On the recent August bank holiday, I took another opportunity to explore within the England and headed up to Cumbria and the Lake District. It was my second visit to the region and I was excited to revisit some spots as well as explore deeper. Though the area is surprisingly well serviced by public transport – last time I travelled up by train to Windermere station and there are regular buses connecting the towns once you’re there – the freedom of having a car this time meant it was possible to cover more distance during the days. Here are three lakes for three days to explore the Lake District:
The largest lake in the area, Windermere is beautiful but also one of the busiest parts of the Lake District – particularly the pretty town of Bowness, which hugs the shore of Lake Windermere. Don’t let the crowds put you off though – there’s plenty to see and do. You can hire rowing or motor boats to take yourself out on the water or get the excellent walker’s ticket, which allows you to hop on and off at various points around the lake and walk between. Further along the lake’s shores is Ambleside, and set back from the lake is the town of Windermere, a great place for starting many walks around the area including the short, sharp walk up to Orrest Head.
To the north of Windermere is the less developed and second largest lake of Ullswater. One of the biggest draws around Ullswater is Aira Force waterfall. There’s an excellent set of walking trails around Aira Force and apparently red squirrels, but despite our best efforts sadly we didn’t spot any.
To the west of Windermere, you’ll find Coniston. We didn’t actually venture down to the waterside in Coniston but instead headed up to The Old Man of Coniston via the Coppermines Valley. The walk here is one of the best I’ve done in the UK – the views are incredible, the scale of the slate piles, the rusting artifacts left over from the mines and the lakes nestled up in the mountains make it well worth the moderate-going hike.
Where to stay
On this visit I stayed at the Windermere Camping and Caravanning Club Site who kindly hosted us for the three nights and provided camping equipment to use during the stay. The site is located around ten minutes from Windermere and ten minutes from Kendall so it made a great base for exploring the area and heading to Kendall for an evening meal.
There was a Sunday night pub quiz in the on-site pub (where we put in a fairly average performance given we were a team of two!) and a café serving food. I had been quite excited at the prospect of camping with an electric hook-up but hadn’t realised we’d need to buy (no option to hire) a piece of equipment for £50 to do so, so we went without as we didn’t know when we would next use it and I cursed leaving my camping stove at home to make morning coffee. Of course, if camping isn’t your thing then there are plenty of guesthouses all around the area!
Where have you explored recently?