Solo Travel in The Lake District

Solo travel in the Lake District

The Lake District

Types of Girl about the Globe – Active GatG, Nature GatG

The Lake District National Park is in the northwest of England, the United Kingdom. The biggest attractions of the Lake District are the lakes and there are 16 lakes to explore in the region. The most popular is Lake Windermere which is also the largest and is a mecca for water sports enthusiasts.

If you like the great outdoors, then days out in the Lake District is ideal for the outdoors solo. The beautiful scenery and rich countryside is dotted with hidden streams, waterfalls, mountains and of course, lakes. There is plenty of activity and adventure. Hiking is one of the favourite things to do in the Lakes, as well as climbing and mountain biking. Or you can sit back and enjoy the scenery with some local food and a pint of local beer or cider. It's also a place for Star Wars fans, as the Lake District featured as a backdrop to several scenes in Force Awakens.

Below is our guide to the Lake District including places to go in the Lake District, activities to do, the best places to visit in the Lake District for solos, and recommended places to stay. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.

Contents

Solo travel in the Lake District

The Lake District

Stay for – You can visit the best of the Lake District in 3 days.

Safety Tips For Solo Travel in the Lake District – When you explore the Lake District, plan your walks. Let your accommodation know where you’re heading and what time you expect to be back.

Did you know? There are 16 bodies of water that are considered to be the main lakes. Whilst Lake Windermere is the largest and most famous of the lakes, many locals and travellers prefer Ullswater.

Local’s Tip – “Be prepared for all weathers!”

Solo’s Tip – “Get talking – don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with people.  They will happily share their stories, but probably won’t initiate it to begin with!”

* Click here to discover all things to do in the Lake District

Solo travel in the Lake District

Derwentwater

Top Lake District Attractions

1. Make it to the top of Scafell Pike

At 978 metres high, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. If you're searching for challenging things to do in the Lake District, this is one of them but the views are definitely worth it. It is said to have inspired British writers and on a clear day you can even see the Isle of Man. Make sure you have good walking shoes and plenty of layers if you plan to hike. 

2. See where the Tale of Peter Rabbit all began at the home of Beatrix Potter

Follow in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter to see where she became inspired for her children’s tales. Hawkshead is where she is said to have written many of her books. Other landscapes which inspired this best-loved writer are Hill Top, near Sawrey, Brockhole, and Wray Castle. Discover more about her story at the interactive exhibits in the World of Beatrix Potter, and the Beatrix Potter Gallery, one of the places of interest in the Lake District. * Check prices, dates and availability: Beatrix Potter Tour 

3. Explore the home of William Wordsworth, one of Britain’s best loved poets

It is said that William Wordsworth who was born in Cockermouth was inspired by living in the Lake District. You can pay a visit to Dove Cottage in Grasmere Lake District, (now the Wordsworth Museum) in the heart of the Lake District where he wrote his poetry. Another of the attractions at the Lake District is his old school, Hawkshead Old Grammar School which is also a museum. His grave at St Oswald’s Church is a place of pilgrimage for those who love poetry.

Solo travel in the Lake District

Places To Visit in The Lake District

Buttermere

If you plan to stay in the north west of the district, then you can’t miss out on the three lakes of Loweswater, Crummock Water, and Buttermere which all nestle within this picturesque valley. If you plan to hike here in spring, you’ll see the slopes lined with bluebells. Being by the dairy pastures means that you may be in the company of the local sheep. 

Derwentwater

Derwentwater provides a mostly flat walk, in a stunning area surrounded by hills and mountains. You can take a relaxing and/or romantic walk around the lakes perimeter, or a hike up into the hills to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  If you're looking for some adrenaline Lake District activities, head to the nearby climbing wall, or Go Ape high rope adventure park. There are also a number of places to hire a mountain bike.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay nearby. You can bunk up in a youth hostel or pitch up in a nearby campsite. If you prefer a little bit more comfort, there are also a number of lodges with outdoor hot tubs to treat yourself to. * Check all accommodation, prices and availability

Duddon

You don’t need to go all the way to Stonehenge as the Lake District has its very own stone circle. Walk around this beautiful site on the English countryside or choose from a stroll along the river Duddon instead. 

