The Lake District holiday home guide: how to find your new home26 August 2020
The Lake District is a fantastic place to buy a static caravan. If you are looking to invest in a permanent holiday home, there’s plenty of caravan parks to choose from in this stunning part of Cumbria.
Located in North West England, the Lake District is a popular holiday destination and the largest National Park in the country. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty, the Lake District has lots to offer, from soaring mountains and pretty valleys to its sandy shores and coastline.
There are plenty of quaint towns and villages to explore including Windermere, Bowness, Ambleside, Grasmere, Coniston, Ullswater and Keswick.
Things to do in the Lake District
If you choose to purchase a holiday home in the Lakes, there’s plenty of things to do. Here are some of our top picks.
Windermere Lake Cruises
With departure points situated in Bowness, Ambleside, Brockhole and Lakeside Pier, when you book a boat trip with Windermere Cruises, you can explore multiple points of interest on and around the lake. There’s a variety of different routes, ticket types and tours available, all ranging in length, location, price and flexibility. As well as offering steamers and ferries that tour Lake Windermere, there is also self-drive and rowing boats available for hire. The attraction caters for all ages and there are wheelchair-friendly vessels that operate on the lake.
Accessible by car, train & bus.
Grizedale Forest & Visitor Centre
Situated between Windermere and Coniston, Grizedale Forest is a popular Lake District attraction that has something for everyone. There are eight guided walks around the forest that are waymarked. Children will enjoy spotting the forty wooden sculptures that are dotted along the walking trails. There are lots of other activities to enjoy too. Test your nerve and try Go Ape, a tree-top adventure that will get your heart racing. Bike hire is also available and there’s an impressive outdoor playground where the kids can blow off some steam. Check out the website to read more about the onsite facilities.
Accessible by car
Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Museum
If you’re heading to Grasmere, a visit to Dove Cottage is a must. Dove Cottage was the home of William Wordsworth, from 1799 to 1808. Enjoy a guided tour of the cottage and gardens and learn about Wordsworth and his poetry. There is also a museum which exhibits his work and explores his life. Afterwards, walk into Grasmere village. It’s a quaint location which has a delicious range of independent cafes and traditional pubs. If you’re feeling active, take a stroll around the lake. Or, for the adventurers amongst you, Helme Cragg is a popular hiking route.
Accessible by car, bus & ferry
Situated just outside Windermere, the turning for Brockhole is directly off the A591. Brockhole has a visitor centre, extensive lakeside gardens, an impressive adventure playground and a range of activities that are suitable for all ages. If you want to stretch your legs, take a guided walk around the Mawson gardens and you’ll hear all about the Brockhole’s history. Perhaps you’re looking for something that’s a bit more adrenaline-fuelled? Well, there’s caving, laser clay shooting, archery, boat hire, bike hire and Tree Top Trekking waiting for you. If the weather isn’t so good, the visitor centre hosts many interesting exhibitions. There’s also an indoor soft play for under fours and a creative space which encourages puzzle solving and colouring. After you’ve tried all of that, you’ll probably want to relax at the onsite cafe, which serves up delicious hot and cold food. Brockhole is suitable for wheelchair users.
Accessible by car & bus
If it’s raining heavily and exploring the outdoors isn’t an option, a visit to Lakes Aquarium is a lovely way to spend the day. The aquarium is located on the southern shore of Lake Windermere in Newby Bridge. Brings all the magic that under the sea to Cumbria, there’s plenty of exotic creatures to admire. From Pipefish and diving ducks to clownfish and piranhas, there’s so much you can learn. There are two cafes onsite. The Cafe and gift shop serves sandwiches, pasties, cookies and cake while Oscar’s Cafe serves hot food such as soup, paninis and burgers. It’s suitable for everyone and is easily accessible for wheelchair users.
Accessible by car, train (Haverthwaite Railway), bus (1 mile away) & Boat (Windermere Lake Cruises, Lakeside)
Walking Routes in the Lake District
There is plenty of suitable walks in the Lake District that are accessible to all. Here’s a selection of popular walking routes for gentle ramblers. Those of you who are looking for an easy walk before lunch.
Length: Various routes (from 0.9 miles to 4.7 miles)
Time- 2-3 hours
Rating: Suitable for all and most (depending on route)
If you need a walking route that is pushchair and wheelchair accessible, Buttermere lake shore offers a circular route that is free from stiles. There are three different pathways to explore and while the path is relatively broad, be aware that it does get narrow in places. All of the routes offer spectacular views across Buttermere Lake, a part of the Lake District that is beautifully unspoilt.
