Lake District

Welcome to the Lake District Website. The Lake District is one of the nicest National Parks in England. It has some of the best mountain scenery, and as the name suggests, contains a plethora of lakes of various sizes within its boundaries. In July 2017, the outstanding natural beauty of the Lake District was acknowledged internationally by UNESCO, who awarded the Lake District National Park world heritage status.

lake district virtual tour

Rydal Water and Grasmere in the Lake District , an area that has close associations with the Lakeland poet, William Wordworth . The natural beauty of the Lake District inpired his work, along with many other poets and artists over the ages. This inspiration was a key factor in the Lake District National Park being awared UNESCO World Heritage Status in July 2017.

lake district virtual tour

View of Lake Windermere looking south. Photograph by J. Edward Taylor

Explore the Lake District

I have set up the site so you can explore the Lake District by its Fells, Lakes, Valleys and Villages. Each has its own home page with more information and menus to help you navigate. There is also a home page for the many Lake District Maps on this site, each one with its own individual theme or area. There is, for example, a general overview Lake District Map that's well worth checking out (it uses the Google Earth Plugin).

The Lake District Online Walking Shop

If you are planning a trip to the Lake District sometime in the future, you might want to take a look at my Lake District Online Walking Shop . Choose from a selection of outdoor products, including Lake District maps and guides, walking boots, rucksacks, and camping gear etc, all at cheaper internet prices. Once you have filled your shopping cart, just click the link which will take you to, with whom I am affiliated. They will then fulfil your order.

Visit the Lake District Online Walking Shop .

Lake District on Google Earth

This site uses the Google Earth Plugin on many pages to help bring the Lake District to life. This innovative software presents us with a fresh way of viewing the Lake District from a range of new perspectives. You can view 3d images of the mountains and valleys, and take guided tours around the villages and lakes. You are also free to visually navigate the Lake District Maps going wherever you choose. I have found this a great way explore Lakeland in intricate detail.

The Goggle Earth Plugin is free software that can be downloaded in a couple of minutes from this site. Download Google Earth Plugin

Lake District Walking Routes

This site also uses the Google Earth plugin to overlay walking routes in addition to providing descriptions about mountain features on many of the Lake District Fells. If this is of interest to you, I recommend you take a look at the pages on Scafell Pike , Helvellyn , or the Langdale Pikes . You can also see a full list on the Lakeland Fells home page.

If you are planning a walk on Scafell Pike please check out the Lake District website's weather page .

I hope this site brings you as much pleasure and interest in the Lake District as it has done for me. Justin Farrell .

lake district virtual tour

Screen shot of Helvellyn 3D map and Virtual Tour .

view 3d map of the Lake District

Lake District in 3D

lake district virtual tour

Screen shot of the English Lake District Virtual Tour of Lakes .

lake district virtual tour

Screen shot of Borrowdale to Scafell Pike 3d route map .

lake district virtual tour

Photograph of the Scafell range by Ann Bowker

Lake District Hotels

If you are thinking of taking a break in the Lake District , you can now use this site to find and book Lake District hotel accommodation. There are links which take you to information about hotels in the areas that you have been reading about. Once you find a hotel that is of interest, just click the button to go to the relevant page of an external travel website, to check prices , availability , and to book a room online .

Go to the Lake District Hotels section now

Lake District Hotels

The Waterhead Hotel , Ambleside

Lake District OS Maps

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Virtual Tour of England - Lake District



The Lake District is one of England's most visited regions - for good reason. Much of this hilly region of north-west England is included in Lake District National Park.

This largest of England's National Parks provides an exciting mix of mountain and lake scenery. Postcard-perfect in summer, in fall the brown bracken of the mountain slopes contrasts with the reds of oak forests and the beginnings of snow-white frosting on the mountain peaks.

The Lake District is a walker's paradise at any time. One of the most popular of the multitude of fine hill-walking opportunities is Scafell Pike , at 3210 ft the highest mountain in England. Another popular walk is Helvellyn , which can be a pleasant stroll or a distinct challenge, depending upon which path you choose.

The adventurous will want to try the approach along the narrow ridge of Striding Edge. Be warned: the weather can change suddenly, and even if it looks fine at lower elevations, the peaks may be subject to unpleasant conditions. Always check the weather forecast before setting out.

