It’s impossible to experience all the Lake District has to offer in just one day. To fully appreciate the National Park, you would need at least a couple of days to attempt to summit one of its many peaks and spend time on the lakes. If you only have a short time to explore the Lakes, we suggest concentrating your adventures around Lake Windermere, Derwent Water and the surrounding areas. Read on to discover our 24 hour itinerary.
The best way to get the most out of just 24 hours in the Lake District is by booking accommodation in two different locations for your first night and last night. Spend your first night in luxury in the Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, just outside Bowness. For pure indulgence, we particularly love their cedar-clad spa lodges, offering private treatment areas, steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs. You probably won’t want to leave, but the surrounding landscapes beckon.
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel restaurant, check out and drive south west around Lake Windermere, drinking up the beautiful scenery. Just short drive away, you’ll find yourself at Grizedale Forest, a 4000 hectare forest that boasts an impressive collection of permanent and temporary sculptures. While away your morning wandering along the walking trails admiring the works of art.
Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Crook Road, Windermere +44 15394 88818
Grizedale Forest Park, Grizedale, Hawkshead, Ambleside +44 300 067 4495
Leaving Grizedale, continue driving north for a few short miles until you reach Hawkshead. This quaint little village is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat and to refuel for the rest of the day. Choose from a selection of cosy little cafes and traditional pubs offering everything from quintessentially British tea and cake, to hearty meals.
When you’re feeling suitably full, set back off towards Ambleside, at the very tip of Lake Windermere. This is one of the best towns in the Lakes to wander around to enjoy the scenery and the atmosphere, although do be warned that it often gets busy. If you fancy taking to the water, wander down to the shore and inquire about booking a ticket on a boat that will tour the lake or hire a small boat of your own. There’s also the option to walk to Stock Ghyll Force, a 70 foot waterfall only a short stroll away.
Resist the temptation to stop for afternoon tea in one of Ambleside’s many cafes – we have a tastier treat in store. Hop back in the car and again drive north towards Grasmere. This pretty little village is the starting point of many walks up into the hills (perhaps skip one of the earlier suggestions if you prefer spending your day hiking) and is also the home of the infamous Grasmere gingerbread. Unlike any gingerbread you’ve ever tasted before, this local delicacy was invented in 1854 and the recipe has stayed the same ever since. Be prepared for long queues to sample the gingerbread, as it’s the main reasons that visitors flock to Grasmere.
As for where to spend the night, we recommend driving a little further north up to Keswick and booking a cosy cottage on the grand Lingholm Country Estate on the shore of Derwent Water. The beautiful kitchen and walled garden will likely be shut by the time you arrive but supply the perfect option for a delicious breakfast and a stroll around the walled garden before you leave the next morning.
For dinner and drinks, it’s just a short drive north to find the Michelin-guide recommended Bistro at the Distillery. Housed within a former Victorian cattle parlour, this is the perfect place to sample delicious food crafted from fresh local ingredients while watching the sun set over the hills.
Lingholm Country Estate, Lingholm Lodge, Portinscale, Keswick +44 17687 74238
Bistro at the Distillery, Nr Bassenthwaite Lake +44 1768 788850
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