Lake District Visitor’s Wildlife Guide

Lake District Visitor’s Wildlife Guide

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With more than 155 species of birds, and an incredible array of mammals, aquatic species, and insects, the Lake District in the northern part of England could be described as a wildlife lover’s paradise.

Lake District Overview

Established in 1951, and with an area of more than 912 square miles (2,361 square kilometres), the Lake District, in Cumbria, North-West England, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s popular with people looking to spend time in the great outdoors.

Each year, more than 18 million people flock to the Lake District to experience peace, tranquility, adventure, and everything else this majestic region has to offer.

One of the reasons that the Lake District is so well-loved is the diverse landscapes one can find here. With mountains and fells contrasting glistening lakes, it’s no wonder this has become an icon of the English countryside. However, it’s advisable to bring a brolly because the Lake District is known to be the wettest part of the UK.

But it isn’t just the landscape that makes the Lake District such an outstanding area; this is also a place that’s steeped in history. Once thought to have been at the bottom of an equatorial ocean, the Lake District was formed more than 460 million years ago as three continental plates forged together and resulted in the volcanoes and rocky crags.

However, around 10,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, the Lake District began to be carved out into what we see today, thanks to glacial erosion. If it weren’t for this glacial activity, we would have the beautiful lakes, meres, and tarns that the Lake District is known for. In fact, some of the most famous lakes, such as Windermere, sit in basins that were carved out by this glacial activity all those thousands of years ago. If that wasn’t enough, the volcanic activity that occurred millions of years ago can still be evidenced today, making the area a significant point of interest for those keen to learn more about geology. 

Moving significantly forward, the area has bore some of the most famous cultural figures to ever come out of England. These include the likes of William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, and John Ruskin. Many other writers and poets have come out of the Lake District and a lot of these were inspired by the natural beauty of the region. 

While designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and therefore offered much protection, the Lake District is very accessible to visitors and includes educational centers, accommodation, places to eat, wildlife trails, and outdoor activities as well as many other things. One of my personal favorite experiences here is the South Lakes Safari Zoo and The Lake District Wildpark Park, both of which provide an opportunity to explore wildlife far beyond that found in the local area.

I will detail several points of interest throughout this guide, but it’s worth pointing out that one of your first stops should be at one of the many visitor centers. These provide information, exhibits, and displays that give you a foundational insight into the area you’re about to explore.

The Wildlife

The beauty of the Lake District isn’t limited to the stunning lakes, panoramic views, and sweeping mountains. Many people are attracted to this area because of the wildlife spotting opportunities, especially when you consider how many bird species are found here.

It’s the beautiful scenery and wildlife opportunities that attract millions of visitors here every year. In particular, photographers find ample opportunities within the Lake District to capture once-in-a-lifetime shots. 

Animals like the red squirrel and osprey are common here and the Lake District is one of the few places in the UK where you can see otters in the wild. Because of the variety of unique habitats and ecosystems, it’s easy to see why there is so much diversity in the wildlife here.

Wildlife tourism is big business in the Lake District, but if you’re concerned about the impact that this may have on the local creatures, rest assured. Sustainable tourism is rife here and tourists are encouraged to have as little impact on the region as possible, showing respect for the delicate ecosystems.

What’s more, the Lake District provides conservationists with an opportunity to observe, survey, and protect species, including those that are rare or endangered. For example, the Living Landscapes Project ensures the reconnection and restoration of local habitats.

The Lakes

I couldn’t write an overview of the Lake District without talking about the thing this area is most famous for; the lakes!

Even if you’ve never explored this part of the UK, you’re sure to have heard of Lake Windermere. This is the largest natural lake in England, at around 11 miles (18 km) in length. Plus, at its deepest point, the waters plunge to a depth of around 216 feet (66 meters)! With the town of Windermere right on the shore, visitors can enjoy a varied stay and take part in watersports, boat tours, hikes, and enjoy the range of shops and places to eat.

Ullswater is another of the most famous lakes in the Lake District and boasts beautiful surroundings where visitors can take part in hiking, cruises, and watersports. Known for its iconic serpent shape, Ullswater attracts millions of tourists each year, and many of these use the local town of Glenridding as a base for exploring the wider region.