Coniston Water

As well as once being the home of William Wordsworth, one of the most famous poets, Coniston has a rich heritage and was once important to the mining industry here. Nowadays it attracts tourists who come to see the old Grammar School of Wordsworth in Hawkshead, and those wishing to take a boat ride across Coniston Water. The lake itself is the third largest in the Lake District and you can even take a steam yacht gondola to admire the shoreline views.

One of the best walks here is from Tilberthwaite to Hodge Close Quarry via Slater Bridge and Cathedral Cave. Movie buffs may recognise the tavern from Snow White and the Huntsman, a famous recent movie.

Ambleside and Grasmere

If you prefer to meet others during your time at the Lake District, the quaint town and village of Ambleside, and Grasmere are the ideal places to join like-minded others who come here to visit Dove Cottage, and the Wordsworth Museum. Take a leisurely stroll around the area in-between learning more about William Wordsworth, England’s best loved poet.

Solo travel in the Lake District

Walking in the Lake District

Best Things To Do in The Lake District 

Walks in The Lake District

You don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy the mountains of this area as there are also low level walks in Lake District. The Lakes contain dozens of waterfalls which you can use as the focal point of a circular walk. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll alongside lake shores or a tough hike to the top of a mountain peak, the Lake District caters for everyone. Here are some of the best walks in the Lake District:

St Bees is famous for being the start of Wainwright’s 192 mile Coast to Coast walk that covers the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Yorkshire Moors. The Lake District section starts at St Bees and finishes at Shap. It’s a challenge but extremely rewarding if you can complete it.  Anywhere along this route you would meet lots of different kinds of people.

Another challenging walk that’s popular in the Lake District is the 3 peaks. It takes on average 13-16 hours over Skiddaw, Helvellyn (via striding edge) and Scafell Pike.  Lots of people do it to raise money for various charities. If that all sounds a bit much, there are some lovely shorter, easier walks. Some of my personal favourites are: Aira Force, Ullswater; Catbells, Keswick; Honister Pass (you can see Honister Slate Mine) to Haystacks and Tarn Hows, Hawkshead.

Situated conveniently close to Derwentwater, is Catbells. The ‘Catbells Lakeland Walk' provides some spectacular views of all the Lakes, including of Derwentwater. There is a very small car park nearby (the postcode is CA12 5UE) but it gets full pretty early.

Another great, less known nearby walk is Walla Crag. From the centre of nearby Keswick, you can reach the three main viewpoints’ in under an hour. If you are driving to the start of the walk, the car park postcode is CA12 5UP.

If you are a serious walker, or hiker, than Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England standing 978m tall. The busiest of all the routes, is the easiest one – starting from Wasdale Head – to the North of Wast Water.. Although the easiest of all routes, it is still very tough and likely to be wet and potentially dangerous in places. It is recommended to park at Wasdale Head pay and display car park – postcode CA20 1EX. 

There are temporary toilet facilities at the car park and also at Wasdale Head Village Green nearby. The easy route is regarded as safe for dogs who are used to long walks and climbs.

A good website for discovering Lake District walks is: Walking Britain

Active Girl about the Globe

Mountain Biking – The Lake District is also popular for mountain biking with several different routes no matter what your level. Cycling is a Lake District must do, and Grizedale Forest and Whinlatter Forest are ideal for cyclists. If cycling sounds like too much hard work then you could rent an electric bike instead. Check here for bike hire in the Lake District. 

Boating – If you prefer to boat across a tranquil lake, Coniston Boating Centre hires boats and also bikes if you want to explore the Lake District beauty spots by bike too. One of the best places to visit in Lake District is Windermere where you can experience one of the Windermere lake cruises too.

