Two days in the Lake District is enough to discover the highlights of England’s biggest national park—also a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and unpack its literary connections and history. From exploring its mirror-glass lakes and appealing villages to hiking fells and roaming historical houses, here are our ideas for a 2-day stay.
See as much as possible on a daylong excursion to 10 of the most beautiful lakes. View Windermere and Grasmere, and traverse the rugged Kirkstone Pass to Thirlmere, Bassenthwaite, Buttermere, and more. Choose a private tour with a customizable itinerary or a morning’s exploration of a specific area, such as Lake Coniston.
If you’re not on a day trip, zoom in on activities and places that interest you most. Go gill scrambling—climbing through the waterfalls of a mountain stream—or cruise Ullswater, the region’s second-biggest lake. Otherwise, chart the life of 19th-century poet William Wordsworth in his stomping grounds around Grasmere, touring his former homes of Dove Cottage and Rydal House and other sites.
Most visitors spend their Lake District evenings on predinner lakeside or village strolls. Head for a lakefront eatery for supper with a view, making sure to prebook in summer—the top restaurants fill up quickly.
Today, trace the trail of the Lake District’s children’s author and botanist Beatrix Potter, who lived here from 1906 until 1943. Delve into Hill Top, her home turned museum, and visit other locations she loved, such as Hawkshead village and Yewdale. Alternatively, muster your energy to hike up Scafell Pike—England’s tallest mountain—or explore the Lakes’ mountain passes, including Hardknott with its ruined Roman fort, for spectacular views.
Board the miniature Ravenglass and Eskdale railway to explore the beautiful Western Lakes, and visit Muncaster Castle to enjoy its gardens and birds-of-prey displays. Alternatively, cover other highlights such as Tarn Hows, a pine-fringed lake that’s one of the area’s most photographed spots.
Start your final evening on a sundown cruise on Lake Windermere to admire the twilit views. Then, enjoy dinner at one of the Lakes’ top-quality restaurants and inns, savoring the region’s acclaimed cuisine.