|A drive around central Lakeland through some of the best scenery in the area. There is a Beatrix Potter theme, visiting a number of locations associated with the famous author. A short car ferry trip across Windermere lake is also included.|
|Central Lakes Drives||Home|
|Summary of main attractions on route (click on name for detail)|
|Distance||Attraction||Car Park Coordinates|
|0 miles||Bowness-on-Windermere||N 54.36591, W 2.91993|
|1.6 miles||Windermere Ferry, Ferry Nab||N 54.35423, W 2.93101|
|2.1 miles||Harrowslack, Windermere||N 54.35592, W 2.94245|
|4.0 miles||Hill Top, Near Sawrey||N 54.35247, W 2.97133|
|4.9 miles||Esthwaite Water||N 54.35029, W 2.98460|
|6.9 miles||Hawkshead Village||N 54.37410, W 2.99679|
|9.5 miles||Tarn Hows||N 54.38708, W 3.03905|
|11.8 miles||Coniston Village||N 54.36892, W 3.07347|
|12.5 miles||Coniston Water||N 54.36460, W 3.06779|
|20.3 miles||Blea Tarn||N 54.42939, W 3.08752|
|22.1 miles||Old Dungeon Ghyll||N 54.44420, W 3.10281|
|25.8 miles||Elterwater Village||N 54.43387, W 3.03789|
|30.2 miles||Waterhead, Ambleside||N 54.42116, W 2.96284|
|32.9 miles||Townend||N 54.41128, W 2.91571|
|35.3 miles||Holehird Gardens||N 54.39602, W 2.91472|
|36.6 miles||Rayrigg Meadow picnic site||N 54.37897, W 2.91924|
|37.6 miles||Bowness-on-Windermere||N 54.36591, W 2.91993|
Distance: 0 miles Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Rayrigg Road car park Coordinates: N 54.36591, W 2.91993
The picturesque lakeside area is slightly separate to the town centre but often just as busy. There are a number of jetties where you can catch one of the many Windermere lake cruises. Beyond the jetties is Glebe Road which forms a popular loop along the lake shore. Within this loop is a large open recreational area known as The Glebe. The grassy area provides lovely views up the lake and there are various activities available such as mini golf and tennis. Beyond The Glebe is Cockshott Point which also has some good open grassy areas and a footpath along the attractive lakeshore. There are a number of shops, kiosks, cafes and pubs around the lakeside area. Rayrigg Road car park is pay and display with toilet facilities.
Travelling:Leave the car park and turn right on the A592 towards the centre of Bowness town. Shortly come to a mini-roundabout and turn right towards the lake, still the A592. Drop down the hill to enter the often busy lakeside area. After a short distance the main road turns away from the lake but you can take the right turn here and follow the Glebe Road loop which gives some good views of the lake as you pass various shops and cafes. The road soon brings you back to the A592 where you turn right towards Newby Bridge. Very shortly take the first right turn on the B5285 towards the ferry which leads past a car park and some public toilets on the right before reaching Ferry Nab where the Windermere ferry departs.
Distance: 1.6 miles Location: Windermere Ferry, Ferry Nab Coordinates: N 54.35423, W 2.93101
Travelling:From the ferry the road passes public toilets on the left and continues on a narrow headland for a short distance to a right turn towards Harrowslack which you take. Pass 'The Cafe in the Courtyard’ on the left and continue along the tree lined lakeshore to cross a cattle grid and Harrowslack car park is on the left.
Distance: 2.1 miles Location: Harrowslack, Windermere Coordinates: N 54.35592, W 2.94245
Back towards the ferry from the car park is Claife Viewing Station, built in the 1790’s it provided a wonderful viewpoint over Windermere lake and was a popular tourist attraction before falling into disrepair at the end of the 19th century. It has recently been tastefully restored and again provides wonderful and peaceful views over the lake with free entry. The Station is a short uphill walk from the road and from The Cafe in the Courtyard which provides refreshments. National Trust pay and display car park, toilet facilities at Ferry House.
Travelling:Retrace your steps back past 'The Cafe in the Courtyard’ and turn right at the T junction. The road follows the lake a short distance and passes the National Trust car park at Ash Landing on the right before climbing steeply away from the lake. Once over the top there are some lovely views of wooded hills and fields as you pass through the small village of Far Sawrey with the Cuckoo Brow Inn on the right. Shortly, enter the neighbouring village of Near Sawrey, passing the pedestrian entrance to Hill Top and the Tower Bank Arms on the left. The car park for Hill Top is just beyond the pub on the left.
Distance: 4.0 miles Location: Hill Top, Near Sawrey Coordinates: N 54.35247, W 2.97133
|Hill Top house|
The house is open daily, except Fridays, from February to November and is also open Fridays in the summer. Closed in winter. Admission fee to house which can be very busy and a timed ticket system operates. Outside there are attractive gardens, a small gift shop and toilets which are all free entry and open the same time as the house plus weekends in November and December. The nearby small car park is free for visitors to the property. The Tower Bank Arms next door is a quaint looking pub which also has connections with Beatrix Potter.
