10 Hidden Views in the English Lake District
What's so special about these views then?
Places to visit in the Lake District: Every year somewhere in the region of 14 million tourists visit the English Lake District and many of them visit the same places: Windermere, Ambleside, Keswick etc. As someone who's lucky enough to live in Cumbria and just a stone's throw from the Lake District National Park I wanted to show you some of the places that are a little more off the beaten track so that next time you visit you can see more of what Cumbria has to offer.
And once you're done with the Lake District then what about the rest of the country? Here's 10 places to visit in Britain that are a little off the main tourist track.
1. The Dock Museum, Barrow-in-Furness
But it's indoors!
Yes, The Dock Museum in Barrow-in-Furnessprobably isn't what you had in mind when you booked your holiday in the Lake District, but if the weather turns a bit soggy then it's a great place to spend an afternoon and what's more it's all free. An interesting history of Barrow and its shipbuilding past and a wonderful little cafe. What's not to love?
2. Crummock Water
Living in Buttermere's Shadow
I always feel a little sorry for Crummock Water as it finds itself living in the shadow of Buttermere which is right next door. A short drive from Cockermouth will bring you to this peaceful gem of a lake and a short 20 minute stroll up Rannerdale Knotts will give you this amazing view.
3. Rannerdale Bluebells
But don't Bluebells grow in woods?
Usually they do, yes, but not in this case. This is truly one of the most amazing views in the Lake District. Each April this hillside near the Rannerdale Knotts comes alive for a few days with the most amazing display of Bluebells. Hardly a tree in sight to spoil the view of this blanket of blue. But you need to time it right, they're only at their best for a few days and then it's all over for another year.
Getting your feet wet!
4. Morecambe Bay
Morecambe Bay lies to the south of Cumbria and at low tide is a beautiful expanse of dangerous quicksand and hidden channels. It is famous for its cockles and ferociously quick incoming tides. Throughout the summer guided walks take place (tides permitting) where you can cross the bay and, usually, raise money for a good cause. It is incredibly dangerous to try this alone and you should only ever venture out there as part of an officially organised event. It's quite an experience to stand in the middle of the bay a good 2 miles from "land" in any direction. Be warned though, it may be flat but it's a 9 mile walk through soft sand so not for the faint hearted.
5. Levers Water
Hidden by an Old Man.
When visiting Coniston in the heart of the Lake District many people will venture up the Old Man, and that's a fine climb with fantastic views, but a short detour will bring you to Levers Water. With its steep sides and waterfalls it's a glacial tarn straight out of the text books. You can take a more direct route from Coniston and on a fine day enjoy a well earned picnic on the banks of the lake with stunning views of The Old Man himself.
6. Scale Force
Just one of hundreds of wonderful waterfalls.
If you're taking my earlier advice and heading for Crummock Water then take some decent waterproof boots and head around to Scale Force. There's a straightforward if rather boggy path from Buttermere which winds along Crummock Water before doubling back up to Scale Force, considered to be the highest waterfall in the Lake District. Both Wordsworth & Coleridge had good things to say about it, so who are we to argue with them?
7. Windermere Cloud Inversion
Not one for the summer visitors.
If you're visiting the Lake District during the autumn or winter then you may well be lucky enough to spot one of these - a cloud inversion. If it's a cold and misty morning down in the valley then you may just be in luck. If you're staying near Windermere then the easiest spot to aim for is Gummer's How - there's a free car park and an easy (20 min) walk up to the summit. You'll need to be up there early though so my advice is to pack a flask of hot coffee and some sarnies and get there around 7am for a spectacular breakfast.
8. Kentmere Reservoir
If you fancy a long easy stroll.
If you fancy getting out and about but don't want to hike up the high fells then how about Kentmere Reservoir? A short drive out of Kendal will bring you to Kentmere village and from there you can enjoy a lovely walk along the valley and up to the reservoir. Kentmere Pike and Ill Bell loom large above the valley so there's plenty to look at along the way.
9. Colwith Force
Lurking around the Langdales
Colwith Force is a 30 minute walk from Elterwater in one of the most popular and breathtaking parts of the Lake District. It's a waterfall in 3 parts, plunging highs falls at the bottom, a midsection that lets you get close enough to feel the power and this quieter section at the top. There's a lovely circular route that starting and ending in Elterwater where you can enjoy a well earned pie and chips when you're done.
10. The Kent Estuary
The definitive guides to the English Lake District. For 13 years Wainwright walked every fell and hand wrote and illustrated his original manuscripts.
Right on my doorstep.
Remember the Kentmere Reservoir from earlier? Well here's where it ends up. The Kent Estuary is right at the northern corner of Morecambe Bay and this photo is taken from Silverdale looking across towards Kents Bank. Technically Silverdale is in Lancashire but the border runs through the village and from the hills above you get these spectacular views of sunsets over the estuary with the Lake District in the background.
So there you have it. Ten good ways to get away from the crowds and find some real gems just off the main routes. Look forward to seeing you in the Lake District! And if you're interested in finding out more about the region then please visit my blog where you'll find lots of information about local fells, walks, lakes and towns,