The Lake District: your guide to the perfect holiday

So, you’re thinking about going to the Lake District for a holiday? Great choice! The Lake District is by far the most popular national park in the UK with 15 million visitors each year. With an array of wonderful walks, such as the hike up Scafell Pike, and the chance to go for gondola rides on the lakes, it is awash with outdoor opportunities as well as its literary connections. There is so much to see and do in the Lake District, with something to suit every wallet — from budget breaks to all-out luxury.

Here, we look at some of the best places to stay and eat depending on what your bank balance allows.

Low-cost holidays

Where to stay

There are lots of budget-friendly places to stay in the Lake District. This part of the UK is famous for its fantastic camping grounds and taking a camping holiday is an excellent way to bring down the cost of a memorable trip away. Here are a couple of cost-friendly sites you could consider:

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The Quiet Site

Found in Penrith looking over Ullswater, this relaxing and secluded campsite includes an onsite pub, playground, games room, and is perfect for families looking for entertainment and couples searching for peaceful holidays. At The Quiet Site, you can stay in a tent, tourer, motorhome, lodge, or pod. But if you want to try something different, why not book a tepee or dome to stay in, instead? Eighty percent of people who book here have stayed previously, so it’s certainly worth considering. Prices start at £15 a night.

Sykeside Camping Park

This wonderful, cost-effective holiday site is found in Dovedale Valley — which makes it perfect for keen cyclists, hikers and those who just want to unwind. Although remote, the dog-friendly Sykeside Camping Park is easy to get to, and within a 10-minute drive, you can enjoy boat trips and canoeing.  Pitch your tent for as little as £15.75 a night!

To eat and drink

If you’re on a budget, there are lots of supermarkets you can shop at to stock up on food that you can cook on your campsite. But when you fancy heading out for breakfast or lunch, make the most of the great eating spots in the local area.

Fresher’s Café in Ambleside serves delicious dishes, from full English breakfasts to homemade shortbread at great prices, while on an evening at The Crafty Baa in Windermere, you can treat yourself to a highly recommended cheeseboard alongside a wonderful wine and a huge range of ales!

Mid-cost getaways

Where to stay

If the campsite isn’t for you, the Lake District has an abundance of quaint B&Bs and guest houses to take your pick from. Here are two that have been well received by travellers:

Linnett Hill Guest House

Linnett Hill Guest House in Keswick wins rave reviews on Trip Advisor, with an impressive 98% scoring the accommodation the maximum five-star rating. With prices starting from £50 per night based on a minimum two-night stay, the property which was built in 1812 is situated opposite Fitz Park in the centre of Keswick.  Although it’s been comprehensively refurbished to allow it to boast modern facilities, it hasn’t lost its original character and provides beautiful views towards Latrigg and England’s fourth highest mountain, Skiddaw.

Aynsome Manor Hotel

Described on its website as ‘the age of elegance’, Aynsome Manor Hotel in Cartmel is available as a B&B from £99 or half board, with its Georgian dining room enjoying views of the local countryside. There are plenty of nearby attractions, including Beatrix Potter’s Lake District home in Sawrey and Windermere Lake Cruises.

To eat and drink

If you’re looking for a spot of luxury, but require something that won’t break the bank, Steam Bistro in Coniston offers a range of British and European dishes to tickle the taste buds. With a relaxing atmosphere, the little bistro restaurant sources its ingredients locally and won the readers’ choice restaurant of 2017 at the Cumbria Life magazine food and drink awards. Be sure to book this popular spot in advance as it’s known to get busy.

The Fellpack is another affordable eatery that is popular with the public. The Keswick restaurant not only offers a great bite to eat for everyone, including a vegan option, but the owners have taken it upon themselves to provide the walkers among us with inspiration for their next trek out of Keswick.

Luxury escapes

Where to stay

If your budget stretches a little bit further, there are some exquisite hotels near Lake Windermere to stay in, including:

Briery Wood Hotel

Situated moments from Lake Windermere’s shores, this hotel lies in a lovely secluded garden and the establishment prides itself on making you feel at home. So much so, your four-legged companions are welcome in this dog-friendly hotel that is often used as a wedding venue. Its cosy lounges offer the perfect location for you to unwind and relax in.

Cragwood Country House Hotel

Another Windermere wonder is Cragwood Country House Hotel. Set in a 20-acre estate surrounded by landscaped gardens and woodland, the resort offers gourmet breaks, golf breaks, minimoons, and honeymoons. Prices start from £149 for room only, and £247 for dinner bed and breakfast.

To eat and drink

For a dinner with a difference, look no further than Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in Cartmel. With an imaginative take on modern British cuisine earning Cumbria’s answer to Heston Blumenthal a Michelin star and a whole host of plaudits, there is no set menu available, with dishes decided by what produce is in season. What’s more, there are 16 individually designed bedrooms available for those who don’t want to move too far after their food.

Elsewhere, if you like to make a night out of eating out, Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside could satisfy your needs with menus being as much about experience as it is dining. The establishment bills itself as a ‘North European bistro’ and offers a fantastic option of tasting menus — the hardest decision will be choosing whether to try three, five or eight courses! You can expect to have a menu full of homegrown ingredients, all of which are native to northern Europe. If you want to try their beef which they’ve aged themselves, you must let them know in advance.

You really can’t go wrong if the Lake District is on your agenda. While the weather may be temperamental, there is certainly plenty of places to see, eat and stay to make your trip memorable for all the right reasons.

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