If you’re looking for a truly rural getaway then Derwentwater may be right up your street. Surrounded by quaint towns, mountains, and woodlands, this lake provides the perfect opportunity to get back to nature. What’s unique about Derwentwater are the little islands dotted around the lake, including the National Trust owned Derwent Isle and House.

Coniston Water is the third largest lake in the Lake District and attracts visitors who are looking for breathtaking scenery and an abundance of peace and tranquility. Those looking to enjoy the many hiking trails in the Lake District often start here and the local town of Coniston provides accommodation, pubs, and shops to explore.

Bassenthwaite Lake is situated near Keswick and is actually the only ‘lake’ that’s been given the title of lake in the entire region. Birdwatchers will be more than entertained here thanks to the array of different species and if it’s peace you’re looking for, you’ll find it here as this is one of the less touristy spots.

Grasmere can be found near the village of Grasmere and while it is smaller than some of the other lakes, it has a charm all of its own. Set among a backdrop of woods and hills, there’s something calming about visiting Grasmere. What’s more, if you’re a history lover, you’ll be delighted to learn that Wordworth’s Dove Cottage is in very close proximity. From here, you’ll be able to explore the scenery that inspired much of his work.

Rydal Water is another example of a small but stunning lake in the Lake District and is located between Ambleside and Grasmere. For those looking for the opportunity to take a short, peaceful walk, Rydal Water provides many accessible trails.

Finally, I feel as though I should mention Haweswater which is located in the eastern part of the Lake District and offers beautiful views of the mountains and wild landscapes. What’s interesting about Haweswater is that this is not a natural lake but a man-made reservoir that was created as a result of a 20th-century dam. 

The Mountains

One of the biggest attractions of this area are the mountains and lakes. In fact, the largest peak in England, Scafell Pike, can be found here. This huge mountain towers 3,209 feet (978 meters) above sea level and is a focal point of the landscape here. 

However, there are 214 mountains here in total, each of which has its own unique charm to explore. Scafell Pike, found near the town of Keswick, in the southern Lake District is part of the Scafell range which also includes Scafell; the second-highest peak in England, standing at 3,162 feet (964 meters). This is a popular spot for rock climbing as it is known for its challenging routes. What’s more, the views from both of these mountains are among some of the best in the Lake District.

Other mountains of interest include the third highest in England, Helvellyn which stands at 3,117 feet (950 meters) and is located near Glenridding to the east of the Lake District. Hikers favor this mountain thanks to the challenging routes including Swirral Edge and Striding Edge but it’s also a point of interest because of the glacial lake found beneath its eastern flanks. 

If you’re not quite so keen on a hiking challenge then visiting Skiddaw may be preferable. While this is the fourth-highest mountain in England, it offers a gentler ascent to its 3,054-foot (931 meters) summit, where you’ll experience outstanding views of the Lake District. 

Great Gable stands at 2,949 feet (899 meters) and is well known for its unique and rugged shape. It’s situated close to Wasdale Head in the west of the Lake District and is another popular spot for hiking and rock climbing. What’s more, there’s no better view of the region than from the top of Great Gable and on your way to the summit, you’ll pass the Napes Needle, a rock pinnacle that stands 65 feet (20 meters) high! In fact, the well-known mountaineering brand, Needle Sports, was actually named after this formation.

Head back towards Keswick and you’ll be able to climb Catbells. Considered to be incredibly accessible and an easy climb, this is one of the most family-friendly peaks in the area. It stands at just 1,480 feet (451 meters) so getting to the summit isn’t such a challenge but you’ll still be treated to breathtaking views once you’re up there. 

Blencathra, located in the northern part of the Lake District, near Keswick, towers over the landscape at 2,848 feet (868 meters) and offers a challenge for even the most seasoned climbers. But it’s worth it because, when you reach the summit, the views are something that have to be seen to be believed. That said, there is a car park on the eastern side that allows you to drive up the first 984 feet (300 meters) and the hike to the top from here is considered the easiest on the mountain. 

Famous for its slate quarry, Coniston Old Man stands at 2,634 feet (803 meters), making it one of the largest mountains in the region. It’s located near Coniston Town in the west of the Lake District and has a unique landscape by comparison.

Types of Wildlife to See

For anyone looking for an opportunity to get up close and personal with wildlife, the Lake District really is the place to be. Here, you’ll find some of the greatest wildlife diversity in the UK including mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles.

