"The Wonderful Lake District" Lake District National Park by eddilowe
Lake District National Park Travel Guide: 487 reviews and 1,307 photos
I have always been to the Lake District in the Autumn and Winter months. I find it quite hard to imagine it all green and lush and flowers in bloom. I personally prefer this time of year anyway and feel the scenery is far more dramatic, although you do have to dice with the possibility of rain if you want to get out and about.
I have always stayed either in Ambleside or Elterwater and find that it's the best base to get around to the whole area as the main roads A591, A592 and A593 are easily accessible from there, as is the A595 via the amazing road that goes over Wrynose and the "not for the faint hearted" Hardknott passes, which is ridiculously steep in places.
Almost every road is picturesque and there are so many things to do and places to go in such a vast area of almost 3000 square kilometeres. The highest mountain in England is here - Scafell Pike at 978m tall.
The National Trust is responsible for the conservation of around a quarter of the whole area of the Lake District and you'll see their oak leaves & acorns logo on signposts quite a lot as you get around. This page links to all the properties, lakes, tarns and other places of interest they look after.
There are plenty of these to go at and some of the best scenery is available on and around them. The most important advice I can offer is to make sure your vehicle is up to the job. You don't need anything fancy, a normal everyday car will do the trick, but make sure you've got good brakes and your tyres are in decent nick. The steep bits aren't difficult if you just take it steady, use your gears wisely, keep your wits about you and have faith in your car. Remember the rule of the Highway Code - vehicles going up hill have right of way over vehicles coming down. If you see a car even a little way off coming up the hill, find a little spot to pull to the side and wait for them to pass. You'll appreciate it when people do it for you. Mostly drivers are pretty polite on these roads ...no one wants to come head to head with another car on a steep slope and someone having to reverse round a 1 in 3 hairpin bend!!
The Kirkstone Pass runs north/south and is accessed on the A592 which ultimately leads all the way up past and right along the side of Ullswater. You can also get to Kirkstone Pass via a road known as The Struggle direct from Ambleside, which was the old original road up, very steeply in places, to the Kirkstone Pass Inn at the summit of the pass (the 4th highest pub in England at 1480ft)
Wrynose Pass and Hardknott Pass runs more or less east/west between the A593 near Ambleside and Eskdale Green near the A595 and Wast Water. I think Hardknott is the greatest challenge in a vehicle. I have driven it and been driven over it on several occasions and it's pretty hairy. The gradient reaches 1 in 3 or 33% in places. Wrynose by comparison is a little more sedate drive through the valley, but no less scenic.
Honister Pass is more to the north near Keswick and runs between Buttermere by Crummock Water and Borrowdale. It's another spectacular road.
Whinlatter Pass is another northerly road running through the Whinlatter Forest Park accessed by the A66 near Keswick. It is nowhere near as steep as the other passes so easier to drive/cycle etc.
Newlands Pass is another that is near to Keswick and positioned between the Whinlatter and Honister passes. It runs between Braithwaite and Buttermere. I must confess I have never driven on this road but will definitely give it a try at some point.
There are masses of sheep all across the Lake District and you should be aware that they are also often wandering around aimlessly in the road, other times just sat eating grass and staring at you as you drive by and disturb their peace and quiet. Please be mindful of them and keep your speed sensible if travelling in a car or on a motorbike. Who wants to be driving fast around here anyway - you miss the scenery.
The Herdwick sheep that populate the fells are hugely important to the area. The sheep to a huge degree manage the environment with their grazing and without them it is said that the National Park wouldn't look as it does. You can read about them here.
- Pros:Scenery, Scenery and more Scenery
- Cons:Crowded in main holiday times
- In a nutshell:Fantastic for drivers and hikers alike
If you're in the Lake District you're likely to stumble across the Kirkstone Pass Inn. This old coaching inn stands at... more travel advice
We stayed in a standard double room at the top of the house on the second floor with a view across to the fells. The... more travel advice
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