The year of the staycation continues! I have only visited the Lake District once before, back in 2002. I don’t have many memories of it and have wanted to return for ages now, so when my mother-in-law invited James and I to gatecrash their cottage rental for the weekend we jumped at the chance to get back into the mountains and enjoy what turned out to be the last nice weather of 2020.
We arrived late on the Friday afternoon and started off the trip with a lovely meal in a local pub – we stayed just north the National Park, in Quarry Hill Stables. Then it was an early night after the long drive, ready for a couple of days of adventure!
I planned a clockwise loop route for us on Saturday to avoid going back on ourselves in the car. Our first stop was Bassenthwaite lake, about 20 minutes south of where we were staying. It was super quiet and a beautiful introduction to being back in the lakes. We pulled up at the viewpoint for a short wander and some photos before continuing on our way South to the starting point of our hike for the day.
We chose to climb Catbells, which gives beautiful views of Derwentwater and its surroundings. We parked at Hawse End and began the short but steep climb to the top. The increased heart rate is worth it for the spectacular views not only from the summit but throughout the whole climb. There are some scrambling parts during the ascent but nothing too scary!
Just like our staycation to Norfolk earlier this summer, we were once again blessed with fantastic weather!
On our descent, we chose extend the walk to include a stroll along the waters’ edge and it was beautiful.
Next up was a quick stop in Keswick for an essential coffee…the town was actually ridiculously busy though so we didn’t stop long.
Our final stop was was Buttermere, and the journey there was a little more challenging than expected! With gradients of up to 25%, the roads were a little tricky to navigate and I was extremely pleased not to be driving. James was also probably thankful that I wasn’t driving too – I squealed enough with him behind the wheel, goodness knows what I would’ve been like if it was me driving! It was worth the stress though and we enjoyed a short walk through what felt like Hobbiton to reach the shores of the famous lake.
After over 20,000 steps on Saturday we had a slower morning on Sunday and left the stables at about 11am, heading to Grasmere. After (another) coffee, we had a walk around the village and of course made a quick stop at the famous Gingerbread shop. I’ve never been much of a fan of gingerbread but it was actually really nice – more of a crumbly cake texture than the snap biscuit I was expecting. James’ mum also got us some insanely delicious fudge that I now wish we had gone back to buy more of!
Sunday’s adventure was a mountain bike trail which took us from Grasmere to Ambleside, with a visit to Stock Ghyll Force waterfall along the way. As we hadn’t had much rain it wasn’t as spectacular as we had hoped but still beautiful nonetheless. The trail was about 13 miles and was quite hilly in places but still suitable for most! We enjoyed a picnic by the river in the sunshine too. We loosely followed this trail.
On Monday it was unfortunately time to leave! We managed to fit a lot into our 2 days but still didn’t manage to see many of the main sights such as Windermere and Coniston. We did actually avoid them on this trip though because it was a weekend and lovely weather and we thought they would be too overrun with tourists. That is not to say however that we won’t book to go back in the future and try to visit when it will be a bit quieter.
Have you been to the Lake District? Where else would you recommend if we go back?
You might want to check out my other UK travel guides: