With travel restrictions still looking a little uncertain for the coming months, more of us will be choosing to holiday close to home this year.
That means the honeypots of the Lake District are bound to be busy, so where can you go in Cumbria if you want to get away from it all?
We’ve picked a few quieter spots where you can find some blissful isolation and explore somewhere new. Just book quickly – their accommodation is bound to get snapped up!
If you usually head to the South Lakes…
Why not try the Eden Valley?
The gently rolling countryside of the Eden Valley is a world away from the high fells in the heart of the national park, and that’s what makes it so special. It feels quintessentially English – its villages have quaint charm, there are walks in the likes of Coombs Wood at Armathwaite, which are particularly lovely in the autumn, and there are lots of family activities too, like the fabulous Lowther Castle treehouse and the Rheged visitor centre.
Foodies will love it too – there are country pubs galore, and there’s even some Michelin-starred cuisine for you to enjoy. For shopping, head to pretty Penrith where you’ll also find some lovely walks.
Stay: Seek out Askham Hall with its Michelin star, find quiet self catering seclusion in High Hesket at Oak Tree Studio or at Rosie’s Barn in Butterwick, camp at Mains Farm, a working farm at historic Kirkoswald, or try glamping at Drybeck Farm.
If you like to visit Ambleside…
Why not try Cockermouth?
Ambleside is undoubtedly a great place for a wander, with its shops and eateries and views to the fells that surround it, so for a quieter alternative, head north to Cockermouth. It has a fantastic range of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. You could visit the birthplace of William Wordsworth, now in the care of the National Trust, or simply take a walk along the rivers. It’s a great stepping stone to the western coast – you could be at the beach in around 15 minutes.
Cockermouth Chamber of Trade has a new film to give you a taste of what’s on offer.
Stay: For large and luxurious, try The Fitz, a Georgian mansion set in its own parkland, just a short walk from the town centre. You could try glamping in the new pods with hot tubs at Wellington Farm or, if you really don’t want to be around other tourists, head to one of the nearby villages for self catering accommodation like Coldgill View.
If you dream of Derwentwater…
Why not try Bassenthwaite Lake?
Derwentwater runs into Bassenthwaite Lake and there’s only a short stretch of land between them but they could be worlds apart. There’s a real tranquillity here, at the only true ‘Lake’ in the Lake District.
You can swim, sail or kayak from its shallow shores, or sit and enjoy a peaceful picnic, away from the hoards of visitors in Keswick. The walks around here are lovely too – try Sale Fell or Dodd Wood for some stunning views.
If you’ve explored Grasmere…
Why not try Caldbeck?
The pretty little streets of Grasmere are a magnet for tourists so it can get very crowded. If you want a quieter spot, take a drive up to Caldbeck.
The route across Caldbeck Fell is lovely and brings you to this very tranquil village. You could take a walk along the river to the Howk, a limestone gorge with waterfalls and an old bobbin mill, or seek out the Priest’s Mill, now home to a cooperative of artisans, for a little retail therapy.
There’s a really useful website here that will point you in the direction of some other sights nearby too.
If you like lively Windermere…
Why not try Carlisle?
Ok, so it doesn’t have a lake, but if it’s the hustle and bustle of shops and restaurants that you’re craving, Cumbria’s city is a great place to be. There’s loads of history here, if that’s your thing, and plenty to keep everyone occupied indoors if the weather isn’t kind – you could try Tullie House Museum or see what entertainment is on at The Sands.
Stay: There is lots of accommodation to choose from in the heart of the city, like The Halston which has self catering apartments, or head to the outskirts to Willowbeck Lodge at Scotby or perhaps try Carleton Mill.
If you want a walk to rival Catbells…
Why not try Talkin Fell?
Catbells is one of those iconic routes that everyone should do at least once in their lives, but on summer weekends it can feel like you’re on the fell walkers’ equivalent of the M6. So how about heading up another peak that has its own quirks at the top?
Talkin Fell isn’t far from Carlisle and has lovely views to the city and beyond. The cairns at the summit keep increasing in number – make sure you seek out the heart-shaped sheepfold.
If you want to choose Coniston…
Why not try the other side of the lake?
If you can’t resist being in the heart of the Lake District but still want to get away from it all, head to the south of Coniston Water, at the opposite end to the village. The little beaches on the lake shore tend to be a bit quieter, there’s some fabulous walking and mountain biking, and the picnic spots are stunning.
Stay: You won’t find a more amazing place to isolate than Parkamoor, the ‘cottage in the clouds’ above the lake, though it’s not for the faint-hearted. There’s no electricity, the water is pumped from the beck, the loo is of the composting variety and is outdoors, and there’s obviously no wifi and the phone signal is iffy but the setting is absolutely glorious.
If you want to be near water…
Why not head to the coast, rather than a lake?
Many people come to Cumbria but never venture to its coastline. You can find stretches of beach that you’ll have all to yourself, go hunting for seaglass and birdlife, discover traditional Victorian seaside towns like Silloth, or take a short hop inland to the quieter lakes like Wastwater and Ennerdale. Beautiful Morecambe Bay is another fabulous option.
This handy website has lots of ideas of places to go and things to see. If you want to let the train take the strain, you could take a trip on the Cumbrian coast railway line which runs from Barrow to Carlisle.Stay: Ever been on holiday to Aspatria? We thought not! Have a look at the beautiful North Lakes Lodges. Or travel further south to the headland of St Bees where there are camping and caravanning options.