Your complete guide to the Lake District National Park

Accommodation, Days out, Family, Nature

Posted by Kate W on 27th November 2019

Guide to the Lake District National Park

You may wish to take in the ‘misty mountains and lakes’ that Sir Walter Scott described or feel the ‘exhilaration of the summit’ that Alfred Wainwright once spoke of. Visit the Lake District National Park for a tranquil UK getaway.

A host of artists and writers have been inspired by this beautiful corner of the UK - with Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth famously making their homes in Hawkshead - and today, holidaymakers, travellers and adventurers regularly visit this remarkable place.

"The loveliest spot that man hath ever found." - William Wordsworth


Family-friendly attractions, picturesque towns and villages and, of course, the UK’s great Lakes all offer wonderful places to see and things to do for visitors.

Sail your way around Windermere or walk your way up the Old Man of Coniston; head to Hawkshead for the chocolate factory and Beatrix Potter attractions or go kayaking out on beautiful Wastwater.

Top restaurants, warming pubs and friendly tearooms can be found scattered throughout the region and there’s always a breathtaking view to be enjoyed over your tea and cake.

Browse our cottage collection…

In 2017, the Lake District National Park became a World Heritage Site, joining iconic sites such as the Great Barrier Reef, Taj Mahal, and Grand Canyon.

Learn more about this incredible holiday destination that can be found right here in the UK and begin planning an unforgettable break to the Lake District.

The epic lakes


These vast bodies of water dominate the landscape and are what make this beautiful region so unique. Ensure you take the time to make the most of these iconic landmarks – whether that’s with a waterside walk, by diving in for a wild swim or by hopping aboard a boat and cruising around taking in the scenery.

Windermere is the largest at 14.8 square kilometres, and one of the most well-known with many visitors choosing to stay in nearby Ambleside or Hawkshead during a visit to this national park.

A few of the other larger and more famous lakes include Ullswater, Coniston Water, Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite Lake and Thirlmere.

Only Bassenthwaite Lake is officially a lake by name, all the others are either meres, tarns or waters.

The glistening water and towering fells offer a fantastic range of opportunities from waterside dining to walking, climbing and water sports. Start planning your escape to this exciting region by browsing our holiday cottages in the Lake District.

Get to know the Lakes


A legacy: William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter

Dove Cottage (Wordsworth's home)

"Thank God I have the seeing eye, that is to say, as I lie in bed I can walk step by step on the fells and rough land seeing every stone and flower and patch of bog and cotton pass where my old legs will never take me again". - Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter used the proceeds from her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, to buy her home, Hill Top in Near Sawrey. It’s now managed by the National Trust and is a wonderful place to walk around and see how the famous children’s writer lived.

If you have children with you, then there’s a fantastic attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere, just 10 miles from Hawkshead, that may be more up your street. Take the kids to The World of Beatrix Potter to visit Jemima Puddle-Duck's woodland glade, Mr Tod's underground home, and even take a virtual tour of Beatrix Potter's countryside.

Stay in Hawkshead

If you prefer poetry and would enjoy a retreat to the homeland of renowned Lakes poet, William Wordsworth, beautiful Grasmere is just the place for you.

The Wordsworth Trust manages his home of Dove Cottage and visitors are welcome to explore the house, the beautiful garden and the museum, there’s even a calendar of activities, events and exhibitions that take place throughout the year for you to plan your trip around.

This tranquil area of the Lake District inspired Wordsworth’s most famous work, Daffodils, so why not visit in the spring to try and catch the flowers in full bloom?

Stay in Grasmere

Walking the Lake District

Walking in the Lake District

On arrival in the Lake District, start exploring with a walk around the local area to get to know the cobbled streets of your local town or uncover the nearby natural spaces.

Many visit the Lakes, not for the water, but to climb the magnificent fells that tend to dominate the horizon in any direction.

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England and one-third of the Three Peaks Challenge, making it one of the best-known climbs in the Lake District – great for keen walkers who may wish to knock this fell off their bucket list.

There are plenty of far more manageable and even tranquil walks for young families and groups planning a relaxed getaway to Cumbria. Walk along the shores of beautiful Bassenthwaite Lake or make your way to the ancient stone circle over in Duddon Valley.

Take a look through our list of the best walks in the Lake District and pick out the one that’s right for you.

Walk the Lake District

Fantastic attractions and days out throughout the Lakes

Lakes Aquarium
One of the resident otters at the Lakes Aquarium


You’ve got incredible outside spaces to enjoy as well as plenty of bustling attractions to see, where will you begin?