Length: 2 miles
Time: 1 hour
Rating: Suitable for all
Tarn Hows is a walk for all. It’s suitable all, regardless of age and physical ability. This short, 2 miles walk follows a well-marked, surfaced path that’s slightly hilly in sections. Very close to Coniston and Hawkshead, Tarn Hows is a circular route in a picturesque location. A favourite for those who have small children with them.
Ambleside to Troutbeck and back via Wansfell
Length: 5-6 miles
Time: 4-5 hours
Rating: Suitable for some
If you fancy a more challenging route but you’re not quite Bear Grylls, this route includes an ascent up to Wansfell Pike. Starting in Ambleside, this route will take you through Skelghyll woods before joining a gravelled path that will lead you to the bottom of Wansfell. The views from the top of the summit are well worth the climb. From the top you have fantastic views over Lake Windermere and Ambleside, stretching for miles.
Sizergh Castle Wildlife Walk
Length: 2-3 miles
Time: 2 hours
Rating: Suitable for most
Situated in South Lakes, Sizergh Castle has a traditional agricultural estate that is surrounded by beautiful countryside. The Wildlife Walk follows easy terrain across footpaths, stone tracks and tarmacked roads. Along the way, look out for butterflies, wildflowers, bees and juicy blackberries. The route also offers great views of the Lakeland Fells, the Pennines and Morecambe Bay. Be aware that it can become very muddy underfoot in the winter months.
Aira Force and Gowbarrow Trail
Length: 4-5 miles
Time: 3-4 hours
Rating: Suitable for most
This popular walking trail near Ullswater guides you through luscious green woodlands and conifer trees until you come to Aira Force. Aira Force is the best-known waterfall in Cumbria and has superb views over Ullswater and surrounding areas. It’s a fairly easy terrain to manage but is steep in sections and has several flights of stairs.
Food & Drink to try in the Lake District
The Lake District is a haven for food lovers. When you venture into popular locations such as Windermere, Bowness and Ambleside, there’s plenty of independent cafes, pubs and restaurants to suit. If it’s Michelin star that you’re after, head to Simon Rogan’s L’enclume, tucked away in the tiny village of Cartmel. The Cuckoo Brow Inn situated near Ambleside is a popular choice for Sunday roast, while Baldry's tea room in Grasmere serves up cakes and tray bakes to die for. When you visit the area, there are certain food items that should be on your checklist.
The traditional Cumberland sausage is famous for its coiled appearance. Typically filled with chopped pork, black pepper, herbs and spices the product has been granted a special protected status and can only be produced in Cumbria. Head to a local butcher, or look out for it on the menu.
It’s said to be the world’s best gingerbread and is definitely worth a taste. Invented in 1845 by Sarah Nelson, Grasmere gingerbread is a spicy-sweet cross between a cake and a biscuit. The Grasmere Gingerbread shop is situated between St Oswald’s Churchyard and The Wordsworth Hotel and attracts visitors all year round.
Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding
If you have a sweet tooth, then Cartmel Sticky Toffee pudding is the ultimate dessert. Hand-made in the tiny village of Cartmel, this famous pudding is made from 100% natural ingredients and is sold all over the world. The good news is, if you develop a taste for sticky toffee pudding, you can order online...
Kendal Mint Cake
In the South Lakes, you’ll find the popular market town of Kendal, famous for its legendary mint cake. This glucose-based confectionary is flavoured with peppermint and has been produced in the town for over 100 years. Some say that Kendal Mint Cake is the world’s oldest energy bar and is a popular choice of snack for those exploring the Lake District.
First of all, the name is misleading. Hawkshead Brewery is located in the beautiful village of Staveley, just a stone's throw away from Kendal. This independent craft brewery is open seven days a week and showcases Hawkshead beers in cask, keg and bottle. Bestsellers include Windermere Pale, Hawkshead Bitter and Lakeland Gold. The brewery also has a kitchen and serves up hearty ‘beer tapas,’ which includes a selection of warm scotch eggs, local cheeses and Cumberland sausages.
5 Facts about the Lake District
1. The Lake District only officially has ONE lake
Bassenthwaite is the only actual lake in the Lake District. The rest are either meres or waters.
2. The creator of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter, was an award-winning sheep farmer
Beatrix Potter had many talents; she won a number of prizes for her Herdwick sheep.
3. In 2017, the Lake District was announced as a Unesco World Heritage Site
This means that the Lake District is officially listed as having special cultural or physical significance. Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls and the Great Barrier Reef.
