High mountains, woodland trees and wilderness – it is no surprise that the Lake District is one of the most beautiful national parks in the UK. It may be England’s rainiest spot, but that is a secret behind the Lake District’s lush mountains, rushing waterfalls and emerald-coloured lakes. This beautiful region in the northwest of England is undoubtedly one of the most scenic places in England. There are many things to do in the Lake District. You can find here England’s deepest lake, the highest mountain, ancient monuments and archaeological sites. This beautiful national park with UNESCO World Heritage status is a walker’s paradise. It also has many cycling trails and the steepest road in England. Besides, it is also one of the few places in England where you will find remaining red squirrels.
It is no wonder why the Lake District is one of the most scenic places in England.
The best things to do in the Lake District, England
From hidden gems to popular hotspots, here are the best things to do in the Lake District.
Ullswater Lake – the second-largest lake in the Lake District
Set on your Lake District adventure and head to Ullswater Lake – you won’t be disappointed. The second largest lake in the Lake District offers dramatic views from both sides of the lake. A long ribbon lake flanked by eye-catching fells is one of the most beautiful Lakeland lakes.
Ullswater Lake is famous for water-based activities. Hop on a paddleboard or kayak and enjoy impressive scenery and mountain views. Alternatively, jump aboard the popular Ullswater industrial steamers and enjoy a lake cruise with various stopping points around the lake shores.
Exploring Ullswater Lake is one of the popular things to do in the Lake District in England. The lake is famous for its steamers that offer different views of this unique landscape. Therefore, touring Ullswater Lake on Ullswater Steamers is one of the top attractions in the Lake District.
2. Hallin Fell view of Ullswater
Hallin Fell surrounded on three sides by the lake is another gorgeous place in Ullswater.
Rather than just paddling the lake or exploring Ullswater lake with its famous steamers, why not hike one of the nearby hills? Hallin Fell located on the southern end of Ullswater lake is the lesser-visited fell, but it deserves your attention. It has dramatic views of the lake and is also quieter than other places. Hence you might have the summit to yourself. Besides, Hallin Fell is excellent for first-time fell walkers.
Hiking Hallin Fell gives you a view of Ullswater lake and the unspoiled valley that you might miss. And, if you’re lucky, you will spot some wildlife too.
Hike up Hallin Fell is easy to follow, but bear in mind that it gets the heart pumping if you are not used to hiking. A short circular walk is quite steep, but the views are certainly worth it. It takes about 1 hour to complete the loop route. The path splits halfway up, but both lead to the top. At the top of the summit, you will see an impressive obelisk and Ullswater lake beneath you.
Hiking Hallin Fell is one of the best things to do in the Lake District if you are a hiking beginner. The path to Hallin Fell has good terrain, but it is rather steep in places, and therefore, it puts beginners to the test.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Park at a small car park opposite ancient St Peter’s Church which you can find about 15 min drive from Pooley Bridge. Alternatively, leave your car in Pooley Bridge and catch a Ullswater steamer.
3. Aira Force waterfall, the Lake District
Of course, no trip to the Lake District is complete without a visit to Aira Force Waterfall. The most famous waterfall in the Lake District is the first stop for many visitors who arrive at this stunning part of England. A well-maintained Victorian park with a 20-metre waterfall and pretty woodland has an excellent circular walk. And it is also easily accessible.
A visit to Aira Force waterfall is one of the popular things to do in the Lake District for families with kids. The park with viewing platforms is a natural playground that offers stunning views. As you walk in the park, you can spot endangered red squirrels.
Walk to the top of the waterfall and admire the waterfall from a small arched bridge.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The lack of water and greenery in the winter season makes the Aira Force waterfall less impressive if you visit this National Trust attraction during the low season.
4. Memorial Seat, the Ullswater
Another excellent place where you can enjoy the spectacular views of Ullswater Lake is the Memorial Seat. This magnificent viewpoint overlooking the landscape of Ullswater Lake offers possible one of the finest views of the Lake District. Therefore, the Memorial Seat is one of the best Ullswater walks in the Lake District. You can reach the Memorial Seat from Aira Force Waterfall. The walk takes around 45 minutes.
5.Blea Tarn, Lake District
One of the prettiest places to visit in the Lake District is undoubtedly Blea Tarn. This small mountain lake is one of the spectacular Lakeland tarns, and for a good reason. It is easy to visit, it is very peaceful and offers excellent opportunities for beautiful photographs. Moreover, this unspoiled area makes a fantastic travel destination – whether you want to enjoy hiking or a tranquil landscape. Those keen to explore the area can use trail with benches around the back of the tarn. Others can use hiking trails to the nearby slopes.
It is no doubt that Blea Tarn is one of the unique places to visit in the Lake District.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Exploring Blea Tarn is one of the best things to do in the Lake District if you love unspoilt nature. Blea Tarn, which sits in a valley between Little and Great Langdale, offers brilliant views of the Langdale Pikes. This beautiful small lake is also perfect for anyone who has limited mobility or is visiting the area with children.
