Lake District National Park, simply called The Lakes, is a mountainous region in the northwest of England. It is known for its many lakes, forests, and mountains. We paused in the park while on the way north, and spent the day visiting three of its sixteen lakes, hopping from one viewpoint to the other, with the occasional stop in one of its picturesque towns.
Orrest Head offers the best views over Windermere Lake and its nearby town of Waterhead. We parked at the Windermere Station, paid the 3£ parking fee, and were on our way. The hike up was pretty straightforward, and it took about 20 minutes to complete the one mile walk up to the top.
The viewpoint is located only 238 meters above sea-level, however once we cleared the abundant trees, the sky cleared up nicely. Luckily, it had stopped raining at this point, so we could see the entire length of the lake. On the left (south), you can see all the way to the end of the lake towards Lakeside town, while on the right (north), the rugged mountains of the heart of the National Park dominate the skyline.
After walking the same way down, we decided to make a quick stop at Waterhead. We stopped at the harbor, and walked around the waterfront for a while until it unfortunately started to pour down English style! The harbor was quite cute, however not as busy as March is still considered off-season (the tourist season starts early April).
Windermere is the largest lake in the park, followed by Ullswater and Derwent Water. We found the view from Friars Crog the most impressive of them all. Park at the Lakeside Car Park near Keswick, and walk about 15 minutes towards the viewpoint. You’ll find an empty bench, and great views over Derwent Water.
From the same parking lot, you can walk 15 minutes the other way to end up in Keswick. This picturesque town, although quiet off-season, is the place to stay when visiting The Lakes. There are plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, and outdoor clothing stores. Be sure to bring an extra layer or two, as wind and rain can strike quite unexpectedly.
One of the few sights in the park that have nothing to do with water is the Castlerigg Stone Circle. This small version of Stonehenge, which dates back about 4500 years, is a bit hard to find, but worth a short visit nonetheless. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, these stones are set in a dramatic environment. Back in the day, these grounds were used by the elite to exchange goods, and for ceremonial activities.
Our last stop in Lake District National Park was at Pooley Bridge. We stopped at the ferry pier, where normally tourists take the ferry to Glenridding, located on the southern side of the lake. As it was late afternoon, the ferry was out of service already, but we still snapped a quick picture of the lake. For us, it was time to leave the rain and the National Park behind, and head north.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.