Shap Abbey

For the less adventurous there are countless trails among the lower fells and around the shores of the lakes which make for fine walking. The "Mountain Goat" buses will get you to most of the main passes for fell walking. If you prefer a more leisurely style of exploration, you can take a regularly scheduled boat trip on one of the lakes.

The spectacular scenery of the Lake District has drawn literary figures for generations. One of the most popular was William Wordsworth , who lived at Dove Cottage , which is now a museum of the poet's life and works. Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit tales, lived at Hill Top , near Ambleside, and Brantwood was the home of John Ruskin, the influential Victorian art critic and writer.

Near Keswick is Castlerigg Stone Circle , an atmospheric circle of standing stones set in a natural amphitheatre of hills and peaks. The circle can easily be accessed from the town centre.

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The World Was Here First

The Perfect 3 or 4 Days in the Lake District Itinerary

Last Updated on January 17, 2024

by Sarah Dittmore

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lake district virtual tour

One of the UK’s most alluring destinations in England, planning a 3 or 4 days in the Lake District itinerary is an absolutely unforgettable thing to do in this area in the north of the country. Essential to add to many England itineraries or even to explore if you’re venturing onward to Scotland , you will never regret spending time in the Lake District.

Known for its stunning waterways and gorgeous scenery, the region will take your breath away. However, there’s more to do in the Lake District than just enjoy the views. Whether riding a steam train across the countryside, hiking to breathtaking overlooks, touring buildings from the 13 th century, or just lounging by the lake, a visit to the Lake District is guaranteed to be a blast.

Table of Contents

How Many Days in the Lake District?

One of the first questions that will come up when planning your trip is how many days to spend in the Lake District. Some visitors may be drawn to a longer, weeklong visit and this can be a great way to see the area while also enjoying plenty of R&R at the hotel.

However, the truth is that 3 to 4 days is plenty of time to take in all of the beauty and enjoy some of the quirks and hidden gems of this region.

If you have 3 days in the Lake District, you will have time to go on several hikes, visit the lakes in all of their beauty and see some of the top historic sites in the area. However, if you have 4 days, you will also have time to visit the coast and take in some more highlights of Cumbria.

Beautiful Lake District

Getting To & Around the Lake District

Navigating the Lake District is fairly easy. The roads are well-maintained and comfortable to drive with plenty of stops for food and petrol.

Renting a car may be more expensive, and you may need to get comfortable with driving on the left side of the road depending on where you’re coming from, but you may find it is worth it for the freedom and flexibility it gives you on your trip. You can browse to compare options for car rental.

However, public transport in the Lake District is widely available and relatively affordable. You can get trains to the Lake District from London , Glasgow , and Manchester . You can browse routes here .

Once in the Lake District, the National Express and Stagecoach Bus both offer a variety of routes that connect different towns and tourist destinations around the Lake District.

While the buses will help you get from point A to B, there are some stops along the way in this Lake District road trip itinerary that may make it worthwhile to rent a car instead.

Boats on Windermere Lake

3 to 4-Day Lake District Itinerary

The Lake District is a beloved destination for international and local visitors alike. Referring to both the district and the National Park, the Lake District is known for its sprawling glacial lakes, the fell mountains that surround the waters, and the history and British culture woven throughout the surrounding towns.

With 3 days, you’ll be able to enjoy the water, go for a few hikes, and check out some of the history and literary associations that the area is famous for.

Those who choose to spend 4 days will also have a chance to visit the coast and tour a National Heritage site.

No matter how long you choose to stay, this itinerary will help you make the most of your visit.

Day 1 – Windermere, Wray Castle, Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top & More

Located alongside a lake by the same, Windermere is a picturesque British town featuring Tudor-style buildings and a quaint, laid-back atmosphere. In the town itself, you’ll find plenty of delicious restaurants, cute shops, and even the odd art gallery.

But the main event is Windermere Lake, and what better way to kick off your trip to the Lake District National Park than with a visit to the largest lake in England?

Lounge on the beach, go for a swim, or simply sit by the water and take in the views. However you choose to spend your time, a visit to this jaw-dropping lake is a must.