Historic Ambleside is probably the most charming town in the Lake District. It is famous for its gorgeous lake, narrow passages and yards, restaurants and outdoor equipment shops. It is located at the head of England’s largest natural lake and is a major tourist resort in the Lake District.
Once here, make sure you don’t miss the 17th century Bridge House. Charming Bridge House is, without doubt, the most photographed building in the Lake District. This tiny building was originally an apple store and was built on the bridge to escape land tax. Some say that in the past, a family with six children lived here in the two rooms.
This small town located at the head of England’s largest natural lake is a major tourist resort in the Lake District.
Besides, Ambleside is a popular base for hiking, biking and also climbing. There are many beautiful walks in and around Ambleside. Some are pleasant walks, while others are more challenging routes that will bring you up into the hills.
7. Hardknott Pass, the Lake District
Hardknott Pass built by the Romans
One of the best ways to see the unspoilt nature in the Lake District is from behind the steering wheel of the car. Driving the heart-stopping Hardknott Pass is, however, not for the faint of heart. This narrow single-track mountain pass with steep hairpin bends offers rewarding views but is also challenging. It is one of the most difficult roads in Britain. With a maximum gradient of about 33%, it is also one of the steepest roads in England.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Driving through remote Hardknott Pass is one of the unique things to do in the Lake District for experienced drivers. The road where visibility is difficult is suitable only for cars and light vehicles only. Also, ensure your brakes are in good order before you join this kind of roads.
8. Hardknott Roman Fort, the Lake District
Another unique attraction in the Lake District is Hardknott Roman Fort. This ancient archaeological site located on the western side of the Hardknott Pass dates back to the reign of Emperor Hadrian. It is one of the highest forts constructed in the Roman province of Britannia.
A Hardknott Roman Fort is also known as Hardknott Castle or Hardknott Fort.
The fort overlooking the pass, which once formed part of the Roman road, is one of the best-preserved forts in the country. It is probably due to its remote location. Today, you can explore the ruins of a square fort with rounded corners on your own. See the remains of several buildings, such as granaries, barracks and a headquarters building which was once the most important building in the fort. Also, don’t miss the remains of the bathhouse. Again, do not forget to admire the fantastic views.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Hardknott Roman Fort is less crowded than other attraction in the Lake District. It is because it is not easy to reach it.
9. Wastwater, the Lake District
They don’t call it Britain’s favourite view for nothing. Wastwater in its wild and rugged form.
If you are planning to explore the Lake District, then visiting Wastwater should be on the top of your list. With its unique towering peaks reflected in the glistening lake, it is no wonder that Wastwater is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Lake District.
Wastwater’s distinctive landscape is unlike anything you have seen before. England’s deepest lake lies at the foot of Scafell Pike, which is England’s highest mountain. Besides, this glacial lake with dramatic views gives excellent photo opportunities. Here, you can find many fabulous walks, or you can go for a refreshing wild swim during the summer months.
Exploring picturesque Wastwater is undoubtedly one of the unmissable things to do in the Lake District. This tranquil lake located in the Wasdale Valley is, in our opinion, the most picturesque lake in the Lake District.
10. Derwent Water
Those who decided to stay around the Keswick area should take some time to explore its gorgeous lake. A short stroll from historic Keswick town will bring you to one of the largest lakes in the Lake District – Derwent Water. Spend a couple of hours exploring to see everything this lake surrounded by hills offers. Keswick Launches, which operate regularly around ‘‘Keswick’s Lake’’, are for many visitors one of the best attractions in the Lake District. Alternatively, walk the lakeshore paths, which offer stunning views of the lake.
11. Friar’s Crag, Derwent Water
Once at Derwent Water, take a leisurely walk on flat footpaths along the lake and enjoy scenic views of the lake. A well-maintained path will bring you to one of the best viewpoints of Derwent Water lake – Friar’s Crag. Some say that Friar’s Crag is one of the most beautiful scenes in Europe. Admire spectacular views of the lake and the nearby fells from the wooden bench at the end.
Visiting Friar’s Crag in Derwent Water is one of the best things to do in the Lake District. This viewpoint is one of the most famous spots which offer jaw-dropping views of Derwent Water lake. Therefore, Friar’s Crag is a popular place in the Lake District. The walk is suitable for families with children and also wheelchair.
Once here, make sure you walk to the nearby Calfclose Bay, which offers beautiful views of Derwentwater.
12. Surprise View, the Lake District
There is certainly no shortage of scenery when hiking in the Lake District.
There are numerous hikes around Derwent Water, and vistas from ‘’Surprise View’’ are undoubtedly excellent. This spectacular viewpoint located just a short drive from Keswick offers some of the best views in the Lake District. Also, it is a perfect place to seek sanctuary from the crowds.
Once the sun begins to set, Surprise View near Derwent Water is one of the best stargazing spots in the country. Hence, set up a telescope or bring binoculars and see the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy, which is millions of light-years away. Alternatively, see planets or meteor shows with the naked eye and enjoy exploring the night sky.
