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Lonely Planet Lake District

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Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet the Lake District is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Cruise by wooded islands on Derwentwater, ascend the thrilling fell walk of Striding Edge, or glimpse into the life of Wordsworth at Dove Cottage; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of the Lake District and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet the Lake District Travel Guide:

  • Colour maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including history, poetry, literature, film, politics, landscapes, flora, wildlife, and cuisine
  • Over 56 local maps
  • Useful features - including Month-by-Month (annual festival calendar), Outdoor Activities, and Travel with Children
  • Coverage of Inland Cumbria, Ullswater, Grasmere, the Central Lake District, Windermere, Coniston, Hawkshead, Cumbrian Coast, Western Lake District, Keswick, Derwentwater, and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices)

  • Zoom-in maps and images bring it all up close and in greater detail
  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps let you stay offline to avoid roaming and data charges
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Easily navigate and jump effortlessly between maps and reviews
  • Speedy search capabilities get you to what you need and want to see
  • Use bookmarks to help you shoot back to key pages in a flash
  • Visit the websites of our recommendations by touching embedded links
  • Adding notes with the tap of a finger offers a way to personalise your guidebook experience
  • Inbuilt dictionary to translate unfamiliar languages and decode site-specific local terms

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet the Lake District, our most comprehensive guide to the Lake District, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's England guide or Great Britain guide for a comprehensive look at all the country has to offer, or Discover Great Britain, a photo-rich guide focused on the country's most popular experiences.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet and Oliver Berry.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

List price: $19.99

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The Lake District Map


E-reader devices vary in their ability to show our maps. To get the most out of the maps in this guide, use the zoom function on your device. Or, visit and grab a PDF download or print out all the maps in this guide.


Windermere & Around


     Includes »

     Windermere town Bowness-on-Windermere

     Blackwell House

     Lakeside, Newby Bridge the Southern Shore

     Lyth Winster Valleys




In terms of stateliness and stature, nowhere can match Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, which runs for a grand 10.5 miles from Newby Bridge to Ambleside. In his 1810 Guide to the Lakes, Wordsworth mused on ‘the splendour, the stillness and the solemnity’ of Windermere’s waters, and it’s surely no coincidence that it was here, gazing across the point-to-point panorama from Orrest Head, that Alfred Wainwright began his 13-year odyssey to chart all the Lakeland fells.

These days, stillness and solemnity might not be the first things that spring to mind in relation to Windermere. The nation’s largest lake is also by far its busiest, and in summer the quayside crowds around Bowness can be oppressive. But tranquillity is never too far away: Windermere’s west side is usually much quieter than its eastern shoreline, and you can always escape the madding crowd by simply hopping on a cruise boat or hiking up a nearby hilltop.


Grasmere & the Central Lake District


     Includes »

     Grasmere Around

     Rydal Mount

     Rydal Hall

     The Langdale Valleys

     Skelwith Bridge

     Little Langdale


     Great Langdale

The broad bowl of Grasmere acts as a geographical junction between the east and west of the Lake District, sandwiched between the rumpled peaks of the Langdale Pikes and the gentle hummocks and open dales of the eastern fells. It’s a wonderfully scenic corner of the national park, ringed by craggy peaks and spotted with woodland, tarns and seemingly endless green fields.

The area is perhaps best known for its literary connections, largely thanks to William Wordsworth, who lived for most of his adult life near Grasmere. Wordsworth and his contemporaries spent countless hours wandering the surrounding hilltops, and the area is dotted with literary landmarks, as well as an excellent museum devoted to the Romantic movement. Grasmere is also the gateway to one of Lakeland’s great hiking heartlands, Great Langdale, where walkers set out on classic routes across the high tops of the Crinkle Crags and the Langdale Pikes.


Coniston, Hawkshead & Around


     Includes »



     Grizedale Forest

     Hill Top Near Sawrey

     Graythwaite Hall Gardens

     Wray Castle

Windermere might be bigger, Wastwater may be wilder, but Coniston Water maintains a rare air of serenity even on the busiest days. Stretching for 5 miles beneath the Old Man of Coniston, the lake is still famous for the speed attempts made here by Malcolm and Donald Campbell, but today it’s altogether more tranquil – the only boats you’ll see skimming across its surface are a couple of solar-powered launches and an antique steam yacht.

Cloaked with woodland and criss-crossed by winding lanes, this is a famously picturesque corner of the Lake District. It’s also well known for its literary connections: John Ruskin lived here, William Wordsworth went to school here and Arthur Ransome was inspired to write Swallows and Amazons while staying here. But as always, it’s Beatrix Potter who looms largest: she adored the countryside around Coniston and Hawkshead and wrote some of her most famous tales at the idyllic little cottage of Hill Top in Near Sawrey.