Orrest Head Viewpoint

To get better acquainted with the beauty of the Lake District, the next item is a visit to the Orrest Head. This easy, 2.8-mile loop hike takes you from Windermere to the Orrest Head Viewpoint, and shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half.

The hike is accessible to all levels and, at the peak, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Lake Windermere and the surrounding countryside.

One of two hikes in this itinerary, the hike to Orrest Head Viewpoint is a great way to get a sweeping overview of the place where you will be spending the next 3 to 4 days.   

Orrest Head

Wray Castle

After your hike, it’s time to take in some of the Lake District’s history. Wray Castle is a gothic revival castle that was built in 1840 by a retired surgeon and later inherited by his nephew, Hardwicke Rawnsley, who served as the vicar of Wray Church.

The National Trust has owned the castle since 1929 and in addition to touring the building, visitors can stroll the paths that weave through the estate, picnic on the lawn, or see the photographs of Rupert Potter that hang on display in the dining room.

Visiting the grounds is free, but touring the inside of the castle is ticketed unless you’re a National Trust member.

Wray Castle

Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top

Situated just 15 minutes south of Wray Castle, you can continue your tour of the region’s history with Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse.

For both the literarily inclined and those just interested in British history and culture, Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top is a must-see. Though best known for her children’s book series, The Tale of Peter Rabbit , Beatrix Potter also worked as a natural scientist and conservationist.

Beatrix Potter’s house still stands atop a small hill in the Lake District and visitors can explore her house and garden, enjoy a meal at the pop-up café, and shop for souvenirs.

Tickets to enter must be booked in advance. You can also organise a half-day tour that includes a visit to the house as well as some nearby attractions.

Sunset at Kirkstone Pass

Now that you’ve gotten a sense of the region’s history, it’s time to head back to the shores of Windermere Lake in time to watch the sunset. While there’s no bad place to camp out and watch the sunset, a favorite is Kirkstone Pass, the highest pass in the Lake District.

A ten-minute drive up the A592 from Windermere will take you to Kirkstone Pass, Ambleside. From here, you can pull off the road at the car park beside Kirkstone Pass Inn and enjoy the views.

This perspective gives you a sweeping view of the sun setting over the hills and peaks like Scafell Pike, but those who choose to stay by the water won’t be disappointed either, as along the shores of Windermere Lake you’ll often be able to see the way the sky paints rainbow hues across the water.

Kirkstone Pass

Day 2 – Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, Stott Park Bobbin Mill & Fell Foot Park

Lakeside and haverthwaite railway.

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway is an old-fashioned steam train that runs along a railway that’s been in the region since the 1850s. Watch the country stream by and experience the joys of riding a steam train.

Return tickets cost £10.50 for adults and £6.30 for children. On one end of the railway, in Haverthwaite, you can check out the Haverthwaite Station Tea Room, where you can grab a bite to eat.

On the other end, in Lakeside, head to the Lakes Aquarium to learn more about the local animal life.

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Stott Park Bobbin Mill

An oft-overlooked attraction, Stott Park Bobbin Mill is 5000 times more interesting than it sounds. Yes, it is a functioning mill where wooden bobbins are made, but it’s so much more than that.

The passionate tour guides will give you a hands-on introduction to what it was like to work at the mill and you’ll find yourself fascinated and engaged from the moment you arrive until the time you leave.

While you don’t need to book in advance, tickets can be cheaper if you book online.

Fell Foot Park

After the railway and the mill, it’s time to head back to the water. Fell Foot Park is a beautiful, lush park that sits on the southern end of Windermere Lake.

In addition to simply enjoying this lovely park, it’s a great place to settle for an afternoon of water activities.

While at Fell Foot, you can rent kayaks, rowboats, or paddleboards; enjoy a picnic on the lawns; go for a swim in the lake; take a walk in the gardens; or dine and shop at the local cafes and boutiques that are spread around Fell Foot.

Windermere Lake at Dusk

Day 3 – Ullswater, Howton & Hallin Fell

Ullswater steamer to howtown.

Now that you’ve spent 2 days exploring the area around Windermere Lake, it’s time to head north to Ullswater, the second-largest lake in the Lake District at about 7 miles long.

