Tag: ullswater

Christmas Fairs and Markets

Lake District Christmas Fairs and Markets

To quote one well-known festive tune, “It’s Christmas”… well, not quite. But with a little over seven weeks until the big day, the festive season has started, and with it the region’s Christmas Fairs and Markets.

Although they originated in Germany, Christmas fairs and markets are now a firm fixture in the Lake District, an opportunity to enjoy delicious food, live entertainment and to search for that perfect Christmas gift.

Below we’ve included a few of our favourites. However, please do check they are going ahead before making special plans.

Holker Winter Market: Friday 5 – Sunday 7 November

The Holker Winter Market is a great way to kick-start the festive season, to wander through a variety of stalls selling everything from quality food and drink to delightful artisan gifts. With bags of lively entertainment and plenty of hot food, not only is this a fantastic day out, but you could even get Christmas all wrapped-up in one go.

Gates open at 10am each day, closing at 4pm. Tickets are £5pp. Children under 16 go free.

Christmas in Cartmel: Friday 26 November

Christmas in Cartmel will be making a return this year, complete with festive market stalls, live music, delicious food and drink and Father Christmas and the beautiful black horses. The market will begin at 11am and continue on into the evening.

Ulverston Dickensian Christmas Festival: 27 November

The market town of Ulverston is transformed each year, winding back the clocks to the Dickensian era. This is a Christmas market like no other. Horse-drawn carriages, street food vendors, Dickensian costumes, a Victorian helter-skelter and live street entertainment. This really is a step back in time.

Hawkshead Christmas Fair: Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December

Why not head to the picturesque village of Hawkshead for a weekend of festive fun and Christmas cheer, when the cobbled streets play host to local crafts and produce, festive stalls, live music and plenty of food and drink.

Christmas Fair at Rydal Mount (Home of William Wordsworth): 11 and 12 December

Live music, mulled wine, mince pies, craft workshops. What a relaxing way to spend a day. And all in the surroundings of the former home of William Wordsworth. Tickets for Christmas at Rydal Mount are £12 for adults and £6 for children and include access to the house and all of the exhibits. There will also be a local trade stands selling a variety of festive goods, including local art, ceramics and jewellery.

We have also some Christmas Markets in North Lakes, perfect for guests staying in our Ullswater Cottages.

North Lakes Christmas Market – Penrith: Sunday 14 November

The event takes place at the North Lakes Hotel and Spa and where you’ll be able to explore over thirty local businesses providing everything you need to make Christmas extra special.

Keswick Victorian Fayre: Sunday 5 December

With live entertainment by local artists, bands, choirs and dancers, as well as over thirty charity stalls selling an array of homemade crafts and produce, the Keswick Victorian Fayre is a great opportunity for local charities to raise their profile as well as some much needed funds.

Taste Cumbria Christmas Festival – Cockermouth: Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 December

Taste Cumbria showcases all that is amazing about the county’s food and drink. And in December, it will be given a festive twist.

The event will take place in the heart of the town, where there’ll be a packed producers’ market, a hot food court and plenty of live music, as well as family activities (including a fairground), and children’s arty workshops.

Free entry from 10am – 3pm.

If you’d like any further information, please do get in touch.

Lake District Stargazing

Lake District Stargazing

It’s just over a month until the Cumbria Dark Skies Festival, a celebration of the fantastic Lake District stargazing opportunities.

National Parks remain some of the most unspoilt, darkest places in Great Britain, providing us with the perfect opportunity to really explore our star-studded skies throughout Autumn and Winter. From first-time stargazers to astrophotography experts, the wonder of the night skies will never cease to amaze.

Where to stargaze

Our Matson Ground cottages offer some excellent stargazing opportunities thanks to the dark skies overhead. Whether you’re staying in one of our Windermere cottages, or one of our Ullswater cottages, if the skies are clear the sight is simply spellbinding.

Alternatively, you could venture out. Ennerdale, Wasdale and the Borrowdale valley are some of the best places in the Lake District to really soak up the night skies. But closer to home, Grizedale Forest is pretty easy to get to and has a number of car parks. There are also a number of stargazing events at Grizedale, including star gazing if the skies are clear.

