Top 10 locations to visit in the Lakes

5 August 2020

Now is a great time to visit the Lake District. With wide-open spaces, beautiful scenery, and plenty of hidden places to explore, you can plan a day trip for the family, a top attraction to visit during your short break, or a walk to enjoy on our stunning fells. The most important thing is to plan your visit and take care to always follow social distancing guidelines when enjoying the National Park.

The Lake District is bursting with breathtaking views, picture postcard villages, mesmerising lakes, and epic mountains.  It’s hard to narrow down where to go and what to see. Check out the top 10 places below:

1. Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows is a man-made, stunning beauty spot. In Victorian times, a beck was dammed, creating the tarns you see today. The Hows are the surrounding small, wooded hills, simply beautiful. True quintessential English landscape you read about in so many poems and stories of the Lake District. Certainly not to be missed.

Tarns Hows is one of our Miles Without Stiles easy access walking routes

2. Aira Force

Aira Force waterfall

Aira Force waterfalls

Aira Force is no ordinary waterfall. A true display of power and beauty which must be seen to be believed. If water levels are high then you’ll be in for an amazing show.

Explore other great things do around Ullswater

3. Surprise View at Derwent

This is a view you won’t forget. The view point is actually called ‘Surprise View’. If you head past Ashness Bridge you’ll come to this magnificent sight - Derwentwater in all its glory and, if the weather plays ball, you can even see Bassenthwaite Lake

Explore other great things to do around Derwentwater and Keswick

4. Scafell Pike

If you enjoy a challenge then Scafell Pike will be right up your street. It’s 978 metres high and is England's highest mountain. The starting point for most is from Wasdale head, making your way to Wasdale is a delight in itself, the route takes you alongside Wastwater, a stunning lake which is surrounded by Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and of course Scafell Pike.

Scaling Scafell Pike will be an adventure! When you reach the summit you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding fells and if the conditions are right you might even see over to the Isle of Man and Scotland. Remember, conditions change quickly in the fells, be Adventure Smart before tackling any Lakeland fells.

Explore other great things to do around Wastwater and the West Coast

5. Grasmere

View over Grasmere lake

Grasmere village.

Tucked in the heart of the Lake District, Grasmere is a delight to explore. The village is charmed with cute cottages, shops, pubs and cafes, not forgetting of course the famous Grasmere Gingerbread on offer still sold in original cottage where Sarah Nelson once lived and worked.

You’ll be equally charmed by the spectacular fells surrounding Grasmere with Helm Crag to the south and Dunmail Raise to the north, you can see why so many poets and writers alike took inspiration from this delightful corner of the Lake District.

Things to do and where to stay in Grasmere

6. Brockhole

Located on the shores of lake Windermere in between Ambleside and Windermere a visit to Brockhole is a must for all ages.

You can arrive in true Lake District style by boat or by car, bus, rail or on foot. Head for the trees with Treetop Trek and Nets, the award-winning high ropes attraction - fly down the 250m zip wire and create your own woodland adventure.

Brockhole visitor centre

Brockhole sits on the shore of lake Windermere.

Splash around down by the lake where you can hire motor boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards - the choice is yours.

Brockhole is perfect for family time in wide-open parkland. With a free adventure playground as well as plenty of activities including archery, mini-golf, and laser clay shooting there is plenty to keep the children entertained. There’s even a Woodland Faerie Trail through the enchanted woods for the little ones.

With all this adventuring you must make sure you find time to relax and enjoy tea and cake in the Brockhole café, with a terrace overlooking the lake, or grab a healthy sandwich from The Potting Shed and set up your picnic on the lawn. Brockhole café and The Gaddum Restaurant is now serving delicious Sunday Lunch, enjoy the finest Lakeland roast with views of Lake Windermere and the fells beyond.

Book activities at Brockhole

7. Coniston Boating Centre

Coniston Boating Centre

Hire a boat at Coniston Boating Centre.

You’ll find Coniston Boating Centre on the banks of Coniston Water. You’ll be struck by how remarkably beautiful Coniston Water is, the romance of the sailing boats dotted across the water, the Coniston fells and ancient woodland, surrounding the shores.

The lake is five miles long and a mile wide. At Coniston Boating Centre you can hire motor boats, paddleboards, canoes, sailing dinghies and more to allow you to explore and immerse yourself in the blissful tranquillity the area offers. Plus Coniston Boating Centre is officially accredited ‘Good to Go’ by Visit Britain so you can feel safe while enjoying everything on offer.

Book your boat at Coniston Boating Centre

8. Ullswater

A view looking south over Ullswater

Looking south over Ullswater

This is a magical lake with magnification mountain scenery to the south and over to the north you’ll find softer rolling hills. The lake is seven and half miles long and a mile across placing Ullswater as the second largest lake in England. You can enjoy the stunning views around the lake by boat, bike and bus, or why not try the Ullswater Way, a 20 mile circular route around the lake.

Things to do and where to stay around Ullswater

9. Hardknott Fort

You’ll be blown away by this truly remote and dramatic remains of a Roman fort. It was founded under Hadrian's rule in the 2nd century. Built as the headquarters building, commandant's house and bath house. Today, you’ll see the remains of the parade grounds beside the fort. It’s free to visit and definitely worth a trip.

Have your wits about you though, Hardnott Pass is one of the most difficult roads in the country and not somewhere you’d like to break down or get stuck, with poor phone signal it’s often difficult to get help.

10. Honister Pass

The Honister pass is one of the most scenic and breathtaking mountain routes in the Lake District. The pass climbs up from the eastern end of Borrowdale valley up to 1167 feet and drops down into the Buttermere with a gradient of 1 in 4.

Why not explore the circular route by car following the Honister pass from Keswick, take in the Newlands Pass, Buttermere and Crummock Water.

Things to do and where to stay in Keswick

Explore and stay in the Northern Lakes

Safer Lakes

Have a look at our Safer Lakes page to see updates on car park capacity, allowing you to enjoy a socially distanced adventure in the Lake District, or even find somewhere new to explore in our breath-taking landscape.

Book your Lake District break today

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