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 it.
Your journey begins with a scenic drive out of Windermere towards Ullswater over Kirkstone Pass. This is the highest pass open to motor vehicles in the Lake District and so affords spectacular views of the surrounding area and gives you a taste of what’s in store for your day ahead.
Onwards and downwards you will pass Brothers Water to reach Glenridding. This is the southern gateway to Ullswater, which some think is the most beautiful of all the lakes, and is very popular with watersport fanatics. To give you a taste of life on the water you will board the historic Ullswater Steamer*, originally used for transporting lead from the local mines to the east of the lake. After passing the spot where Wordsworth was inspired to pen his famous “I wandered lonely as a cloud” you will disembark at Aira Force, a beautiful waterfall set under a Victorian bridge, where you can stretch your legs and shoot some artistic photographs.
The next point of interest is the Castlerigg Stones; described as one of the most visually impressive prehistoric monuments in Britain the stones date back to around 3000BC. The beauty of these impressive Neolithic structures are emphasised by the stunning “picture perfect” backdrop of Helvellyn and surrounding hills.
On leaving Castlerigg we will skirt around the old market town of Keswick to see the mesmerising Derwent Water ahead of us. We hug the shoreline before deviating upwards to Surprise View which affords you with a stunning view northwards to the Scottish borders and westward towards the popular walking route of Cat Bells. On the way we will pass over the small, but very famous and picturesque, Ashness Bridge.
As we leave the southern edge of Derwent Water we enter the Borrowdale Valley which, whilst beautiful, has the dubious reputation as being one of the wettest places in England, which, if you know England’s weather, is some claim. The depth gauges at the side of the road are a clue to how wet it gets! Rising up ahead of you lies Honister Pass, the centre of green slate mining . At the top you will see the famous Honister Mine which today is used more by thrill seekers than miners. We will take a brief stop at the summit to allow you to take in the view of the valley below before heading on downwards to Buttermere.
Buttermere 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.
Back in the car we head upwards again on the Newlands Pass to admire Moss Force; an impressive waterfall favoured by the Romantic Poets for providing inspiration it is conveniently situated near to the roadside.
By now you’ve probably rustled up an appetite for some lunch so we will head to one of the many fine eating establishments specialising in local fare which suits your requirements.
Once replete it’s time to sit back and relax as we start our journey southwards passing the banks of Thirlmere, with views up to Helvellyn, to arrive in Grasmere. Here you’ll have the chance to see Dove Cottage and St Oswald’s Church, the home and burial site of the poet, William Wordsworth. You may even wish to purchase some famous Grasmere Gingerbread which has been being made here since 1854.
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.
Your journey continues past Elterwater to Hawkshead, a lovely little village with typical Lakes pubs and curiosity shops including the Beatrix Potter Gallery where you can have a mooch or grab some refreshments.
The final leg of our journey takes us past Beatrix’s house at Hill Top to the ferry to cross back to Windermere. En route we will stop at the Claife Viewing Station to allow you one more scenic view of the Lakes before returning you to your lodgings.
*included in the tour
Windermere, Kirkstone Pass, Brotherswater, Ullswater Steamer, Ullswater, Aira Force, Castlerigg Stones, Moss Force, Newlands Pass, Crummock Water, Buttermere, Honister Pass, Ashness Bridge, Surprise View, Derwent Water, Thirlmere, Hawkshead, Grasmere, Dove Cottage, Elterwater, Skelwith Bridge, Claife Heights Viewing Station, Windermere Ferry, Langdales.