NEW! 5 Days in England's STUNNING LAKE DISTRICT - Waterfalls, Hiking, Food, Travel Vlog & Guide
In the North West of England, in the county of Cumbria, lies a region known as the Lake District. Spanning 900 square miles it is for me, the most picturesque, peaceful and awe inspiring landscape in all of England. Settling between its 16 lakes, you’ll find welcoming small villages, some unique local delicacies and thousands of epic hiking routes, conveniently suited for all skill levels. In this video, we invite you to join us during our time here; showing you 4 very different hiking experiences, food you wont want to miss, and all the best villages to visit on your way.
And how certainly not to row a boat. Plus, at the end, I’ll list off my personal top tips for everything I wish I knew before embarking on this trip. This is Suitcase Monkey spending 5 Days in Englands Lake District. After 6 hours of driving like a boss, we finally arrived at our hotel in Ambleside. Now there is an abundance of great accommodation in the Lake District, but we chose this one due to its reasonable price, close proximity to water and central location to most of the sites we wanted to visit.
Just a short walk from our front door sat Lake Windermere. Stretching over 10 miles, Windermere is Englands largest lake, with Ambleside marking its northern most point. Since we arrived mid afternoon, today was more about getting familiar with our local area, and after a 20 minute meander, we explored Ambleside’s main town. There are arguably 2 local foods that you have to try when in the Lake District. And the first was found in this sweet shop. Sitting alongside some lovely looking fudge and chocolate, was Kendal Mint Cake. A peppermint flavoured snack made mostly out of sugar and glucose.
It’s considered as the original energy bar and is still popular with climbers and hikers today. Taste wise there’s not much like it to be fair, so it’s definitely worth a try for the experience. It’s very minty and even though the first bite is relatively hard, the glucose dissolves quickly, filling your mouth with sugary goodness. To set the scene for this vlog, we are by no means, experienced hikers so any energy boost we could get from Kendal Mint Cake would be appreciated. There was a very real chance that at least one of us would collapse during this trip. Our first full day tomorrow would be to my favourite village in the Lake District. And it would also mark the starting point to our first hike up a mountain.
Looking out our hotel window, it seemed the weather was still on our side. The Lake District is, after all, THE wettest part of England. We sat down for a Full English Breakfast, then made our way to Grasmere. It was still early in the morning and we quickly moved
passed all the interesting spots as we’d return here later. Our immediate goal was to reach the summit of Helm Crag. Rising 400 meters, this is a relatively popular hike, so we thought it best to start here, since if we did have a heart attack, there would be someone nearby. Indeed, one of my favourite things about being on a countryside walk is that moment where you pass another human being. This man here actually acknowledged my existence. We certainly weren’t in London any more. Armed with the motivation of a total
stranger saying hello, we carried that through our footsteps towards Helm Crag. It was on our way back to Grasmere that I started to draw similarities to our time in The Cotswolds where you would see houses made out of the local land. In this region, it is slate that peppers the landscape, visually tying all villages together. As mentioned, Grasmere was my favourite village, and probably the most popular in the County.
It’s well known for shops, art galleries, pubs, cafes and just generally everything you would want from an English countryside village. Grasmere was also home to the poet William Wordsworth, one of the founders of English Romanticism in the late 18th Century. His house and grave are both within walking distance. We also stopped off at this lovely little cafe that overlooked the river below. A tasty spread of simple food dishes made for a great lunch and we certainly hit the jackpot with our view. Grasmere is also home to the 2nd quintessential food you have to try when in the Lakes. That
being Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread which is the best gingerbread you’re ever likely to taste. Sarah started baking the spicy, chewy gingerbread in the 1850s in this very cottage and selling it to the locals. That tradition still continues today albeit with queues and to a slightly wider net of customer. It’s different to any other gingerbread I’ve had before and if you’re usually not a fan, I think it’s still worth checking out as you may be surprised. The recipe is a heavily guarded secret and can ONLY be bought here or through their website. Still with some time in the day, we made the short drive up to Thirlmere. I would definitely suggest this stop if it’s on your way
or close by since it’s a quick walk down to the shore and provides the perfect respite. Looking out our hotel window, it seemed like a cloudy but dry day. This gave me all motivation needed to indulge in a full English breakfast. But the big news was, that my feet were still holding up, so we were ready to go again. Todays journey would be a little different. The goal was to visit Keswick, an old market town that sits at the top of Derwentwater. To encourage another picturesque walk,
we purposely parked the car at the south end and walked alongside the lake for a couple of hours. This is a really simple, flat walk with the views making every step worth it. One interesting note to point out here, is that out of its 16 lakes, only 1 is officially a lake by name, with the rest being Meres or Waters. But, although there are some technical differences, I wouldn’t get too hung up on it, outside of it being kinda interesting. Similarly, I used the term mountain earlier and again although technically true in some circles, the word fell is actually more appropriate, especially in the Lake District. At the North end of Derwentwater you’ll find Keswick. A pretty small town that hosts a
popular market running every Thursday and Saturday. Similar to Grasmere, you’ll find plenty of hiking shops, art galleries and pub grub. But it was whilst in Keswick, that I clocked on to just how many dogs there up in the Lakes. They are everywhere. Take this clip here for example. For the eagle eyed, and you can count them, there are 12 dogs within eyesight. And when you’re trying to set up that perfect Insta shot, they would just wander by without a care in the world.
