This tour concentrates on the delights of the Southern Lakes. Whilst not far distance-wise it packs a lot in to the day. 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.
On leaving Windermere you immediately climb up Kirkstone Pass. This the highest pass in the Lake District open to motor vehicles and so affords great views of the surrounding area. On reaching the Kirkstone Inn, the highest inhabited building in Cumbria, we turn to drop back down along The Struggle, so called because of its unrelenting climb out of Ambleside, and a favourite with cyclists testing their stamina. Luckily, you don’t have to pedal today!
After passing the serene waters of Rydal Water, where the poet William Wordsworth would sit on his “seat”, you will arrive in the popular village of Grasmere where you will visit Dove Cottage* or Rydal Mount*, both homes to Wordsworth between 1799 and his death in 1850. You may even get chance to purchase some famous Grasmere Gingerbread which has been being made here since 1854.
Using one of the little used pack roads out of Grasmere we navigate our way to the start of Wrynose Pass and the wilder side of the Lakes! Once used for trade between the west coast and the north of England, these single track routes will have your heart in your mouths, but only from the views…your driver will ensure you are perfectly safe so sit back and enjoy the ride! If time is kind to us we’ll have a quick detour to see the Cathedral Quarries en route.
This wonderful part of the Lakes affords you the opportunity to see the “real” Cumbria as you pass through quintessential Lakeland villages nestles amongst the beautiful hills and streams. You’ll also get to see the famous Herdwick Sheep, native to here, and if you’re lucky the odd donkey may pop up too!
Eventually we reach Coniston, a lake famed for the ill-fated world water speed record attempt by Donald Campbell in 1967. Here you will board the Coniston Launch** or Steamer** to enjoy the water at a more casual pace and see and learn about the sights made famous by Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons.
Disembarking at Brantwood, the home of art critic John Ruskin, you will walk through his beautiful Victorian garden to meet your car and driver who will whisk you away for lunch and where better for that than Cartmel – although there are many wonderful restaurants and eateries in the area Cartmel is THE “foodie” centre of Cumbria and probably the north of England. This small village boasts two Michelin starred restaurants, L’Enclume and Rogan & Co, an 800 year old priory, a world class racecourse, unique artisanal shops, a microbrewery and is also the home of Sticky Toffee Pudding!
Once suitably replete relax and enjoy the ride up the west side of Windermere to our final stop, Hill Top***, famous as the home of Beatrix Potter and the inspiration for many of her literary works. Here you can take your time to enjoy the beautiful house and gardens before the final leg of our journey across the short ferry ride back into Windermere. On the way there you will pass through the seaside town of Grange over Sands which still looks as it did in Victorian times with its quaint gardens and shops.
Before boarding the ferry you will also have the opportunity to stop at the Claife Viewing Station; erected in the late 18th century for wealthy tourists to view the beauty of Windermere it is still provides an easy to get to viewpoint to enjoy a stunning vista of the southern end of the lake.
Those of you on the Platinum package will have a couple of hours to rest now before being collected for your Michelin dining experience.
Hill Top, Hawkshead, Cartmel, Brantwood, Coniston, Tarn Hows, Yew Tree Farm, Wrynose Pass, Coniston Launch/Steamer, Elterwater, Grasmere, Dove Cottage/Rydal Mount, Rydal Water, The Struggle, Kirkstone Pass, Windermere Ferry, Claife Viewing Station, Grange over Sands, Cathedral Quarries.
* included with Gold and Platinum packages
** included with all packages
*** included with Silver, Gold and Platinum package