Recently awarded status of UNESCO world heritage site, there is no denying the beauty of the Lake District. Whether you want to see quintessential British villages, hike mountains, or participate in water sports activities, the region has you covered… Here’s some practical advice, tricks, and tips for visiting the Lake District!
#1 Bring your camera along
If I were to give just one Lake District travel tip, it would be this: be sure to bring your camera along. Even if you’re ‘not really into taking photos’, you’ll want to bring at least your smartphone on this trip! After all, the sights, scenery, and villages are all beautiful in this part of the country. For a full rundown of my equipment, here’s a guide to my travel photography gear.
#2 Invest in some good walking shoes (or at least some trainers)
Between the rain and rocky terrain, good walking shoes are a must if you want to take part in any of the sports based activities in the region. Even if you’re just wandering around the towns, it’s a good idea to bring comfortable footwear. After all, many of the little lanes and alleyways remain cobbled to this day.
#3 Bring a map and compass
Much of the Lake District has no phone signal, let alone phone GPS signal. If you’re looking to go walking (even for a short while), be sure to bring a hard copy of a map (technology often fails at the best of times), as well as a compass.
#4 Plan your trip before visiting the Lake District!
If you’re reading this post, then chances are that you’re at least planning a little excursion to the Lake District. Like I’ve said, much of the Lake District doesn’t have phone signal, meaning that planning to visit places whilst there can be more than a little tricky.
Instead, be sure to see everything you want to by planning your route through the National Park in advance. This way, you won’t miss some of the prettiest landscapes or villages the area has to offer, nor will you end up spending too much money on accommodation.
#5 Book your accommodation in advance!
This point is one of the very best tips for visiting the Lake District and is particularly prevalent if you’re thinking of visiting the Lake District in high season (any of the summer months- and incidentally when the weather is best). After all, accommodation is booked up quickly in this part of the country, and often gets more expensive the longer you wait… Check Lake District hotel prices in advance here.
#6 Pack a raincoat
Wondering why the lake district is so green? Well, it’s because it rains. And it rains a lot. Chances are, if you’re staying in the Lake District for even just a few days, you’ll see a shower or two. Pack a good waterproof but not an umbrella.
Due to the wind and light rainfall, an umbrella can become cumbersome while walking and often doesn’t work against smaller gales. I personally own a Berghaus raincoat and have done so for over ten years! Though it was a little pricey when I first bought it, I have definitely had my share of use out of it over time.
#7 Taste some local food and drink
Of all the tips for visiting the Lake District, this one is all about the experience over practicality. That being said, there are plenty of foodstuff and drinks that must be sampled on a trip to the region:
Must try foods: Kendal Mint Cake (a glucose based, mint flavoured product intended to give energy to hikers), Damsons (Originally from Damascus, these plum like fruits have been grown in the Lake District since the 1700s), Sticky Toffee Pudding (a delicious sweet treat invented in the Lake District in the 1970s).
#8 Experience some local culture
From the local food to the many museums in the area, there’s more to see in the Lake District than just hiking and watersports. For example, try a local brew in the highest pub in Cumbria (the Kirstone Pass Inn) or step into the world of Peter Rabbit at one of the many attractions dedicated to Beatrix Potter in the area.
#9 Visit more than one body of water!
Each of the bodies of water around the Lake District has its own unique feel, scenery and walking paths. As such, it’s best to visit a number to get a better idea of the National Park. Windermere is the largest, and as such is the most touristic, while Ullswater was easily my favourite. If you’re looking for a large water, surrounded by villages, filled with sports activities and full of history, then head to Coniston Water.
#10 Very few of the bodies of water are actually known as lakes…
Of all the Lake District tips I could give you, be sure to call the bodies of water by their correct terms rather than simply ‘lakes’. After all, this would be your first mistake. Instead, the bodies of water are mainly known as ‘meres,’ ‘waters,’ and ‘tarns’… Call these bodies of water “lakes” when speaking to local residents with caution!
#11 See some of the towns and villages
Throughout the National Park, there are plenty of charming villages, hamlets, and towns. From the little brook running through Ambleside (also home to the quirky Bridge House) to the museum in Coniston, make sure not to miss out on the charming lanes and slate architecture that’s so synonymous with the region. Stuck which towns and villages to visit? Here’s my guide to the cutest villages in the Lake District!