Alternatively, head up to the Langdale Valley, where the steep-sided valley shelters the Langdales from any town lights, meaning minimal light pollution. The ideal place to really connect with the night sky.

Lake District Stargazing Tips

There are a number of things you can do to really enhance your stargazing experience. We’ve highlighted a few below:

Adjust your eyes. It can take up to 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, so factor in enough time ahead of your stargazing.

Use red light to maintain your night vision – for instance, paint the end of your torch with red nail varnish, or cover with a red sock or simply use a back light from your bike – anything to avoid bright lights.

Wrap up – at this time of year it can get cold, so make sure you’ve got some warm and cosy clothing with you. And take something you can put on the ground so that you can stretch out.

Binoculars / telescope – both will help you see far more than just with the naked eye. Even a pair of binoculars will increase what you see by a factor of up to 50.

Stargazing apps – there are plenty of apps for your phone which will give you the names of the stars and constellations overhead.

Check the moon calendar – the last thing you want is to be stargazing when there’s a wonderful full moon!

The Importance of Dark Skies

We’re not the only ones who love dark skies. Lack of light pollution is a welcome sight for so many animals. After all, about 60& of animals are nocturnal, following the light of the moon and the stars. If you’re out and about stargazing there’s a chance you might also see bats, foxes, deer, badgers, owls, hedgehogs… the list goes on. However, light pollution can disrupt their sleeping, feeding and breeding behaviour.

They are also critical for our own wellbeing. For thousands of years we’ve looked up at the night sky and seen the Milky Way, wondered at shooting stars and pointed out the constellations. Nowadays, it’s estimated that over 80% of the UK population has never seen the Milky Way, due to the increase in light pollution.

In short, dark skies are critical to wildlife and to our own sense of wellbeing. A star lit night is a truly uplifting sight, and one that we tend to remember. So let’s hope that this sense of wonder continues for generations to come.

Photo credit: Paul Mitchell

Vegetarian Restaurants and Cafés in the Lake District

Vegetarian Restaurants and Cafés in the Lake District

Last Friday, 1 October, was World Vegetarian Day, a day showcasing the benefits of vegetarianism. It also gave rise to October being observed as Vegetarian Awareness Month.

There was a time when the likes of  Mushroom risotto, stuffed peppers, nut roast or portobello mushroom burger were considered fancy vegetarian options. While we’re sure these can be extremely tasty, thankfully the world of vegetarian cuisine is now far more exciting.

Fortunately, we’re blessed with some of the finest places to eat in the UK, including some amazing vegetarian restaurants and cafés in the Lake District.

We’ll start close to our Windermere cottages, before heading north to Penrith and a couple of fantastic options for guests staying in our Ullswater cottages.

Zeffirellis, Ambleside

Mention vegetarian to anyone in Windermere and the chances are they will recommend Zeffirellis in Ambleside. Zeffirellis has been a firm favourite for over 40 years and is great for family, friends and couples alike. It also houses an award-winning cinema.

The menu offers Italian-themed pizza and pasta dishes, with daily specials freshly prepared by a team of passionate chefs. What’s more, there’s enviable wine list to match.

For the complete evening out, why not book a 2-course dinner with a reserved cinema seat?

Fellinis, Ambleside

Fellinis is a new, modern ‘Vegeterranean’ restaurant which caters for the most discerning vegetarian palette. The food is inspired by the warmth of Mediterranean, with a frequently changing menu to reflect the seasons and the availability of local ingredients.

After dinner, why not head upstairs for a unique cinema experience, where you can see the latest art house and niche film productions, as well as live satellite links to world class opera, ballet and theatre events.

Gandhi’s Café, Ambleside

Staying in Ambleside, Gandhi’s has gained a reputation for producing high quality, home cooked vegetarian and vegan food. From relaxed breakfasts to an afternoon pick-me-up, wholesome burgers to tasty pad-Thais, this quirky little café is packed with big flavours.

