The Lake District is deservedly one of the UK’s top tourist destinations with spectacular countryside, postcard pretty villages and mesmerising lakes. Over the years, the Cumbrian landscape has inspired writers such as Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth and the scenery remains every bit as breathtaking today.
Here at Lakeland Cottage Company, we think it’s the ideal destination for a short break or holiday and have compiled some of the ways to enhance your next getaway. From choosing a luxury holiday cottage to finding your ideal location, our guide will help you plan the perfect Lake District holiday.
Decide on your favourite location
From country cottages in peaceful valleys to lakeside lodges that look out over the water, there are so many landscapes to choose from on a visit to the Lake District.
Lakeland fell and countryside valleys
The Lake District is England’s largest National Park and is filled with high fells, beautiful valleys and stunning views. It’s such a wondrous landscape that the whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there is no shortage of peaceful spots off the beaten track where you can relax, unwind and be inspired by the wonder of Mother Nature. Choose a cottage in the Lake District countryside if you want to get far from the madding crowd for a peaceful holiday.
Some of our favourites include:
- Kentmere Valley – A tranquil, narrow valley that’s surrounded by a horseshoe of high fells alongside the River Kent.
- Ennerdale Valley - This unspoilt valley by Ennerdale Water includes a Dark Skies Discovery Site, a large forest and the pretty Smithy Beck falls - a perfect spot for pooh sticks.
- Winster Valley - The rolling hills and meadows of the Winster Valley landscape lie to the south of Windermere. During spring, the hedgerows of the Winster Valley are filled with delicate white blossoms of the Westmorland damson plants that are grown here.
Our pick: The Nook is a period cottage for two at the head of the Kentmere Valley
English village life is alive and well in the Lake District and there’s an array of pretty Cumbrian places that are brimming with charming tea rooms, characterful country pubs, traditional stone cottages and interesting independent shops. Stay in the heart of a village if you like to have an array of pubs, tearooms and cafes on your doorstep.
Pretty Lake District villages include:
With a lovely square at its heart, a maze of winding lanes that are filled with traditional limestone buildings, gently flowing streams and some excellent restaurants, Cartmel makes a great base for a Lake District holiday. Add to that an impressive Norman priory, a village shop that produces the famous Cartmel sticky toffee pudding and a racecourse, it’s easy to see why visitors flock to the pretty village.
The ancient village of Hawkshead has links to Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth. The village grammar school that Wordsworth once attended is now a museum and the Beatrix Potter Gallery is housed in the former office of her husband. Hawkshead is closed to cars which adds to the charm of this village and the courtyards and arches are the perfect setting for an afternoon stroll, especially as you’ll find a choice of pubs and cafes along the way.
Bouth is a small but perfectly formed Lake District village that is right between the southern tips of Windermere and Coniston with fell and woodland walks on its doorstep. It has a large green, a children’s playground and regular music events at Bouth Village Hall. Bouth is also home to The White Hart Inn, a characterful pub with roaring log fires where you can enjoy some home-cooked food and good company after your Lake District walk.
Our pick: Clogger Beck Cottage in Cartmel
Beside the water
Of course, the main draw of the Lake District has to be its majestic collection of shimmering lakes that have drawn visitors to the area since the 18th century. From shoreline walks and traditional steamers to private jetties and lakeside towns, there are lots of reasons to head to the water on a visit to the Lake District.
The largest of the Lake District lakes, Windermere is a long, thin body of water that’s surrounded by popular towns and tourist attractions. Bowness, Lakeside and Ambleside all have jetties where you can catch regular boat trips across the water and you can choose to dine out at a variety of restaurants which look out over the lake. Windermere attractions worth visiting include the fairytale-like Wray Castle and Fell Foot country park which is located on the shores of the park.
This beautiful Lake District lake is owned by the National Trust and makes the ideal spot for a scenic stroll or picnic. There’s a footpath all the way around Buttermere and, for more serious ramblers, there are routes to the top of Haystacks and Red Pike. Scaling Dam is also just a short walk from Buttermere and is the largest single drop waterfall in the Lake District.
Famous as the setting for Swallows and Amazons, Coniston Water is also known for Donald Campbell’s doomed water speed record attempt and the Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola which is owned and run by the National Trust. High above the lake are the Coniston Fells - the highest and best-known peak to tackle is the Old Man of Coniston. For a gentler stroll, there’s an easy access walking route around the shores of the lake.
Our pick: Tent Lodge Cottage is set on the edge of Coniston with access to a private jetty.
Upgrade to a luxury Lake District holiday cottage
Whether it’s a stunning setting or interiors that look like they have come from a glossy magazine, it’s worth pushing the boat out and staying somewhere extra special on your next short break or holiday.