Of course, it largely depends on what time of year you visit as to the type of animals you’ll encounter. I will cover this in more depth in the upcoming sections, but keep in mind that, if you’re here for the birdlife, you’ll want to visit in spring and summer when our avian friends are most active. What’s more, the Lake District is home to many migratory birds like warblers and swallows at this time of the year. For mammals like the deer, visiting in autumn will allow you to observe the rutting seasons when these animals put on some impressive displays.

Location is also important when it comes to spotting wildlife in the Lake District, and you’ll need to consider the types of animals you’d like to see when choosing where to start. For example, if you head to Tarn Hows, you’ll be able to observe many species of waterfowl, while Ennerdale Valley is known for its more diverse array of wildlife as well as its many plant species. There are also many nature reserves dotted around the Lake District that offer diverse wildlife spotting experiences. I would recommend Barkbooth Lot Nature Reserve for one of the best experiences.


If there’s one thing that people flock to the Lake District for, it’s the opportunity to observe red squirrels in their natural environment. Some people find it hard to tell them apart from their gray counterparts but look for smaller squirrels with tufted ears and you can be sure you’ve spotted one. Hotspots for these critters include Borrowdale and Grasmere as well as the woodlands at Grizedale Forest.

Deer are abundant in the Lake District and this area is home to the largest land mammal in the UK; the red deer. Most active at dusk and dawn, you’ve got a good chance of spotting these majestic creatures in the open fells. Martindale, between Ullswater and Haweswater, provides visitors with the best chance of seeing not one, but a whole herd of these deer. 


As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, there are thought to be more than 155 species of birds in the Lake District. Birds of prey are certainly one of the main attractions here with the Lake District being home to the only pair of nesting golden eagles in England.

The osprey is another species that attracts a lot of attention in the Lake District because of the ample fishing opportunities in the waters here. Your best chance to catch a glimpse is during the spring and summer when many individuals will be out on the lake looking for a catch. And speaking of fish, did you know that the Lake District is home to a rare species called the schelly? This species is endemic to the area and is found in only four of the high-altitude lakes.

But back to the skies where you’ll be able to spot the marsh and hen harrier, the buzzard and honey buzzard, the white-tailed eagle, the merlin, and a whole host of other raptors. Owls are abundant here with species like the little owl, the barn owl, the short-eared owl, and the tawny owl all calling the Lake District home. Of course, since owls are nocturnal, your best chance is to see them in the hours of dusk and dawn when they’re still active.


When you think of UK wildlife, reptiles aren’t the first creatures that come to mind but the Lake District is home to many of them.

The adder is a common snake species in the UK and the only venomous snake in the British Isles. But don’t worry, their bite isn’t usually fatal and only 14 deaths have been reported in the UK since the mid-1800s. Of course, it still pays to be respectful of wildlife and observe them from a distance. Adders are most commonly found in sunny spots around areas like Walla Crag and Helm Crag.

There are actually only four species of reptile in the Lake District with the adder being one of them. You may also spot the grass snake and slow worm. What’s interesting about the slow worm is that it’s neither a worm nor a snake but in fact, a lizard. The common lizard can also be found in the Lake District in a variety of different habitats, so keep your eyes peeled.


If you’re keen to spot creepy crawlies and six-legged critters then you’ll find an abundance of them here in the Lake District. Spring and summer are the best times to see them, but you’ll find these critters all year round if you look closely enough. 

One of the biggest insect attractions in the Lake District is the butterfly and there are 41 recorded species here to date. These include the Scotch Argus, the March Fritillary, Duke of Burgundy, and Small Blue. Just a few miles south of the Lake District, you’ll find Arnside which is considered to be a hotspot for butterfly spotting.

But it’s not just butterflies that attract insect-lovers to the Lake District. You’ll also be treated to sightings of the hairy shieldbug, red and black froghoppers, the saucer bug, and many other interesting species.

During the Seasons

The last time I visited the Lake District was in November and I’ll be honest, it was very wet and very windy. But that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of exploring this area and many people would agree that this is one of the best times of year to visit. That’s because of the beautiful autumnal scenery, the lack of crowds, and because the festive season is just around the corner so there’s something of a charm about the area.