Chesters by the River

Chesters by the River at Skelwith Bridge is the perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat before, after or during a good walk. Situated on the banks of the River Brathay, the food is wonderfully crafted with plenty of choice. There is some parking, but as it’s ‘out of town’ you may need to plan ahead a little. One option is to park at Elterwater and follow the path alongside the River Brathay, past Skelwith Force, enjoy a good lunch followed by a leisurely walk back to the car.

Upfront Gallery Restaurant, Penrith

For our next stop we’re heading to Penrith, just a short drive from Glenridding and Patterdale. Perfect for our Ullswater guests.

There’s more to Upfront Gallery than just food. It’s a gallery, puppet theatre, music venue and restaurant located in beautifully converted 17th century farm buildings near Penrith.

The licensed café serves a delicious range of vegetarian options throughout the day, beginning with breakfast. Pop in for a range of delicious meals, snacks, cakes, puddings and coffees.

The Yard Kitchen

Our final choice is also in Penrith. The Yard Kitchen is a popular café with a wide range of vegetarian and vegan choices.

The café is located in Brunswick Court, alongside an eclectic mix of specialist sellers, including a bookshop, a wine merchant and a grocers. In fact, the yard is now home to more than 20 independent dealers. So browse to your heart’s content and then enjoy some delicious vegetarian fayre.

That’s it. Our round up of our favourite vegetarian and vegan restaurants and cafés in the Lake District. If you happen to visit one of them, please do let us know what you think. And if you would like more information about dining in the Lake District, please get in touch.

Photo credit: Photo by Farhad Ibrahimzade on Unsplash

Waterfalls in the Lake District

Waterfalls in the Lake District

After a wonderfully warm Summer, Autumn has arrived in the Lake District and with it a change in the landscape. The colours are changing, the skies are growing heavier and our waterfalls are once again in full spate.

Thanks to its many rivers and just a little rain from time to time, the Lake District has an abundance of waterfalls. You’ll come across a waterfall of some description on most rivers, but if you’re looking for something a little more spectacular, a little more exhilarating, we’ve highlighted a few of our favourite waterfalls in the Lake District in this post.

Aira Force and High Force

Arguably the best known of our waterfalls is Aira Force. It’s also one of the easiest to get to, especially if you’re staying in one of our Ullswater cottages. There is a National Trust car park off the A592, halfway between Glenridding and Watermillock, and from there a circular footpath leads through peaceful woodlands to Aira Force.

If you want to make a bit more of your visit, why not take one of the paths which lead beyond the falls to Yew Crag, where you’ll find excellent views east towards Ullswater. Or you could continue uphill from Aira Force until you come to High Force. High Force might not be quite as spectacular as Aira Force, but it’s usually less crowded.

Lodore Falls

Lodore Falls is about an hour in the car from Windermere and slightly less from Glenridding, but well worth a trip if you have time. Situated at the southern end of Derwent Water, the pouring and roaring, whirling and curling falls inspired Robert Southey’s famous onomatopoeic poem ‘How does the water come down at Lodore.’

The falls, which are formed by the beck from Watendlath Tarn cascading over huge boulders, can be accessed by a roadside path. The nearest place to park is the National Trust’s Kettlewell pay and display car park. From there it’s quite a short walk but with dramatic results, especially after a period of rain.

Rydal Falls

Rydal Falls are located just a short walk from William Wordsworth’s home at Rydal Mount and surely one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Lake District.

There is parking along the lane leading off the A591, or in busier times a small car park just south of Rydal Mount. Take the lane leading to Rydal Mount, passing the house on your left, and keep following the stone wall through the woodlands to the waterfall.

Make sure to visit ‘The Grot’ at the base of the waterfall. Built in 1668, this small stone hut is considered to be Britain’s first purpose-built viewing station.

Stock Ghyll Force

Stock Ghyll Force is about 15 minutes on foot from Ambleside. The walk takes you through a classic woodland setting until you reach the falls, which fall around 70 feet in two distinct steps, forming a lovely ‘V’ shape when they meet.

There are a number of mini falls along the way to whet the appetite, and once you’re at the main attraction, there are several viewing platforms, including special viewpoints for those with wheelchairs or pushchairs.

