The Lake District is one of those places that inspires calm and serenity when it’s done right, but it can be crowded and touristic if you don’t know where to look. It's been a popular tourist destination since the mid 1800s, yet there are still hidden gems to be found.
Exhilarating walks up picturesque mountains and rustic local hospitality is what the Lakes first became known for, but in recent years its Michelin-star restaurants have showcased a more refined side of the national park. There’s so much more to do than walk and eat. Here’s what I’d do in three days in the Lake District.
The Lakes are essentially giant puddles—it’s going to rain.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a trip to Grasmere for gingerbread, Rydal Water, and quaint cottages.
Get settled into your digs and then lace up your boots—you're going walking. On your first day, get acquainted with your surrounding area on foot, then pop into a local tea room for a traditional post-walk pot of tea and a toasted teacake.
Then, explore further afield, perhaps with a tour of the major lakes for some sightseeing, or take a self-guided driving tour around some of the Lake District’s hidden gems in Hawkshead and Windermere. For a look at the quaint world that William Wordsworth loved so much, tour Grasmere, Castlerigg Stone Circle, and Blea Tarn.
On your main full day in the Lake District, pack in as many outdoorsy activities as you dare. The Lake District is a playground for adrenaline junkies and calm-seekers alike, and there’s more than enough to keep everyone occupied.
Go white-water rafting near Grizedale Forest, or try ghyll scrambling—a type of hiking that uses river courses to head up and downstream, with plenty of scrambling, jumping, and sliding in between. If you fancy a day of culture instead, learn about the history and heritage of this special place, and visit boat building workshops, galleries, museums, and more.
Beatrix Potter is one of the Lake District's most famous daughters, known for her delightful tales and illustrations of woodland creatures living in the landscapes around her home. Tour her cottage and the villages of Hawkshead and Bowness that inspired her. Afterwards, sail on the calm waters of Lake Windermere.
For a different perspective, travel the wild west of the Lake District, and see untamed moorland, traverse mountain passes, and visit Roman ruins, stone circles, and the rugged coast.