But whatever time of year you visit, you’re sure to have an amazing experience. It’s just important to think about how things change over the course of the year, especially when we’re talking about wildlife. For example, it’s no good visiting in the middle of January if you’re keen to go butterfly spotting. I’d strongly urge you to keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable, regardless of the season, so bringing appropriate clothing and layers is a must.


If you’re visiting in spring, you’re just in time for the arrival of migratory bird species like warblers and swallows, as well as the iconic osprey.

It’s at this time of the year that the wildflowers begin to bloom, providing you with a picturesque backdrop and the chance to see some of the pollinators as they begin to emerge.

With the lambing season in full swing and the deers beginning to give birth, this is a prime time of the year to see the young.

While red squirrels are active throughout the year, they’re most active during the spring months as they start to gather their food caches.


Many people enjoy coming to the Lake District in summer because of the warmer weather. This makes for an excellent opportunity to explore wildlife, especially because this is also the driest time of year, and you’ll be able to observe many species of waterfowl as well as insects like the dragonfly and many species of butterflies like the high brown fritillary. 

Do keep in mind that tourism comes to its peak in summer so there will be many more crowds especially if you’re looking to take part in things like watersports and hiking. 

If you’re here purely for the wildlife then I’d recommend heading out at dusk or dawn when many animals are at their most active. This includes the iconic red deer, the largest land mammal in the UK. Head to the shores of the lakes to see playful otters and other mammals like the water vole.


As I mentioned earlier, autumn is one of the best seasons for spotting deer as it’s rutting season when the males put on impressive displays to warn off competition and attract a mate. Ennerdale Valley and Borrowdale Valley provide some of the best opportunities to observe this behavior.

For bird lovers, those migratory species will be preparing to make their southward journey so it’s a really good time to watch them taking to the skies.

And let’s not forget that, as the foliage begins to change color, the entire landscape takes on a new character. What’s more, this is the perfect opportunity for photographers to capture some breathtaking images, especially at sunset.


During winter, the weather isn’t as forgiving but it’s still a wonderful time to see the Lake District. There are still plenty of bird species here like fieldfares and redwings and the red squirrel population, which is the largest in the UK, is still very much active.

As snow begins to fall on the mountains, the landscape changes once again and there’s a peace that simply cannot be found at the height of the tourism season.

If you’re interested in seeing how resilient wildlife can be in the colder weather, head into the woodlands where there may be signs of mammals like foxes and badgers. Along the lake shores, you’ll still see plenty of waterfowl and if you head into the towns, you’ll be treated to some interesting and unique local crafts at the Christmas markets.

What to Explore & Do?

Covering a whopping 912 square miles (2,361 square kilometres), it probably won’t come as a surprise that there are a ton of things to keep you entertained in the Lake District. From wildlife spotting to watersports, hiking to history, and everything in between, you’ll definitely be coming back for more. 

Wildlife Attractions

  • The Lake District Wildlife Park offers an opportunity to learn more about a whole host of animals including the red panda and lemur. There’s a soft play, places to eat, and the chance to adopt an animal so it’s fun for all the family.
  • The South Lakes Safari Zoo is a wonderful way to see exotic animals in recreated natural habitats. Walk along the winding paths to see rhinos, giraffes, wolves, and even a tiger!
  • Ever wanted to learn more about alpacas? You can do this in the Lake District too with the Alpacaly Ever After attraction that aims to teach people about the beauty of these creatures and allows you to get up close and personal with them.
  • Visit the World Owl Center to learn more about these glorious nocturnal hunters.
  • Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is a great stop-off for those wanting to check out butterfly species as well as birds and an impressive range of flora. This reserve showcases the biodiversity of the Lake District.
  • Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve is a wetland area that’s home to various bird species like the curlew, buzzard, oystercatcher, and snipe. You’ll also be able to go  butterfly spotting and see the pretty wildflower displays in spring and summer.
  • There are many wildlife walks within the Lake District both guided and self-guided which provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about the species that call the Lake District home.
  • If you’re keen to spot ospreys then Derwentwater is a great place to start. However, you may also be interested in the Osprey Safari at Ethswaitewater which can either be taken by boat or as a self-guided drive.
  • With the red squirrel population here being the largest in the UK, many people make a special trip to observe these sweet little mammals. Allan Bank and Whinlatter Forest are red squirrel hotspots.
  • Check out Coniston Water and Lake Windermere for some of the best waterfowl spotting opportunities.
  • There are many visitor centers dotted around the Lake District that offer binocular rental which makes wildlife spotting even easier. These centers, such as Brockhole on Windermere also have an array of information on local wildlife and how best to spot it.

