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 Airbnb's?
Looking for a place to stay? We stayed at one of the best Airbnbs in the Lake District if I say so myself ;-) Each of our stays added something unique to our Lake District road trip.
B&B Historic house in Beatrix Potter’s village, Near Sawrey
This Lake District bed and breakfast is such a lovely place. We felt very welcome by Sarah and Rob, owners of a beautiful family home in the Lakeland village of Near Sawrey, once owned by Beatrix Potter and built in 1820. Conveniently located opposite Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm.
The room is peaceful, at the back of the first floor with a view over the hillside beyond. You will have your own ensuite bathroom with separate bath & shower cubicle. The Kingsize wrought iron bed has a luxury memory foam mattress and Egyptian cotton bed linen. There is also a tea & coffee tray and a sofa. Breakfast is included.
Seashore Shepherds Hut @ Moat Farm, Ulverston
Seashore Shepherds Hut in Ulverston is one of these locations that you are happy to stumble across when browsing for accommodation online. Inside the hut there is a open-plan living area with a cosy double bed which can sleep up to two guests. Next to the bed is a cosy armchair and a (folding) dining table. There is also a tiny kitchenette and a bathroom with shower and toilet. The Seashore Shepperd's Hut overlooks the beautiful Morecambe Bay and has the most spectacular sea views on this somewhat secluded beach.
Winter Crag Farmhouse, Penrith
Winter Crag is a cosy farmhouse tucked into the Hills above Lake Ullswater. You are truly offf the beaten track and surrounded by the beauty of the true Lake District, every window has a stunning view with endless places to explore and walks on the doorstep! If you want to get away from hustle, bustle and stress of modern life then this is the place for you. Indeed, cause the farm is really at the end of the valley. Doing groceries and go out for dinner is only possible at the campsite nearby or in Pooley Bridge (a 20min drive).
Upstairs are 3 rooms with a shared bathroom. We were lucky enough to be the only guests during our stay. There is no living room and therefore had the kitchen all for ourselves. There is no WiFi so we enjoyed ourselves in the evening with puzzles and board games.
The most amazing views you get from walking up the hills just behind the farm. Like Rachel said: you can just walk up and go down anywhere you want. No OS maps needed. Use the house with the red roof as your focus point. This hike was the best one we did, no toursist around and oh boy, look at the view. We also enjoyed kayaking at Ullswater lake! So much fun!
Lake District Villages
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!
So glad we decided to quickly visit Cartmel as we were on our way to leave the Lakes behind us. Maybe it was because the races were on, but this cute little village on the southern edge of the Lake District is definitely worth visiting.
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!
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.
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
Home to world famous Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm. Beatrix bought Hill Top 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 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.
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.
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.