Driving in the Lake District: The best routes

The Lake District offers some of the best scenery in all of Britain. From soaring mountains to picturesque lakes, driving from village to village and exploring hidden gems along the route. Explore the Lake District via the routes below to get the most out of your driving experience in the Lake District.

Derwent Water, Lake District

1. Ambleside, Keswick and Ullswater

Drive along the main Lake District artery from Ambleside to Keswick returning via Ullswater and Kirkstone Pass and take in some of the area’s most stunning scenery.

Where to stop:

The impressive Thirlmere reservoir was built to create a drinking water supply for the north-west of England. The road along the top of the reservoir’s dam provides some lovely views looking out over the conifer clad waterway.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Keswick is a popular and pretty town nestled between Derwent Water and Skiddaw, the sixth highest mountain in England. Full of shops, outdoor specialists, cafes, pubs and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to stop for a lunch break.

Aira Force waterfall is probably the most famous waterfall in the Lake District and at 65ft high, one of the tallest. A new pier nearby is served by cruise operator Ullswater Steamers, and you can sail to the village of Glenridding from here.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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At an altitude of 454m, Kirkstone Pass summit is the highest point you can take a car to in the Lake District. Admire the views of the surrounding hills and towards Windermere, England’s largest lake. There are good walks from here and the Kirkstone Pass Inn, which is more than 500 years old, is a great place to start from.

2. Cockermouth, Whitehaven and Maryport

Drive along the main Lake District artery from Ambleside to Keswick returning via Ullswater and Kirkstone Pass and take in some of the area’s most stunning scenery.

Where to stop:

Crummock Water is a picturesque lake set in the shadow of Grasmoor. Here it is possible for you to walk the eight mile circuit of the lake or walk along the shore to find a pretty boathouse where you can hire rowing boats to explore the lake.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Arrive in the beautiful Georgian town of Whitehaven on the Cumbrian coast. The harbour was made redundant with the end of the coal mining industry but now makes it perfect for you explore the newly redeveloped marina.

The old town area of Workington is an interesting place for you explore and includes the attractive Portland Square, the striking St John’s Church and the Helena Thompson Museum which reflects the history of the area.

Mayport Coastal Park covers quite a large area, running approximately one mile southwards from Maryport harbour. The open grassy area is an old industrial site which has been made good for you to explore as there are coastal paths leading in both directions. You can take in the great views out to sea towards southern Scotland and each way along the coast.

3. Ravenglass, Wasdale and Eskdale

A drive around the remote western Lake District visiting the only coastal village in the National Park and some good beaches before heading inland to explore the dramatic and beautiful valleys of Wasdale and Eskdale.

Where to stop:

Drigg beach is a vast open beach protected by towering sand dunes. The beach stretches for miles in each direction with wonderful views inland and out to sea for you to enjoy.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Wastwater is a remote and beautiful lake surrounded by dramatic scenery. The view from Countess Beck viewpoint, up the lake to the high mountains and beyond is outstanding and was once voted ‘Britain’s favourite view’. The lake is the deepest in England and one of the clearest making it popular for diving.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dalegarth Station is the terminus for the miniature Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway and is often a hive of activity with regular trains coming and going during the. A ride on the miniature railway is a great way for you to see the picturesque valley with several minor stations along the way and you can continue to the coast at Ravenglass which is about seven miles away.

Muncaster Castle has been residence of the Pennington family for nearly nine centuries. Set in 77 acres of idyllic woodland and gardens, explore the grounds once you have arrived. Visit the Hawk & Owl centre located in the grounds, home to a diverse range of birds for you to wonder at.

05 Nov 2018(last updated)

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