Lake District National Park Things to Do Tips by Rachael71
Lake District National Park Things to Do: 242 reviews and 490 photos
Derwentwater in the Spring
If your legs don't fancy a stretch across the fells, why not try a stroll around one of the beautiful Lakes instead? A circuit of Derwentwater is around 9 miles in length and takes in some stunning scenery and, as you stay at low level throughout, there are only a few fairly gradual and relatively easy ascents and descents throughout. We saw wild deer in the woods as we walked, so keep your eyes peeled! The Lodore Falls Hotel is en route, and welcomes walkers to its bar.
Although most paths are very clear, I would recommend taking an OS map if you walk around Derwentwater. One or two areas are off limits to walkers and you need to joint the road and then cut back down to the Lake, so it's useful to know where footpaths start and end.
Hill Top Cottage
Beatrix Potter's cottage at Near Sawrey near Hawkshead is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Lake District. Beatrix lived here for several years until her marriage, and kept the cottage on as a place in which to write her stories even after leaving it to live in another house after her marriage. Many of the pictures she painted for her books are of parts of the cottage, and the National Trust has put copies of the books around the place, so that you can easily see where she drew her inspiration. Even the dolls' house that the Two Bad Mice broke into is on display, with the tiny plates of food they tried to eat! One of my favourite parts was the garden, where you can see a wheelbarrow and spade displayed, just as though Mr MacGregor from The Tale of Peter Rabbit had left for a few moments.
The guides at the cottage are extremely knowledgeable and have lots of stories of Beatrix and her life to share. Because the cottage is so tiny, admission is by timed ticket only so beware of visiting on days that are likely to be very busy.
Admission in 2006 was £5.10 per adult, £2.30 per child. Discounted tickets can be purchased if you are also visiting the Beatrix Potter Gallery in nearby Hawkshead, where the original pictures from her books are displayed (none of these are at Hill Top). I haven't visited the gallery yet, but hope to get there soon.
Address: Near Sawrey, near Hawkshead, Ambleside
Castlerigg Stone Circle
It may not be as grand as Stonehenge, but as you can see, it is possible to get right up to the stones at Castlerigg and let their powers work their magic on you!
There are several examples of stone circles in the Lake District, but Castlerigg, with its circle of 38 boulders, is probably the best example. It is thought to date back to around 3200BC. It is not far from the town of Keswick, and a visit to it can easily be incorporated into walks around the area.
Admission is free.
Directions: Signposted from Keswick. Map reference: NY 291 236
Lake Windermere cruise
Windermere and Bowness are not my favourite Lakeland towns. I find them far too busy, and what were once pretty towns are now full of tacky souvenir shops and chintzy tea rooms. However, you can take a Windermere cruise from the landing stage at Bowness, which is a really pleasant way to pass the time. If your feet ache from all that walking, just sit back, relax and let the scenery drift past you. The cruise also runs from Ambleside. Prices in 2001 (when I last took the trip) were 6GBP for a return ticket.
View from the top of Coniston Old Man
Coniston Old Man (802 metres) is one of the more popular walks for visitors to the Lakes, and it provides tremendous views across the hills to the Irish Sea. You need to be pretty fit to tackle it - this was the first walk I ever did in the Lake District and I was begging for mercy by the end, I made sure I got myself in better shape before I tackled any more of the hills!
The route up the mountain is fairly clear, and it is interesting to see the remains of old Lakeland industries as you walk . The abandoned slate mines always make me think of a ghost town. You can go straight up and down the same way, but it is nice to extend the walk by a few miles and take in more of the scenery by descending via the disused copper mines. After you have finished the walk, go to the Black Bull for a pint of Bluebird Bitter, which is brewed on the premises and is named after Donald Campbell's speedboat.
View from Scafell Pike
Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, with a summit at 978 metres. You need to be reasonably fit to walk it, and make sure you are well-equipped as the weather is so changeable - waterproofs and warm clothing are a must, even if the weather forecast is reasonable, as it can change so quickly. The views from the top are stunning and are well worth the climb. There is a well-placed pub at Wasdale Head so that you can indulge in a hard-earned pint at the end!
The nearest town is Seathwaite, but as Scafell is pretty central, any town would make a good base for this walk.
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