One of the best ways to see what Ullswater is all about is to ride the Ullswater Steamer to Howtown Pier. You can start at Howtown Pier and book a return trip, or pick up the steamer at Glenridding Pier or Pooley Bridge Pier and ride it to Howtown Pier.

Return tickets can be purchased in-person or in advance online. Whatever route you take, take your time enjoying the open deck, saloons, and beautiful views.

View of Ullswater near Pooley Bridge

Hike to Hallin Fell

On the steamer, you’ll get to see the Lake District by water, but once in Howtown, you can explore by land by heading a few miles south to the Hallin Fell hike.

This 1.3-mile loop trail is relatively easy and takes around an hour to complete. The hike itself is a beautiful romp through the countryside, featuring an old stone church and some stone ruins, but the true highlight is the views of Ullswater from the peak.

Ullswater Lake

When you’re done hiking, head back to the lake to enjoy an afternoon by the water. Of course, you can always spend a few hours simply lounging by the lake and exploring the local shops and restaurants, but the more adventurous visitors might enjoy something a bit more active.

Activities include such things s sailing lessons through the Glenridding Sailing Centre or kayaking and cliff-jumping with Lake District Outdoor Activities.

Alternatively, head over to the nearby lake of Derwentwater and the lovely town of Keswick. Poetry fans also could head a bit south and visit St Oswald’s church in Grasmere and see the grave of William Wordsworth. You could also visit the nearby lake of Rydal Water. For those who are only spending 3 days, this marks the end of your Lake District itinerary.

Ullswater Lake

Day 4 – Ravenglass & Muncaster Castle

If you’ve decided to spend 4 days in the Lake District, this is a great chance to head to the coast.

Ravenglass is a small village on the coast of the Irish Sea. It takes about an hour to drive to Ravenglass from Windermere, or 2.5 hours to get there via train. Either way, it’s a gorgeous route through the western half of the Lake District.

Once in Ravenglass, you can visit the sea, hang out on the sandy shores of Drigg Sand Dunes and Beach, and explore the quaint coastal village before heading to Muncaster Castle.

Muncaster Castle

Though the castle has gone through many renovations over the centuries, the first version of Muncaster Castle was erected in the 13 th century atop Roman foundations from 79 AD. The final additions to the estate were completed in 1917.

Now, the castle and grounds are open to visitors at a cost of £19.00 for adults and £9.50 for children (though you can save 10% by booking online). In addition to touring the castle and surrounding gardens, visitors can view the on-side Hawk and Owl Centre, home to birds of prey and featuring daily flying displays.

Muncaster Castle hosts regular events, exhibitions, and festivals, so be sure to check the website before your visit to see what’s on!

Muncaster Castle

Where to Stay near Lake District

The Cavendish Arms – Located in the village of Cartmel, this inn is an excellent mid-range option in the Lake District. There are a number of cosy and comfortable rooms on offer and there is also a breakfast and dinner menu available.

Embleton Spa Hotel – For those looking for a bit of luxury while in the Lake District, then this hotel is an excellent choice. They have a great location, a wonderful spa and restaurant on site and plenty of plush rooms to ensure you have a lovely stay.

Kendal Hostel – If you’re travelling solo or on a tight budget, then this hostel is a great option. They have both dorm beds and private rooms available and good self-catering facilities for those who want to make their own meals.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Lake District hotels!

The Lake District is one of England’s most popular tourist destinations and with good reason. With so many ways to spend your time, from hiking and playing in the water to exploring literary attractions and historical sites, there’s a little something for everyone in the Lake District.

Are you planning to visit the Lake District? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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About Sarah Dittmore

Sarah is a writer for The World Was Here First. A California native, she loves travelling around her home state as well as visiting places further afield. She has spent over a decade travelling the world and writing stories inspired by the people and places she encounters along the way.

Hi Sarah, thank you for the article. I am planning for a family trip for 2 to Windermere end of Dec for 4 days. I will be staying in Windermere. Is there any local tour operator in Windermere I can contact for a 4 day tour you suggested above and could you kindly suggest an approximate cost for 2 persons. Appreciate your help.