One thing that was fun however, is the opportunity to impress a loved one with your rowing skills on Derwentwater. This hour had all the romance of Dicaprio in The Titanic. Yes, it had more in common with the the end of the movie but… it took me 30 minutes to realise that rowing backwards is a lot easier than rowing forwards. So do keep that in mind. (In posh English accent) "Ahh, pardon me, do you have some tea?" (In Southern American accent) "Well, I do declare!" (In California accent) "Duuuude" (In Australian accent) "Awww, mate!" (In New York accent) "I'm walking here!" There are better ways to convince the internet that you’re in another country. With Private Internet Access, your device will think it’s in another location, with just a click, so you won’t even need to do a dodgy accent. That’s because Private Internet
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It’s available on all platforms and unlike most VPNs, you can use it across 10 different devices. There’s also a 30 day money back guarantee and a highly skilled support team that are available 24/7. And, as a special offer, you can get Private Internet Access for just £1.50 a month and get two months absolutely free. Click on the link below to take a look and thank you to Private Internet Access for allowing me to watch the West Wing special that never aired in the UK. Thank you and also thank you for supporting this channel. Now, back to The Lake District. With blue skies outside, I perused the many, many choices on the menu, finally opting for the Full English breakfast. After 2 full days of walking,
the body was no longer 100% but today would turn out to be our best hike yet. Our first destination was to Aira Force Waterfall. Probably the most popular fall in the Lake District, this 70 foot drop is only a few minutes from the nearby car park. Although it’s this waterfall that gets the glory, it’s worth pointing out that there’s more to see just a 10 minute walk north up the river. It’s much more quiet and spread out here with countless mini falls making an area greater than the sum of its parts.
After a brief rest, we made our way north again. We knew when we started that this would be our longest hike so far but we were yet to learn it would also become our favourite. For dinner that evening, we visited the 2 most popular built up areas of Bowness and its neighbour, Windermere Village. Bowness is the the hub for sailing and water sports and by far has the most restaurants, pubs and things to do. The World of Beatrix Potter is one of its most famous
attractions here, especially for those with children. We mostly used these two locations for dining hotspots which I’ll cover more about in the tips section of this video at the end. Our last day was a cloudy and damp and my entire body had given up. There was only one way to push through. And that… Was cheesy beans on toast. We had one last challenge to climb so we gritted our teeth and started the hike. Our final goal would be to reach Easedale Tarn. A peaceful
glacial lake that’s believed to have filled with water when the ice melted 11,000 years ago. So, I think it’s pretty easy to say, we had a great time in the Lake District. And now I’d just like to share some things I wish I’d known before visiting which will hopefully will make your trip a little easier. If you yourself have visited the Lake District, please share your tips since these are all based on just our one experience. And if you’ve gotten this far, please also leave
a like below since it really helps the channel and subscribe if you enjoy this sort of travel vlog. And with that, let’s dive right in. So I’ll start with some tips specifically for those visiting Grasmere, since if you are short on time, this is where I would suggest you visit. Our first and last hike started
from here so it really does have everything. There’s also convenient public toilets along with a mini supermarket for water and snacks to fuel your walk. To park the car for hiking, I’d suggest The Lancrigg Hotel. The cost for parking can be redeemed for food and drink at the hotel and it was a great rest spot after the hike. We walked passed the Gingerbread shop 4 times and it always had a long queue, apart from its last hour of trading. It was tasty enough that it would have still been worth the wait but bear the wait in mind. There was also a side entrance that people didn’t
seem to be aware of that sold most of the same products as inside so check if that’s open too. The hotel we stayed at was literally in the middle of everything we visited in this video, with everywhere being easily reachable. Grasmere, Ambleside town and Bowness were all 15 minutes away, with Keswick and Aira Force being 30 and 40 minutes away. The included breakfast was clearly good, Lake Windermere just a minute away, along with its ferry that can take you further south. For our dates the room and breakfast was £120 per night. I’ll leave a link in the description below to check prices for your dates, along with other options in the area.
