The Lake District enchanted literary giants like Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth, and we bet it’ll steal your heart, too.

When it comes to the beautiful English countryside, the UNESCO World Heritage Lake District is the cream of the crop. Set in the mountainous region of Cumbria, you’ll find some of the UK's most spellbinding scenery with glacial valleys, glimmering blue lakes, rippling rivers, lofty peaks and little villages that look like they belong on a postcard. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the great outdoors on a cycling tour or follow in the footsteps of world-famous poets, adventure awaits. Our guides will help you discover what makes this neck of the woods so special, as well as some hidden gems only known by locals. From hiking up England's highest peaks and exploring quirky museums, to wild swimming in stunning lakes and sampling craft beers in local breweries, the Lake District deserves a place on your UK travel bucket list.

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Highlights of the Lake District 

Aira Force waterfall in the Lake District

Soak up the magic of Aira Force Waterfall

The Aira Force Waterfall Loop in Ullswater is so mystical you wouldn’t be too surprised if fairies, elves and other magical creatures emerged from the trees. The trail takes you through lush pine woodland, a Bronze-Age Cockpit Stone Circle and a wishing tree trunk before reaching Aira Force. The 70-metre waterfall oozes romance and has been enchanting poets and artists for hundreds of years. Psst, it’s what inspired Wordsworth to write his most famous poem, “Daffodils”.

Gardens in Keswick in the Lake District

Watch the world go by in Keswick

Nestled between the towering Skiddaw peak and the tranquil Derwentwater, this old market town is the beating heart of the Lake District. Keswick has more than 700 years of history, quaint cobbled streets and amazing views wherever you look. Grab a cuppa and a slice of cake in a cute tearoom or mingle with the locals in a cosy pub around a log fire. You could also pop into Keswick Brewery, Barngates Brewery and Lakes Distillery for a freshly poured brew and a lovely view after a long day of cycling or walking. 

Lake Buttermere in the Lake District

Go wild swimming in Buttermere Lake

Set in a dramatic mountain valley at the foot of the Honister Pass, swims don't get more scenic than Buttermere. Pop on your swimming costume, take a deep breath and plunge into the oh-so-fresh water for a swim. There’s something so energising about coming up for air and being surrounded by rolling green fells and the tingling sensation of cold water on your skin. Or take a pleasant stroll and stop for a picnic on the lakeshore. Buttermere is also the starting point for popular walks including Red Pike, Haystacks, Fleetwith Pike and Rannerdale Knotts which offer fantastic views of the lake and surrounding peaks.

Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District

Marvel at the ancient Castlerigg Stone Circle

Of the 300 stone circles in England, Castlerigg is one of the oldest and most magical. It comprises 38 stones that stand up to 3 metres tall and dramatic 360 views of Helvellyn and High Seat mountains. The Neolithic site dates back to around 3000 BC, making it just as old as Stonehenge. The reason why It was built is unknown, but it’s thought to have been used as a social gathering place, trading post or astronomical observatory for the people of the time. When you stand near these ancient stones, you’re standing among 5,000 years of history. It’s pretty special. To soak up even more of the magic, we highly recommend going at sunrise or sunset.

Lake Windermere in the Lake District

Take an old steamboat across Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere is one of the first images that spring to mind when people imagine the Lake District. Wordsworth put this lake on the map, and it has been known as one of the most romantic parts of the park ever since. But there’s much more to England’s largest lake than meets the eye. Take a nostalgic trip across the lake on a ‘steamer’ where you can hop on and off to explore secluded islands and hidden wooden islands, or hire your very own rowboat. Wrap up a day on the water with a spot of lunch at one of the gorgeous lakeside villages where you can wander through old dusty bookstores, cosy cafes and lively local pubs.

Scafell Pike in the Lake District

Climb Scafell Pike, the highest point in England

Fancy reaching the highest point in England? Standing at 978 metres (3,209 feet) tall, you can imagine the views at the Scafell Pike summit are pretty incredible. You can either start from Borrowdale, Langdale, Eskdale or Wasdale (this is the easiest route). It takes about four hours one way and you’ll cover more than 5.5 miles of craggy terrain. It’s quite steep at points, but trust us, it’s worth it. On a clear day you’ll be treated to views of mountains that stretch as far as Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. You can also do Scafell Peak as part of the National Three Peaks Challenge.

Lake District tour reviews 

Lake District FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

The Lake District is nicely tucked away in a remote part of the UK while still being well connected with major cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow. If you’re travelling from outside of the UK, there are a number of international airports within 90 minutes of the Lake District by road or rail. If you're not driving, you can jump on the West Coast Mainline train that runs from London to Glasgow and stop at Oxenholme, or take a direct train from Manchester to Windemere on the Northern Rail. You can also travel by coach with the National Express from various destinations in the UK including London and Manchester.

Learn more about how to get to the Lake District

The Lake District is in the North West of England. The closest cities are Manchester and York. If you are travelling by air, the closest airports are Manchester and Glasgow. You can catch a train to Oxenholme, Penrith or Carlisle on the West Coast mainline that runs east of the Lake District from London to Glasgow. There is also a direct train from Machester to Windemere and a route that follows the Cumbrian coast. If you’re driving, you can take the M6 to the east side of the Lake District National Park.

British weather means the Lake District is pretty wet throughout the year. Even in the warmer months, you’re likely to experience the occasional shower. That said, the summer months between June and September when the days are drier, warmer and longer. June and July are probably the best for exploring the walking trails and getting out on the lakes. Good weather also draws in tourists so it does get pretty busy around this time of year.

Learn more about the best time to visit the Lake District

Whatever activities you plan on doing in the Lake District, make sure you bring a sturdy pair of shoes, a fleece or jumper, a waterproof jacket, t-shirts, long-sleeved tops and trousers. If you’re going in the winter, make sure you pack a warm winter coat, a woolly hat, gloves and a scarf. Hikers should pack long waterproof layers and a solid pair of hiking boots as it gets pretty chilly as you ascend the peaks.

Learn more about what to pack for the Lake District

You can get mobile phone coverage in the towns, villages and tourist hubs, but expect your coverage to be patchy when you’re in more remote areas and on trails at higher elevations. 

Cumbria Tourism strives to make the Lake District accessible for all. There are 48 easy-access routes across the national park suitable for travellers with limited mobility, wheelchairs and pushchairs. The information centres are also accessible and the staff are available to advise on accessible facilities. Learn more about accessibility in the Lake District

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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