Solo travel in the Lake District

Take a boat cruise across the lakes

Adventure Girl about the Globe

If you’ve ever wanted to swing from the trees like Tarzan then Go Ape at Grizedale is the perfect day out. This adventure park will test your fearlessness with its zip wires and high rope crossings. Release your inner child. If indoors is more your thing, head to Kendal for the indoors climbing wall

Arty & Museum GatG

William Wordsworth Museum – Dove Cottage, the former home of poet, William Wordsworth is an interesting museum to visit. Follow the remarkable life of this famous poet on an entertaining guided tour and see what life would have been like in this traditional Lakeland cottage.

Beatrix Potter Hill Top House – Visit Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s 17th-century farmhouse for a time-capsule of her life. The museum is open 7 days a week and costs £11 to enter.

Pencil Museum – This may seem like an odd fact but Derwent was home of the world’s first pencil. They celebrate this fact with the Derwent Pencil Museum where you enter through a replica of a graphite mine, which was the original source of the pencil industry.

Nature GatG

You can’t visit the Lake District and not see the lakes. After all, they are the best part of the Lake District. Taking a historic steamer across one of the lakes in the Lake District is a definite bucket list activity. Cruising on the oldest heritage passenger vessel is a unique experience and an ideal way to see the beauty of Ullswater Lake which was created by three glaciers. Your ticket lasts all day so you can sail to your heart’s content, stopping at some of the hiking trails before enjoying an afternoon tea. 

* Check prices, dates and availability: Ullswater Lake Cruise

Wellness GatG

If you are in need of some pampering, Ahprodite Boutique Hotel in the Lake District is one of the most luxurious spa hotels in the region. Located near to Lake Windermere you can choose a monthly beauty offer of a 60 or 90 minute massage. Ideal for those looking for a day spa in the Lake District.

Wine GatG

Other things to do at the Lake District is take a tour of the Lake Distillery, winner of the ‘Best Distillery Facilities' since 2016. Discover how they make their gin, vodka, and whisky then finish your tour in the tasting room. 

Solo travel in the Lake District

Scafell Pike

Lake District Tourist Attractions

Have a tourist moment

Taking a ride on a steam railway is another of the Lake District best things to do. You can hop aboard the Ravenglass and Eskdale steam railway, one of the oldest narrow-gauge railways in England. You can stop off on the way to hike local villages and see heritage sights such as the Roman bathhouse at Ravenglass which is the tallest Romain ruin in the country. Begin your day at either Dalegarth or Ravenglass.

Check prices, dates and availability for Eskdale Steam Railway

Don’t have much time?

If you don’t have your own transport then taking a Lake District day trip is a good way to see the lakes. As well as a lake cruise at Derwent Water or Ullswater, the Ten Lakes Spectacular tour includes a visit to the Castlerigg Stone Circle which is 4,000 years old. From here you can see some of the highest peaks in the district. Passing Lakeland villages, waterfalls and valleys you then stop for lunch in Keswick, a picturesque market town. You can discover the Lake District's best places on this 8 hour today which is ideal if you are short on time. * Check prices, dates and availability for Ten Lakes Tour 

If you only have half a day, you can see 6 of the lakes on a morning tour instead. See the home of Wordsworth and Gingerbread as well as the historic Grasmere on this Lake District must see tour. * Check prices, dates and availability for Lakes Morning Tour

Where to wear your heels – Lake District attractions don't really require heels so you're probably stick to walking boots and wellies!

Lose yourself – on any of the beautiful walks. Tarn Hows is one of the most popular spots and is 2 miles northeast of Coniston Water. Spot wildlife or just lose yourself in the beautiful views.

Get a great view at – The most beautiful view of Lake Windermere can be taken from Wray Castle which stands on one of the islands in the body of water.

Interact with the locals: at a beer festival. Visit the Lake District any month of the year and you’ll find a beer festival happening. Not only are they free but you’ll often find live music and even food to sample. From the Keswick Beer Festival to the Grasmere Guzzler, and Silloth Music & Beer Festival there are plenty of opportunities to meet locals and talk beer (or cider).