Skelwith Force

Another waterfall relatively close to our Windermere Cottages is Skelwith Force. At around 15 feet in height, it’s certainly not one of the highest falls in the Lake District, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t lack drama. The combination of the waters from the River Brathay and Langdale Beck mean the word ‘force’ is an apt description, especially after a period of heavy rain.

This is another waterfall which can be easily reached. We like to approach it from the village of Elterwater, following the path alongside the River Brathay, through the fields bordering Elter Water and into the woods towards Skelwith Force. The bridges criss-crossing the River Brathay give you excellent views of the falls.

The stunning views of the Langdales are an added bonus on this short walk.

Tom Gill Falls, Tarn Hows

We often mention Tarn Hows. It really is a beautiful spot and one of the most easy-access walks in the Lake District. But if you choose an alternative route, you could walk alongside Tom Gill, a tumbling stream boasting a stunning waterfall.

Instead of heading straight to Tarn Hows, park at the Glen Mary Bridge car park, just off the A593. From here, follow the signposted route alongside Tom Gill. After about a quarter of an hour you’ll reach the first waterfall, with the second, more impressive fall a little further along.

Having passed the waterfalls, you’ll come out at Tarn Hows, where you can enjoy a picturesque walk around the tarns.

Scale Force

No round up of waterfalls in the Lake District would be complete without mentioning Scale Force. It’s about an hour or so in the car from our Windermere and Ullswater cottages, but if you’re looking for a day out exploring the lakes, it’s well worth the excursion.

Scale Force is the tallest waterfall in the Lake District, located next to Crummock Water. It’s easily accessible on foot from Buttermere village. If you park in the National Trust car park, the round trip distance is about 2.5 miles (good waterproof footwear is essential).

With so much to see and do, we are truly spoilt, but a visit to one of the wonderful waterfalls in the Lake District is a must, especially at this time of year.

If you need more information, please do get in touch.

Our Favourite Lake District Cafés

Our favourite Lake District cafés

 

Did you know it’s Sourdough September? Well, nor did we until recently, and while we are no baking fanatics (apart from being partial to the odd sweet treat), we did think it was a rather good excuse to round up our favourite Lake District cafés.

The Lake District has become synonymous with fine dining, a true foodie destination. But alongside the gastro pubs and Michelin-starred restaurants, we are lucky to have some fantastic local cafés. Somewhere to grab a cup of coffee and a slice of cake with a friend, or a quick work lunch with colleagues.

So, in the unlikely event that you find yourself at a loose end while staying in one of our Matson Ground cottages, why not try one of our favourite Lake District cafés?

Homeground Coffee + Kitchen, Windermere

Homeground Coffee + Kitchen in Windermere is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. Located right in the heart of Windermere, this is a great spot for brunch. Or just a seriously good cup of coffee.

Blackwell The Arts and Crafts House Tea Room

Blackwell’s charming Tea Room serves delicious light lunches, cakes and an array of tempting treats. The outdoor terrace boasts amazing views of Lake Windermere and the Lakeland fells beyond. And wherever possible they use the finest locally sourced ingredients. Well worth a visit, especially on a sunny day.

The First Floor Café at Lakeland

Whether it’s a hearty Cumbrian breakfast, a quick coffee and a slice of cake or their new Cumbria Posh Dog, there’s something for everyone at the First Floor Café at Lakeland. As the name says, the café is located on the first floor, above Lakeland’s flagship kitchenware store. So once you’ve finished in the café, why not pop downstairs and have a serious browse?

The Café at Brockhole

Just outside Windermere is Brockhole with its stunning house, amazing gardens and wealth of activities for the whole family. There are also a number of dining options where you can enjoy anything from a tasty treat to a delicious BBQ. And all with fantastic views of Lake Windermere.

Windermere Jetty Café

Fancy lunch with a view? The Windermere Jetty Café sits right on the lake shore, so whether it’s breakfast, lunch or just a coffee, you can be guaranteed some of the best views in the Lake District.

Our Favourite Ullswater Cafés

Of course, if you’re staying in one of our Ullswater cottages, Windermere is a bit of a trek. But don’t worry, there are plenty of options in Ullswater. Here are a few of our favourites.