See the sights and uncover all the fun attractions that this national park has to offer – the Lake District National Park offers a wonderful selection of family-friendly days out.

For holidaymakers with children in tow, we’ve put together a guide to free days out for kids in the Lake District, so you and your little ones can enjoy a wonderfully relaxed holiday.

Grizedale Forest is always a top place to visit with cycling, sculptures and a Go Ape course that children will love! The Lakes Aquarium is another top choice for a morning out, as is the Lakeland Motor Museum and the National Trust-managed Fell Foot Park.

The Blackwell Arts & Crafts House is an intriguing place to visit with lots of events taking place throughout the year, while anyone looking to be inspired may prefer a relaxed morning exploring Holehird Gardens or Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount & Gardens.

For more holiday ideas for the whole family, discover our top ten things to do in the Lake District:

Get exploring…

Eating and drinking in the Lake District

L'Enclume Michelin star restuarant in the Lake District
Sweet treats being carried out at L’Enclume

L’Enclume and The Cottage in the Woods are two Michelin-starred restaurants that often top the lists of ‘best places to eat in the Lake District’ - so if you are staying near either one, they are well worth checking out.

For delicious food that is a little more down to earth, there are plenty of excellent pubs and inns where you can hunker down around the fire to enjoy a feast. Many of these establishments cater to walkers and welcome dogs too.

The Woolpack Inn, Eskdale, is one of those walker and dog-friendly pubs with three beautiful walks for you to explore before returning for a hearty meal. You could visit the elegant Etemere Inn or The Drunken Duck in Ambleside for a stylish meal out, while The Punch Bowl Inn, Crosthwaite, and The Masons Arms in Cartmel offer more wonderful choices for an evening’s dining.

Find yourself the perfect place to eat out with a look through these Lake District restaurants:

Dine out in style

Adventure-seeking in this national park

Kayaking on Ullswater

With such an epic landscape, it’s no surprise that the Lake District is home to many excellent outdoor activities - from hiking, climbing and mountain biking on land, through to the seemingly endless water sports that can be enjoyed out on the incredible lakes.

Hop in a canoe or kayak for a gentle paddle around Coniston, enjoy a relaxing cruise on Windermere or go wild swimming in beautiful Rydal Water.

The Lakeland adventure centre of Brockhole-on-Windermere is a fantastic place to visit for children and adult groups with a treetop trek, caving and mini-golf to enjoy.

Top three adventure activities in the Lakes:

Head over to our blog on top spots for kayaking in the Lake District to plan a tranquil morning or a full day of kayaking with your group.

Kayak the Lakes

Our holiday cottages in the Lake District


From hot tub cottages in the Lake District to cosy holiday homes with roaring wood burners, you can choose from a fantastic range of retreats for your next break to this exquisite national park.

Why not treat yourself and your loved one to a romantic break and pick out a secluded getaway hidden in the fells? Or find yourself a large property and invite a whole group of friends to a waterside get-together?

Families will have a wonderful time walking, swimming and discovering the attractions, and we have plenty of holiday homes to cater for adults and children alike. Big enclosed gardens provide children with lots of space to play and let off steam while their parents enjoy a cup of coffee and watch from the patio.

Our cottages set in the heart of picturesque towns and villages ensure there are lots to entertain on the doorstep, and our holiday escapes near pubs make dining easy, simply enjoy a walk down to the pub for your family Sunday roast or a hassle-free dinner out.

Stay near the coast in Cartmel, on the banks of Windermere or up by beautiful Buttermere. Hawkshead is wonderfully central and always has lots to keep all generations entertained, while Pooley Bridge is a particularly picturesque place for a holiday retreat.

Begin browsing our collection of cottages in the Lake District and find yourself the perfect holiday escape.

Start searching…

Dog-friendly holidays in the Lake District

Dog-friendly holiday cottages in the Lake District

Are you planning to bring the beloved family pet along with you on your next getaway? If you are, we have a wonderful selection of dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District for you to browse and we have also put together a doggo guide to the Lake District to ensure you and your pampered pup have a wonderful time.

Whether you’re walking the fells or heading out on a lake cruise with the dog by your side, you know you’ll both enjoy a great getaway – after all, the outdoor space in this national park is ideal for playful pups!

Whether travelling as a big group or a romantic couple with your four-pawed third wheel, you’ll soon find the perfect retreat for you and your canine companion. Take a look through our pick of the best dog-friendly cottages in the Lake District below.

Paw-friendly cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.