When exploring wildlife in the Lake District, please keep in mind that you’re entering into these animals’ territory. While it’s a brilliant opportunity to see these animals in their natural habitat, we have to respect wildlife and keep our distance. You may notice that there are guidelines and rules in place, and it’s essential to follow these for the good of the wildlife and for the best experience for yourself. 

Leave all areas as you found them, putting litter into the bins provided or taking it home with you. Not only will this ensure that the beauty of the Lake District is maintained, but it also eliminates potential dangers for the local wildlife. 

Hiking Trails

  • The Catbells Walk is a great trail for getting stunning views across Derwentwater and the mountains. Being a moderate trail, it’s a great choice for those who are looking to up their hiking game.
  • For something a little easier, try the Tarn Hows Circular Walk which takes you along tranquil waters and pretty woodlands.
  • Those that want a more challenging hike should definitely take the opportunity to climb Scafell Pike. There are also some great opportunities to spot wildlife here such as the osprey, the red squirrel, and the red deer.
  • The Loughrigg Fell Circular is a 12 mile (19 km) hike that takes you around Loughrigg Fell and treats you to sweeping views of the landscape.
  • Try a moderate hike around the Aira Force and Gowbarrow Park Circular which takes you to an elevation of 1,286 feet (392 meters) for breathtaking views.
  • Why not take a stroll around the Derwentwater Circular where you’ll spot a variety of waterfowl, the greater spotted woodpecker, birds of prey, and perhaps even a red deer.

The Lakes

A trip to the Lake District wouldn’t be complete without exploring the lakes here. While there are hundreds of them, there are some that have become incredibly popular, plus, they’re teeming with wildlife.

  • Derwentwater is one of the most popular lakes for birdwatching. You’re likely to spot the osprey here as well as other raptors, including the honey buzzard and the white-tailed eagle. Activity is heightened during the breeding season which starts in spring. Here, you can also take part in watersports such as rowing and kayaking or take a laid-back lake cruise.
  • Head to Windermere which is the largest natural lake in England where you’ll be able to spot waterfowl and otters! With a length of 11 miles (18 km), there are plenty of hiking and cycling opportunities. Plus, you can get out onto the water on a cruise or try your hand at rowing. Despite being known as a lake, Windermere is actually a mere which is a word used to describe a broad, shallow lake. That said, it does go to 219 feet (67 meters) at its deepest point.
  • Ullswater offers visitors the chance for hiking, cycling, and steamboat rides for a truly unique opportunity to view the lake. In terms of wildlife, expect herons, diving ducks, red squirrels, and oystercatchers as well as the beautiful peregrine falcon. It was this lake that inspired Wordsworth to write his iconic poem ‘Daffodils’ which demonstrates the incredible natural beauty of this area.
  • Coniston Water is great for birdwatching and offers peace and tranquility to visitors. Set among the mountains, the scenery here is beautiful and you’ll see a variety of aquatic birds including swans, grebes, cormorants, and some lesser spotted species like the ring-neck duck and the lesser scaup. Take part in other activities such as sailing, walking, cycling, and fishing for a day filled with fun for all the family.


The Lake District is a hotspot for bird watching since there are so many species that call this region home. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to catch a glimpse of your favorite avian species.

  • Grizedale Forest has an incredibly diverse range of birds, including the lesser spotted woodpecker, the honey buzzard, the crossbill, and the Eurasian wren. You’ll also see a range of other woodland wildlife including deer, red squirrels, red kites, and perhaps a barn owl.
  • Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve is home to the largest reed bed in the northwest of England. You’ll have the chance to spot the great white egret, marsh harriers, and bitterns and there’s a cafe and visitor center where you can refresh and get lots of useful information.
  • Coniston Water is a great spot to see wading birds as well as a whole host of other wildlife. Birds of prey are common in the area and you may be lucky enough to spot the white-tailed eagle or even the elusive golden eagle.
  • Walla Crag is a firm favorite for birdwatchers. There is incredible diversity here and you could spot everything from great tits, robins, and nuthatches to oystercatchers around the streams.
  • Dodd Wood offers bird watching trails although they’re not so clearly marked. But if you can  figure them out then you’ll be rewarded with sightings of species such as grebes, kestrels, ospreys, and sparrowhawks.