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Exploring Lake District in 7 Days: An Itinerary Guide

  • 7th December 2020


  • On 9th April 2020

The Lake District is one of the most popular vacation destinations in England for locals and tourists alike. Its breathtaking landscapes, lakes, rolling hills, and towns showcase the unique charm of the region, which makes it worth exploring.

If you are considering spending your holidays in the Lake District, then this guide is for you. Here, we listed down some of the exciting activities and attractions you can experience and see to make your 7-day travel experience unforgettable.

Day 1: Carlisle

Carlisle is a great place to start your Lake District holiday adventure. 

Technically, Carlisle is not part of the Lake District, but it is easily accessible from the region. You can visit the place through a 56-kilometer drive to Keswick or a 75-minute car ride.

Some places you should not miss are the Carlisle Cathedral, which is more than 900 years old and houses ancient and medieval artefacts. You can also head to the Shabby Scholar for lunch. Their shakes and tapas are a must-try. On the other hand, if you are craving Sicilian food and want to experience lunchtime happy hour, then you should visit Amato’s.

Day 2: Keswick

Keswick is near Derwentwater, which you can explore by canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and windsurfers. Additionally, this town boasts of countless walking trails that offer spectacular views of the lake and mountains. They are also excellent stargazing spots.

Day 3: Ambleside

Ambleside has a tranquil ambience that lets you spend some relaxing quiet time. Here, you can learn more about the Lake District’s history, visit Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse, and explore various historical landmarks, such as museums and libraries.

Day 4: Windermere

Windermere is a lovely walking town in the region. With its tourist attractions and places that are straight out of fairy tales, this town is one of the best tourist spots for families. You can visit castles, stroll around Windermere Lake, and walk along the Western Shore. 

Day 5: Coniston

Coniston is perfect for thrillseekers. This area is a favourite among enthusiasts of water sports. To enjoy your water experience, make a splash by renting a kayak, motorboat, or paddleboard on Coniston Water. 

Other activities you can enjoy in Coniston are hiking the Old Man of Coniston and browsing the collection of local history at Ruskin Museum. 

Day 6: Ravenglass

Ravenglass is a coastal community that is blessed with the gorgeous views of the Irish Sea. In this village, you can enjoy touring the haunted castle, Cumbria Coast, and Eskdale Railway. 

Day 7: Bassenthwaite

In Bassenthwaite, you can take in the enchanting sights of gardens at Mirehouse & Gardens. For delightful teas, award-winning spirits, and other delicious options, visit the Old Sawmill, the Lakes Distillery, and the Sun Inn.

The Lake District provides a wide range of activities and attractions that is suitable for any type of traveller. You could explore the region countless times, and you will discover something new to love every time.

Whether you are travelling with your loved one or going on a trip on your own, the Lake District is the perfect tourist destination for you. Here, you will surely not run out of beautiful sights to see, amazing activities to experience, and tasty foods to savour.

If you are planning to go on a holiday trip to the Lake District and are looking for top-notch lodges in the region, then you’ve come to the right place. Get in touch with us to see how we can help.

If you have always wanted your own piece of the Lake District then get in touch with us today.

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A 1 day Lake District itinerary with must see places

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So you want to spend 1 day in the Lake District. We think this is a must if you are planning a trip to the UK. Known for its incredible beauty, rugged mountains, and quaint villages, you will never find a shortage of things to do here. In this post we help you plan a Lake District Day trip, including how to get here, where to eat, and what to see. This itinerary includes scenic gardens, lakeside walks, caves, and boat rides, as part of our recommended 1 day Lake District itinerary.

About the Lake District

Planning your lake district day trip, is a lake district day trip enough, 1 day in the lake district – how to get here, when to arrange your 1 day lake district trip, lake district road trip advice, bowness-on-windermere, lake cruise, rydal water walk, find the rydal cave, 1 day lake district itinerary (including map), eating and drinking on your lake district day trip, more uk day trips.

The Lake District is an area of outstanding beauty, and the largest national park in the UK. It contains around 16 lakes (with way more Tarns or small pools), and 150 high peaks, which includes the tallest mountain in England, Scafell Pike. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, and attracts tourists from all over the globe. The Lake District has inspired several writers and poets with its incredible landscape including Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth.

