Dodging floods on a Derwent Water circular walk
Derwent Water is one of the most picturesque areas of the Lake District, but at the time I went I had to carefully plan a route to avoid recent flood damage.
Discover 5 of the best places to see during your time in the Lake District National Park
Described in Pride and Prejudice as the place Elizabeth Bennet is ‘excessively disappointed’ not to see, the Lake District continues to wow both first-time and long-time visitors. Offering endless skies, rugged fells, mirror-like water and every other postcard cliché you can dream up, it is truly beautiful. There’s also a lot to see and do, and when you only have a few days, working out exactly how to spend your time can prove a headache.
To help inspire you, we’ve picked out a few of our favourite parts to visit:
Lizzy Bennet may not have seen the lakes, but thankfully there are many other literary connections in the area, including Hill Top Farm in Hawkshead, which was the home of Peter Rabbit author, Beatrix Potter.
Since the age of 16, Potter had loved the Lakes and when income allowed, bought the farm, where she bred prize-winning sheep. It appeared in many of her later books. The house is now open to the public, on show as per her own instructions to the National Trust – to which she bequeathed this and 14 other farms in the Lake District. It contains many of her belongings and mementos, and provides a fascinating insight into her life and writing. A great option for Jemima Puddleduck fans of all ages.
With so many incredible views, to narrow it down to just one is bound to cause some controversy (do add your thoughts below), but nevertheless, we’ve set our cap at Wasdale Head at Wastwater.
Voted Britain’s Favourite View in 2007, the clear water, craggy screes and Scafell Pike make this a spot not to miss. It’s beautiful in the sunshine, but just as stunning on a grey, dramatic day, where it can feel somewhat eerie. Don’t forget the camera.
It’s hard not to mention every single one of the lakes which are sprinkled about the national park and it’s equally hard not to want to see every single one of them yourself. If you are pressed for time, the Mountain Goat Ten Lakes Spectacular tour could be just the thing. Starting at Windermere, it includes Rydal Water, Bassenthwaite, Derwent Water, Kendal, Grasmere and Ullswater, and also takes in the Kirkstone and Honistor mountain passes, to name but a few of the stops. It’s a great way to cram a lot into a short amount of time and will enable you to see some of the Lake District’s most beautiful treasures.
A common gripe from visitors in the summer is of the Lake District midges – those annoying little flying insects which are common between June to September. Insect repellent should be sufficient to deter them and it can help to wear light-coloured clothes, too. Bear that in mind if you’re near the water in the summer.
The village of Coniston and its eponymous water are popular spots for visitors to the lakes. The Old Man is a fell which is incorporated into many walks, as there are several way-marked paths to the top. Coniston Water is perfect for kayaking, sailing and canoeing (the Coniston Boating Centre can equip you with everything from motor boats to paddle boards), after which you can explore the pubs and cafes in the village for some much-earned sustenance.
Another way to see it is to take the restored Victorian gondola, which showcases the Old Man and many other jaw-dropping fells. The restored steam boat departs from Coniston Pier and stops at Monk Coniston, Parkamoor, Lake Bank and Brantwood.
When holidaying in an area as blessed with natural beauty as the Lake District, it might seem somehow immoral to so much as think about shopping. However, if your thoughts and wallet do turn in that direction, there are some great retail opportunities across the area that extend beyond the bog-standard shopping mall.
Take the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, for example. Rated the ‘top Lake District shop’ on Trip Advisor, the tiny cottage sells unique gingerbread which is still made as per the original Victorian recipe. The shop celebrates the life and culinary work of Sarah Nelson, who invented the cake-crossed-with-biscuit-like gingerbread in 1845. A well-known character in the local community, her legacy lives on and the shop has become a popular tourist spot, so it’s always busy.
Away from gingerbread, the Rheged Centre in Penrith offers boutique shopping, films, indoor play areas, food and more – keeping everyone entertained. Lastly, you can’t visit Windemere without stopping by the flagship Lakeland store for all those wonderful items you never knew you needed!
What are your favourite places to visit in the Lake District? Have we got the best view wrong? Let us know your thoughts and recommendations below.