Other Activities

Once you’ve exhausted all of the wildlife opportunities in the Lake District (and there are a lot) or you fancy something a little different, there’s still plenty to explore.

  • The World Of Beatrix Potter offers an insight into this renowned author’s work and shows you what inspired the magical tales she penned. Stories are brought to life in 3D and this is an amazing opportunity to relive your childhood or spark the imaginations of your little ones.
  • With so much water, it won’t come as a surprise that boat rentals are everywhere in the Lake District. Take the opportunity to get out onto the water and see the Lake District from a whole new vantage point.
  • For angling enthusiasts, there are lots of fishing opportunities on the lakes. Keep in mind that not all lakes permit fishing so you will need to check this and any regulations before you travel. Also bear in mind that many of the rivers here offer some fantastic trout fishing.
  • Why not take a guided tour of some of the towns and trails in the Lake District? From bus tours to wildlife walks, cycling tours to guided walks, there is something for everyone.
  • Head to Great Langdale for some of the most impressive fells and picturesque scenery as well as more chances to spot local wildlife.
  • The Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage in Grasmere, winner of the small visitor attraction of the year 2023, offers the opportunity to learn more about this great poet and his love for nature. There are different events going on throughout the year so even if you visit more than once, you’ll always have a new experience.
  • Visit Sizergh, owned by the National Trust which is a beautiful medieval property with extensive gardens to explore, a wild play trail for the kids, and plenty of walking opportunities.

Where to Stay?

When it comes to accommodation in the Lake District, you’ll truly be spoiled for choice. Whether you’re looking for a cushy hotel, a comfortable cottage, or an affordable B&B, there really is something for everyone.

You’ll first need to consider the area you’d like to stay and this will largely be based on which parts of the Lake District you’re most interested in visiting.

With Windermere being one of the most popular lakes due to its title of the largest lake in the country, it’s no wonder that a lot of people flock to the neighboring town. However, you don’t just need to stay in Windermere as Ambleside is also the perfect base for discovering this lake. What’s more, Ambleside is centrally located within the Lake District, giving you easy access to all the major points of interest.

You might also consider Grasmere, especially if you’re keen to visit the Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage. This area boasts some of the most beautiful scenery and is a fantastic base if you want to explore the many nature reserves in the area. It’s the perfect place for a more quiet and laid back visit.

One of my personal favorite places to stay in the Lake District is Keswick which is in close proximity to Derwentwater. Since this is a wildlife hotspot, Keswick provides an excellent base for discovering local species. The local town boasts a museum and art gallery as well as an array of shops and places to eat.

Regardless of the town you choose, I would always recommend looking at the facilities of any given accommodation. If you’re traveling with your four-legged friends then there are plenty of pet-friendly options but keep in mind that not all accommodation will offer this. Furthermore, be sure to check the accessibility of the accommodation if you have additional needs. While the Equality Act 2010 states that all service providers must have wheelchair access, it’s worth keeping in mind that due to the hilly and remote location of the Lake District, accessing the accommodation itself may be challenging.


If you’re anything like me, you’ll love the comfort and luxury of staying in a hotel. While I love exploring the great outdoors, there’s nothing better than returning to a lavish hotel room and being looked after with every aspect of your stay. Let’s take a look at some of the best hotels in the Lake District.

  • Stonecross Manor, located in Kendal is a stunning four-star hotel with a swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, excellent restaurant, and idyllic surroundings. The rooms are small but comfortable and clean. As well as being able to explore the Lake District, you’re only a 30-minute drive from the Yorkshire Dales National Park; talk about killing two birds with one stone.
  • The Swan Hotel and Spa at the heart of the Lake District provides guests with ultimate luxury and is ideal for all types of guests. With accessible rooms, 2 swimming pools, a children’s play area, and much more, this is the perfect base for exploring Windermere and Grizedale Forest.
  • The Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere is ideal for those looking for a quiet stay with easy access to the Wordsworth Museum. With mountain views and a lovely dining area, this pet-friendly hotel comes highly rated.
  • Low Wood Bay Resort And Spa provides luxury lakeside accommodation in Windermere. With breakfast included in your stay, a swimming pool, and a fitness center, you’ve got everything you need for a relaxing break.