The Secret Garden at Pooley Bridge

Behind the Village Stores and Post Office in Pooley Bridge you’ll find the Secret Garden, a lovely riverside venue offering homemade meals, cake, coffee and a fully licensed bar. The perfect way to finish a day on the fells.

Fellbites Café

Located at the bottom of Helvellyn in the picturesque village of Glenridding, Fellbites is a small café by day and restaurant by night.
It’s within walking distance to steamers, shops and is the start or finish to many walks. Absolutely perfect if you fancy a snack before a walk or maybe some lunch after.

Aira Force Tearoom

If you’re visiting Aira Force, why not pop into the tearoom where there is a range of hot and cold drinks, home bakes, sandwiches, hot pasties and ice-creams to enjoy?

Ramblers Bar and Candleroom at the Inn on the Lake

The final recommendation in our favourite Lake District cafés is the Ramblers Bar and Candleroom at the Inn on the Lake. It’s situated within the hotel’s grounds and is a popular choice whether you’ve just scaled Helvellyn or are simply passing through. Children, dogs and boots welcome!

Sourdough – who knew?

Sourdough was enjoyed by the ancient Egyptians in around 1500BC. In fact, it was the only form of ‘leavened’ bread until commercial yeast became available a few hundred years ago.

During the Gold Rush of California in 1849, sourdough bread became a staple in the area around San Francisco. Miners liked it because it was durable and the bread went on to become very popular in the newly settled state.

In 2013, Sourdough September was born. This was the brainchild of the Real Bread Campaign in an effort to spread knowledge of all things bread. The main purpose was to help households across the globe rely less on factory made and processed loaves (i.e. filled with preservatives).

By spreading their love of sourdough, it’s hoped to get more and more people baking. And if baking isn’t your thing, then hopefully you will appreciate locally baked bread and artisanal loaves which are often a lot healthier than shop-bought options.

Afternoon Tea in the Lake District

Afternoon Tea in the Lake District

There’s something about afternoon tea in the Lake District. It just feels right. A quintessentially English tradition that goes hand in hand with the pace of life. Think three-tier cake stand, dainty sandwiches and pastries to die for. And those views. Is there a more perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or to simply indulge yourselves while you’re on holiday?

This year, Afternoon Tea Week runs from 9 – 16 August, so what better reason to share some of our favourite local spots to take afternoon tea?

Below are our top five places for afternoon tea in the Lake District. Four of them are either a walk or a short drive from our Windermere cottages, while the final choice – the Inn on the Lake – is perfect for guests in our Ullswater cottages. Please do remember to book in advance.

The Tea Room at Blackwell

The tea room at Blackwell Arts and Crafts House offers a range of delicious light lunches, cakes and tempting treats using the very best local ingredients. And if the sun is shining, the elegant outdoor terrace is the perfect spot to relax and soak up the breathtaking views of Lake Windermere and the Lakeland fells beyond.

Macdonald Old England Hotel

With Lake Windermere as its backdrop, the Macdonald Old England Hotel in Bowness is a more than suitable venue to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea. And whether it’s served in the lounge or on the terrace, the views are stunning.

Storrs Hall Hotel

The talented team of pastry chefs at Storrs Hall are passionate about creating an afternoon tea worthy of this great British tradition. And the results are fabulous. The afternoon tea itself is a thing of beauty. Delicious homemade cakes, pastries and freshly baked scones served alongside a selection of sandwiches and savouries. There’s even a Tiny Tots Tea for the younger family members.

If you want to make this an unforgettable experience, why not book our luxury motorboat, Tintin II, and arrive in style?

Lakeside Hotel

Our final choice is Lakeside Hotel, located right on the western shore of Lake Windermere, about half an hour in the car from Windermere (or a little longer aboard Tintin II). The delicious afternoon tea is served in the elegant conservatory, or outside on the terrace when the sun is shining. Both offer amazing views in a beautiful setting.

To be honest, we could have mentioned so many other fantastic places. Traditional afternoon tea is something we take very seriously in the Lake District, so wherever you go, you’ll find friendly service and a range of delicious treats.

