5 places to visit in the Lake District in your ‘van

The Lake District is home to Britain’s largest national park, its biggest lake, and its highest mountain. Whether you’re moved by those superlatives to get out there and test your strength and stamina walking the fells. Or, simply admiring the stunning scenery from the comfort of your caravan or motorhome, the Lake District has places to visit in abundance.

Where to stay

The official website for the national park issues a reminder that you can only legally pitch your touring caravan or park your motorhome on official campsites – so-called “wild” or “fly” camping is definitely not on.

There are plenty of sites from which to choose and, with your overnight stays safely booked, let’s look at some of the places to visit:

1. Grasmere

  • if you want the very essence of the Lake District summed up in poetry, you’ll go no further than the words of William Wordsworth – and the place those words were written, his home at Dove Cottage in the village of Grasmere;
  • step inside his small home and you’ll be stepping back in time – to the early part of the 19th century to be precise – and find the interior of Dove Cottage pretty much just as he lived it with his sister Dorothy;
  • even the Garden Orchard outside the cottage has been carefully restored to reflect once again that little piece of England that Wordsworth himself described as “the loveliest spot man hath ever found”;

2. Windermere

  • for many people, the centre of the Lake District – the Lake District itself – is England’s largest inland expanse of open water, Lake Windermere;
  • historically, Windermere has been the most popular and well-visited part of the Lake District and around its shores, you will find everything from leisurely ambles to the sound of the gently lapping water along the banks to hikes to the very top of the fells where you’ll feel that you’re on England’s very own roof of the world;
  • there are many small towns to visit along Windermere’s shoreline, including the village of Windermere itself, Lakeside at the southern end of the lake, Waterhead at its northern tip, and Ambleside, which is the bustling centre for many of the Lake District’s outdoor activities;

3. Keswick and Derwentwater

  • Derwentwater is one of the Lake District’s most picturesque stretches of water and. It is entirely within even the least energetic person’s reach to walk all or part of the 10-mile well-marked flat and easy paths that circle the lake and lead you through the ancient woodlands along its shoreline;

4. Tarn Hows

  • the site overlooks Coniston Water (where you can also board the lake’s Steam Yacht Gondola) and is maintained by the National Trust, with an easy-going, circular short walk that has been made accessible even to those with mobility issues, thanks to the Trust’s “Tramper” all-terrain mobility scooter;

5. Wray Castle

  • for some people, no visit to any place of interest in the UK will be complete without a tour of the local castle;
  • fitting that role is the Lake District’s Wray Castle – though a closer inspection will reveal that it’s a neo-Gothic Victorian construction near Ambleside on Lake Windermere – in fact, you can take a Lake Cruise from Ambleside and the Brockhole National Park Visitor Centre to Wray Castle.


In this very brief synopsis, we’ve just dipped our toes into all that the Lake District has to offer. There’s only one way to discover one of England’s most iconic national parks and that’s to visit it yourself – and compile your own list of favourite places to visit.