views of the Lake District. The ascent is challenging but rewarding, with stunning scenery along the way.
- Buttermere and Crummock Water - This gentle walk takes you around two of the Lake District's most beautiful lakes, Buttermere and Crummock Water. The 4.5-mile route is relatively easy and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding fells and mountains.
If hiking isn't your thing, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy. The Lake District is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with activities like kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding available on many of the lakes. You can also go fishing, take a boat tour, or even try your hand at wild swimming.
The Lake District is home to a variety of water sports and activities, with options to suit all levels of experience and ability. Here are five of the best water sports experiences to try in the Lake District:
- Kayaking on Lake Windermere - Kayaking is a great way to explore the largest lake in the Lake District, and there are many companies that offer guided tours and equipment rental. Paddle through tranquil bays, explore hidden coves and beaches, and take in the stunning scenery from the water.
- Stand-up paddleboarding on Coniston Water - Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun and accessible water sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Coniston Water is a popular spot for SUP, with its calm waters and beautiful scenery providing the perfect backdrop for a relaxing paddle.
- Canoeing on Ullswater - Canoeing is a peaceful and enjoyable way to explore the tranquil waters of Ullswater. Hire a canoe and paddle along the lake, taking in the stunning scenery and spotting wildlife along the way.
- Sailing on Derwentwater - Derwentwater is a great spot for sailing, with its scenic location and consistent winds making it a popular choice for both beginners and experienced sailors. There are many companies that offer sailing lessons and equipment rental, making it easy to get out on the water and experience the thrill of sailing.
- Ghyll scrambling in Stickle Ghyll - Ghyll scrambling, also known as canyoning, is a thrilling activity that involves climbing, scrambling, and jumping along the course of a mountain stream. Stickle Ghyll is a popular spot for ghyll scrambling, with its scenic location and challenging terrain making it a great choice for adventurous visitors to the Lake District.
For those who prefer to stay on land, cycling is a great way to explore the countryside. You can hire a bike and follow one of the many cycling routes that wind their way through the Lake District.
The Lake District is a popular destination for cyclists, with a range of challenging routes and scenic trails to explore. Here are five of the best cycle routes in the Lake District:
- The Fred Whitton Challenge - This challenging 112-mile route takes in some of the Lake District's most iconic climbs, including Hardknott Pass, Wrynose Pass, and Honister Pass. The route is named after Fred Whitton, a local cyclist and charity fundraiser, and is a popular choice for experienced cyclists.
- The Lakes and Dales Loop - This 196-mile circular route takes in some of the Lake District's most beautiful scenery, as well as the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The route is suitable for experienced cyclists and includes challenging climbs and descents.
- The Coast to Coast (C2C) - The C2C is a popular long-distance cycle route that runs from Whitehaven on the west coast of Cumbria to Sunderland on the east coast. The 140-mile route takes in the Lake District, the Pennines, and the Northumberland coast, and can be completed in 2-4 days depending on fitness levels.
- The South Lakes Loop - This 70-mile circular route takes in some of the Lake District's most picturesque villages, including Hawkshead, Coniston, and Grange-over-Sands. The route is suitable for all levels of experience and offers stunning views of the surrounding fells and lakes.
- Whinlatter Pass - This challenging climb is a favourite of local cyclists and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The climb is around 3 miles long and includes gradients of up to 20%, making it a tough but rewarding challenge for experienced riders.
In the evenings, there are many options for dining out. The Lake District has a vibrant food scene, with many local restaurants serving up delicious cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. From traditional British pub fare to fine dining experiences, there's something for everyone. After dinner, why not head to one of the local pubs and enjoy a pint of local ale? Many of the pubs in the Lake District have a cosy and welcoming atmosphere, and you might even find some live music or a quiz night to join in with.
The Lake District is home to a variety of excellent restaurants, cafes and pubs, offering everything from fine dining to hearty pub grub. Here are five of the best places to eat in the Lake District:
- L'Enclume - This Michelin-starred restaurant in the village of Cartmel is widely regarded as one of the best in the country. Head chef Simon Rogan creates innovative and seasonal menus using locally sourced ingredients.