Inn on the Lake, Ullswater

There’s a really relaxing atmosphere at the Inn on the Lake which makes it the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea. During the winter months, the roaring log fire ensures warmth and cosiness, while in the summer months the large outside terrace and gardens offer a bright alternative. Inside or outside, the views of the lake are nothing short of spectacular.

Traditional afternoon tea is something we take very seriously in the Lake District, so to limit our choices to these five has proved quite tricky. What we can say is that wherever you go, you’ll find friendly service and a range of delicious treats.

Our Favourite Lake District Photography Spots

Lake District Photography Spots

On August 19th, we’ll be celebrating World Photography Day and it got us thinking – where are our favourite Lake District photography spots? Where would we go to get that stunning shot?

A lot of visitors to the Lakes are keen amateur photographers. Others simply use their phones to capture the moment. The results from both can be amazing. But if you really want to capture the perfect shot, a lifelong memory of your stay in the Lake District, here are a few locations where the natural surroundings, the light and the colours lend a helping hand.

Brant Fell

We’ll start close to home, on the doorstep of our Windermere cottages. You are guaranteed some spectacular views of Lake Windermere and the Lakeland fells from Brant Fell, no two days are the same. Come sun, rain, wind or snow, the photo opportunities are endless. The sunsets are particularly impressive.

Ullswater and Aira Force

For those staying in our Ullswater cottages, you will not be disappointed. Widely considered the most beautiful of the Lake District lakes, Ullswater throws up photo opportunities galore. Climbing the likes of Hallinn Fell, Gowbarrow Fell or Silver Crag will give you great views of the area, but with rocky outcrops, trees and stumps on the lake shore, there are some fantastic compositions to be found at the water’s edge.

Alternatively, you could venture to one of the best known waterfalls in the Lake District, Aira Force, where the waterfall cascades twenty metres through a narrow gorge below a stone arch bridge. And unlike so many walks, the more rain, the better the results. Catch it when the sun is shining and at its highest and you may even be lucky enough to capture an Aira Force rainbow!

Tarn Hows

Located between Coniston and Hawkshead, Tarn Hows is a firm favourite for visitors to the Lake District. Not only is it a relatively easy walk for all ages – it takes about an hour to walk around the tarns – it also offers stunning views. Arguably, the best view is from the east side (near the Scott memorial), where the tarns are laid out before you with the Lake District mountains providing a stunning backdrop.

Coniston Water

Take a drive along the eastern shore of Coniston Water, through Nibthwaite, and you’ll come across several spots where you can get out of the car and explore. There are a couple of classic jetty shots and the view across the water towards Coniston Old Man can provide some excellent opportunities.

Elterwater and Blea Tarn

The path from Elterwater to Skelwith Force is another relatively easy walk and one packed with photo opportunities along the river. The view towards the Langdale Pikes is nothing short of spectacular.

A little further on from Elterwater is Blea Tarn, in the heart of the Langdales, which has become an iconic viewpoint. We can’t guarantee calm, still water, but if you’re lucky enough to visit when there is very little breeze, the reflected views towards the Langdale Pikes are breathtaking.

Wastwater

The view down Wastwater has been voted the UK’s best view several times and it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re looking up towards Great Gable and Scafell Pike, or down the lake from the lower slopes of the aforementioned, the views are as dramatic as they are stunning.

Buttermere

If you were to google ‘iconic Lake District images’ the row of shoreline pines reflected in the tranquil waters of Buttermere would be right up there, as would the lone, spindly tree at the village end of the lake.

Whatever the weather, if you’re heading to Buttermere for the day, take your camera.

Derwentwater

We’ll finish the roundup of our favourite Lake District photography spots with Derwentwater. Located close to Keswick, Derwentwater is one of the most popular lakes in the Lake District. And another one with photo opportunities aplenty. Visit on a still, cool, misty morning, find a jetty (for example Ashness Launch) and the results can be breathtaking.

