The Lake District is one of my favourite places to visit in the UK. I’ve spent many of Summers spending a few days in the Lakes. Whether you are looking for a romantic break or a family staycation, the Lakes offer for something for everyone. With so much to see and do, how can you visit it all in one weekend? I’ve put together the perfect itinerary for exploring the Lakes in a couple of days.
There are some beautiful hotels, B&B’s and cottages all around the Lake District. It all depends on whereabouts you want to stay. Personally, our favourite areas are around Lake Windemere and Ullswater. To make the most of your weekend in The Lake District, staying around Lake Windermere means you’ll be close to a lot of the sights mentioned in this post. I also personally love staying in a quaint little a cottage and there’s lots of choice for Romantic Holiday Cottages over on Lakelovers.
The first stop on the Lakes adventure is Grasmere which is just North of Lake Windemere. This little village is a must-visit just for the incredible Grasmere Gingerbread you will find at the Sarah Nelson Gingerbread Shop. It’s unbelievably delicious and the smell of gingerbread encapsulates the surrounding areas. Just a short walk on the outskirts of Grasmere is Dove Cottage; the former home of legendary poet William Wordsworth. The cottage is open to the public for tours and is now a museum.
Driving towards Lake Windermere you’ll come across Ambleside which is more of a bustling town with a few well known high street stores. There’s plenty of things to see & do in Ambleside but a highlight is definitely visiting the Bridge House which is the tiniest little house standing over a small stream. Admire all the grey slate buildings which really make Ambleside so unique. You’ll also find the windy road up to Kirkstone Pass here but this is something I would suggest doing on Day Two.
No trip to the Lake District would be complete without getting a chocolate topped ice cream. You’ll find these delicious treats at Waterhead, right at the top of Lake Windermere. Waterhead is only about 5 minutes from Ambleside and this is also where we actually hired our own boat for an hour which was a really fun experience.
The next stop would be Bowness-On-Windermere. This is what I would really call the central hub for Lake Windemere. There really is a lot to see and do and I would advise getting a cottage in this area if you are wanting to have an evening checking out local quaint pubs. There are plenty of places to eat and drink but two favourites of mine in Bowness-On-Windemere is Base Pizza which does unreal sourdough pizzas and The Arts Bar & Grill which had amazing nachos!
As I said, there is so much to do in Bowness including The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction which is popular for families or heading out on a Lake Cruise. In terms of nightlife, there is a lot going on and you won’t be short of places to eat out in Bowness.
Starting the day from Bowness-On-Windemere, you can catch the popular ferry across to the West side of the lake. Just a short drive and you’ll find yourself at Hill Top Farm. The former home of popular children’s author; Beatrix Potter. This was always one of my favourite places to visit as a child as a lot of her stories was inspired by Hill Top and it’s just lovely to see those tales come alive. I’m actually going to be doing a separate post about visiting Hill Top House. Parking is very limited (especially on a weekend), you can catch their shuttle from the ferry landing to save yourself the stress. Tickets can be purchased from the box office by the car park and you’ll be given a time slot. Ours was around 45 minutes later. If you do one thing in the Lake District, this should be it.
Following on to the village of Hawkshead which is about a 15-minute drive from Hill Top House and another destination which inspired Beatrix Potter’s work. The village is so picturesque with cobbled small streets and quaint little boutique styled shops. I’d definitely recommend paying a visit to the Little Ice Cream shop for an utterly delicious treat.
If you head back towards Lake Windemere and Ambleside you will come across the formerly mentioned route to Kirkstone Pass. This route is also known as “The Struggle” as the windy tight roads can be quite problematic if you’ve got a few large cars passing each other. Once you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views over Lake Windemere. Take a break and enjoy a drink at The Kirkstone Pass Inn which is the 3rd Highest Pub in England.
Follow Kirkstone Pass towards Glenridding and you will be rewarded with stunning scenery. This drive really is stunning winds down towards Ullswater Valley. I mentioned before that we love visiting Ullswater too as it’s so peaceful. We have previously found some brilliant secluded spots to have a lovely little picnic.
Whilst in the area of Ullswater, I’d recommend visiting Aira Force Falls which we had no idea existed until our last visit to the Lakes. I believe it’s £5 to park your car and then you are free to explore the falls. It’s a lovely little walk which can include a lot of steps depending on how high you want to go but the view of the Aira Force Falls are well worth it.
I’d say that’s pretty much what you can fit into two days in the Lake District but if you do have time, Keswick is also really worth a visit. It’s not too far away from Ullswater and is a gorgeous little market town on the edge of Derwentwater. In Keswick, you’ll find the Derwent Pencil Museum, Crazy Golf and just on the outskirts is Castlerigg Stone Circle which resembles a smaller version of Stonehenge.
There really is so much to see and do in the Lake District, which is why we love visiting year after year. I’ve only just scratched the surface of places to see in the Lakes and to be honest, I’d probably advise staying longer than two days. Hopefully, though, this has helped with itinerary planning if you are just going for the weekend. I’m hoping to be doing a few more posts about the Lakes. I actually have a lot of content from my last couple of trips so keep your eyes peeled for them.
Have you ever been to the Lake District before? Do you want to visit The Lakes?
*This is a collaborative post.