There are so many beautiful spots around the Lake District. And I have to admit that I haven’t seen them all. We spent a week there a few years ago and saw quite a bit of it. More recently we visited for a few days in January. After researching (and a lot of driving around) we found some incredible spots. So I’m sharing my 3 must-see places in the Lake District. Hopefully you like them too!
The pass itself has a great view through the Buttermere valley but if you’re looking for a walk with a view then take a stroll through the slate mine. Apart from the initial uphill section, it’s a pretty easy walk where you can find two bothy’s along the way. To find the second bothy you need to cross the river and take the smaller path that heads to the right. This will bring you in front of the hill and around to the more popular or the two due to the gorgeous view it has.
In the drizzly January weather, the slate mine was a bit eerie but I think it made it even more impressive. The walk took us a couple of hours, with quite a few stops for photos. At the larger bothy there’s also a water spout so you can refill any bottles which is handy.
I would definitely recommend visiting the Lake District out of season. The hoards of tourists and midges won’t be around so it’s much easier to enjoy. Of course the down side is the weather. We were unlucky in January as our trip coincided perfectly with Storm Brendan hitting the UK. We still had a great time though.
There’s also the option of taking a trip down into the mine itself. It was closed when we went so if you want to do this then check their opening times first.
Ambleside is a gorgeous little town that is perfect for an afternoon of browsing. There are plenty of outdoor shops and cafes to keep you going. If you’re looking to buy from brands like Patagonia, Arc’teryx or Fjällräven then you won’t be disappointed.
Once it gets to the evening you should head to Zeffirelli’s for their dinner and movie deal. You need to make a reservation in advance but you get a two-course meal and movie tickets for £22.75 per person. They also have an early bird deal for even cheaper! Perfect if you want to hide from some not so great British weather.
One thing worth noting about the towns around the Lake District is that you will need a parking disc. These are available in a lot of the shops along the main high streets, as well as tourist information points. You need to display this in your car showing the time that you parked. Then just stick to the time limits for parking in that area and you’re good to go.
Ambleside would be a great base to stay in the Lake District. There are a lot of great spots nearby like Kirkstone Pass and lake Windermere.
If you like this post, you might want to read: Top 5 Rural UK Breaks
A very popular hike in the Lake District, Helvellyn is one that I haven’t actually been to myself. We had the intention of hiking up Helvellyn on the last day of our trip when the weather was better but unfortunately we both got quite bad colds and didn’t feel up to hiking at all. That’s partly why I put it on this list, I feel a need to go back and climb the mountain!
Just north of Ambleside, Helvellyn is the third highest peak in the Lake District. It’s one of 214 Wainwright Fells. The hike to the top takes approximately 3 hours (depending which route is taken) and is definitely worth it when you’re rewarded with stunning views overlooking the surrounding landscape.
A popular route to take to the summit is Striding Edge. A ridge that involves some scrambling. There are many routes up, a much easier one being Swirls from Thirlmere. This is the route that we were planning to take and it takes around 5 hours as a circular walk. As with all mountains, care must be taken. There have been a number of fatal accidents on Helvellyn.
Photo by Rowell Heria.
I’d love to hear about your experiences of the Lake District, leave me a comment or tweet me!