England’s Lake District—a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site—has something for all: magnificent mountain-and-lake scenery, historical sights, walking trails, picture-perfect towns, and adventurous outdoor activities. With so much to see and do, read our tips for experiencing its treasures in just one day.
A full-day tour that provides an overview of the region’s stunning scenery is ideal when time is limited. Book a day trip around 10 lakes: roaming lush valleys and high passes to admire picture-perfect Grasmere, Thirlmere, Buttermere, and other gems. In winter, choose a half-day foray around Lake Windermere, Tarn Hows, and other highlights to see them at their most atmospheric—framed in mist and snow-tipped peaks. Otherwise, set your sights on a particular area of the Lakes, perhaps with a morning tour of Lake Coniston and the craggy-peaked Langdale valleys. Other options include private tours with customizable itineraries and, for those based in London, a whistle-stop look at the region with convenient return transport by rail from the capital.
Continue any day trips this afternoon, perhaps exploring the market town of Keswick and ancient Castlerigg Stone Circle with a guide for insight. Alternatively, follow in the footsteps of early 20th-century botanist and children’s author Beatrix Potter, who lived in, and loved, the Lakes. Visit Hill Top, her onetime home, now a museum, along with other Potter-inspired experiences such as a Lake Windermere cruise and time at Esthwaite Water, where she fished from her boat and penned botanical drawings. For something outdoorsy, enjoy a cruise on Ullswater or a gill-scrambling adventure—ascending rocks through waterfalls and natural pools. Railway buffs and walkers will love riding the Ravenglass and Eskdale train through the spectacular Western Lakes, hopping off at various stations to hike and explore.
Make the most of the glorious scenery this evening with a relaxing stroll along the shores of Lake Windermere, Coniston, or Grasmere. Or, book an early evening cruise on Lake Windermere to admire the sunset from the water before finishing with dinner at one of the many inviting restaurants, wine bars, or pubs in Bowness.