Off the Beaten Path

If you’d rather leave the walking boots at home, there is still plenty of exploring to be done across the Lakes on four wheels, two wheels or by boat. I’ve put together some of my favourite activities suitable for all that’ll get you out into the wonderful wilds without the need to pack the hiking poles.

An unforgettable drive 

If you’re itching for a driving challenge, the snaking road at Hardknott Pass is famous for being one of the best in the country. With steep hills, hairpin bends and, most importantly, gorgeous views of the valley below, this is one you’re not likely to forget in a hurry. 

Hardknott Pass Hillfort
The hillfort remains at Hardknott Pass

Situated about halfway between Scafell Pike and the village of Broughton-in-Furness, where you can book Fell View Po House, it’s a beautiful drive and great fun. Although it has something of a reputation, confident drivers should be fine – make sure you practice your hill starts and clutch control before you get there! 

Make it, and your reward is the Roman Fort at the top, near Eskdale. It was one of the loneliest outposts in the whole of the Roman Empire. Here, you can walk in the footsteps of history and perhaps enjoy taking some photos or gazing out to Ambleside and Penrith.

Windermere by water

Head over to Brockhole where there’s something for every member of the family – including the awe-inspiring boat trips over the serene waters of Windermere. You can hire canoes, rowing boats and motorboats – or let someone else take the helm. Windermere Lake Cruises stop at the jetty, and there are direct connections to Bowness, Ambleside Waterhead and Wray Castle. 

Windermere Lake Cruises
Windermere Lake Cruises

Other activities on offer while you’re here include caving, boating and archery. Owing to its stunning location on the shores of Windermere, Brockhole is the perfect venue from which to get a taste of the Lake District with plenty for both young minds and grownups to discover.

Hit the trails

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing woodland cycle ride with the family or a white-knuckle descent through stunning scenery, have a chat with the team at Ghyllside Cycles in Ambleside. They are cycling geniuses who can recommend some of the best cycling routes for any age and ability in the Lakes.

You can hire mountain bikes or road bikes from them, or splurge on an electric bike that’ll propel you further than ever. 

I recently had a lovely ride with my husband and our two-year-old in a carrier on the back between Ambleside and Grasmere. It’d be perfect if you’ve booked 4 Swiss Villas. We loved every minute of it. From Rothay Park to the magical country lane along the river, with views over Rydal Water before we arrived at Grasmere. 

Continue the journey

Let us take you on a journey to the Lake District from the comfort of your sofa! We’re bringing the best of England and Wales to you – so read on and experience Natalie from Good Life Lake District Cottages’ favourite places to go and some hidden gems, too. We’ve got plenty of nearby properties, and can’t wait to welcome you back soon…