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Driving around Lake District, UK

Adelaide, Australia
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Driving around Lake District, UK

In July 2013 plan to spend one full day driving around the Lake District (staying near Penrith 2 nights). As my 18-year-old granddaughter is accompanying me, I imagine Beatrix Potter, maybe Wordsworth too, may be just as important to her as the lakes and mountains will be to me. I'm also a fan of John Glover's watercolours, so would be good to see Patterdale – after which he named his property in Tasmania. The idea would be to stop occasionally for walks (for me), possibly a bit of climbing (for Lucy). Any advice would be appreciated.

Edited: 20 November 2012, 10:36
Southport, United...
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1. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

Just a suggestion and you could do it in reverse.

Go south on the A6 from Penrith signposted Shap. You will go over the A66 and then shortly after over a narrow bridge which has traffic lights on it. Turn righ after this signed Poolley Bridge B5320. Follow this rosad to Poolley Bridge then continue on towards Glenridding and Patterdale you join the A592. The road is beside Ullswater . You might want to stop at Aira Force (waterfall) for a walk to see the falls etc.

Continue through Glenridding and on to Patterdale on the A592 as the road climbs the Kirkstone Pass. Then either turn right down the Struggle ( steep downhill road to Ambleside) or continue on the A592 to Windermere. To get to Beatrix Pootters house you either need to turn right onto the A591 to Ambleside and then follow the signs to Hawkeshead and then onto HillTop ( the house is in the care of the National Trust and entry is by timed tickets book in advance. You could get there by car ferry across Windermere but I don't know anything about it.

Then retrace your steps to Ambleside and continue left on the A591 through Rydal and Grasmere (Wordsworth) and then continue on the A591 until you reach the A66 and thence back to Penrith.

I would say I think it's too much to do in a day if you wish to actually go into Hill Top, visit any of the Wordsworth house/exhibition, take a walk etc. Could you do any of it on your arrival or departure day? Although there are free laybys on the route the carparks as far as I remeber all have charges.

If you do want to actually go into the houses I would do the above in reverse and see them at the beginning and then see the scenery in the late afternoon/evening

London, United...
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2. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

If you are planning on doing one full day on the road then any walks you do will have to be very quick affairs - maybe 30 minutes here and there. This is because many roads in the area are quite small and can be slower than you might think.

Definitely worth doing and stopping off to go walkabout are:

The main passes (Wrynose/Hardknott/Honister).

Maybe a quick walk up Latrigg (drive almost to the top and you can get a fantastic view south overlooking Keswick and the mid belt.)

Bear in mind that if you do want to stop off the passes I've mentioned above can easily take up 4 hours of your day.

Also allocate an hour for a drive through the most beautiful valley of them all (in my opinion ;) - the Langdale Valley.

To be honest you will be very tight for time trying to cram all into a day.

Yorkshire Dales...
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3. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

And as you are visiting in July it will also be very busy.

However, it will stay light until late so you could always walk in the evening.

Dove Cottage is small and the tour, although very good, won't take too long. If you are staying up near Penrith I would also suggest you visit Castlerigg Stone Circle, a magical place with amazing 360 degree views.


Lake District...
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4. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

If you are coming from an urban area then the roads will not seem slow or crowded, just remember that there are not many dual carriageways or roads which you can do 60mph on.

For a day maybe go to Ullswater - Patterdale , then to Keswick calling in as suggested at Castlerigg stone circle then Honister Pass to Buttermere back via Winlatter and return to Penrith. Add a boat trip on Ullswater or Derwentwater and with stops for coffe, tea, lunch that should fill your day.

Wodonga, Australia
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5. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

Very good suggestions, I will include in my planning for our visit in August 2013.



Bingley, United...
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6. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

< I will include in my planning for our visit in August 2013 >

Traffic on the main routes through the Lakes will be horrendous - especially at weekends and doubly so on the weekend of the 24th-26th which has a public holiday & is the last full week before the English schools go back (and hence it's the end of summer)

Widnes, United...
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7. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

<If you are coming from an urban area then the roads will not seem slow or crowded>

I come from an urban area, am a regular visitor to the Lakes and at peak periods quite often find the roads slow and crowded, especially around Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick. On a very early visit I made the massive error of trying to drive over Wrynose/Hardknott passes on a bank holiday weekend Sunday and the traffic was horrendous in both directions. Never puts me off visiting though.

Edited: 06 December 2012, 11:13
Lake District...
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8. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

I really do think these general statement about traffic being horrendous in the Lakes are inaccurate and do stop people visiting.

As a resident I have no problems driving around some of the main routes even in the holiday periods.

Okay it wont be fast ( <50 mph) but for most tourists who are looking at the scenery this isnt a problem.

Having just done a journey via Nottingham to the Guildford and Fareham areas it was a relief to get back to the empty Cumbrian roads.

Lancaster, United...
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9. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

Dont worry about traffic, its fine! Yes Windermere may be busy but hey ho.

Quite a Vague question this: 1 day?

Drive to Bowness, see Potter and wordsworth then to Patterdale around 3pm, as not much there.

10. Re: Driving around Lake District, UK

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