Places to enjoy the sun – Cartmel Races is a nice day out if the weather’s good.  You can take your own drinks and a picnic.

Markets – There are lots of food markets all year round – look out for the Magnificent Marshmallow Company.

Solo travel in the Lake District

Keswick

Lake District Tours

Day Tours – To help you plan things to do at the Lake District, Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and the best Lake District day tour for you. Choose from a Six Lakes or Ten Lakes morning or full day tour, or follow in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter exploring the countryside on a half day tour. There are several guided tours in the Lake District to choose from and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online.

* Check all tours, prices and availability for the Lake District

Solo travel in the Lake District

In The Evenings

If you're wondering what to do in the Lake District at night, any of the local English pubs are ideal for solos in the evenings. If you’re lucky they may even have a pub quiz on at the same time so can you enjoy your cider or real ale in a team.

If you’re in the Lake District on a weekend, pop into Hawkeshead Brewery on a Sunday to enjoy a live music session. 

Party GatG

Kendal Calling Festival – They’ve won several awards over the years for best small and medium sized festival. It’s always held the last weekend in July at Lowther Deer Park, Penrith. 

Restaurants & Cafes in The Lake District

Restaurants

There are so many good food options from fish and chips to tea rooms to high end cuisine. Don’t forget to try the local delicacies such as: Grasmere gingerbread, Kendal mint cake and Cartmel sticky toffee pudding. The Lake District is also very popular for cartmel cheese.

Restaurants for typical cuisine

$ – The Green Housekeeper Cafe: This friendly little cafe in Coniston is fantastic for solos. The staff are really friendly and the atmosphere is friendly and calming. The menu is varied and there is a great view over the fells. Choose from soups, jacket potatoes, and toasted sandwiches or just stop for an afternoon tea at the Lake District.

$$ – The Highwayman: Just on the edge of the Lake District but for some high quality, locally sourced, traditional food I would recommend The Highwayman, one of the Ribble Valley Inns.

Vegetarian Restaurants

$ – Gandhi's Cafe: If you are visiting the Ambleside Waterfalls, this vegetarian restaurant is ideal for lunch. They cater for vegetarians and vegans and have a great selection of tasty dishes. Choose from pad thai, falafel, or a masala (plus plenty more of course). You can also take away.

$ – Graze: This contemporary cafe in Bowness-on-Windermere has a lovely selection of light lunches from all over the world. The owners are really welcoming and helpful and it's a great place to stop and enjoy lunch or afternoon tea on the terrace. Choose from exotic vegetarian and vegan dishes such as coconut curry, onion bhajis or hummus.

Where to Drink

The Lake District is famous for its real ale and there are plenty of pubs to sample it in. For a day out on the beer there is a good ‘Ale Trail’ you can take on the train.

Best Places To Stay in Lake District 

Accommodation at the Lake District

You'll find all types of accommodation in Lake District here, from 5 star hotels in the Lake District, boutique hotels, country house hotels, and Lake District cottages including holiday cottages on the lake shores.

Stay in one of the Lake District hotels in the area’s more popular villages such as Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere to meet others. If you are a budget GatG, the Lake District has several YHA’s or you may prefer a little more comfort at one of the cheap hotels in the Lake District instead. If you prefer to stay with locals, there have Airbnb Lake District too. Save $20 off your first Airbnb stay with this link. 

If you are searching for a hostel or hotel, below are our recommended properties for solo females. For all other properties in the Lake District click the link below. 

Coniston – YHA Coniston Holly How

This budget accommodation is just a short walk to the centre of Coniston, and a 10 minute walk to the Ruskin Museum. They offer dormitory rooms and are ideal if you are on a budget. You don’t have to go far to dine either as there is a restaurant serving evening meals as well as a games room to meet others. This accommodation is a great place to base yourself. The grounds are stunning and they have female-only dorms too.

