Choose a warm sunny or at least dry day if possible for you trip.
This miniature railway was actually built to carry iron ore from workings near Boot to Ravenglass on the coast. it opened on the 24th of may 1875.It has a 3 foot (910 mm) gauge. Very quickily after it opened though it ran into problems and went bankrupt in 1877 and the line closed in 1913. Then in 1915 the miniature railway engineer WJ Bassett-Lowke and his friend R Proctor-Mitchell bought the line to use for testing their little trains and by 1916 the little trains were running again - carrying granite blocks from Beckfoot to Murthwaite. Passengers were also using the train until 1960. The railway was going to be sold by auction in october of that year but was saved by the formation of the The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society. This was formed by enthusiasts but to start with hopes were not high. Then Colin Gilbert (a midlands stockbroker) and Sir Wavell Wakefield (a local landowner) paid the balance of the purchase price.
You can read the history of the line in the museum in the forecourt of the railway station.
The trip to Dalegarth in the little carriages is wonderful. Some of the carriages are open so warm up warm. Take sunglasses to keep the soot from your eyes.
Kendal is a pretty town at the southern end of the Lake district with good rail links to Scotland as well as London and the Midlands.Its an old market town situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the country Kendal is also within 30 minutes drive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, making it a perfect base for walkers and sightseers alike.
If you're in the Lake District you're likely to stumble across the Kirkstone Pass Inn. This old coaching inn stands at 1480 feet according to all the info I can find on the internet though their website says 1500ft.
I have never yet actually been inside, only stopped in the carpark opposite to get photos of the pass etc. I note from their website that they now offer B&B accommodation and bunkhouse beds.
(If you want to check out the other highest pubs here is a list.
The deepest lake in the Lake District, the drive alongside Wast Water is fantastic. The road itself is a dead end, finishing at Wasdale Head and marked by a huge Inn/hotel, The Wasdale Head Inn.
This is a perfect base for clambering up Scafell, Great Gable, Kirkfell, Pillar and/or Lingmell if thats the kind of thing you have in mind. Alternatively, for the less adventurous there are lots of easier walks and the hotel leaflet says they can organise a guide to help you explore.
Wastwater is 3 miles long, 1/2 mile wide and 258 feet deep. Visit Cumbria - Wastwater gives more details.
We went to the pub for a drink before we headed back down the road past the lake again. Click here for their website: Wasdale Head Inn
It's a traditional old mountain inn with oak panelled walls and old climbing photographs.The restaurant serves a varied menu and lots of local produce. The bar serves real ale from their own brewery.
There are various types of accommodation from rooms and suites to self catering apartments. They have a drying room for days when you've been walking in the wet weather. If you arrive by train they offer a courtesy pick up service from the nearest railway station.
TEL +44 (0)19467 26229 / 26333
FAX +44 (0)19467 26334
Another Lake District Pass accessible by road. This one located on the B5289 between Buttermere and Borrowdale (both very scenic).
Rising to 1167 feet it is very steep in parts although not as challenging to drive along as Hardknott and Wrynose Passes.
A useful website is Visit Cumbria
There is a slate mine at the top although I have not visited it myself (web address below).
My favourites of all the mountain passes in the Lakes.
An article on the Keysound website gives a great blow by blow account of the whole journey by motorbike and there are also good clear directions on here.
WARNING: As I mentioned in my Intro page for the Lake District National Park, make sure your vehicle and nerves are up to the job as the road gets VERY steep in places. It twists and turns, goes up and down. It's utterly fantastic. At it's highest it reaches 1291 feet. It's a bit of a challenging drive but the views are more than rewarding. An everyday car is fine, you don't need some hulking great 4x4 to do these passes but this is no place for bald tyres or dodgy brakes!
Remember the rule, people coming uphill have right of way over people coming downhill. If you see someone coming uphill even a bit of a way off, if you are going downhill and have somewhere by you that you can safely pull over and wait until they have passed it is the most polite and safest thing you should do as these are mainly single track roads.
There is a Roman Fort just off the Hardknott Pass which is signposted.
More information can be found on Cumbria Directory Wrynose and Cumbria Directory Hardknott
Another of the Lake Passes that is accessible by road.
This is where we seemed to encounter most sheep wandering about in the road. The views are fantastic as you'd expect, although if you're driving the views are secondary to concentrating on a fantastic drive and dodging sheep!
I might be mistaken but I'm almost certain that Kirkstone Pass appears at the end of the film 28 Days Later - it certainly looked familiar.
At it's highest it reaches 1490 feet and is the highest road in the Lake District.
