Explore the Langdale Valley – The Lake District Cumbria

The Langdale Valley in The Lake District National Park offers some of the finest mountain scenery that Cumbria has to offer.

The Langdale Valley in The Lake District National Park.
The Langdale Valley in The Lake District National Park.

You can reach The Langdale Valley by driving from Ambleside on the A593 towards Skelwith Bridge. Take the B5343 at the junction of the Skelwith Bridge Hotel and follow the road past beautiful Elter Water. You can stop and take the path around Elter Water but parking is limited here on the narrow road. The road will take you past The Langdale Hotel and Spa and Wainwrights’ Inn. It will be hard to find a parking spot until you reach the small public car park in front of the  New Dungeon Ghyll pub. You can either park here or drive further on until you reach The Old Dungeon Ghyll pub, which is famous for the popular Hikers Bar.

If you like walking you can park your car in The New Dungeon Ghyll car park and take the steep, well defined path up to Stickle Tarn. On the way up you will see dramtic scenery and waterfalls. Eventually you will reach the calming waters of Stickle Tarn where you will have close up views of the peaks of Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark which are both over 700 metres high.

The views up The Langdale Valley are stunning so take a camera to record the moment.

The walk to Stickle Tarn will take about 3 hours and is nearly 4 miles in total. Wear good walking boots because this is a fairly challenging walk.

The Dungeon Ghyll pub awaits you on your return and you will have certainly earned that pint. Food is served throughout the day in the Hikers bar from 12pm until 9pm.

There are many other footpaths in the area and this part of  beautiful the Lake District is well worth exploring.

Step back into the 17th Century in Hawkshead

I’m just back from a two night stay in the village of Hawkshead, Cumbria. This Lake District village, famous for the poet William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, lies to the west of Lake Windermere and just north of Esthwaite Water. You can drive to Hawkshead via Newby Bridge or Ambleside but the most interesting route is from just south of Bowness marina to Sawrey on the 18 vehicle ferry that runs every 20 minutes in the summer. There has been a ferry of some description on this route for over 500 years.

Hawkshead is well worth a visit and there are several places to stay and some good restaurants. We stayed at The Queens Head. The rooms are small but comfortable, bathrooms are modern and functional and the breakfasts are good quality and very big! I must say that the staff are excellent too. We also had an evening meal in the restaurant and the fact that the restaurant was packed is testament to its quality and popularity.

Queens Head, Hawkshead
The Queens Head Hawkshead

Walking around the old and narrow cobbled streets of Hawkshead is like going back into the 17th Century. The old grammar school was founded in 1585 by the Archbishop of York and attended by William Wordsworth. The school closed in 1909 but still looks like it’s still taking students.

The magnificent 17th century church of St Michael & All Angels stands at the highest point of the village and is well worth a look. Hawkshead itself is virtually traffic free and there is a large car park and it costs £3 for the first 2 hours. Their are toilets in the car park although there is a 20 pence charge.

Hawkshead is a fine example of the popularity of English tourist attractions as it’s a busy little place and there seems to be a constant bus load of foreign tourists dropping in for a look at the Beatrix Potter museum, which is great for the UK’s foreign currency earnings!

Hawkshead is probably not the best place to stop if you are wanting to climb some of the highest peaks in The Lake District. It took us well over an hour to drive from Hawkshead to Buttermere to climb Haystacks. There are some local walks from Hawkshead and the Grizedale Forest is nearby. We walked from Hawkshead to Tarn Hows, on our 2nd day, which is a pleasant circular walk of just over 5 miles. These are some of my photos that I took on our visit in July 2016.

Hawkshead, The Lake District
Hawkshead village shop

Hawkshead cobbled lane

Hawkshead cobbled lane

England’s largest lake, Lake Windermere is only a short drive away. Here you can watch the boats and go on a sight seeing cruise.

Lake Windermere - Englands largest lake.
Lake Windermere – Englands largest lake.
Lake Windermere pleasure cruise.
Lake Windermere pleasure cruise.