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10+ Best Villages and Towns in the Lake District, Cumbria

Filled with charming houses, winding alleyways and situated lakeside, the villages, and towns in the Lake District are some of the most charming settlements in the whole of the UK. Here’s your complete guide to the most picturesque, best and cutest villages and towns in the Lake District…

Cutest Villages in the Lake District: Most Beautiful towns and villages in Cumrbia, England: Ambleside

One of the most important things to know before visiting the Lake District is that the area boasts some of the most beautiful villages and towns to be found anywhere in the UK.

As such, during any visit, it’s imperative to set aside a little time to allow yourself to get lost amongst the granite houses and historic buildings that these settlements have to offer.

While many opt to go hiking or enjoying water sports, you’d do well to set aside at least half a day to enjoy the museums of Coniston Water or the foodie side of Ambleside.

Ambleside

A little stream babbles alongside a high street filled with independent boutiques and quirky little eateries. This is the delightful settlement of Ambleside, easily one of the cutest villages in the Lake District.

From the ease of access to the local area to the sprawling Victorian Houses that line the wide streets, there’s plenty to see and do in this Cumbrian Town. One particular highlight of Ambleside is the Bridge House. This 17th-century house spans both sides of the river and is now a small free to visit museum.

Cutest Villages in the Lake District: Most Beautiful towns and villages in Cumrbia, England: Ambleside

Pooley Bridge

On the banks of Ullswater, the second largest lake in the Lake District, you’ll find the village of Pooley Bridge. Predominantly populated by pubs and holiday lets, this village is a great gateway to the National Park (and was our first stop in the Lake District Itself during a long weekend road trip through the region).

From here, there’s easy access to Ullswater and the Kirkstone Pass; one of the most beautiful roads in the entire region. Somewhere along the Kirkstone Pass road, visitors will stumble upon the Kirkstone Pass Inn, which in turn is the third highest pub in England!

Cutest Villages in the Lake District: Most Beautiful towns and villages in Cumrbia, England: Pooley Birdge

Hawkshead

Quaint, tiny and in the middle of nowhere, Hawkshead is a quintessentially British village. Filled with small cafés and winding walkways, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a cream tea (a regional speciality), or to explore a medieval Cumbrian village.

Established from a nearby Monastery in the 12th-Century, today the little settlement is a picture perfect example of Cumbrian architecture at its very finest. Other highlights of Hawkshead include plenty of 17th-century architecture and an annual exhibition in the Beatrix Potter gallery which showcases a selection of Beatrix Potter’s original illustrations and drawings.

Cutest Villages in the Lake District: Most Beautiful towns and villages in Cumrbia, England: hawkshead

Coniston Village

Once home to iconic historical figures such as Arthur Ransome (author of the Swallows and Amazons series of children’s books) and John Ruskin (iconic critic, author, and rights movement advocate), the small village of Coniston is easily one of the cutest villages in the Lake District.

Watched over by the Mount of the Old Man of Coniston, here you’ll find John Ruskin’s grave, an award winning museum and plenty of vintage shops. On Coniston Water, there’s Coniston Boating Centre, where you can rent boats, kayaks, bikes and much more.

Cutest Villages in the Lake District: Most Beautiful towns and villages in Cumrbia, England: Coniston

Windermere

Windermere is not only the largest body of water in the Lake District but also home to one of the cutest towns. Of all the things to do in the Lake District, a visit to Windermere is an absolute must!

After all, the station of Windermere is the main train station in the National Park and since its construction and opening in 1847. For many visitors, the railway line serves as the Gateway to the Lake District.

Originally named Birthwaite, the village’s name was eventually changed to Windermere, after the body of water which lies alongside the Lake District town. Today, the original village of Birthwaite (now named Windermere) has sprawled across the landscape and merged with nearby Bowness-on-Windermere.

In Windermere itself, you can expect to find dozens of narrow streets, wide Victorian façades and plenty of things to see and do. The town is also home to the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction.

Cutest Villages in the Lake District: Most Beautiful towns and villages in Cumrbia, England: Windermere

Keswick

Located on the shoreline of Derwentwater, you’ll find the cute little town of Keswick. This quintessentially British market town has been inhabited since Neolithic times, and extensive archaeological finds have been discovered in the area.

However, the first mention of the town itself dates back to the 13th-Century. During the middle ages, the King of England, Edward I granted market status to the town and it has traded ever since. As a result, there have been market stalls in some form or another continuously for 700 years.

Cutest Villages in the Lake District: Most Beautiful towns and villages in Cumrbia, England: Keswick

Kendal

You may well recognise the name ‘Kendal’ thanks to the popular hiking snack, Kendal Mint Cake. For the uninitiated, Kendal Mint Cake is a glucose-based sugar treat that’s popular among hikers and mountaineers due to its high energy content.

The local sweet was developed in Cumbria but can now be found in outdoor stores internationally. Head to Kendal if you want to experience the magic of a town frozen in time and set in the mountains.

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Cutest Towns and Villages in the Lake District, Cumbria, England
Cutest Villages in the Lake District- Beautiful, picturesque and the very best towns and villages in Cumbria, England.

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Glenys Oakden

Thursday 16th of December 2021

Love the Lake District my hubby and I had our honeymoon there and quite often have holidays there too and since visited many towns and villages sometimes just for a day out. So had many memorable times there. One New Year’s Eve a few years ago we decided to have a drive through the lakes and stopped in Windermere found a Chinese restaurant for a meal then with a happy tummy we drove farther away the roads were clear and a mild night it had snowed a few days earlier and the snow on the mountains each side of the road there were no street lights just country roads it looked amazing with the white snow didn’t need any road lights it truly was a magnificent sight you could see the mountains very clearly covered with the snow. At midnight with the radio on Big Ben rang in the new year with the most amazing scenery from the mountains It was a very memorable New Years evening.

christinablaney

Friday 2nd of October 2020

A great guide! I actually grew up in Coniston but some of these places I have never been !

Lyd

Sunday 16th of September 2018

Great recommendations Sophie, I like that you included a little of the history in these places. Lovely pictures too, especially the Instagram snap of you on the rock- what a shot!

Lyd- whatlyddid.com

Sophie Nadeau

Monday 17th of September 2018

Thanks! :)

Mike from TravelAndDestinations

Tuesday 22nd of August 2017

I've had the the pleasure of hiking in the Lake District once before and it was a lovely experience although very rainy. I didn't get to explore many of the villages though as I was on a group hiking tour. The places you suggested all sound and look lovely though so I will have to try and head back again soon. Thanks for sharing this.

Tanja (the Red phone box travels)

Wednesday 26th of July 2017

indeed very cute:) I'd love to visit them

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