At the junction of the A591 and A592 is the Kirkstone Pass in reputedly home to a number of ghosts. Their website Kirkstone Pass Inn
Whenever I go anywhere with mountains I insist on finding every mountain pass to drive along. Whinlatter pass, in the middle of Whinlatter Forest Park, is on the B5292.
The actual forest park itself has a number of walks although we didn't have time to do any of them:
-3 high level strenuous walks
-8 marked trails of various lengths and ease
-2 childrens walks
There is a visitor centre, shop and Siskins Cafe (all opening times and charges here
Other useful websites are Cumbria Directory and Visit Lakeland Forests
This is a really nice walk along Great Langdale Beck which is pretty much suitable for everyone as its flat and pretty even all the way. There's some lovely scenery, it takes you right by the the lake and through fields of sheep etc. Nice opportunties for photographs.
From Elterwater to the end of the path and back again I would guess is about 3 or 4 miles?? There is a National Trust carpark at Elterwater and toilets.
The National trust have produced this guide for the walk along Great Langdale Beck from Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge. There are instructions and a downloadable colour PDF map. Very useful.
Loved it! Really easy to discuss and book the trip that would be right for us. The other half received a gift voucher as a birthday present so we booked our trip as part of a weekend away. Kankku has a great central location, based in Windermere in the Lake District National Park. It was really handy for our local hotel and to visit the restaurants. The bright orange vehicle was specifically for us; no sharing with strangers which was really good as it meant we could swap and change driver when we wanted. We were kept in contact with the guide by radio and followed the other vehicles in a convoy system. This added to the feeling of adventure and helped us see which line to take on the tricky sections. All the trails we did were rough and rocky, technical but great fun. The day had a nice balance to it. There were some really demanding sections that required inch perfect vehicle control where we relied heavily on our guide, but these were mixed in with more achievable terrain where we could relax and enjoy seeing the local area. It was great fun to phone through our lunch order from the top of a mountain, and to know it would be ready when we got there. Definitely going to go again. It was a great rainy day activity but it would be fantastic to see more of the scenery in the sunshine. There are other trails that we'd love to explore, so we'd ask to go in a different direction next time.
John Ruskin (1819 - 1900) lived at Brantwood. He was Oxford educated and wrote about art and architecture. He spent time in Venice and later became a professor at Oxford. He became philanthropist and was a vocal proponent of the welfare state, whose ideas later seeded the NHS, National Trust, and public libraries.
Brantwood is a big mansion that was home to John Ruskin, with large gardens and art galleries on the east shore of Coniston Water, a short distance south of Bank Ground Farm where we were staying. The house is a museum, but kept to look like an active home. It is filled with Ruskin's treasures and paintings. The estate is 250 acres, half of which is wooded. There are numerous easy trails to follow that take you through the woods, gardens, and meadows. It is very pleasurable, relaxing, and photogenic.
As this park was right next to where we were staying at Bank Ground Farm, we visited twice on our trip and did three of the walking trails. One moderate trail and the easy Ridding Wood Trail with its sculptures in the woods along the way on one day and another moderate trail the other day. The trails are well marked and enjoyable.
10:00 - 17:00, Summer
10:00 - 16:00, Winter
This is kind of a miniature Disney World where the family walks through themed rooms and exhibits. There are sights, sounds, smells, and films. It's quite cheesy but it was our 7-year old daughter's favourite thing on our whole trip to the Lake District. She especially liked the photo taken against movie-blue plain backdrop that turned out developed with her inside one of the books (for an extra cost, of course).
This is a quaint old country house which has a timed ticket entrance system to avoid congestion. There is memorabilia throughout of the time Beatrix Potter lived here. There is also a nice garden. If you are not a BP fan, it will be fairly boring.
The Coniston Boating Centre offers rentals of row boats, sailing dinghies, canoes, kayaks, and electric motor boats. It was a bit gusty the day we were there and the guy didn't believe I could handle a sailboat in that wind, so wouldn't rent me one. As it was a bit too windy for "Canadian" canoes and I didn't feel like rowing half the length of the lake, this left the electric boat option.
The boat is obviously easy enough to drive: forward or reverse, on or off, steer. It is covered at the front so can offer some shelter from rain and it is comfortable enough. The problem with the electirc boats is that they are so slow, and in the end, quite boring.
It was useful to see the sight we had come to see, however: Peel Island, or Wildcat Island of Arthur Ransome fame.
On the lake we also saw another example of cautiousness and liability-awareness taken to an extreme. We saw a group of teenagers learning to canoe, wearing helmets as well as lifejackets. The water was calm. Surely, the only way to hurt your head canoeing on a calm lake is for someone to hit you with a paddle? Ridiculous.