- The Drunken Duck Inn - This traditional Lakeland pub in Ambleside offers a cosy atmosphere and hearty pub food, as well as a range of local beers and real ales. The menu features classic dishes such as fish and chips and steak and ale pie, as well as more unusual options like wild boar burgers and venison hotpot.
- The Forest Side - This former Victorian mansion in Grasmere has been transformed into a luxurious hotel and restaurant. The menu features modern British cuisine with a focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, and the restaurant has won several awards for its innovative and creative dishes.
- The Jumble Room - This quirky and eclectic restaurant in Grasmere offers a unique dining experience with its colourful decor and inventive menu. The menu features a range of international dishes, including Thai green curry, Moroccan tagine, and Spanish tapas.
- Zeffirellis - This family-run restaurant in Ambleside has been serving up delicious Italian food for over 40 years. The menu features classic dishes such as pizza and pasta, as well as daily specials and a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. Zeffirellis also includes a cinema and live music venue, making it a popular choice for a night out.
Finally, it's worth taking some time to explore the charming villages that dot the Lake District. Places like Grasmere, Ambleside, and Keswick are full of character and charm, with traditional stone cottages, winding streets, and quaint shops selling local produce and souvenirs.
The Lake District is home to many charming and picturesque villages, each with its own unique character and attractions. Here are five of the best villages to visit in the Lake District:
- Grasmere - This picturesque village is surrounded by stunning scenery and is famous for its connections to the poet William Wordsworth. Visitors can explore his former home, Dove Cottage, as well as enjoy a wander around the village's quaint shops and tea rooms.
- Ambleside - This bustling village is located at the northern end of Lake Windermere and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, and water sports, as well as explore the village's shops, galleries, and cafes.
- Hawkshead - This charming village is located in the heart of the Lake District and is famous for its connections to the writer Beatrix Potter. Visitors can explore her former home, Hill Top, as well as enjoy a stroll around the village's cobbled streets and traditional pubs.
- Coniston - This picturesque village is located at the foot of Coniston Old Man and is a popular destination for walkers and cyclists. Visitors can explore the village's shops and cafes, as well as take a trip on the historic steam yacht Gondola on Coniston Water.
- Cartmel - This small village is located on the southern edge of the Lake District and is famous for its historic priory and racecourse. Visitors can enjoy a stroll around the village's cobbled streets, visit the famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding shop, and enjoy a meal at the Michelin-starred restaurant L'Enclume.
The Lake District has a rich and fascinating history, with many historic sites and landmarks to explore. Here are five of the best historical sites to visit in the Lake District:
- Castlerigg Stone Circle - This prehistoric stone circle near Keswick is thought to be around 5,000 years old and is one of the most impressive in Britain. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding fells and explore the site's mysterious history.
- Hill Top - This 17th-century farmhouse near Hawkshead was the former home of the beloved children's author, Beatrix Potter. Visitors can explore the charming interior of the house, as well as the gardens that inspired many of her stories.
- Mirehouse - This historic house near Bassenthwaite Lake has been home to the same family for over 300 years and is filled with fascinating artefacts and stories. Visitors can explore the house's elegant rooms and gardens, as well as enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
- Furness Abbey - This ruined Cistercian abbey near Barrow-in-Furness was founded in the 12th century and was one of the most powerful and wealthy abbeys in medieval England. Visitors can explore the impressive ruins and learn about the abbey's fascinating history.
- Carlisle Castle - This imposing fortress in the heart of Carlisle has a history dating back over 900 years and has been used as a royal palace, a military barracks, and a prison. Visitors can explore the castle's impressive ramparts, dungeons, and museum, as well as enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
In conclusion, spending a weekend adventuring in the Lake District is a fantastic way to reconnect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors. With its stunning landscapes, endless outdoor activities, and charming villages, there's something for everyone to enjoy. So, plan your trip, pack your hiking boots, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of England's most beautiful destinations.