This tour really packs a punch taking you to the wildest heights and most serene valleys.
The tour will start at the nearest point to your pick up location but all Lakes tour itineraries are shown as starting at Windermere to simplify things.
Our first stop after leaving Windermere is Grasmere, centre of the Romantic Poets. En route we pass the serene waters of Rydal Water, where you will pass “Wordsworth’s Seat” where the great poet, William Wordsworth, would sit gaining inspiration from the surrounding views. You will see Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount, both homes to Wordsworth between 1799 and his death in 1850. On arriving in Grasmere you may visit Wordsworth’s grave or perhaps treat yourself to some famous Grasmere Gingerbread which has been being made here since 1854.
Using one of the little used pack roads we navigate out of Grasmere to emerge into the Langdale Valley with stupendous views in every direction. You’ll probably get your first view of the famous Herdwick “Herdys” sheep here before we rise out of the valley, stopping to take in the wonderful backdrop of the central mountains, and past the serenely beautiful Blea Tarn used in many films and TV series.
A sharp turn takes us over two passes which used to link the Roman fort at Ravenglass with the one at Ambleside. Although sealed with tarmac now they still provide a challenge to unsuspecting drivers. Thankfully, your driver is very used to it and will take the utmost care of you. It’s not good for business if you don’t make it home! The first pass is Wrynose which, although it has spectacular views is only the “warm up act” for Hardknott Pass, reputedly the steepest road in England! When we reach the top you’ll not only have wonderful panoramic views but you’ll also be able to see explore the very well preserved remains of the Roman fort built around 130AD.
After Hardknott we travel through some classic lowland villages which are off the usual tourist route, passing bubbling brooks and remote little homesteads which are so beautiful we like to take the detour to share them with you.
Before long Coniston will come into view. Both infamous as the place where Donald Campbell attempted his ill-fated world water speed record attempt by Donald Campbell in 1967 it is also famous as the inspiration and setting for Arthur Ransome’s tale of derring do, Swallows and Amazons. It’s also where John Ruskin, the renowned social thinker, art critic and Romanticist at his lakeside dwelling, Brantwood*. Those who’d like to see things from the water could take this opportunity to board the Coniston Launch* or Steamer.
As we depart Coniston we will stop briefly for you to see the farm which was used as Beatrix Potter’s home in the movie, Miss Potter. On seeing it you will know why Hollywood chose this setting to portray her home on the big screen.
The manmade, yet nonetheless beautiful, Tarn Hows is our next destination where, as we pass over the brow, you will be greeted by a feast for the eyes of a classic “picture postcard” Lakeland vista.
Your next stop is Hawkshead. This is a classic Lakeland village where Wordsworth was schooled as a young boy and where you can find the Beatrix Potter Gallery and a collection of curiosity shops to mooch around. This will be where we’ll get some lunch too as there’s a plethora of places to suit all tastes.
Once replete we’ll travel the short distance to Hill Top*, famed as the home of Beatrix Potter and the inspiration for many of her literary works. Here you will have time to enjoy her beautiful house and gardens if you wish to do so.
Two minutes in the car takes us to the Claife Viewing Station where you have the opportunity to view Windermere as the first tourists did over 200 years ago via the “Picturesque” windows.
You have a choice now. You can either take the short ferry ride across Windermere or else continue down the west side of the lake to reach another great viewpoint, Gummer How, after which it’s time to relax and return back to your lodgings.
*choose one asterixed experience per tour or request alternative. More experiences can be added at a supplement.
Hawkshead, Brantwood, Tran Hows, Coniston, Yew Tree Farm, Langdale Valley, Grasmere, Esthwaite Water, Dove Cottage, Rydal Mount, Rydal Water, Wordsworth’s Grave, Hill Top, Coniston Launch, Windermere, Claife Viewing Station, Windermere Ferry, Blea Tarn, Hardknott Pass, Wrynose Pass.