1. Wild swim in Black Moss Pot
Sitting in the valley of Langstrath, Black Moss Pot is a dramatic and popular wild swimming spot in the heart of the Lakes. It’s best reached by heading down Borrowdale from Keswick before branching off at Stonethwaite, from which the OS-marked Pot (find it at NY267113) is roughly a 3km walk - mostly along the Cumbria Way. The site itself has a waterfall at its upper end and offers a 6m cliff for those brave enough to jump in. In some areas the steepness of the sides demands caution, but has the benefit of lending an air of privacy too. Recent heavy rains will cool the water, so best saved for a relatively dry period.
Just remember to take care when swimming outdoors, see our safety tips here
Image: Geograph/Michael Graham
2. Ride the Ravenglass to Eskdale railway
The far west of the Lakes is further-flung than you may think (arrive in Ambleside or Keswick and you’ve still got an hour to go to get here), but the loveliness of only-coastal-village-in-the-District Ravenglass makes the trip more than worth it. The “La’al Ratty” railway is a must once here, particularly for younger families. First active in 1915 it’s one of the oldest narrow gauge railways in England, with at least one of the charming steam-powered engines being of equivalent vintage too. The journey leads into the green valley of Eskdale, joint-home of the Scafell range, and a family day ticket costs £38.
Image: Patrick Ward/Getty
3. Walk a circuit of Buttermere
At just under a square kilometre in size, and a modest 23m in maximum depth, Buttermere is the 12th largest body of water in the Lake District. It’s also amongst the most scenic, and makes a superb walking circuit from the village that shares its name. At around 8km, between 2-3hrs is a reasonable allowance for the journey, which begins and ends amongst plenty of amenities courtesy of a pair of small hotels/pubs and a tea shop.
The track around the Lake itself is clear and well-maintained, while the inspiring views extend not only between the surrounding greenery and onto the waters themselves, but across to the prow-like north-west ridge of Fleetwith Pike and other surrounding fells. A gem of a walk for all ages.
4. Take a trip on the Ullswater ‘Steamers’
The expansive ribbon of Ullswater is found in the north-east of the District, and on its much-admired waters you’ll find the Ullswater ‘Steamers’ - a fleet of five heritage vessels that transport passengers between the tourist-friendly spots of Pooley Bridge, Glenridding, Howtown and Aira Force. The joy of using the ‘steamers’ comes not just from floating on the second largest body of water in the Lakes and - weather permitting - admiring the views of the Helvellyn range and the fells of Martindale Common, but in tying together walks and circuits of this 14.5km long lake that would otherwise be overly strenuous for a single day’s outing. A family ticket for a “round the lake” pass costs £35.
5. Climb Borrowdale’s Castle Crag
The only peak under 300m (1,000ft) in height to appear in Alfred Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, Castle Crag makes for an excellent ascent, whether you’re an active walker or encouraging younger children on their first vertical adventure. Its summit rises above central Borrowdale, halfway between the villages of Grange and Rosthwaite (find it at NY249159). A return walk from the latter is around 4.5km in length and involves a little over 200m of “up”. It’s not a long endeavour by any means, but its wooded slopes, caves, quarries and hill fort remains mark it out as a fell of enormous interest despite its diminutive size.
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