On leaving the Lakeland village of Keswick, this afternoon tour will take a lovely scenic loop, taking in beautiful landscapes and six lakes, including Windermere, Brothers Water, Ullswater, Thirlmere, Grasmere Lake and Rydal Water.
This fantastic Lake District tour departs Keswick and heads south towards towards Windermere. As you travel south, the first body of water which you will come to is Thirlmere. Thirlmere, at 3.5 miles long and 1.2 miles wide, was originally two smaller lakes, which were purchased by Manchester City Cooperation Waterworks back in 1889. The area was then given a dam, whose greatest height is 104 feet, and the area became one vast reservoir. The reservoir is surrounded with impressive views, including Helvellyn and Dollywagon Pike and it offers a fantastic scenic route.
Our first stop on the tour is Grasmere. Grasmere is one of the Lake Districts most popular villages, thanks to William Wordsworth and his family who moved here in 1799. It is here where you can visit William Wordsworth's grave, which is situated in St Oswald's Church on the bank of the River Rothay.
The graveyard is also next to Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread shop - which we would highly recommend tasting! Sarah Nelson invented this Gingerbread back in 1854 and the recipe remains the same today! Visiting Grasmere is definitely a highlight of this Lake District tour, from its charm and history to its Gingerbread, it’s hard not to love such a place!
Moving on, the tour will take you passed the beatiful Rydal water and through the village of Ambleside. Ambleside is commonly referred to as the crossroads of the Lake District because its the most central town of the National Park.
We include this town in many of our tours, which is only a good thing because everybody falls in love. In the heart of Ambleside is the Bridge House - a 17th century survivor which attracts thousands of people every year, it's a fantastic reminder of Ambleside's history and it's fascinating to think that a family used to live in there! As we continue driving, you will then see Waterhead, which lays at the bottom of Lake Windermere.
Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England surrounded by spectacular mountains and small villages. It is fed by the rivers Brathay, Rothay, Cunsey and Troutbeck. The lake has 18 islands and the main fish in the lake are trout, char, perch and the top predator is the pike; growing to 1.5m in length. If you would like to enjoy a cruise on England’s largest lake, head over to Windermere Lake Cruises website or join us on our Beatrix Potter's Favourite Countryside Tour from Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness!
As you travel alongside Lake Windermere the tour will then take you up and over Kirkstone Pass. The mountain pass has an altitude of 1,489 feet making is the highest tarmac road in the National Park, so as you can imagine – the views are something special up there!
Kirkstone Pass connects Ambleside in the Rothay Valley to Patterdale in the Ullswater Valley, therefore it is a popular, scenic route for those exploring the Lake District. Near the summit, built on the site of a 15th century Monastery, there is the old coaching inn which is popular with tourists due to its low beams, open fires and good beer! As we drive by the old coaching inn, you will see the commanding view down to Windermere and Morecombe Bay in the distance.
As we continue to travel north of the pass to Ullswater, you will be take in the fantastic views of Brotherswater and Place Fell. Brotherswater has inspired many people, including Dorothy Wordsworth who wrote about Brotherswater when writing to her brother William back in 1802: ‘the boughs of the bare old trees, the simplicity of the mountains, and the exquisite beauty of the path….the gentle flowing of the stream, the glittering, lively lake, green fields without a living creature to be seen on them.’ So as this quotes suggests, this route really does offer some inspiring scenery.
The tour then travels on to Ullswater. Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District, being approximately 9 miles long, it has also been described as the most beautiful lake in England.
Referring back to William Wordsworth, it was Glencoyne Park at Ullswater that gave him the inspiration to write his most famous poem, Daffodils. It is here where you will enjoy a Lake Cruise (subject to availability otherwise it will be Derwentwater).
After the fantastic lake cruise you will then head back towards Keswick, but first the tour will make a stop at Castlerigg Stone Circle.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of around 1300 stone circles in Britain and Northern France, but some say it is the one in the most stunning location – and we agree! It pre-dates the most famous stone circle, Stonehenge and offers panoramic views of the fells.
After this fantastic Lake District afternoon tour, it completes it's loop by arriving back at Keswick.