The Lake District National Park Travel Guide
Known affectionately as ‘The Lakes’ or ‘Lakeland’, Cumbria’s Lake District is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK. With lakes (obviously!), forests and plenty of mountains for adventurous tourists to explore, the Lakes provides some of the most rugged and breath-taking countryside Britain has to offer.
Take our Ijmuiden to Newcastle ferry crossing and it’s just a two-hour drive to the Lake District once you arrive. Or, you can experience the charms of southern England as you make your way north to the Lakes when you take our Dieppe to Newhaven, or Dunkirk or Calais to Dover ferries.
Why Visit the Lake District?
Follow in the footsteps of the famous Lakes Poets, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and experience this inspirational landscape for yourself. As the UK’s most popular National Park, the Lakes attract around 15 million people every year.
It’s hard to find more picture-perfect scenery anywhere, with the craggy hills and peaceful lakes, majestic mountains and winding lanes.
Image credit: Cumbria Tourism
What to See in the Lake District
Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England, and arguably its most famous and popular. Along or near the banks of this wending body of water can be found a whole host of activities, places to visit and things to do, both on and around the lake.
Popular nearby villages include Ambleside, a bustling town of outdoor equipment shops, bookshops, gift shops, cafes and restaurants; Bowness-on-Windermere, where you can shop, dine, eat an ice cream and watch the steamers arriving and departing from Bowness Bay; and Lakeside, which is at the southern foot of Windermere and hosts the Lakes Aquarium and one end of the Haverthwaite Steam Railway.
Coniston Water is the third largest lake in the Lake District and sits around half a mile from the village of Coniston. At around five miles long and half a mile wide, the lake provides the perfect destination for those looking for a chilly dip, or for a spot of sailing, as boats can be hired from the Coniston Boating Centre on the shore.
In the village itself you’ll find shops, a plethora of pubs and restaurants, as well as quaint streets to walk along. Towering above the lake and village is the Old Man of Coniston, a mountain that can provide a leisurely day’s climbing for an enthusiastic family keen for a taste of the outdoors.
At Grasmere you’ll find the historic home of William Wordsworth. This National Trust property is a must for visitors looking to get a little closer to the man who gave the world such immortal verses as ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud.’
Wordsworth House in Grasmere was William Wordsworth’s birthplace, and a tour around this beautiful cottage and its half-wild garden will make it obvious where his love of nature and the Lake District came from. The house is now filled with memorabilia from Wordsworth’s life, including the poet’s ice-skates, his passport, a pair of his reading glasses and a portrait of one of his favourite dogs, Pepper, given to him as a present by Sir Walter Scott.
If you’re looking to experience the rugged isolation characteristic of the Lake District, then look no further than a stay at the iconic Wasdale Head Inn. Overlooked by the highest peaks in the Lake District, including Scafell Pike, Scafell and Great Gable, the inn is miles from the nearest village and apart from the tiny St Olaf’s church, is alone in its very own valley.
The inn itself has many charms, with open fires, a slate-floored fell-walkers bar and walls filled with mountaineering gear and old photos of climbers long past. The perfect place to rest your feet after a busy day of hiking.
WE'RE AWARD WINNING
It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as Europe's and the World’s Leading Ferry Operator in the 2015 World Travel Awards. We've won these awards for 5 years running.