On the subject of paying for stuff, since Covid, England is becoming more and more a cashless society, which personally speaking for me, is great. But for international tourists, just something to keep in mind as several places wouldn’t take any cash at all. Amongst others, the pub we visited in Keswick was card only, the gingerbread shop was card only, and even the 40p entrance fee for the public toilets were contactless.
But don’t melt your gold down just yet. On the flip side, some parking machines are still coins only so its worth having a stack of change in the morning. Most did have options but the one we parked at for Derwentwater was coins only. It’s also definitely worth downloading
both the PaybyPhone and Ring Go app before arrival. Between them, they covered most car parks and allowed you to top up the meter remotely. I say download them before since the countryside isn’t known for its fast internet speeds and downloading a 100MB app is not fun on 0.5G. Overall, on the subject of driving, I actually found the roads a lot easier to drive than say The Cotswolds trip we had last year.
There weren’t as many tiny country roads and all destinations were connected by duel carriage-ways. As a direct comparison to The Cotswolds as a holiday, I think the landscapes are definitely more epic in the Lake District but The Cotswolds feels more uniquely English, if that makes any sense. So it depends on what is more important to you for a countryside getaway. Also, for the countryside I was actually surprised by how many buses there were.
It clearly wasn’t London frequency but they seemed good enough that you could do most of what we did without a car. It would lose a lot of the convenience obviously but I’d be interested to hear in the comments how people have found using buses around this region. One place that didn’t make this vlog was Glenridding. This was a lovely little village just a few minutes drive from Aira Force Waterfalls.
We found a nice little coffee shop to refresh our energy levels and was perfect as a quick stop. Not that this was a massive issue, but there were a couple of nights where it hard to to find a table at a restaurant. So if you really have your heart set on somewhere, book ahead when possible, even if it’s just a few hours. I’m never sure at the moment how much of this is covid related
but on one night we called 4 different places and were turned down by all of them. Which yes, almost lead me to say, “do you know who I am?!” But I didn’t. Despite a seemingly long queue, the place we did visit in Windermere was great and I would recommend if you’re in the area. The staff were switched on and efficient, the vibe good and the food really tasty and reasonably priced. For any novice hikers like ourselves, here’s a few potentially obvious but definitely useful tips. For all our routes we used the All Trails app.
It’s how I found many of the treks in the first place and then how we navigated them on the day. There is a paid Pro version which allows you to download the map for offline use, but for us, we had enough signal that we were able to follow the routes easily. Second, bring plenty of water. We just bought a bunch of bottles on day 1 and refilled them with tap water each day after. Plus, Kendal Mint Cake really does give you an energy kick. Do not underestimate it. There are loads of hiking shops in every town and village we visited, that all stock anything you don’t already have and didn’t even know you needed.
And generally we found that with such competition, they were usually pretty well priced, so buying at the last minute isn’t necessarily the worst idea. Hiking boots are the number 1 but we also bought hiking socks while we were here and they really helped too. I’ve also heard enough people rave about walking sticks that I’m sure they make a difference.
Prices for those ranged from £10 to over £100 so I’ll leave that choice up to you. Congratulations on making it to the end, please leave a like and a comment below, which tells YouTube to suggest this to more people like yourself. I’ve now also got 11 Patreon videos including vlogs from Oxford, London, Kent, as well as a monster 35 minute video explaining my entire editing process. Until the next one, thanks for watching Suitcase Monkey.