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The Best Lake District Books

Updated on January 20, 2017

A personal selection of the best Lake District books

Hundreds, probably thousands of books have been written about England's Lake District. How do you know which of these books is the best to buy? Well, I live in Grasmere in the heart of the Lake District and I love books, so I've used my first hand experience to pick out my current favorite books on a variety of Lake District topics to recommend to you.

As spring turns into summer, many of you will be planning a visit to the Lake District, or maybe you're just dreaming about Lake District and wishing you were here.

If you have never visited the English Lake District before you will need a starter guide book, giving a comprehensive view of the Lake District geography, what to do and where to stay. Of course you can research online, which I do (lots!) but to get the feel of an area, and to dip into it and plan your visit, I still feel that a great basic guidebook can't be beaten.I'll show you my top choices of starter Lake District guide books.

Walking and hiking is one of the main reasons why people visit the Lake District, and I've suggested some books that I use to give me fresh ideas about hikes, and just to look at for inspiration when I can't get out in the Lake District countryside.

In recent years the Lake District has build up an excellent reputation for great local food, and I have picked my top book about Lake District food for you.

You might be interested in the history of the Lake District. There have been lots of great books about Lake District history written over the years, but a new book just published in the UK, coming out in October in the USA is my top choice for Lake District history.

You just can't leave William Wordsworth out of any discussion about the Lake District, and why would you want to ? William Wordsworth wrote his best poetry in the Lake District, and lived in the Lake District for most of his life. I'm suggesting books about Wordsworth and the Lake District, books that give you a tatse of life in Wordsworth's Lake District, and ,of course my choice out of the many collections of the poetry of William Wordsworth.

If you just want to dream about the beauty of the Lake District, or be reminded of your Lake District vacations and holidays in the Lake District, there is a huge choice of photographic collections of Lake District scenery. It is very hard to choose just one great book of Lake District photographs. We have at least 10 books of Lake District photographs in our Wordsworth Lounge at White Moss House Guest House , and I'm constantly tempted to buy more. Here I have picked out some of my favorite Lake District photographic books for you.

I hope you'll take a look at my suggestions of my best Lake District books, and if you have any other suggestions which you think are better, or which you think I should add, please let me know. This is my personal choice.

The photo at the top of this page is the cover of the new Time Out Guide to the Lake District, first published in June 2010. Time Out guides are always excellent.

This book is available from Amazon.

The English Lakes: A History
The English Lakes: A History

This book is a new Classic. It would make an excellent gift.


I've written a lot about my, home, Grasmere and the Lake District

More Lake District information here

Use my first hand knowledge to increase your own Lake District knowledge with these articles. Please take a look.

William Wordsworth's Daffodils
William Wordsworth's poem, Daffodils, was written just half a mile from my home. Often known by its first line "I wandered lonely as a Cloud" the p...

Wordsworth's Lake District.
I live in a house owned by William Wordsworth, close to Dove Cottage Grasmere where Wordsworth wrote his most famous poems, including "Daffodils" ....

My favorite Lake District walking book- On High Lakeland Fells. - On High Lakeland Fells- wonderful Lake District walks in this book

There are so many great books about Lake District walks, and Lake District hikes, but this book On High Lakeland Fells by Bob Allen is the one that I turn to when planning a walk, or just to look at the beautiful photos and gain inspiration.

The book is divided into geographical sections of the main mountain ranges ( or "fells" as they are known in the Lake District )

There is a simple map for each area showing the main routes and the main summits , and a table showing the length and difficulty of the various routes.These routes are then described in detail, and are shown in wonderful photos taken by the author, Bob Allen.

I have bought this book as a gift for many of my friends who love to walk the Lake District fells.

One word of warning- Bob Allen estimates the time it takes to do these walks, but I have never managed these times! Unless you are very fit and fast, add an hour or two to Bob's times.

UK reader can buy On High Lakeland Fells through this link

and US readers can order from the link below.

Bob Allen has also written other great books with circular walks on Lower Lakeland Fells. These are currently out of print, but well worth buying if you can find them .

Bob is now retired from writing and is living in Grasmere. It's a shame that he says he won't write any more books. He is still walking for pleasure, and he still looks very, very fit!

On High Lakeland Fells
On High Lakeland Fells

I know the author well. This book is superb.


Alfred Wainwright's Lake District Books are classics - Alfred Wainwright The Pictoral Guides to the Lake District.

Purists will not be happy with my choice of a "Best of Wainwright" book but I'm assuming that true Wainwright fans ( of which I am one) will not need any guide from me about the value of The Pictoral Guides. I own them all, and if I lost one i would replace it- a full set is essential to me, but as an introduction, this Best of Wainwright is a great starting point. If you want to buy the individual books, please do!

This Best Of Wainwright is edited by Hunter Davies, born in Cumbria, still with a home here, biographer of the Beatles and Wordsworth and all round Lake District enthusiast ( and yes, I have met him too- he's brilliant to talk to and writes superbly)

A special Lake District Book- Dorothy Wordsworth's journals - Dorothy Wordsworth's Journals- a wonderful Lake District book

Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of poet William Wordsworth, kept a detailed dairy of her life at Dove Cottage , Grasmere in the first few years of the 19th century. Her writings about daffodils inspired the poem of the same name, possibly the most famous poem in the world.

Full of details about her walks, her meals, her conversations, this fascinating diary has been brilliantly edited by Wordsworth scholar Pamela Woof.

Available in the UK and the US.

More of my articles about the Lake District

Traditional Lake District Food
Traditional Lake District Food is spicy and distinctive. Lake District recipes as we now know developed in the 18th century ,when exotic spices, fruits and...

Rydal Water Walk.
This walk round the lovely lake of Rydal Water, in England's Lake District, takes most people about 2 hours. It takes in some of the most beautiful scenery i...

Things to do in Ambleside,English Lake District
Ambleside is a village in Cumbria, in England's glorious Lake District. Ambleside is the base for many Lake District activities, in the centre of the Lake Di...

Herdwick sheep , the Lake District sheep.
Herdwick sheep are the sheep of Cumbria, in the Northwest corner of England. The Lake District is the most famous part of Cumbria, loved by visitors for its ...

Possibly the best all round Lake District Guide Book. - The Rough Guide to the Lake District- an excellent Lake District guide book

The Rough Guide to the Lake District is one of the Best Lake District books as a starter guide book. Buy in the UK or US from amazon.

These are some of my favorite Lake District books.I've just published this lens, and will be adding more books in the next few days, so please return for another visit.

If you have any views on this list, or any suggestions, or if you just want to let me know you've visited, I'd love to hear from you.

And if you have a minute to give this lens the "thumbs up" I'd be very happy.

The Best Lake District books- in my opinion- what's your opinion? - I'll be adding to this list as more of my favorite books come to mind

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've just been building my Cumbrian family tree with a cousin over the last couple of days. This got me home sick for the Lake District. This is a great page.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Check out Books On Kindle for a wide selection of books, many free you can get for the Kindle. Highly recommended!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A great selection of book here!

    • profile image

      the777group lm 

      8 years ago

      The Lake District looks stupendous!

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @anonymous: Thanks for your visit.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens and lots of good recommendations too! - Kathy

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @anonymous: Thank you for your visit- and for the thumbs up - much appreciated.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love the Lake District. Thanks you for the lens.

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      8 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @anonymous: Thanks for your visit- hope you enjoy reading it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The history book looks interesting- I might put it on my Christmas wish list.


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