Dreams of visiting the Lake District in the fall danced around my head as I made my way north from the medieval town of York to bask in the English countryside for a few days. My stomach filled with butterflies as I headed to what I had heard was, “Perhaps the most beautiful place in all of England”. And that, it was. There is no argument there.
I found myself planning to visit the Lake District when I saw pictures of the region splashed across social media. I “oohed” and “aahed” as I scrolled through beautiful pictures of colorful trees and tiny little cottages snuggled in lush green hills. I had a solo trip planned, where I was aiming to drive from England to Scotland. With the Lake District located in Northern England, near the Scottish border, adding on a few days to stop in this incredible area seemed like the obvious choice. Little did I know…
About the Lake District
The Lake District is a mountainous, National Park located in county Cumbria. It’s on the west side of England met by the Irish Sea, 4.5-hours northwest of London, and 2.5-hours southwest of Edinburgh. Since 2017, it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the park welcomes thousands of visitors each year who flock to see glacial lakes, rugged mountains, and historic small towns.
Things to Do in the Lake District
Because the Lake District is so diverse, there is quite literally something for everyone! You can hike, rent a boat, stargaze (it’s the darkest place in England), rope adventure through the trees, scramble/canyon through rocks, rent segways and drive through the forest. You can visit Roman remains and stone circles, which are free activities. And on a rainy day? Head to the museums and galleries. For more information on things to do in and around the area, click here.
Where to Stay in the Lake District
Not only are there all different types of activities, but there are all different types of stays too! You can glamp, camp, and even rent a cottage. You can sleep in a hotel, a bed-and-breakfast, a log cabin, stay at a spa, or opt for a luxury hotel. For more ideas on where to stay when visiting the Lake District, click here.
Towns in the Lake District
With many different towns in the Lake District, you could base yourself in one and explore from there, or town-hop moving every day or so. Some popular areas in the Lake District include Windermere and Ambleside – where you’ll find the largest lake in England and perhaps the most popular area in the Lake District. If you’re interested in hiking and climbing perhaps you’ll stay near Ullswater. And if you want to camp, head to the Langdale Valley.
I chose to stay and explore the area of Keswick, in the northern part of the Lake District; where I would spend 48-hours exploring the town.
Visiting Keswick, Cumbria
Keswick is stunning. On one hand, you’re walking along cobblestone streets, passing old buildings, and visiting the busy market center. You’ll notice pubs full of cheery chaps buying another round of beer, and restaurants packed full of friends laughing and smiling with one another. But on the other hand, one step outside of the old town and you’re surrounded by hills and water. Only a stone’s throw from the old town and you’ll come across one of the most beautiful and famous lakes in the Lake District – Derwentwater.
While I strolled through town solo, it wasn’t all that I had envisioned it to be. I couldn’t help but think that if I had someone along with me on this journey, I would perhaps enjoy it a bit more. Was it me? Was it the people I was surrounded by? Or was it Keswick? Did I need to be with someone else to appreciate and value the beauty of the Lake District?
When you’re in the Lake District there’s so much adventuring to do. By being alone, I craved to have a partner who I could bike with, hike with, rent a boat with. And when I was in town popping in and out of pubs I noticed couples at the pub cozying up to one another in a very public manner and thought, “I wish that was me”.
Whatever it was, my solo stay in the Lake District wasn’t my favorite solo adventure that I’ve had.
Here are some of my favorite solo destinations!
Why I (Probably) Won’t go Back… Alone
While the lake district is beautiful and serene, I have to say – I wasn’t as impressed as I wanted to be. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s quaint. And yes it’s a great place to unwind. But for a solo, single, gal – it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. And while it wasn’t my cup of tea, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be your cup of tea. So if you’re planning a trip to England and you’re looking to be out in nature and get more off the beaten path, then visit the Lake District. As for me? I’ll stick to the more medieval and historic towns of England.