For a Lake District day trip, you want to pick a specific area of the lakes and stick to it. The area itself is bigger than you would think and it does take time to get between the towns and villages. Also the roads can be quite narrow and winding so you will need to factor that it. In this guide because we were driving from Manchester to we chose to stay around Windermere and Ambleside for our Lake District day trip.

Because we live in Manchester, a Lake District day trip is pretty doable for us. The drive is around 2 hours, and it gives us a good amount of time to explore for the day. That being said if you are coming from further afield, you might want to stay a little longer, because there is so much to see and do. Here is a 4 day Lake District itinerary to give you some ideas if you do have more time.

Now that you have decided to plan your Lake District day trip you might be wondering how on earth you get there. If you do only have 1 day in the Lake District then realistically you want to drive. From Manchester you will need to take the M61 and M6, and you should get to the Lake District in around 2 hours. We highly recommend leaving early because traffic can be a bit of a nightmare during peak times. The good thing is that when driving in the UK you will find the motorways very well signposted, so getting to the Lake District is relatively easy.

You have the option to get the train as well, but again if it is a day trip you are hoping to do it might be more difficult with the trains. There is a regular train from Manchester to Oxenholme, in the Lake District, but from here you do need to change to get to your onward destination. Also the train station in Windermere for example is a bit of a walk to the actual Lake so keep that in mind as well.

Alternatively for your 1 day in the Lake District you can book yourself onto a pre-organised tour.

When planning your 1 day in the Lake District you might be wondering what time of year is best to visit. Personally we think that the Lake District is beautiful year round. But there are some pros and cons to each season. For starters, the weather is obviously going to be better in summer, and the days are longer meaning you can stay out later when hiking or exploring. But summer is also peak season. Accommodation tends to be booked out particularly in August during school holidays. Traffic is also slightly worse, particularly in and around popular spots like Windermere. If you only have 1 day in the Lake District you don’t want to spend it stuck in traffic or queuing for attractions.

Winter tends to be way quieter, but keep in mind the days are much shorter and you might not be able to pack in as much as in the summer. That being said there is something really beautiful about walking around in the middle of a frosty winters day, and retreating to a pub with a fireplace and a hot meal to warm up. If you can plan your Lake District day trip for a crisp and dry day then I definitely wouldn’t discount a winter trip.

We think the perfect time to visit the Lakes is either in Spring or Autumn. The bright floral hues of spring and the red leaves of autumn are a perfect addition to the incredible scenery.

Wondering when the  best and worst time to visit England  is as a whole? Here is a helpful guide.

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Realistically to make the most out of your 1 day in the Lake District you are going to want to drive. It is the easiest way to get to each attraction, especially if you only have 1 day to explore.

If you are visiting the UK we recommend having a read of this article with tips on renting a car in the UK .

Here are some of our tips for planning a road trip in the Lake District

  • Roads are narrow but generally in good condition making driving around quite easy
  • Keep an eye out for weather forecasts and road conditions, flooding can be quite common during the rainy season
  • Make a plan but don’t pack things in too tightly as you may want to stop at a hidden gem you discover along the route
  • Be prepared to pay for parking, particularly at the more touristy places
  • You do get a lot of winding roads so take care around corners as to avoid oncoming traffic
  • Always follow the speed limit but do not feel pressure to do the maximum speed. Sometimes locals may get frustrated when you don’t do the max speed on the roads. Obviously they are used to the roads so don’t feel pressure to speed up. Try and pull to the side if it is safe to do so and let them pass you.

Where to go for your 1 day in the Lake District

Now that the formalities are out of the way here are some of our favourite places to help you plan where to go on your Lake District day trip.

Bowness-on-Windermere is a must when you only have 1 day in the Lake District. It is located on Lake Windermere which also happens to be the largest of the lakes. We recommend making it your first stop on your Lake District itinerary because it is very touristy and if you want to beat the crowds (particularly in the summer months) you need to get there early.

Bowness is a great place to explore and we highly recommend taking a walk around the water and taking in the scenery. It is also worth popping into the shops especially if you have a sweet tooth as you will find all sorts of tasty treats like fudge and mint cakes. We ended up buying some bird seed so that we could feed the swans although they did get a little too excited when they saw us walking around with our brown bag full of food! It basically resulted in me being chased by a swan who then grabbed the bag and gobbled up all the seeds.


