The Top 10 Things to See and Do in the Lake District's Ravenglass

Take the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway to enjoy breathtaking views of the Lake District’s countryside
Take the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway to enjoy breathtaking views of the Lake District’s countryside | © Phil Metcalfe / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emma Lavelle
31 August 2020

The small town of Ravenglass in the Lake District National Park has become one of only a handful of locations around the world to receive double World Heritage Site status, thanks to its location in the National Park and the fact that it is located at the start of Hadrian’s Wall. If you are planning a trip to the picturesque village, here are 10 of the best things to do in the area.

Indulge in Some Tomfoolery

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
© Kevin Eaves / Alamy Stock Photo
Muncaster Castle is one of the most interesting historical buildings in the area, located just a mile (1.6km) away from Ravenglass. Visitors can take an audio tour around the castle, narrated by Tom Fool, the infamous court jester from whose name the phrase ‘tomfoolery’ derives. Ensure that you take the time to explore the grounds, as, with their winding trails and colourful flowers, the gardens are among the best in the north of England.

Admire the Roman Bath House

Building, Ruins
Map View
© travellinglight / Alamy Stock Photo
Ravenglass is known for its Roman roots. The Romans settled here due to its position as a natural harbour, building a fort named Glannoventa to defend themselves from invaders. The remains of its bath house are now one of the best-preserved examples of Roman remains in the country, standing at almost 4 metres (13ft) tall. Visitors can walk around the ruins and see where the baths once stood.

Take a Scenic Train ride

Train Station
Map View
© Phil Metcalfe / Alamy Stock Photo
The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway journey takes you across the estuary and up through the hills at a steep gradient, providing breathtaking views over the Lake District, including vistas of Scafell Pike. There are several stations along the route that the driver will stop at upon request, allowing you to disembark and see more of the area. There is a choice of open or closed-top carriages, making this a perfect activity whatever the weather.

Grab Your Binoculars

Natural Feature
Map View
© r j conley photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Keen ornithologists should take their binoculars and visit Drigg Dunes, located on the coast between Ravenglass and Seascale. These beautiful rolling sand dunes are a Site of Special Scientific Interest, mainly due to the huge number of birds that call them home. The nature reserve is one of the best places in Europe to watch black-headed gulls, as well as many other species of seabirds.

Climb England’s Tallest Mountain

Natural Feature
Map View
© Peter Cripps / Alamy Stock Photo
Ravenglass is located conveniently close to Scafell Pike, the biggest mountain in England at 978 metres (3,209 ft). There are three routes to the top from nearby Wasdale, but weather conditions can change quickly, and you should only tackle the mountain if you already are an experienced climber. The views from the top are breathtaking, so remember to take your camera to capture the experience when you reach the peak.

Marvel at Stanley Ghyll Force Waterfall

Natural Feature
Map View
© Stewart Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
If you have taken the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, consider disembarking at Dalegarth Station, and take the short 1.5-mile (2.4km) walk through the woods to one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Lake District National Park, Stanley Ghyll Force. This impressive waterfall cascades down a 60-foot (18m) gorge, and care should be taken when climbing the steep steps to admire the views.

Enjoy a Scenic Drive

Natural Feature
Map View
© Craig Joiner Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Good weather cannot be guaranteed in the Lake District, but, if you visit on a dismal day, you can still enjoy the scenery by going for a drive in the countryside. The green valley of Eskdale is easily explored via car from Ravenglass, although its roads are not for the faint of heart. Take the hairpin road down Hardknott Pass to admire the dramatic views from this notoriously challenging drive.

Discover a Roman Fort

Ruins
Map View
© Ashley Cooper / Alamy Stock Photo
Anyone who is visiting the area due to an interest in its history should head to the nearby Hardknott Roman fort. Located between Ravenglass and Ambleside on the side of an old Roman road, the ruins of this fort are remarkably well preserved. Visitors can easily spot the gateways and corner towers in the remains, before turning and admiring the dramatic views over Eskdale.

Go for a Relaxing Walk

Natural Feature
Map View
© Mike Kipling Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Even if you’re not keen on climbing mountains, there are still many pleasant walks to enjoy in and around Eskdale. The valley itself is full of routes and paths through luscious fields and enchanting woodland. Pack up your bag with all of the essentials, and head out into the countryside to soak up the fresh air and stretch your legs.

Enjoy a Pint of Local Ale While Watching the Sunset

Pub, Pub Grub
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© John Morrison / Alamy Stock Photo
As the daylight fades, there is no better place to be than sitting by the window of the Inn at Ravenglass, watching the sunset over the sea. This 17th-century inn is located right by the village green, overlooking the sea. On a warm day, take your pint of local ale outside to watch the colours change over the horizon, or, during the winter months, opt to stay nice and cosy indoors, next to the wood-burning stove.
These recommendations were updated on August 31, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.