Original features, wood burners and a backdrop of mountains and fells will all make a couples’ getaway even more romantic, especially when you can wake up each morning to a stunning view. Soaking in a hot tub under the stars is always a special treat and outside space means you can enjoy an evening drink together under too.
Our pick: Somewhere is the ultimate romantic retreat, complete with a hot tub in the garden.
Gathering the family together for a Lake District getaway means you can spend quality time with the people who are most important to you. A property with a second living area or separate snug means children or older guests can have their own space and a large well-equipped kitchen is perfect for rustling up a family meal. Large gardens are great for summer, whether it’s for garden games or eating al fresco to make the most of your surroundings.
Our pick: Townson Ground House is a spacious seven-bedroom property with space for the whole family (including four-legged members).
Features like underfloor heating, super-king-size beds and en-suite bathrooms with monsoon rain showers will all add to a sense of luxury and many 5-star Lake District cottages have been designed to combine original features with stylish modern touches.
Looking for somewhere with a Visit England 5-star rating will guarantee a high standard of accommodation and there are lots of cottage owners that go the extra mile in creating a home away from home for your perfect Lake District holiday.
Our pick: Barrow Hollin is a luxurious three-bedroom property that’s been awarded 5-star gold by Visit England.
Plan ahead to make the most of your time
There’s so much to see and do within the Lake District so planning ahead of time can ensure you make the most of your getaway, whether you prefer a packed itinerary or a more relaxed holiday.
Best for couples
The rolling hills and beautiful blue waters of the Lake District National Park are just made for romance, especially as you’ll find plenty of country pubs and places to stop for a scenic spring or summer picnic along the way. Here are some of our suggestions for a romantic Lake District getaway:
- Watch the sun go down on an evening cruise around Lake Windermere or push the boat out for a private dining experience on a Sail ’n’ Cruise luxury yacht.
- Take a romantic trip through the foothills of England’s highest mountain range on a historic Ravenglass & Eskdale steam train then seek out the magical Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall.
- Follow in the footsteps of William Wordsworth with a visit to his family home, Rydal Mount and Gardens. Look out over Windermere, take a tour of the gardens, then enjoy a cream tea for two in the well-loved poet’s dining room.
The Lake District National Park makes a perfect playground for an outdoor family adventure with lots of fun and fresh air. Here are some of our favourite family activities to try:
- The Lake District Wildlife Park is set in 24 acres of parkland and children will love getting up close to a range of birds, reptiles, and small mammals. For lions, tigers and larger mammals, head to the South Lakes Safari Zoo where you can enjoy a wonderfully wild day out.
- Brockhole on Windermere is run by the Lake District National Park Authority and includes an adventure playground, orienteering trails and activities such as archery on the shores of the lake. It’s an ideal spot to take to the water as rowing boats, kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are all available to hire.
- Grizedale is a large forest in the heart of the Lake District National Park which includes walking trails, cycling trails, a Go Ape treetop course and a Segway route through the forest.
Getaway with friends
Not only is a cottage holiday the perfect way to catch up with old friends, but your money will go further so you can stay somewhere extra nice. You’ll find plenty of pubs and restaurants to call in during a short break and here are just a few activities to try:
- Visit the Lakes Distillery at the northern tip of Bassenthwaite and take a tour to discover exactly how their local whisky, gin and vodka is created. With guided tastings and a peek behind the scenes, it’s a great opportunity to discover a new favourite tipple.
- Take a Lake District pub walk to combine fresh air and exercise with refreshments and the chance to rest your legs in a traditional country inn. One to try is a walk around Tarn Hows before calling for lunch at the Drunken Duck Inn.
- Have a flutter on the horses at Cartmel Races. This wonderful little racecourse is set against a backdrop of a Lake District fell and you can either take along a picnic or purchase food and drinks within the grounds (including Cartmel’s famous sticky toffee pudding).
Give your dog a holiday
The Lake District is very dog friendly so you’ll find lots of cafes, pubs, and holiday cottages where four-legged friends are welcome. Take a look at our guide to dog-friendly pubs in the Lake District.
- Dogs on leads can explore the grounds of many of the Lake District’s impressive collection of castles and fortresses including Wray Castle, Lowther Castle & Gardens and Muncaster Castle.
- Take to the water with four-legged friends on a selection of dog-friendly boat trips such as the Keswick Launch, Ullswater Steamers, Windermere Cruises and Coniston Launch.
- Enjoy a stroll around the dog-friendly Lingholm Walled Garden. This pretty garden was the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit and has an on-site cafe where pooches can join you for refreshments.
Plan your perfect Lake District holiday
Will you be heading to the Lake District this year? Whether you choose to dine at a Michelin-star restaurant or stay in a Visit England 5-star gold holiday cottage, there are lots of ways to make your short break or holiday extra special.
The Lakeland Cottage Company has a handpicked collection of the finest luxury Cumbrian cottages to help you find the perfect base for your next Lake District holiday.