You will begin the tour by making your way over the famous Kirkstone Pass. The 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. On route you can also view the beautiful Troutbeck Valley, which was once the home to Children's author Beatrix Potter, where she bred our favourite friends, the Herdwick Sheep. Near the summit of Kirkstone Pass, 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 take in the fantastic views of Brotherswater and Place Fell. Brotherswater has inspired many people, including Dorothy Wordsworth who wrote about the area 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 quote suggests, this route really does offer some inspiring scenery.
The Lake District 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. We visit Ullswater on a lot of our tours and it’s simply because it’s a must-see destination.
As you drive around the National Park, you can also enjoy stories about the Lake District from one of our fantastic Driver/Guides.
Moving on, our next stop is a visit to 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.
The tour then returns south alongside 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.
As we make our way back towards Windermere, we will make our final stop in Grasmere, the home of William Wordsworth and Grasmere Gingerbread. Grasmere is probably one of Cumbria's most popular villages, with buildings that date from the 13th century and farms even older! 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 to its Gingerbread, it’s hard not to love such a place!