Cumbria and the Lake District have some of the finest expanses of British countryside and this region has spellbound the adventurous traveller since the earliest days of tourism. The Lake District attracts visitors from all over the world with its scenic beauty, its mountains, still lakes and villages which seem to have grown out of this rocky landscape. Stone walls can be seen stretching skywards over all but the highest of hills. The area inspired Wordsworth and other writers and poets – and with good reason. Enjoy five days touring Cumbria and the Lake District, based at two wonderful hotels, with three nights in each.
May be subject to change.
Arrive at the Lakeside Hotel and check in to your room. There are three dining options – the fine dining restaurant, the bistro and the bar.
Day 2 44 miles
Enjoy a circular drive around the south east corner of Lakeland including some varied and interesting attractions. Head to south to visit the Lakeland Motor Museum with its Campbell Bluebird exhibition. Then drive to Holker and visit the superb stately home of Holker Hall with its beautiful gardens. Continue to Cartmel. This pretty and ancient village is a hidden gem with a delightful village square and some lovely old buildings, including the Abbey. Drive to Grange over Sands, an attractive seaside town overlooking Morecambe Bay, and then north to the medieval pele tower of Levens Hall and Gardens. It’s then a short drive to the National Trust’s Sizergh Castle, another impressive stately home. Continue on to Windermere and Bowness, a lovely lakeside town with plenty of attractions. Drive south alongside Lake Windermere and visit Blackwell House, a beautiful Arts & Craft House, before heading back to the hotel.
Day 3 83 miles
A fun day of driving. Head across to Coniston Water and drive alongside, past Brantwood, where John Ruskin, the famous English art critic lived, and round to Coniston village. Visit the Ruskin Museum as well. Continue along the western side on Coniston Water and south towards Broughton in Furness. Drive across the moors and dales to the impressive Muncaster Castle. Tour the castle and the beautiful grounds. Continue on to Ravenglass, an attractive village overlooking the estuary of the Esk River. Then enjoy the drive over Britain’s most famous passes, the Hardknott and then the Wrynose. The views are stunning and the road can be challenging – but that’s just what Classic Travellers enjoy! At the end of the Wrynose Pass turn into Little Langdale which then leads into Great Langdale. Return to the hotel.
Day 4 49 miles
Leave the Lakeside Hotel and head north to Hawkshead and then Sawrey, home of Beatrix Potter, where you can visit Ms Potter’s home and see some of her beautiful drawings of Peter Rabbit and friends.
Continue to Ambleside, then drive over the beautiful Kirkstone Pass before looping back to Ambleside and Grasmere. Head north past Thirlmere and continue on, past Ullswater to the pretty village of Askham and stay for the next three nights at beautiful Askham Hall.
Day 5 110 miles
Explore the northern reaches of Cumbria, starting with a fabulous drive from Penrith to Alston – a drive that will leave you inspired and invigorated – and in love with your car! The views are also wonderful. From Alston head north up to Hadrian’s Wall and take time to visit Birdoswold Fort. Drive along the path of Hadrian’s Wall to Lanercost Priory, a peaceful place to explore. Then head to the ancient city of Carlisle before continuing to Bassenthwaite. Return to Askham.
Day 6 71 miles
Enjoy a drive around the northern part of the Lake District. Head across to Keswick and then up along the western shore of Bassenthwaite. Drive the Winlatter Pass from Lorton and take a tiny lane south to the charming village of Buttermere. It’s then across the Honister Pass where you can visit the working Honister Slate Mine. The road continues up by Derwent Water to Keswick. Turn south and drive past Thirlmere to Ambleside again and drive the full length of the Kirkstone Pass to Ullswater. Return to Askham Hall.
Indulge in a hearty Cumbrian breakfast and then depart for home.
Stay in two hotels, with three nights in each. The first hotel, the luxurious Lakeside Hotel & Spa, is right on the southern shores of Lake Windermere, seemlessly blends country house character with contemporary four-star luxury and offering unrivalled views of Lake Windermere. The scene is set for luxurious warmth as soon as you step into the entrance hall with its cherished heirlooms and treasures. Antique furniture and oak panelling nestle alongside plump sofas, contemporary artworks and hand-crafted chandeliers for an eclectic yet homely feel. Stretching to the lake shore, the landscaped grounds are perfect for a stroll allowing you to admire the picture perfect view across the lake and fells. There is also an indoor pool and spa.
The second hotel isn’t really a hotel at all. Askham Hall is a luxurious, intimate, unpretentious home from home which is up-to-date, full of charm and somewhere you can kick off your wellies at the front door. This manor house (a Grade I listed Pele Tower expanded in Elizabethan times) is the former family home of Charles Lowther and his sister Marie-Louisa. They grew up at Askham Hall with their parents, the 7th Earl and Countess of Lonsdale. In late 2013, they opened the hall as a ‘Bohemian home from home’. They have created a hotel of character. The bedrooms are in the Pele Tower and a 17th-century wing. The drawing room has books, paintings, framed photographs – the epitome of a wealthy family home. There’s an honesty bar in the library. In the restaurant, Cumbrian-born chef Richard Swale serves a short, seasonal menu and the cooking is seriously good. Enjoy well-presented local food, enhanced by vegetables and herbs from the hall’s garden. There is also a spa and outdoor heated pool.