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The Lake District National Park

Lake District you got me! What a heaven's place on earth. We had so much fun in exploring the Lake District National Park. Let me share our best tips and tricks for a one week Lake District road trip.

Where is the Lake District National Park?

The Lake District National Park is a national park in Cumbria, North West England. It is the largest national park in England. And the second largest in the United Kingdom after Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. The Lake District is 1,5 hour by cars from Manchester Airport. A car is a must-have to explore all the beautiful places, lakes and villages. If you prefer the train, the Lake District is around 3.5 hours away from London.

The Best Lake District Villages

The Lake District boasts charming towns and villages with picturesque landscapes, such as the pretty villages Grasmere and Ambleside, offering a serene escape surrounded by scenic beauty. Other quaint villages like Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District captivate visitors with their idyllic settings, providing a perfect blend of culture, nature, and tranquility.

Ambleside Lake District

Ambleside is another one of these cute villages in the Lake District. We climbed up to Stock Ghyll Force a 70ft (21 metre) waterfall. A great circular walk. Looking for some pub grub? The famous Drunken Duck Inn should be high on your list. People drive from far and wide to visit this picture-postcard pub situated in the heart of the beautiful Lakeland countryside. Once a farmhouse, this Old Lakeland Inn can be found on a crossroads in the middle of the lowland fells. Another one for the list is Chesters By The River, a bright and modern cafe with riverside deck, serving homemade lunch, wood-fired pizza and classic cakes. There is an bakery and cute little shop for perfect gifts. This place is tucked in a little cluster of buildings around Skelwith Bridge near Ambleside. Look at their Instagram, wow!

Cartmel Lake District

Really happy we decided to make a quick visit to Cartmel as we were on our way to leave the Lakes. Maybe it was because there were races happening, but this cute little village on the southern edge of the Lake District is definitely worth checking out.

Sip coffee and eat cake or lunch at Cartmel Coffee or go wild at L'enclume, a three (!) Michelin stars restaurant known for its sustainable approach and use of hyper-seasonal produce with 16th plus rooms. There are also some lovely shops, such as Perfect English and Cartmel Village Vintage and Antiques were we found some real treasures. Did you know that Cartmel is the home of sticky toffee pudding? Go on, treat yourself at the Cartmel Village Shop!

Grasmere Lake District

Off all the villages in the Lake District, Grasmere is perhaps one of my favourites. Grasmere is famous as it is the resting place of William Wordsworth (a famous English romantic poet - who doesn't know him? (I didn't!) and the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. Therefore, expect lots of tourist wondering around this cute little village.

However, it is the perfect stop for lunch at Mathilde's, a café with adjacent gallery serving Scandi brunch, lunch and cake. Sitting outside will make you realise nothing else in life is needed with delicious food, good company, chilled vibes and the backdrop of the peaks.

Another good alternative is Lucia's Coffee + Bakehouse, perfect for a coffee and a cinnamon bun or sandwich to sit in or take away while you walk Helm Crag a 405m hill that sits at the end of a ridge (4 miles, 6.4km) or have a picnic at Easdale Tarn while passing Sour Milk Ghyll. Two other amazing foodie options are Tweedies Bar and Lodge restaurant, a luxury hotel and Award Winning Bar and Forest Side Hotel, housed in a fairytale gothic mansion.

Hawkshead Lake District

At the Queen's Head Inn, a quaint 17th century pub you can go for a delicious ale and classic Cumbrian dishes. From Hawkshead you are close to Coniston Water and the famous Old Man of Coninston Mountain. We hiked our way to the top and had the most beautiful views of the Lake District. From Hawkshead you are around the corner from the famous Beatrix Potter Hill Top Farm. We slept opposite in a beautiful bed and breakfast.

Keswick Lake District

Keswick is another cute little village in Cumbria and the perfect base for exploring the Lake District. Around the corner from beautiful Derwentwater. Crummwock Water and Buttermere lie to the west. Here you will find many hikers climbing the very high Skiddaw Fells, as well as visitors for the mysterious Castlerigg Stone Circle, a prehistoric stone circle with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. At the Fellpack, the Wainwright Pub and the Kirkstile Inn you can stop by for an ale and dinner after a wonderful hike.

Penrith Lake District

I wouldn't necessarily recommend visiting Penrith. However, if you happen to be around the northern edge of the Lakes than it might be a nice little detour. Coming from or to Ullswater it could be the perfect stop for shopping some antique furniture, second-hand books and other bric-a-bracs at Brunswick Yard.

Near Sawrey and Far Sawrey Lake District

Home to world famous Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm. Beatrix bought Hill Top Farm with the royalties from the first of her little books, the Tale of Peter Rabbit. I am a big fan and absolutely loved exploring the Hill Top House and gardens, which takes you about 45 min. It is highly recommended to book your tickets way in advance. Because we stayed at the Bead and Breakfast across the road we arrived just before closure time and could simply buy walk-in tickets without lots of tourists flocking around.

For dinner you can go to Tower Banks Arms Pub which is situated right next door to Hill Top and features in Beatrix Potter's Tale of Jemima Puddleduck. Perfect for hearty food, local ales and characterful rooms. Again, make sure to book in advance, because with limited seating it does get booked up quickly. We went for a jaw-dropping evening walk and had dinner at The Cuckoo Brow Inn at Far Sawrey.

Ulverston Lake District

The Seashore Shepperd's Hut is six miles away from Ulverston. We had never heard of Ulverston before but were very surprised by this historic traditional market town. Think cobbled streets and plenty of independent, artisan shops, café’s, and pubs. Little did we know that it is also the birthplace of Stan Laurel with even a museum to visit if you like.

Windermere Lake District

Ditch Bowness-on -Windermere. I mean really. So touristy! Windermere is a little bit better but not much (sorry not sorry). Otherwise, walk into town for a ice cream at the Little Ice Cream Shop. Before or after, make sure to climb up Orrest Head for some spectular views of Windermere's lakes and fells. If you are still thinking about taking a boat trip then I would highly recommend hiring a kayak or canoe from Ullswater or Coninston Water like we did.

Still thinking about visiting the Lake District or the Peak District? Read my Peak District Travel Guide


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