Travelling:Turn left out of the car park and take the immediate left towards Lakeside. The narrow road descends with views towards Esthwaite Water ahead. Continue towards Lakeside and soon cross Cunsey Beck which is the outflow from Esthwaite Water. Follow the wooded lakeshore a short distance to a T junction and turn right towards Hawkshead. Esthwaite Water car park is a short distance on the right.
Distance: 4.9 miles Location: Esthwaite Water visitor centre Coordinates: N 54.35029, W 2.98460
The lake has close connections with both William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, a shoreline walk follows in the footsteps of the latter and storyboards tell you about the different animals in her books. The small visitor centre at Esthwaite Water has a cafe, fishing tackle shop, picnic area and toilets. Open all year, cafe open Easter to November. Pay and display car park.
Travelling:Turn right out of the car park, the road soon leaves the wooded lakeshore behind and good views open up over surrounding countryside, including glimpses of Esthwaite Water and Lakeland mountains in the far distance. After approx 1.8 miles you enter the outskirts of Hawkshead village and the road turns sharply to the right. Just beyond, take the left turn to Hawkshead, then the next left which leads to the village car park on the left.
Distance: 6.9 miles Location: Hawkshead Village car park Coordinates: N 54.37410, W 2.99679
|Hawkshead Village from the churchyard|
Travelling:Turn right out of the village car park, then quickly left at the T junction on the B5285 towards Ambleside. After approx 0.5 miles, take the left turn (still the B5285) towards Coniston. Continue up the hill for approx 0.8 miles to Hawkshead Hill where there is a right turn to Tarn Hows. After approx 200m, there is a T junction where you turn left and then immediate right towards Tarn Hows again. This minor road winds up through the trees for approx 0.7 miles before a wonderful panorama opens up with Tarn Hows down on the right and various Lakeland peaks in the distance. Just as you leave the trees there is a small free short stay car park on the right which provides a fabulous view from the car. The main car park is a short distance beyond the tarn on the left.
Distance: 9.5 miles Location: Tarn Hows Coordinates: N 54.38708, W 3.03905
Travelling:From the car park, turn left and continue on the picturesque minor road which is now one-way. This road descends and loops back to the B5285 Coniston road. Turn right on this road and after approx 0.4 miles the road follows the lake shore and continues a short distance to Coniston village. Once in the village, take the first left turn and the car park is immediately on the right.
Distance: 11.8 miles Location: Coniston Village car park Coordinates: N 54.36892, W 3.07347
Travelling:From the village car park, turn left and continue on the B5285 which shortly meets the A593 in the village centre. Turn left, over the river and past the garage, then immediately take Lake Road on the left which leads approx 0.5 miles down to a dead end at the lake. The car park is just before the lake on the left.
Distance: 12.5 miles Location: Lake Road car park, Coniston Water Coordinates: N 54.36460, W 3.06779
|SY Gondola & Brantwood|
|Yew Tree Farm|
Travelling:Travel back up Lake Road to the T junction and turn right on the A593, passing through Coniston village towards Ambleside. Approx 2 miles out of Coniston is Yew Tree Farm on the left which is a picture book farm and setting once owned by Beatrix Potter. The farmhouse was used as the double for Hill Top in the 2006 film ‘Miss Potter’. It is now a guest house. Approx 0.3 miles past the farm is Yew Tree Tarn which is man made in a lovely setting. There is a small layby to pull in and admire the view. Continue along the A593 which soon climbs over a small summit and approx 0.7 miles beyond that take the left turn towards Elterwater. This minor road descends sharply before levelling out alongside the River Brathay. You can park on the roadside here to access the impressive Colwith Force waterfall. A short but quite rough footpath leads to the waterfall, over the stile on the left.
Continue over the River Brathay and just beyond take the left turn to Little Langdale. The road generally climbs for approx 1 mile before reaching the hamlet of Little Langdale with the traditional looking Three Shires Inn on the right. Beyond this the road becomes quite narrow and twisty but the views are magnificent over Little Langdale valley, surrounding mountains and Little Langdale Tarn on the left. You can certainly appreciate the remote beauty of this valley. Not far beyond the Tarn, cross a cattle grid and take the right fork in the road towards Blea Tarn. The road climbs quite steeply in places, again with fabulous views. After approx 0.7 miles cross another cattle grid and Blea Tarn car park is immediately on the right.
Distance: 20.3 miles Location: Blea Tarn Coordinates: N N 54.42939, W 3.08752
Travelling:Turn right out of the car park and continue along the narrow road which skirts around Blea Tarn plateau. The road soon crosses a cattle grid and a magnificent vista opens up over the head of Great Langdale valley. A long line of mighty mountains includes Langdale Pikes, Esk Pike, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags and Pike o’ Blisco. Meanwhile the road begins to descend through a short, steep and twisty section which needs some care. There are very limited opportunities to stop on the hill with a few rough spaces from where you can enjoy the fantastic open views but be careful not to obstruct passing places. At the bottom of the hill, cross another cattle grid and continue across the valley floor for approx 0.4 miles to sharp right bend which points the road down the valley. Just beyond this is the turning for Old Dungeon Ghyll car park on the left.
