This tour provides you with the opportunity to enjoy the best of both the top and bottom of The Lakes in a day. The tour will start at the nearest point to your pick up location but is shown as starting at Windermere to simplify it.
You will begin with a leisurely drive along the east side of Windermere before cutting up to Gummer’s How which will provide your first breathtaking view, and photo opportunity, of the south end of the lake and the hills beyond. As we round the bottom of the lake we come back up the opposite shore over Newby Bridge and through Lakeside to our first proper stop, Hill Top*. Famous as the home of Beatrix Potter you will have time to step in her footsteps and experience the place where she was inspired to compose many of her literary works.
Once back in the car it’s a short hop to Hawkshead, a typical 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.
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.
When we leave there we come to the head of Coniston Water; famed for the ill-fated world water speed record attempt by Donald Campbell in 1967 and also the setting for Arthur Ransome’s pirate tales; the much loved Swallows and Amazons.
Heading northwards we pass Yew Tree Farm which you may recognise as the location for Beatrix Potter’s house in the Miss Potter movie. On seeing it you will know why Hollywood chose this setting to portray her home on the big screen.
We now enter the Langdale Valley, where, if you haven’t seen them already, you’ll be greeted by the famous Herdwick “Herdy” Sheep. Native to the Lakes they are known for their hardiness to the harsh weather and provide the opportunity for some very cute photographs! You will also pass the serenely beautiful Blea Tarn, used as backdrop for many movies and TV productions, before encountering the vista of the valley itself and surrounding peaks.
An old pack road takes us into Grasmere where, as well as being your lunch spot, you have an opportunity to see Dove Cottage, where the poet Wordsworth lived in 1799, and also visit his grave in St Oswald’s Church. You may also have the urge to treat yourself to some famous Grasmere Gingerbread which has been being made here since 1854.
Once replete, settle back into the sumptuous seats of your car, relax and take in the wonderful countryside as you travel northwards along the shores of Thirlmere, shadowed by Helvellyn mountain to our right, on our way to Derwent Water.
Skirting the shores of Derwent Water for a little while we deviate off to see what is probably the most photogenic bridge in The Lakes, Ashness Bridge, and onwards to Surprise View where you will have a stunning vista over the Water below.
Journeying onwards we enter the Borrowdale Valley which has the unenviable title of the “wettest place in England”, but hopefully not when you’re there. The depth markers at the side of the road are a clue to how bad it can get! Climbing out of the valley via Honister Pass we will stop at the summit where the slate mine is situated. Although still mined it is better known now as a destination for thrill seekers but also provides an amazing spot for a photo opportunity.
Dropping down into the valley we reach Buttermere which is especially loved for its photogenic qualities with the backdrop of Wainwright’s beloved Haystacks providing a photographer’s perfect shot. If the weather is kind you have the opportunity to walk along the shore path where you can really absorb the beauty of this lake and its surroundings.
It’s upwards again now as we head over the wilds of the Newlands Pass towards Braithwaite, passing Moss Force. An impressive cascade when in full flow, and easily visible from the roadside, it was beloved by the Romantic Poets as a place for creative stimulation.
The next port of call is the Castlerigg Stones; once described as one of the most visually impressive prehistoric monuments in Britain the Neolithic stones date back to around 3000BC. The beauty of these impressive structures are emphasised by the stunning “picture perfect” backdrop of the surrounding fells and mountains.
Ullswater comes next; a majestic lake much loved by Wordsworth the route down to it affords you the opportunity to take in all its glory. Time allowing we will stop at Aira Force to see the beautiful falls and you will also pass the very point where the great man was inspired to write ” I wandered lonely as a cloud”.
Homeward bound now we still have one more pass to conquer before you reach our final destination; the Kirkstone Pass. This is the highest pass open to motor vehicles and takes us out of Patterdale Valley and back towards Windermere. As we crest the summit you will be greeted by stunning views of the lake ahead before we drop down and back to your lodgings.
*included in tour
Coniston, Tarn Hows, Newlands Pass, Yew Tree Farm, Elterwater, Grasmere, Dove Cottage, Thirlmere, Derwent Water, Keswick Launch, Hill Top, Hawkshead, Brotherswater, Ashness Bridge, Rydal Mount, Surprise View, Borrowdale, Coniston Water, Honister Pass, Buttermere, Moss Force, Esthwaite Water, Castlerigg Stones, Ullswater, Aira Force, Kirkstone Pass, Gummer’s How, Langdale Valley, Blea Tarn.