The Top 10 Lake District Towns to Explore

The Lake District, located in Cumbria, is a region of stunning natural beauty that has attracted visitors for centuries. With its breathtaking landscapes, picturesque towns, and charming villages, the Lake District offers a unique blend of outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, and literary heritage. From the rugged mountains and serene lakes to the bustling market towns and historic buildings, there is something for everyone in this enchanting region. In this blog, we will explore the top towns in the Lake District, each with its distinct charm and attractions. Whether you’re seeking adventure, art and culture, or simply a peaceful retreat, these towns offer a perfect base to explore the beauty of the Lake District.

Exploring the Top Towns in the Lake District

The Lake District is home to some of the most picturesque towns in England. From the bustling market towns to the quaintest villages, each town has its unique character and charm. With independent shops, historic buildings, and a vibrant cultural scene, these towns offer a perfect blend of natural beauty and urban charm. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the Lake District’s towns have something for everyone.


1. Keswick

keswick lake district towns

Keswick is the perfect town for adventure seekers. Nestled in the heart of the Lake District National Park, Keswick is surrounded by stunning landscapes and offers a wide range of outdoor activities. From hiking to mountain biking, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the rugged beauty of the area. Don’t miss the chance to climb Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England. For a taste of history and culture, visit the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, which showcases the town’s rich heritage. With its vibrant atmosphere, independent shops, and excellent accommodation options, Keswick is a great base for exploring the Lake District.


2. Ambleside

Ambleside in Lake District


Ambleside is a charming town that offers a unique blend of nature and culture. Surrounded by stunning landscapes and nestled near the shores of Lake Windermere, Ambleside is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The town is also home to several National Trust properties, including Wray Castle and the Bridge House, where visitors can explore the rich history and heritage of the area. Art lovers will appreciate the numerous art galleries in Ambleside, showcasing the work of local and international artists. With its beautiful scenery, cultural attractions, and cosy cafes, Ambleside is a must-visit destination in the Lake District.


3. Windermere


Windermere, often referred to as the Jewel of the Lakes is a town that offers a perfect mix of natural beauty and urban charm. Situated on the shores of the largest lake in England, Windermere provides breathtaking views and a wide range of outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy leisurely boat trips on Lake Windermere, taking in the stunning scenery and enjoying the peaceful surroundings. The town itself is home to a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a great place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the beautiful Lake District.


4. Bowness-on-Windermere


Bowness-on-Windermere is a picturesque lakeside town that offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of the Lake District. With its charming streets, cosy cafes, and stunning views of Lake Windermere, Bowness is the perfect place to relax and unwind. The town is also famous for being the home of Peter Rabbit, the beloved character created by Beatrix Potter. Visitors can explore the enchanting world of Peter Rabbit at the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, or simply take a stroll along the lakeside promenade. With its beautiful surroundings and tranquil atmosphere, Bowness is a true lakeside haven.


5. Grasmere


Grasmere, known as the home of poet William Wordsworth, is a village that exudes poetry and tranquillity. Nestled in a picturesque valley, Grasmere is surrounded by stunning landscapes and offers a peaceful retreat for visitors. Don’t miss the chance to visit Dove Cottage, the former home of William Wordsworth, which is now a museum dedicated to the poet’s life and work. The village itself is full of quaint shops, cafes, and charming cottages, making it a delightful place to wander and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.

6. Hawkshead

Lake District Hawkshead

Hawkshead is a charming village that captures the essence of the Lake District’s enchanting beauty. This picturesque village, with its cobbled streets and historic buildings, has inspired artists and writers for centuries. Beatrix Potter, the beloved children’s author, spent many summers in Hawkshead and drew inspiration from the village and its surroundings. Visitors can explore the Beatrix Potter Gallery, which showcases original drawings and paintings by the author, or simply wander through the village’s narrow lanes and soak in the peaceful atmosphere. With its rich history, artistic heritage, and stunning scenery, Hawkshead is a true gem in the Lake District.