Holiday Cottages

For those who want privacy and space to do their own thing, there’s nothing better than renting a holiday cottage. From quaint and cozy to uber luxurious, you’ll find it all in the Lake District. Let’s check out some of your options.

  • From the outside, Stair Cottage, in Keswick has a rustic charm. Step through the front door and you’re greeted with a newly refurbished two-bed accommodation that provides you with everything you need for a comfortable stay. If you’re keen to explore the wildlife at Derwentwater, you’re well placed for this here.
  • Are you looking for a luxurious holiday cottage? Howgills Barn provides you with the perfect base to explore the Howgill Fells as well as things like a pool table, hot tub, and extensive grounds to keep you entertained.
  • Set in five acres of secluded woodland, Woodlands Pine Lodges offer peace and tranquility in equal measure. While you do have your own private accommodation, everything else is taken care of as there’s a restaurant on-site as well as facilities such as laundry and WiFi. For wildlife lovers, this is the perfect accommodation as deer and red squirrels are often spotted on the grounds.
  • Low House near Ullswater provides you with an excellent opportunity to explore Ullswater and the surrounding area. This rustic and charming cottage, rated four stars, has a wood-burning stove, a garden terrace, and beautiful views. However, please note that this is not pet-friendly.

Camping, Glamping & Caravan Parks

What better way to fully immerse yourself in nature than to camp? There are lots of campsites dotted around the Lake District. Perhaps you have a motorhome or caravan; you’re well-catered to in the Lake District.

  • With space for tents, pods, and caravans, the Great Langdale Campsite offers an amazing opportunity for outdoor experiences. Owned by the National Trust, there’s a brand new shower and toilet block, BBQs are permitted and there’s a shop and play area on site.
  • Seatoller Farm in Keswick is ideal for those who want a more wild camping experience. There are no electric hook ups, but the owners do offer wood-fired pizza on a Saturday evening in the coffee shop. This is the perfect spot for those who wish to explore Scafell and Great Gable.
  • For the perfect getaway near Windermere, check out White Cross Bay. This static caravan site offers everything from pet-friendly caravans and a swimming pool to a sports court and sauna.
  • Fancy something a little more luxurious but still want to be immersed in nature? Why not try Eskdale Luxury Glamping Pods? There are four pods on site constructed from wood but that still gives you that outdoorsy experience. Pods have EV charging, an en suite shower room, and heating, and are pet-friendly. This is a great spot for exploring Scafell Pike and Wastwater.
  • Another excellent location for luxury camping can be found near Derwentwater which provides you with easy access to wildlife spotting opportunities here. Long Valley Yurts is within an hour’s drive of Derwentwater, in Keswick, and offers traditional glamping pods where dogs are welcome. Plus, it’s set among some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.

How to Get There?

While the Lake District is considered to be a rural area, it’s still incredibly accessible from anywhere in the UK or further afield.

By Car

If you’re visiting by car then your journey time will depend on where you’re traveling from. One of the easiest cities to get to the Lake District from is Manchester and this requires just a 1.5-hour drive along the M6.

From London, it’s around a 5-hour drive to cover the 300-mile (483 km) journey. You can either get straight onto the M6 or use the A1 or M1 followed by the A66 to Penrith.

Once you’re in the Lake District, I would highly recommend traveling along the A591 between Kendal and Keswick for some of the most scenic views.

Public Transportation

With lots of trains running to Kendal and Windermere, the Lake District is easily accessible from all of the major cities within the UK, including London and Glasgow. From here, you can get a direct train and there are also direct services running from Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, and Liverpool Lime Street.

Once you’re in the Lake District, there are a number of bus services that operate around the area and you can get an all-day ticket for as little as £9.50.

While the duration of train journeys can vary, you can get from London to the Lake District in as little as three hours using the direct routes. 


For visitors coming from overseas, the nearest airport would be Manchester or Newcastle International. From here, there are train services that take you directly into the lake District.


Since the Lake District is a hotspot for cyclists, getting there by bike is an excellent option. There are many cycle routes running through the region that allow you to experience the beauty of the area in a whole new way.

Even if you don’t own a bicycle, there are plenty of rental opportunities in some of the more popular towns like Ambleside and Keswick.

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