Distance: 22.1 miles Location: Old Dungeon Ghyll, Great Langdale Coordinates: N 54.44420, W 3.10281
|Upper Great Langdale|
Approx 0.7 miles further down the valley is Stickle Ghyll car park where the steep path up to Stickle Tarn and Langdale Pikes begins. Refreshments are available here at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and Sticklebarn Tavern. Pay and display car parks.
Travelling:Turn left out of Old Dungeon Gyhll and continue down Great Langdale valley with pleasing views of surrounding fields and hills. Pass Stickle Gyhll car park and continue for approx 1.7 miles to enter the village of Chapel Stile. In the village is Holy Trinity church up on the left, the village store, Brambles cafe and seasonal public toilets also on the left, followed by Wainwrights Inn on the right. Leaving the village you soon pass the Langdale Hotel Estate and not far beyond you reach the attractive open expanse of Elterwater Common and a cross roads where you turn right to Elterwater. Soon enter Elterwater village and arrive at a T junction at the village green. Continue ahead and the village car park is immediately on the left.
Distance: 25.8 miles Location: Elterwater Village Coordinates: N 54.43387, W 3.03789
Travelling:Leave the village car park and turn right. The road continues to the right of Maple Tree cafe before leaving the village and crossing the attractive Elterwater Common with various free parking areas. In a short distance meet a T junction where you turn right. Before leaving Elterwater Common it is worth stopping to look back at the wonderful view of Great Langdale valley and Langdale Pikes. Continue over a cattle grid, the road meanders through some pleasant Lakeland scenery with glimpses of Elterwater lake then the River Brathay through trees on the right. Soon pass Silverthwaite pay and display car park on the left and the road descends to the hamlet of Skelwith Bridge which has a few attractions. On the right is The Talbot Bar and behind that is Chesters By The River which has a shop and cafe. Only a 10 minute walk up the river is Skelwith Force waterfall which is impressive in flood. At the T junction turn left towards Ambleside. Continue for approx 2 miles to the outskirts of Ambleside and a tight bridge over the River Rothay. Once over the bridge, the road bears left and becomes one-way. Get in the right lane which soon comes to a T junction. Turn right on the A5075 for approx 0.5 miles and Waterhead car park is on the left.
Distance: 30.2 miles Location: Waterhead car park, Ambleside Coordinates: N 54.42116, W 2.96284
Travelling:Leave the car park and turn left on the A5075 towards Windermere town. This immediately joins the A591 at the traffic lights where you continue along the picturesque lakeshore road. As you leave Waterhead, the peaceful and attractive Stagshaw Gardens is on the left and approx 0.6 miles beyond is the Low Wood Hotel which is well known for water sports in a spectacular setting. Just beyond this take a left turn towards Troutbeck. The narrow road twists and turns up the steep hill, passing some fabulous properties including the prestigious Holbeck Ghyll Hotel. After approx 0.9 miles the road finally levels out and it is possible to stop and admire the great views down Windermere lake. The lofty lane continues through pleasant countryside for approx 0.6 miles to enter the village of Troutbeck and Townend car park is on the left.
Distance: 32.9 miles Location: Townend Coordinates: N 54.41128, W 2.91571
Travelling:Turn left out of the car park and continue through Troutbeck village which has some wonderful Lakeland properties and impressive views over Troutbeck valley towards the mountains beyond. Soon reach the village shop and tearoom where refreshments are available. Immediately beyond this, take a right turn on a narrow lane which descends steeply then runs alongside Trout Beck, past some free parking, to a T junction with the main A592. To the left here is Jesus Church but the drive turns right and continues on the A592 with views back across the valley towards Troutbeck village, then ahead towards Windermere. After approx 1.5 miles the entrance to Holehird Gardens is on the left.
Distance: 35.3 miles Location: Holehird Gardens Coordinates: N 54.39602, W 2.91472
Travelling:Leaving Holehird, turn left and continue on the A592 for approx 0.7 miles to a mini-roundabout where the main A591 crosses. Take the second exit to continue on the A592 towards Bowness. Shortly, Hammarbank pay and display car park is on the right with good views over the lake. Continue beyond this, down the steep hill and around a couple of bends to Rayrigg Meadow car park on the right.
Distance: 36.6 miles Location: Rayrigg Meadow picnic site Coordinates: N 54.37897, W 2.91924
|Queen Adelaide's hill|
Travelling:Turn right out of the car park and continue on the A592 towards Bowness. After approx 0.6 miles pass the new Windermere Jetty boat museum and enter the outskirts of Bowness. Shortly on the right is Rayrigg Road car park.
Distance: 37.6 miles Location: Bowness-on-Windermere, Rayrigg Road car park Coordinates: N 54.36591, W 2.91993
|Windermere from Claife Viewing Station|