It’s no secret The Lake District is one of the most revered national parks in Britain. Nowhere blends ruggedness and cottage garden prettiness so seamlessly. Every fell, lake, and hidden woodland takes your breath away.
The Lake District has been a place of pilgrimage for lovers of natural splendour since at least the 19th Century. It has also helped inspire some of our most precious literary masterpieces, from Peter Rabbit to The Lyrical Ballads.
As a testament to this, The Lakes were recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. This may sound corporate and dry, but it’s an enormous accolade. This status ranks it alongside the Taj Mahal and Great Wall of China. It is a place with remarkable cultural significance and of great value to humanity.
There are so many picturesque spots in The lakes, and too many wonderful views to list them in full. Here are eight of the most beautiful.
#1 | KIRKSTONE PASS
This is The Lake District’s highest mountain pass, connecting Ambleside and Patterdale, with an altitude of 1,489 feet.
It must be said; this is a bit of a cheat view. There are many spots to stop along the A592 that will give you that existential cleanse feeling—beautiful view after beautiful view.
One to look out for is by Brothers Water.
If you fancy sustaining the beauty over a slow drink, Kirkstone Pass has a pub, which is the third highest in the country.
#2 | CAT BELLS MOUNTAIN
Mountain is a loose term for sweet little Cat Bells. When compared with Scafell Pike it’s a mole hill. Of course, anything with such a cute title, unless ironically named, shouldn’t be too tough on your legs.
Its name is thought to be derived from the word “Cat Bields” meaning shelter of the wild cat and it stands at a humble 451 m. It is however one of the Lake District’s favourite fells, making up of its lack of stature with 360 views of glassy lakes, verdant meadows, and neighbouring mountains.
Many consider it the perfect gateway to The Lake District scenery.
#3 | SCAFELL PIKE – THE ROOF OF ENGLAND
There cannot be a list of best views without including the highest mountain in The Lake District, and highest in England—Scafell Pike.
Climbing Scafell is not for the faint hearted and a genuine achievement. It’s a tough mix of exposed rock faces and lunar-like scree slopes, twisting, and turning to the summit.
The rewards of reaching the top however are legendary. Scafell Pike has an unparalleled, far reaching view—from the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland to Snowdonia in Wales.
#4 | HAYSTACKS
This is the resting place and favourite view of one of the Lake District’s most cherished modern figures, Alfred Wainwright (1907 – 1991). Wainwright was a lifelong fellwalker and dedicated much of his time to cataloguing walks and ascents in a unique and thoughtful way with hand drawn pictures.
His guidebooks (some 40 of them) are still widely used, including the Coast to Coast Walk.
The view from Haystacks is spectacular and not to be missed.
#5 | ORREST HEAD
The view that started Alfred Wainwright’s 60-year journey of Lake District devotion and exploration. It’s said that in 1930 at the age of 23 he hopped off the train at Windermere and hiked up the hillside to a bare headland. Orrest Head.
His experience at the top, overlooking England’s largest natural lake, was so profound it changed the course of his life.
Perhaps it will change yours?
#6 | WASTWATER
This mirror of pristine water is surrounded by grand mountains, including Scafell Pike, Red Pike, and Kirkfell. The purity of this view, and how symbolic it is of The Lake District is what makes it a must see.
That, and it was once voted as Britain’s best view. Did you know it’s also England’s deepest lake.
#7 | THE GREAT GABLE
Peering down the valley from the slopes of The Great Gable toward Wasdale Head is a sublime experience, worthy of poems and prose. Wasdale Head, a tiny hamlet, has great significance in the British climbing community.
This part of The Lakes was made famous by Walter Parry Haskett Smith, often known as “The Father of Rock Climbing”—a British rock climbing pioneer of the Victorian Era.
Wasdale Head is also famous for having the biggest (self- proclaimed) liar in England, Will Ritson, a 19th Century hotelier. He once claimed his dog gave birth to winged puppies.
#8 | BLENCATHRA
Blencathra, one of the Lakes most northerly mountains has been described as having an alpine feel—perhaps due to its claw-like structure and sometimes snowy peak. Whatever the case, it’s a very special mountain to those who know it.
Famous mountaineer Doug Scott, who has conquered Everest and many other savage mountains has classed Blencathra as his favourite.
It could be because there’s no oxygen tanks involved, no months of preparation and acclimatisation. You can be up there and back within the day. This makes it a mountain of instant gratification.
Need a quick fix of wild open beauty?
Blencathra is also a perfect spot for watching the sunset. With an unimpeded line of sight towards Scotland, and proximity to an access road, Blencathra is an ideal mix between accessible and untamed.
ROMANTIC LAKES RETREAT
Rothay Garden is an idyllic bolthole, surrounded by lush countryside near the lovely Grasmere in the Lake District, with delicious food and a relaxing Riverside Spa.
This is a place for “us” time, or you time.