Visiting the Lake District this year? Here are five locations you must visit.
5 best locations in the Lake District
The Lake District is a place best described in superlatives. It is the largest National Park in England, and home to its tallest mountain. It has the biggest lake in England, is a coveted UNESCO World Heritage site, and boasts some of the most beautiful valleys found anywhere in the British Isles.
The Lakes is also the UK’s most-visited National Park, but also has the unenviable title of being the wettest place in England! Ultimately, however, this is a place that sparks the imagination.
Many tourists head to the northern corner of England to hike the fells and walk along the lake shores. But if this isn’t your idea of fun, there is also a deeper culture in this National Park to be explored – from the cosy stone-walled villages to the sublime range of literary figures who are associated with Lakeland.
To begin your journey, here are 5 must-visit locations in the Lake District National Park.
On the northern tip of Lake Windemere, built atop a confluence of rivers, you will find the charming town of Ambleside. This is one of many English Heritage locations scattered throughout the Lake District.
The Ambleside Roman Fort marks the site of an ancient military barracks built during the Anglo-Roman conquest in the second century. Archaeologists believe it was built to defend the Roman road towards Hadrian’s Wall.
This offers a snapshot of the rich history that can be found in the Lake District. Set amongst bucolic farmlands against the backdrop of the epic fells, the Ambleside Roman Fort is a must-visit location in the Lake District.
Just outside of the town of Keswick, there’s a site so ancient it outdates the Romans by a good 3,000 years. The Castlerigg Stone Circle is thought to be at least 5,000 years old, and was erected during the Neolithic era.
Unlike similar sites in England, such as Stonehenge, the Castlerigg Stone Circle is framed by the most dramatic scenery. Built on a grassy pasture, the ring of stones is loomed over by the fells of Helvellyn and High Seat. Visit at sunset or sunrise for the most immersive experience.
For a slightly bizarre and kitschy attraction, you can also visit the Derwent Pencil Museum – home to the world’s first pencil. For an evening of culture, there’s the spectacular Theatre by The Lake.
This theatre has 2 stages showcasing a range of contemporary and classical works with magnificent surrounding lawns that stretch down towards the beautiful Derwentwater.
Buttermere is a picturesque hamlet surrounded by high fells, waterfalls, fringing forests, and a lake of the same name. Many who visit Buttermere come for its peace and serenity, making it a must-visit location in the Lake District. Buttermere Lake is one of the prettiest lakes in the world.
The nearby settlement of Seathwaite is the trailhead for two of the best hikes in the Lake District: Great Gable and Scafell Pike. Buttermere is also known for the infamous Honister Pass. This is one of the steepest and highest motorable roads in England.
It is the bane of many a cyclist, but it’s also considered a challenge to be conquered by many. At the top of the pass, you’ll find the Honister Slate Mine – the last working slate mine in England.
The rolling landscape, frosted fells, and serpentine lakes create the perfect picturesque setting to inspire. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that so many poets, painters, and writers from the Romantic period have graced the Lake District.
William Wordsworth is perhaps the most famous of these poets – alongside other great Lakes writers such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. In the lovely town of Grasmere, next to the lake of the same name, you can visit the house that Wordsworth and his wife called home for 14 years.
For the full Wordsworth experience, visit another of his homes just outside Grasmere in Rydal, where you’ll find Rydal Mount & Gardens, another beautiful building erected amongst the leafy green hills.
If you wish to explore Grasmere further, head over to Allan Bank. This property was once home to Canon Rawnsley, the founder of the National Trust, and is another must-visit location in the Lake District.
For any food-lovers, you can’t miss the place where gingerbread was invented! At The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, you can sample this sugary treat first invented by Victorian baker Sarah Nelson in 1854.
Lake Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. It was carved out by a glacier during the last ice age, and now acts as a popular spot for holidaymakers. During the summer months, you’ll find boats navigating its waters, hikers walking up the surrounding fells, and cyclists zipping along the lakeshore.
The towns of Windemere and Bowness-on-Windermere also have plenty to offer (the latter being the older, lakeside settlement). Here you can find out about another great English writer that lived in the Lake District – Beatrix Potter.
Potter visited the lakes as a child, and soon fell in love with the nature in the area. Many of her illustrations and stories are inspired by her experiences in the Lake District. The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction is an interactive exhibition that showcases her work, and ultimately, her love of the National Trust.
For an additional excursion, head over to the west side of Lake Windemere to visit Hill Top, the cosy rural farmhouse Beatrix Potter called home. A popular must-visit location in the Lake District!
There are too many must-visit locations in the Lake District to name! There are 16,510 archaeological sites, 1779 listed buildings, 23 historical settlements, and countless natural features.
That’s enough sites to last a lifetime! So, what are you waiting for? Head up to this special National Park as soon as possible and start exploring yourself. After all, in the words of Wordsworth, this is the “loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”