At the beginning of September, Stew and I, embarked on a two-week road trip, visiting places such as the Lake District, Scotland and York! In fact, we stayed in nine different places in total, stopping off at many others along the route too. For me, it was my first time visiting all of the places we did, and for Stew, it was his first trip to Scotland, but having family in the Lakes meant that he was my tour guide for the first part of our trip.
This post is in no way a ‘Guide to the Lake District’. We sadly only had two days there before heading onto Glasgow, however it was the perfect amount of time to get a taste for the area and catch up with family.
I have many friends in London who LOVE the Lake District and visit frequently. However, for myself, growing up in the South West of England meant we didn’t travel further north than Birmingham (I’m not joking!). It took me 29 years before I finally made the trip to the North West, and honestly, it was incredible!
We decided to stay at Low Wray Campsite, on the west side of Lake Windermere, as Stew’s family live nearby. After a mammoth five hour journey from London, we were finally met with rolling hills and stone walls, no sooner than turning off the motorway. I was surprised at how quickly the landscape changed, and how close this magnificent area of beauty is situated to a busy road. As we continued to drive Lake Windermere came into view, and we were greeted with sunny blue skies and a lake full of sailing boats. It was a beautiful site! We stopped off and had our packed lunch, soaking up the views, pinching ourselves with the incredible weather.
No sooner had we set up camp (yes, we camped in a tent for the majority of the two weeks – more on that to come), we were off exploring. We hopped back in the car, and our first stop was to visit Beatrix Potter’s 17th Century cottage. I grew up reading all of her children’s books. I believe I even had a Mrs Tiggy Winkle themed bedroom at one point! Although a little pricey, the cottage was beautiful and gave some insight into where Beatrix Potter got her ideas for most of the books. There were lots of walking routes nearby too, so afterwards we went on a little adventure, greeted by roaming sheep and goats. Being the beginners that we are, we didn’t take enough water, so as soon as got back to the village we stopped in at a hotel for a refreshment. The hotel had a stunning garden, overlooking the valley, and a beautiful terrace area, perfect for relaxing in the sun. That evening, we spent some quality time with Stew’s family, who he hadn’t seen in many years, and being locals, they were able to give us some tips on what to see and do the following day.
With that in mind, we were up early the next morning. It was a little rainy, as is typical to the area, so we got in the car and drove towards a road called Wrynose Pass. If you’ve been to the Lake District but not driven along Wrynose Pass, I would highly recommend it. It’s not for the faint hearted – the road is narrow, bendy and extremely steep in places. If you meet another vehicle, it’s hard to manoeuvre, but that just added to the adventure! As you work your way up and up into the mountains, it soon becomes obvious why it’s the highest public road in the UK. From the top you have the most breath-taking views across the mountain range, valley, and in the distance, the lakes! The scenery is truly incredible, and luckily the rain lessened and the sun came out for just enough time to get a few snaps. My photos really do not do justice to the views. It’s something you have to see in person.
From there, we made our way down the other side, past flowing streams, more stone walls, and plenty of roaming cattle. Our next stop was Derwent Water. When doing my research on the Lake District I found that near Derwent Water, there is a magical viewpoint called ‘Surprise View’. From up there you, again, have fantastic views across the water, and drive past beautiful stone barns and over stone bridges. It was like something out of Harry Potter. Really magical!
As the rain moved in again, we made our way back down, visiting Castlerigg Stone Circle (much like Stonehenge, but on a smaller scale), before heading across to Ullswater where we spent a couple of hours walking around Aira Force. It’s an odd name, and I’m not sure where it comes from, but it’s basically a park with many different routes, depending on your level of fitness, working your way up hill, through woodland, until eventually you find a gigantic waterfall. As you get closer, you hear the rush of water, and then it comes into view. Incredibly powerful and majestic, towering down into the canyon below.
After a full day of exploring, and lots of driving and walking, we ended our day with a country pub, pie and mash and a glass of red wine!
Have you been to the Lake District? We’d love to go again someday, especially as we now have all the camping equipment. We’ve actually just booked to go to the Peak District for a few days next year. So if you have any tips for there too, we’d love to hear them 🙂