Lake District: Caravan & Motorhome Touring Guide
The Lake District is a fantastic choice for a trip in your caravan or motorhome with miles and miles of beautiful landscapes to explore and pretty towns and villages to discover. It’s home to some of the tallest peaks and largest lakes in the country and it's no surprise that many artists, poets and writers have found inspiration in the spectacular scenery.
While it’s a popular destination for walkers, there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained for weeks on end. From climbing some of the highest peaks in the country to relaxing boat trips to having a go at a new watersport.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best campsites, some of the top things to see and do and a few tips on where to get a bite to eat.
What to do on a caravan or motorhome trip to the Lake District
Explore Windermere and Ambleside
The largest lake in the National Park, Windermere tends to be quite busy with visitors and it’s easy to see why. The lake is 10 miles long, stretching from Ambleside to Newby Bridge and there are boat trips that allow you to enjoy the beautiful scenery from the water. If you want to escape the crowds, try one of the trails around the lake, with the western shoreline being quieter.
Hit the water at Coniston
If you’re keen to get out on the water and try your hand at some watersports, head to Coniston where you’ll find more boat tours on offer and the opportunity to hire a motor boat as well as kayaks, rowing boats and paddleboards. There are also some lovely walks in the area.
Enjoy the scenery at Ullswater
Ullswater is a particularly beautiful lake surrounded by mountains to the south and rolling hills to the north. It’s the second largest lake in the country and there’s a 20 mile ‘Ullswater Way’ which takes you around the whole thing. There are stopping points for boats and busses along the way so you can walk as much or as little of it as you like. However you tackle it, you’ll be rewarded with some truly spectacular views.
Relax as you explore the lake on the Ullswater Steamers or, if you’re feeling adventurous, book yourself on a kayak tour from Glenridding village. Make sure you stop off to see the spectacular Aira Falls while you’re there. A 21m waterfall with several bridges which give you excellent views of the cascading water.
Explore Keswick and Derwentwater
The bustling market town of Keswick is located at the north end of Derwentwater and is a great place to spend an afternoon shopping and enjoying a coffee in one of the cafes. There are plenty of outdoor equipment shops here, so if you are missing a piece of kit or you want to have a go at a new activity, this is the place to go.
Explore the fells around Grasmere and Rydal
While Grasmere and Rydal are two of the smaller lakes, they are also some of the most beautiful. They are located just north of Ambleside and are surrounded by spectacular fells. They also have the advantage of being quieter than the Windermere area and Grasmere village is well worth a visit. Make sure you visit the famous gingerbread shop and you can also see Wordsworth’s grave in the churchyard. Grasmere Water and Rydal Water are good places to do a bit of open water swimming or do some kayaking or paddleboarding as there are no motorboats on these lakes.
Visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery
The Lake District was loved by Beatrix Potter and the landscapes will be familiar to those who read her stories when they were children. The Beatrix Potter Gallery has some of her original artwork on display. The Gallery is located in a 17th-century house which was used as an office by her husband and there’s a walk to Hill Top and Near Sawrey where she lived.
Campsites in the Lake District
There are lots of campsites in the Lake District to choose from so here’s a round up of the top campsites that have facilities for caravans and/or motorhomes.
Gill Head Farm: Close to Penrith, this campsite is located on a working farm and enjoys beautiful views of the Northern fells. The location means that there’s easy access to both the high and low fells, making a great base for a walking trip.
Low Wray Campsite: Great for those looking to be close to the action near Windermere and Ambleside. You can also hire canoes, kayaks and paddleboards if you fancy a splash about on the lake. There are pitches for tents and motorhomes but the site is not suitable for caravans.
The Quiet Site: If you’re planning most of your activities in the Ullswater area, The Quiet Site is a 5 star campsite with a wide range of facilities, including a pub. There are wonderful views, yet the site is only fifteen minutes from the M6, making it easily accessible for those who aren’t confident navigating the narrower country lanes in the Lake District.
Wasdale Campsite: This is perfect for the more adventurous campers. Set in a remote valley near Wastwater and surrounded by mountains, the scenery is truly spectacular and much quieter than the area around Windermere. There are facilities for tents, campers and motorhomes but not caravans.
Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club Site: This is a beautiful campsite located on the shore of Derwentwater and just a short stroll from Keswick itself. There are plenty of pitches suitable for caravans and motorhomes with optional electricity.
Castlerigg Hall Caravan and Camping Park: Again, this campsite is located close to Keswick and a great choice for those looking for a base for walking and hiking in the north of the National Park.
Where to eat on a caravan or motorhome trip to the Lake District
There are some fantastic restaurants, cafes and pubs in the Lake District so you’ll find yourself completely spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a bite to eat. From friendly cafes tucked away in the rambling streets of pretty villages to Michelin-starred restaurants. Here are some of the top recommendations.
L’Enclume: No list of best places to eat in the Lake District would be complete without this restaurant which holds two Michelin stars. Head chef Simon Rogan takes inspiration from the surrounding Cumbrian countryside and the restaurant produces many of its ingredients on its own farm.
Punch Bowl Inn: For some top-notch pub food, head to the Punch Bowl Inn which is a renowned gastropub in Crosthwaite.
Mason’s Arms and Wheatsheaf Inn: These sister pubs are known for their hearty pub food and welcoming atmosphere. For a comforting meal after a long day on the fells, head to either of these.
Yard 46: Tucked away down a little alleyway in Kendal, this wonderful little cafe is a great place to stop off for brunch or lunch on your way to or from the Lake District.
Fellini’s: Vegetarians are well catered for in Ambleside with Fellini’s serving up delicious and creative dishes.
Drunken Duck: Located at the top of Hawkshead Hill, the Drunken Duck is a delightful mix of fine-dining restaurant and historic pub. Think home-brewed ale and luxurious food. Understandably, it’s very popular, so make sure to book in advance.
Grasmere Gingerbread Shop: Finally, if you find yourself in Grasmere, make sure to stop off to buy some Grasmere Gingerbread. This unique gingerbread was invented by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson in 1854 and is delicious, sweet and spicy.