Picnic Spots in the Lake District

Lake District Picnic Spots - Fell Foot Park

July is National Picnic Month, so what better reason to share our favourite picnic spots in the Lake District? Picnics are one of the UK’s favourite traditions and the Lake District provides some fantastic places to throw down the rug, tuck into some fabulous food and soak up the amazing scenery. Below are a few of our favourites.

Brant Fell – a Lake District picnic spot on your doorstep

If you don’t fancy venturing too far from your Matson Ground cottage in Windermere, Brant Fell is perfect. Lying at the heart of the estate, you can be at the summit in no time at all, enjoying stunning views of Lake Windermere and the Lakeland fells.

Orrest Head

Staying close to home, Orrest Head is short walk up from the centre of Windermere. But the climb is worth the effort. So pack up a picnic and head for the summit where you are rewarded with amazing views of England’s largest lake with the Langdale Pikes, Scafell Pike, Coniston Old Man and Morecambe Bay as a backdrop. This is the spot where Alfred Wainwright first fell in love with the Lake District and once you’re there, it’s easy to see why.

Fell Foot Park

Fell Foot Park, at the southern end of Lake Windermere, is less than half an hour in the car from our Windermere cottages and a fantastic spot to enjoy a picnic. No need for a long hike, or even a picnic rug. Facilities at Fell Foot Park include picnic benches, toilets and a café (just in case you didn’t pack enough food). There’s an adventure playground for the children and boats for hire if you fancy splashing about on the lake. Parking in the pay and display car park is free for National Trust members.

Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater

Guests staying in one of our Ullswater cottages are also spoilt for choice when it comes to picnic spots in the Lake District. Just a mile from Glenridding is Glencoyne Bay, made famous by William and Dorothy Wordsworth as it was the inspiration for one of the most famous poems in English literature – “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. Obviously summer is not the time to admire daffodils, but the pebble beach is the perfect picnic spot, with views across the lake to Place Fell and down to Barton Fell.

Aira Force

Another must visit for our Ullswater guests is Aira Force. These spectacular falls, tucked away amongst ancient woodland, provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic. Arguably the most beautiful waterfalls in the Lake District, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a picnic, although the area directly by the waterfall gets very busy. However, you’ll easily find a more sheltered spot in extensive woodlands.

Buttermere – what a fantastic spot for a Lake District picnic

Finally, if you want to make a day of it, then a trip to Buttermere will not disappoint. The four-and-a-half-mile circular walk is easily accessible and will take about three hours to complete. However, factor in a little more time as the lake shore is dotted with little beaches you can make your own, so you can while away the time enjoying some al fresco dining. If you’re after some beautiful scenery and a bit of tranquility, Buttermere is the answer.

There are so many fantastic picnic spots in the Lake District, but we hope that we have given you a little inspiration. And it goes without saying, please always take you rubbish home with you, don’t light barbecues on the ground, and please, please don’t build bonfires.

Bon appétit!

The Lakes of the Lake District

The lakes of the lake district

How much do you know about the lakes of the Lake District? For instance, do you know how many lakes there are in the Lake District? It’s a trick question of course, because the answer is one. Although the Lake District is home to many meres, tarns and waters, Bassenthwaite Lake is the only official lake in the Lake District.

There are actually sixteen bodies of water which give the Lake District its name, not to mention hundreds of beautiful, smaller tarns. With such breath-taking scenery, it’s no wonder it has become one of the UK’s most desirable holiday destinations.

Hopefully our quick whistlestop tour of the sixteen ‘major lakes’ in the Lake District National Park will give you a little insight into what each of them offers.

We’ll start close to home, just a few minutes from many of our Matson Ground cottages.

Windermere

At 10.5 miles long, Windermere is the Lake District’s largest lake and arguably the best-known of them all. It has become a favourite amongst watersports enthusiasts, and with the steamers and ferries making their regular trips up and down (and across) the lake, it’s a hub of activity. From windsurfing to sailing, rowing to sup-boarding, there’s something for everyone, whatever your level of expertise. And for those who prefer dry land, there are a number of walks in the surrounding hills, including Orrest Head, from where Alfred Wainwright first fell in the love with the Lake District.