  • Prices from £15 per night for a bed in a female dormitory room
  • To book, find prices or check availability for YHA Coniston Holly How

Grasmere – YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe

This stunning Victorian mansion is a treat to stay in. It is situated in a beautiful location, only 15 minutes walk from Dove Cottage, and the same distance on foot to Grasmere Lake. They offer home-cooked meals in the restaurant or you can make your own meals in the kitchen instead. Choose from a bunk bed in a female-only dorm room or a twin room with shared bathroom.

  • Prices from £15 per night for a bed in a female-only dorm room
  • To book, find prices or check availability for YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe

Shap – New Ing Lodge

This independent lodge is a welcoming bed and breakfast in the Lake District. The staff are warm and friendly and the rooms are equally as comfortable. The lodge is an old farmhouse and has a relaxed vibe with a shared lounge where you can meet others. If you are visiting in the winter months, they have heating in the rooms. They even provide a vegetarian or vegan breakfast.

  • Prices from £50 per night for a double room with a private bathroom
  • To book, find prices or check availability for New Ing Lodge

Solo Travel in The Lake District

Camping at the Lake District

If you're wondering “is it safe to travel to the Lake District alone?” Then the answer is yes. In fact it's so safe that you can camp here and feel comfortable on your own. There are so many facilities for camping at the Lake District whether you choose to camp on the lake shores or off the beaten track (there are over 60 campsites here). You can even find glamping in the Lake District and wild camping is also permitted here.

Choose to camp at Lakeland Leisure Peak for views of Morecambe Bay, or if you want to stay near Lake Windermere Park Cliffe Camping and Caravan Estate is an award-winning park. The Quiet Site overlooks Ullswater Lake District, and is perfect for those of us who are looking for some tranquillity away from families. If you prefer camping in comfort, Harbour Lights near the village of Haverigg and only a stone throw from the beach has a Kiowa tipi for glamping.

Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club Site is only a few minutes walk from the town of Derwentwater. Choose from a tent or a camping pod, one of the unique cabins in the Lake District. Imagine waking up on the shore of Derwentwater lake shores then taking part in water sports at the marina. It’s easy to meet others at the cafes and pubs at Keswick too. 

Fisherground Farm Campsite is one of the best campsites in the Lake District. The independent named it within the top 50 world best campsites. You don't need to have a car either as the Ravenglass & Erksdale Railway is onsite. It doesn’t take bookings so if you are travelling here during the summer expect it to be busy.

Getting to the Lake District 

Closest Airports to the Lake District 

Depending on which region of the UK you are travelling from, there are two different airports you can fly into. If you are coming from the south, the closest airport neat the Lake District is Manchester. From the north, Glasgow is the closest.

From Manchester Airport there are trains every 2 hours that take you to Oxenholme in 1 hour 30 minutes where you can change to Windermere (20 minute journey).

From Glasgow Airport take bus number 500 to Glasgow, Waterloo Lane. Then change stations to Glasgow Central for a 1.5 hour train journey to Penrith. From here you can take a bus to Keswick (30 minutes away).

By Coach – Travelling to the Lake District is easily accessible by coach from both London and Birmingham. National Express coaches run from London Victoria to various destinations in Cumbria such as Kendal, Windermere, and Keswick.

By Train – If you prefer to take the train, the West Coast Main Line runs from London to various stations in Cumbria. You can reach the Lake District from Leeds. Click here for the trains.

By Car – If you are driving to here, the journey time is approximately 5 hours to Penrith from London, 3 hours from Birmingham, and 2 hours from Manchester. It’s easier to hire a car to explore this region for yourself. Having your own car gives you the freedom to be able to see whichever regions you choose and to take your holiday at your own pace.

* Check Rome2Rio to plan your journey.

Map of The Lake District

I hope that this post has helped to make solo travel in the Lakes easier for you. I have just covered the main attractions in the Lake District, as well as the Lake District things to do and see for solos. If you need further research I recommend the Lake District National Park website for more tips and advice. Happy planning!

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