Western Lake District


     Includes »

     Ravenglass Around


     Eskdale Green

     Dalegarth Boot

     Hardknott Wrynose Passes


     Gosforth Santon Bridge

     Wasdale Head


In many ways this is the quintessential Lakeland landscape. Studded with silvery lakes, mist-shrouded fells, country pubs and hill farms, this side of the national park feels much rawer and wilder than its more pastoral neighbour to the east. It’s a place saturated with superlatives: home to England’s smallest church (St Olaf’s in Wasdale), highest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater) and steepest roads (Hardknott and Wrynose), not to mention some of its wildest scenery.

As always, the best way to appreciate the landscape is to get out and explore. A string of high fells stand like sentinels across the western reaches of Ennerdale and Wasdale, including Great Gable, Scafell and Scafell Pike, providing irresistible targets for peak-baggers. If you prefer to hike alone, however, you might prefer to head for the little-visited Duddon Valley, where you can walk for hours with only the odd Herdwick sheep for company.


Keswick & Derwentwater


     Includes »



     Bassenthwaite Lake

     Back O’ Skiddaw

     Whinlatter, Lorton Loweswater


     Borrowdale Buttermere

     Lodore, Grange Rosthwaite

     Stonethwaite, Seatoller Seathwaite

     Honister Pass

     Buttermere Crummock Water

Pocked with islands, fringed by pebbled shores and overlooked by the hulking dome of Skiddaw, there are few lakes with such an immediate wow factor as Derwentwater. Neither as touristy as Windermere nor as wild as Wastwater, it’s a place that seems to encapsulate all the essential qualities of the Lake District landscape. If you like nothing more than cruising on the water or wandering the hilltops, there are few places where you’ll be better served.

The lively market town of Keswick makes a convenient base. South of town are the twin valleys of Borrowdale and Buttermere, while Bassenthwaite Lake and its wild ospreys is a few miles north. To the west you’ll find the conifer forests of Whinlatter, the peaceful fields of Lorton, and the market town of Cockermouth, thoroughly polished up since 2009’s floods and now (nearly) as good as new.




     Includes »

     Ullswater Around


     Pooley Bridge

     Gowbarrow Park Aira Force

     Glenridding Patterdale

     Howtown Martindale

     Lowther Haweswater

     Lowther Park


Second only in stature to Windermere, Ullswater cuts a regal 8-mile sweep through the eastern fells. Gouged out by a long-extinct glacier, it’s arguably one of the most dramatic of the valleys, with each shore flanked by serrated summits, including the unmistakeable razor ridges of Helvellyn, England’s third-highest mountain.

It’s a great lake for cruising, with a fine fleet of old ‘steamers’ plying the waters between the small villages of Pooley Bridge, Glenridding and Patterdale. Overlooking the lake are the woodland parks of Gowbarrow and Glencoyne, whose springtime daffodil displays were canonised by Wordsworth in one of his best-loved poems. And while the west side of the lake can feel jammed in summer, you can usually find solitude in the little-visited valleys on the eastern side, or by detouring away from the lake to the rolling parkland of the Lowther estate and the wild valley of Haweswater out to the southeast.


Cumbrian Coast


     Includes »

     South Coast


     Around Grange-over-Sands


     Around Ulverston

     West Coast


     Around Whitehaven

Most visitors to the Lake District never stray far beyond the boundaries of the national park, but they’re missing out on one of the county’s forgotten gems – its bleakly beautiful coastline, a gentle panorama of sandy bays and grassy headlands stretching from Morecambe Bay to the shores of the Solway Coast.

Historically, Cumbria’s ports developed to serve the local mining, quarrying and shipbuilding industries, and while scattered pockets of industry still remain (principally around Barrow-in-Furness and the nuclear plant at Sellafield), much of the rest of the coast is as ruggedly beautiful as the rest of the Lakeland landscape. Wander the landscaped grounds of Holker Hall, spot seabirds from the RSPB reserve at St Bees Head, admire the views from the top of Black Combe and then wrap things up with some Michelin-starred dining in the medieval village of Cartmel.


Inland Cumbria


     Includes »


     Around Carlisle

     Brampton Around

     Penrith the Eden Valley

     Around Penrith


     Eden Ostrich World





     Around Kendal

Bordered by the Scottish frontier, the Lakeland fells and the northern Pennines, inland Cumbria has long served as a historical crossroads. Generations of Picts, Celts, Romans and Reivers have all battled each other for supremacy over this strategic patch of land down the centuries, and 2000 years of conflict have left a permanent smudge on the landscape.

It’s one of the best places in Cumbria to get a sense of the county’s history. Fortified pele towers, crumbling abbeys and ruined castles litter the hilltops, while the red-brickbattlements of Carlisle Castle still stand watch over England’s northern border. The most obvious reminder of the region’s tempestuous past, however, is the remains of the Vallum Aelium, otherwise known as Hadrian’s Wall, which sprawls across Cumbria’s northern reaches en route to Wallsend, near the River Tyne. There’s no better place to cast your mind back into the past.



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