Ullswater

If you’re staying in Cruck Barn, Elm How or Eagle Cottage, you’ll be very familiar with Ullswater, the Lake District’s second largest lake. At around 7.5 miles long, Ullswater is much quieter than Windermere. One way to explore the lake is on the famous steamers, which can be boarded at Glenridding’s jetty. For land lovers, the 20-mile Ullswater Way which circumnavigates the lake is another great way to explore the lake and its surroundings. If you’re more adventurous, England’s third highest peak, Helvellyn, is a popular climb for visitors to the area.

Derwentwater

Located near the popular tourist town of Keswick, Derwentwater is the third largest lake in the Lake District. With dramatic landscapes which change from one minute to the next, depending on the time of year and the weather, it has become a photographer’s dream. There are a number of walking trails around the lake, including the family-friendly hike up Catbells. And for those wishing to explore the lake itself, why not hire out one of the colourful rowing boats or hop on one of the Keswick Launches?

Bassenthwaite Lake

Not only is Bassenthwaite Lake the only ‘official lake’ in the Lake District, it is also the most northerly of the major lakes in the Lake District National Park. Furthermore, it’s the shallowest at just 70 feet deep. The lake is a popular destination for birdwatchers. Herons and cormorants are a common sight, while the summer months herald the return to its shores of the Ospreys. At the northern end of the lake, you can visit Dubwath Wetland Nature Reserve, home to curlews, reed buntings and meadow pipits, among others.

Coniston Water

This picturesque lake provided some of the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s famous children’s book, ‘Swallows and Amazons’. It’s a popular destination for families, looking to recreate some of the stories from the book, or simply enjoying some fun on the water. Alternatively, enjoy the scenery aboard the beautifully restored Gondola, a Victorian steam-powered yacht which sails gracefully up and down the lake in the summer months.

Haweswater

Haweswater is a reservoir, controversially constructed in 1929 to supply water to towns and cities in the north-west of England. In order to achieve this, the villages of Mardale Green and Measand were flooded; nowadays, in times of drought, the foundations and ruins of these villages can be seen, a sight which brings in visitors, curious to get a glimpse of a bygone time.

Thirlmere

Thirlmere is another ma-made reservoir which was created in 1894 to supply water to Manchester. The residents of the villages of Wythburn and Amboth were relocated – only the church of Wythburn village survives. The reservoir is surrounded on all sides by enchanting forests, where the residents include red squirrels and red deer. The small car park adjacent to Wythburn Church is an excellent starting point for those planning to tackle Helvellyn.

Ennerdale Water

Despite being arguably one of the prettiest lakes in the Lake District, Ennerdale is possibly the least visited. And with no roads running its length, it is also one of the most peaceful. Only canoes and kayaks are allowed on Ennerdale (although you do need to have a permit). There are also some glorious walks which follow the shoreline, or for the most adventurous, why not tackle one of the surrounding fells?

Wastwater

Described by William Wordsworth as “stern and desolate”, Wastwater is England’s deepest lake at 260 feet. It is also home to one of Britain’s favourite views, the narrow valley with the peaks of Red Pike, Great Gable and Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. In fact, the outline of the three peaks which stand at the eastern end of lake (Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Great Gable) was selected as the symbol for the Lake District National Park.

The lakes of the lake district

Crummock Water

This pretty lake lies at the foot of Grasmoor Peak and is home to the tallest waterfall in the Lake District, Scale Force. For those looking for adventure on the lake, rowing boats are available for hire along the shore. It is also popular with wild swimmers who love the sheltered shingle beach by the slate boathouse. Like Thirlmere, if you’re lucky you might spot a red squirrel in the woodlands o the lake shore.

Those are the ten largest lakes in the Lake District National Park. The remaining six lakes are: Esthwaite Water, Grasmere, Buttermere, Loweswater, Rydal Water and Brothers Water. Each of these wonderful lakes is worth a visit, each one offering a network of trails for those looking to explore.

We hope this has given you a little insight into the major lakes of the Lake District. If nothing else, at least you’ll know the answer to the popular quiz question: How many lakes are there in the Lake District?