The World At Your Feet: Top 10 Destinations In The Lake District World Heritage Site
This summer you’re not a world away from unparalleled experiences and show-stopping sights.
Make the most of the internationally renowned attractions right on your doorstep, with our top 10 must-visit places in the Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a world of adventure and still be home in time for tea.
It’s a fair drive to reach the Wasdale valley, home to England’s deepest – and arguably most awe-inspiring – lake, but it’s worth every mile. Surrounded by mountains, including England’s largest, Scafell Pike, and with the Screes extending the length of the one side rise from the floor of the lake to a height of almost 2,000 feet, it’s little wonder it was once voted Britain’s best view.
Connecting the Borrowdale and Buttermere valleys, one of Cumbria’s highest passes makes for a truly unique drive. At its summit, you’ll find the last working slate mine in England, which doubles as a hub of adventure and activity. Honister Slate Mine offers opportunities for exploring the landscape in the most unconventional ways, from the interactive underground mine tours, to the dizzying heights of the UK’s best Via Ferrata. Not for the faint hearted.
Renowned as the home of the world’s best gingerbread, little has changed inside Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop since it was established in 1854, including the “secret recipe”. Of course, Grasmere also has William Wordsworth to thank for its popularity, who lived at Dove Cottage and who’s tombstone can be found in St Oswald’s Churchyard.
The most westerly of the lakes, Ennerdale Water is a good alternative to its more crowded counterparts (see Buttermere). It’s remote location means that even in the height of summer you’ll find peace and quiet here and probably, the best place in England to view the night sky.
Ullswater & Aira Force
Often heralded as England’s most beautiful lake, it’s hardly surprising that it is the setting for Wordsworth’s famous Daffodils poem. Among the sailing, water sports, walking and fishing on offer, a trip across the lake on the Ullswater Steamers is a must-do and the magnificent Aira Force waterfall is situated just steps away.
England’s only true mountain forest and it’s visitor centre, is home to a whole range of outdoor activities, from mountain biking and orienteering, to the ultimate adventure playground for all ages, Go Ape. It is also the habitat of an abundance of wildlife, including red squirrels, woodland birds and of course the awe-inspiring ospreys.
Keswick & Derwentwater
It may be overcrowded with tourists throughout the summer, but a trip to the market town of Keswick, is worthwhile to access the gentle beauty of Derwentwater. There’s plenty to do in the pretty town itself, but for true tranquillity, hire a rowing boat or paddle board and float away.
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
For something a little different, take a trip on the ‘La’al Ratty’, along one of the oldest and longest narrow gauge railways in England. Heritage steam engines will transport you from Ravenglass – the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park – to Dalegarth, along seven miles of spectacular scenery in this World Heritage site.
This man-made water near Coniston, was left to the National Trust by Beatrix Potter and today is one of the most visited spots in the Lakes. This beauty spot can get very busy in high season, but that’s hardly surprising, given that it offers incredible views of the natural landscape and the flat, circular walk around the Tarn is accessible by wheelchair and perfect for families – a great day out when visiting this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hardknott Roman Fort
The challenging drive up Hardknott Pass will certainly test your driving skills, but it’s worth it when you uncover one of the loneliest outposts of the Roman Empire at the top. Hardknott Roman Fort was built during the reign of Hadrian and today you can explore its well-preserved stone walls at this World Heritage site, while admiring views as far as the Isle of Man.