7. Coniston


Coniston is a town that offers a perfect blend of history and outdoor adventure. Located on the shores of Coniston Water, the third largest lake in the Lake District, Coniston is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy sailing, kayaking, and paddle boarding on the lake, or simply relax and take in the beautiful views. For a taste of history, explore the Monk Coniston Estate, once owned by Beatrix Potter and now managed by the National Trust. The estate offers beautiful walks through woodlands and gardens, providing a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. With its rich history and stunning natural beauty, Coniston is a must-visit destination in the Lake District.


8. Cartmel

cartmel village

Cartmel is a village that combines a love for food with a rich history. Known for its famous sticky toffee pudding, Cartmel is a food lover’s paradise. The village is home to several top-notch restaurants, including L’Enclume, a Michelin-starred restaurant run by renowned chef Simon Rogan. In addition to its culinary delights, Cartmel boasts a wealth of historic buildings, including the impressive Cartmel Priory and the ancient village square. Visitors can explore the village’s streets, visit the local shops and galleries, and soak in the unique atmosphere. With its blend of gastronomy and history, Cartmel offers a truly memorable experience in the Lake District.


9. Ulverston


Ulverston is a vibrant town known for its lively festivals and friendly atmosphere. Located in the south of Cumbria, Ulverston offers a range of cultural events throughout the year, including the renowned Ulverston Lantern Festival and the popular Dickensian Festival. The town is also famous for being the birthplace of comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, and visitors can explore the Laurel and Hardy Museum to learn more about their lives and work. Ulverston’s streets are lined with independent shops, cafes, and pubs, offering a warm welcome to visitors. With its lively festivals and friendly locals, Ulverston is a hidden gem in the Lake District.


10. Kirkby Lonsdale

Kirkby Lonsdale

Kirkby Lonsdale is a picturesque town that offers scenic beauty and charm in abundance. Located on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Kirkby Lonsdale is renowned for its stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the River Lune. Visitors can take a short walk to the famous Devil’s Bridge, which offers breathtaking views of the river and the town. History enthusiasts will appreciate the ruins of Kendal Castle, which overlook the town and provide a glimpse into the region’s rich past. With its scenic beauty, historic charm, and friendly atmosphere, Kirkby Lonsdale is a must-visit destination in the Lake District.


Whether you seek adventure, culture, or tranquillity, the Lake District has it all. From Keswick’s outdoor escapades to Ambleside’s artistic charm and Windermere’s scenic boat rides, each town offers a unique experience. Don’t miss the hidden gems like Glenridding for hiking enthusiasts and Pooley Bridge for lakeside serenity. For a taste of history and culinary delights, explore Cartmel. Planning a visit? Remember, the Lake District welcomes you year-round, with family-friendly activities and various dining options. Ready to embark on a memorable journey? Get in touch to start your Lake District exploration today!


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Best Time to Visit the Lake District?

The Lake District is a year-round destination, with each season offering its unique charm. The summer months are popular for outdoor activities and exploring the lakes, while the winter months offer a peaceful retreat and the chance to enjoy cosy evenings by the fire. It’s best to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons, and be prepared for changeable weather.

How Can I Travel Between the Lake District Towns?

There are several options for travelling between the Lake District towns. Public transport, including buses and trains, is available and provides a convenient and environmentally friendly way to explore the region. Alternatively, car hire is also a popular option, offering flexibility and the opportunity to explore at your own pace.

Are There Family-Friendly Activities in the Lake District?

The Lake District offers a wide range of family-friendly activities, from gentle walks and bike rides to interactive museums and outdoor adventures. Families can enjoy boat trips on the lakes, visit Beatrix Potter’s former home, or explore the region’s rich history and heritage. There are plenty of options to suit all ages and interests.

Tips for First-Time Visitors to the Lake District

For first-time visitors to the Lake District, it’s important to plan and book accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons. It’s also a good idea to bring appropriate clothing and footwear for outdoor activities and be prepared for changeable weather conditions. Most importantly, take the time to explore and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.

What are the dining and accommodation options like in the Lake District towns?

The Lake District towns offer a wide range of dining and accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets. From quaint cafes and traditional pubs to fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels like The Swan, there is something for everyone. Visitors can enjoy delicious local cuisine, relax in cosy accommodations, and experience the warm hospitality of the Lake District.