There is a lot of parking at Bowness though you will need to pay. It’s also easy to get here at it is heavily signposted.

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A visit to the Lake district would not be complete without doing a lake cruise. At Bowness there are a variety of different cruises you can choose from, or if you are feeling more adventurous you can rent a motorised boat and do it all yourself.

We have visited the Lakes a few times and we have done both. The motorised boat was a lot of fun, but keep in mind it can be quite expensive and you have to return the boat within an hour(or within a set amount of time depending on how long you have agreed to rent it for). We also had a few close shaves with the ferries as we frantically tried to get out of their way.

The good thing with the cruise is that you can literally sit back, relax, and listen as someone tells you all about Lake Windermere. You can also get off the boat at one of the designated stops, explore, and catch the next ferry back.

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We did the ‘yellow’ cruise which is a 90-minute cruise to Lakeside and back. At Lakeside you do get the option to  also book onto the Steam Railway, which we do recommend, as the scenery is really beautiful. I’m conscious that this is a Lake District day trip itinerary, so if you feel 90 minutes is too long, then there are shorter cruises.

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Also located along Lake Windermere is the town of Ambleside. Depending on which cruise from Bowness you choose Ambleside (Waterhead Pier) may be one of your stops. It’s much quieter here than Bowness and it is really beautiful particularly if you are here when the sun starts to set.

The only downside if you are trying to explore Waterhead Pier is that there isn’t a lot of parking close by. If you do manage to get a spot though it is worth the visit.

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Rydal Hall is one of those hidden gems that you have to add to your 1 day in the Lake District. Or at least in our opinion. It is a former 17th century mansion turned hotel with around 34 acres of grounds including manicured gardens, and waterfalls. Apart from having to pay for parking (more info below) it is free to explore the gardens. One of our favourite parts of the gardens is the grotto pictured below. Apparently William Wordsworth was also a fan which you will see why if you visit.

Close to the hall you will find Rydal Mount and gardens, which is the childhood home of William Wordsworth. You do need to pay to explore the house and gardens (around £7.50 for both) but this is a must for all literary fans.

There is onsite parking if you are visiting the Hall, but it is scarce. It is also a bit steep in terms of price. We paid £10 but we did end up leaving the car here whilst we had lunch and did a long walk around Rydal Water and the caves. All in all we probably left the car here for half a day. Once you have a parking space you need to go to the reception at the hall, pay the fee, and provide your number plate. You are then given a slip to display on your dashboard.

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Rydal Water walk is a 2.8 mile walk with gorgeous lakeside scenery. If you want to do the full walk you need to pencil in about 2 hours. If you are only spending 1 day in the Lake District it might not be possible to do the full walk, but it is worth a visit regardless. There are also a lot of places you can just sit and admire the views. We started the walk by the Badger Bar which incidentally is where we recommend you pop in for a pub lunch.

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If you take a short forested walk from Rydal Water you will stumble upon the Rydal Caves. The route is pretty well signposted so you shouldn’t get lost. There are a number of stepping stones that you need to navigate which will lead you into the cave. The caves are actually man made which I was quite surprised about, but apparently they are a product of quarrying for slate.

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1 day in the Lake District is not complete without chowing down on a delicious pub meal. There are a lot of really good pubs to eat in so it is hard to narrow it down to just one or two. That being said if you are following our 1 day Lake District itinerary as above then we recommend the Badger Bar in Ambleside for lunch. They serve all your english pub favourites like pies, and of course fish and chips. It is a great place to stop and refuel before doing a walk around Rydal water.

Another favourite in Bowness is the Stags Head . They do a good pub meal at reasonable prices, and they have a fireplace to warm you up after a long walk. Food is served until 7pm so make sure you get in before that if you are planning on having dinner here as per our itinerary.

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If you are trying to decide between the Lake District or Peak District here is a handy guide.

Pin This: 1 day Lake District itinerary for 1 day in the Lake District

If you are looking for some more UK day trip ideas you can check out these articles:

1 day in York

Chester day trip itinerary

Robin Hood’s Bay day trip

Peak District day trip

Visiting Portmeirion

lake district virtual tour

Wanderlust and Life is a blog for those that love to travel.

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