A visit to Surprise View is one of the best things to do in the Lake District. Not only it offers picturesque views of the whole of Derwent Water, but it is also a prime spot to view the stars in the dark sky.
13. Castlehead Viewpoint, Derwent Water
If you have already explored the Friar’s Crag, then you should take time to hike to the nearby Castlehead. It may not get as much attention as other viewpoints near Keswick, but that is a mistake. Castlehead Viewpoint is, without doubt, one of the best places to visit in the Lake District for families and also couples.
Walk to a small wooded hill which just outside of Keswick town centre and enjoy some of the best views of Derwent Water and nearby mountains. It is an easy walk from the town with a short sharp climb through trees. It is well worth the climb, though. Castlehead Viewpoint is the ideal place to seek more tranquil views away from the crowds. Besides, you can find here a couple of wooden benches where you can sit and enjoy magnificent views over Derwent Water.
14. Honister Pass, the Lake District
Drive through Honister Pass to get a true sense of the majestic Lake District.
Unlike most other Lake District attractions, Honister Pass is not dominated by visitors. This natural beauty in the heart of the national park is one of the most scenic Lakeland routes. A mountain pass that connects Buttermere Valley with Borrowdale Valley has several places where you can pull off the road. Marvel at the massive rock formations of Honister Pass, which is one of Cumbria’s highest passes.
It is no doubt that driving through Honister Pass is one of the unmissable things to do in the Lake District. This mountainous paradise is a feast for the eyes.
15. Buttermere, the Lake District
If you have time, take a trip to Buttermere, located a short drive from Keswick and Cockermouth. This glacial lake was originally part of Crummock Water and created one massive lake in the Lake District. Later, it cut into two lakes, Buttermere and Crummock Water.
Today, Buttermere offers excellent opportunities for walking and hiking. Walking around Buttermere is one of the best things to do in the Lake District. This peaceful area provides some of the best walkings in Lakeland. An easy walk around the lake shores offers spectacular views of Buttermere and towering fells. Some say that Buttermere has some of the best vistas in Britain and we could not agree more! The most famous landmarks in Buttermere are a row of pine trees along the southern shore and a lone tree, which you can find at the northern end of Buttermere.
16. Crummock Water, the Lake District
Picturesque Crummock Water fed by numerous streams.
There are many reasons to visit the Lake District, and Crummock Water is one of them. Buttermere’s twin lake is the longest of three lakes in the Buttermere Valley. It offers a quieter alternative to Buttermere, but don’t let that discourage you – Crummock Waters has stunning views of surrounding fells.
17. Scale Force Waterfall, the Lake District
If waterfalls are what you are after, then Scale Force Waterfall should be on your list. This attractive fall located near Crummock Water is the tallest waterfall in the Lake District. The waterfall with a single drop of about 50 metres (170 feet) and two other drops of 6 metres (20 feet) is impressive. Scale Force fall hidden in a tree line gorge near Crummock Water is a very peaceful location. The walk to the waterfall doesn’t have any signs but is well worth a visit. Not only you see Scale Force Waterfall, but also you can explore this scenic area.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Scale Force is impressive after heavy rain, but during the dry season, its flow is low.
The path to Scale Force waterfall is juicy even during the dry season. Hence waterproof shoes are essential.
Exploring Scale Force Waterfall is one of the unique things to do in the Lake District in England because many visitors walk only around Buttermere. However, it is well worth a visit.
18. Castlerigg Stone Circle, the Lake District
It may not look like much, but Castlerigg Stone Circle certainly is well worth a visit when in the Lake District.
There are a few stone circles in Britain, but Castlerigg Stone Circle located near Keswick is one of the most beautiful. It may not be as famous as Stonehenge, but this Lake District’s mini Stonehenge has a more dramatic setting. Castlerigg Stone Circle is a unique National Trust attraction in the Lake District.
Walk around the stones which have been here for thousands of years and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding fells. Explore this mystical place with 38 stones which was once an important meeting place for the scattered Neolithic communities. If possible, visit the site before sunset when the lighting is unforgettable.
Seeing Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the unique things to do in the Lake District in England. It is because this Lake District’s mini Stonehenge offers gorgeous views of the surrounding fells. It is also one of the less-visited Lake District attractions.
Last but not least, a visit to the Lake District would not be compete without a visit to Windermere. The largest natural lake in both the Lake District and England is probably the most famous lake in the UK. Windermere is one of the most popular parts of the Lake District, where many visitors head during their holiday. Windermere offers many leisure activities, such as fishing, sailing, or paddleboarding. Also, boat services offer scenic boat rides on historic steamers and modern launches from Ambleside, Bowness or Lakeside.
Exploring Windermere is one of the popular things to do in the Lake District. This South Lake is a magnet for tourists who enjoy leisure activities, shopping and breath-taking scenery here.
Have you been to the Lake District National Park in England? What was your favourite thing to do there? Let us know in the comments below.
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