4. It’s officially England’s wettest place
It’s a place of stunning beauty but it rains a lot in the Lake District. Seathwaite in Borrowdale in the wettest place in England, with 3300 mm of rainfall every year on average. The locals wear waterproof jackets for a reason.
5. It attracts 18.41 million visitors every year
Despite the rain, millions of people visit the Lake District every year and tourism is the main source of income for the area.
Lake District Mountain Walks
There are more than 150 mountains in the Lake District, with Scafell Pike, Scafell, Helvellyn and Skiddaw all over 3000 feet. If you buy a static caravan in the Lake District you should challenge yourself to a proper fell walk. Here’s a list the best mountains to climb in the Lake District.
Height: 3209 ft.
Nearto: Ulverston, Cockermouth and Wasdale
It’s the highest mountain in England, so it’s only right that it features. It’s a tough climb to the summit. The terrain is rocky and it does involve scrambling, so you’ll need to be physically fit to do this particular hike. Scafell Pike is in a remote location, which means that the views from the top are really something to behold.
The Old Man of Coniston
Height: 2634 ft.
Nearto: Coniston village and water
Standing proudly in the Furness Fells, this fell lies west of the village of Coniston and the lake. It’s a medium length walk that starts in Coniston village and climbs through an old quarry. Before ascending to the top of the fell, you can take a short break at Low Water before tackling the last section on the walk. It’s a popular fell walk that has spectacular panoramic views.
Height: 1480 ft.
Nearto: Keswick and Derwent Water
Cat Bells is a great fell walk for beginners. There’s a bit of scrambling involved but nothing too strenuous. It’s a short steep climb that opens up and guides you across the mountain ridge. From the top you can admire Derwent Water below and the bustling town of Keswick.
Height: 2828 ft.
Nearto: Ambleside and Langdale
Crinkle Crags is near to Ambleside and Langdale. As suggested by its name, you can expect rugged terrain that is decorated with rocky towers and jagged stone. Don’t let that put you off. Crinkle Crags can be tackled by those of reasonable levels of fitness.
Height: 2326 ft.
Nearto: Ambleside and Langdale
Towering high above Langdale, this fell is also known as the Pike of Stickle. It’s an easy climb to the top in comparison to other Lakeland Fells. There’s no scrambling involved but the path is steep in places and gets a bit boggy in wet weather.
The Lake District National Park is situated in North West England. The nearest city is Lancaster, which is south of the Lakes. The city of Carlisle is to the north of the area. It is possible to travel directly to the Lake District by car or train.
How to get to the Lake District
M6 runs to the east of the Lake District. Take Junction 36 and follow the A590 for the South Lakes and Junction 40 and the A66 for the North Lakes.
Oxenholme is the biggest station that services the Lake District. It is situated 3 miles away from the market town of Kendal.
The Lake District is serviced by the West Coast mainline which connects Oxenholme, Penrith and Carlisle to London and Glasgow stations. There is also a direct Transpennine service that connects Manchester stations to Oxenholme.
There is a local service that runs sporadically from Oxenholme stations which call at Kendal, Staveley and Windermere.
The nearest major airport is Manchester and there is a direct train service which stops at Oxenholme.
Getting around the Lake District
The A66 is the main route connecting East to West Cumbria. It will take you from Scotch Corner in Workington and passes through Brough, Temple Sowerby, Penrith, Keswick and Cockermouth.
The A591 will take you through the heart of the Lake District, passing through Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere.
You should know that many of the roads in the Lake District are one lane and windy in places. There are certain passes that you need to be aware of, especially if you are driving a wide vehicle. These include:
- Kirkstone Pass
- Hard Knott Pass
- Wrynose Pass
- Honister Pass
- Newlands Pass
- Whinlatter Pass
The above can become treacherous in extreme weather conditions.
There is a local service that runs sporadically from Oxenholme stations which calls at Kendal, Staveley and Windermere.
There’s also a train line that runs across the Cumbrian coastline which connects Grange-over-sands and Ulverston. These destinations can be reached from Lancaster station, which is a 20-minute train journey from Oxenholme.
The 555 service runs between Lancaster and Carlisle and calls at many of the popular tourist destinations in the Lake District. This includes Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside, Grasmere and Keswick.
There are plenty of bike routes around the Lake District if you fancy a more active mode of transport. Popular routes include C2C and the Lakes and Dales Loop. You can hire bikes when you’re there from places like Keswick Bikes Cycle Hire and Country Lane.