Discover the Lake District: Top 10 Must-see Places

Spoilt for choice on where to visit on your Road Trip to the Lake District? Here’s my top 10 must-see places!

Where to begin? Well, the Lake District has so much to offer, not only is it a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site, but it’s also famous for its breathtaking lakes, rugged mountains, and charming villages. As someone who has spent a lot of time exploring here, I have to say this place is most definitely worth a visit! Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful getaway, the Lake District certainly has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for your next road trip destination this is a great place to consider! If you’re not sure where to start with planning your trip, I’ve created the ultimate Lake District Road Trip Guide Book featuring all my personal recommendations. From locations, must-see attractions, places to stay and the best food spots, get it all in this guide!

But now, let’s dive into my top 10 places I recommend you absolutely must visit…

Scafell Pike

The Lake District Top 10 Must-see Places…

10. Bassenthwaite Lake

Believe it or not, Bassenthwaite Lake is the only true ‘lake’ in the Lake District as the others are meres or waters! As one of the most peaceful parts of the Lake District, this quieter spot is a haven for wildlife including unique species of birds and fish.  

Just a stone’s throw from Bassenthwaite, Whinlatter Forest is England’s only true mountain forest. It’s perfect for mountain biking, hiking, and even a bit of tree-top adventuring with Go Ape. Whilst in the area, be sure to pay a visit to the Lakes Distillery nearby, where you can enjoy a tour and taste some amazing local spirits!

View of Bassenthwaite Lake

9. The Western Lakes

Often getting overlooked by visitors to the Lake District, The West Lakes is an incredibly diverse area that boasts its own unique beauty. From the rugged coastline of the Irish Sea to historical sites like Muncaster Castle and Ravenglass village, there’s so much to explore!

A personal favourite is the Beacon Museum and Rum Story in Whitehaven, which offer immersive insights into the area’s history and heritage. The beaches at St Bees and Drigg Sands are also great if you’re wanting a relaxing day by the sea. Overall, the West Lakes provide a quieter and more remote experience, with lots of outdoor adventures, and cultural attractions to enjoy.

St Bees Head
St Bees Head

8. Coniston Water

Next up, Coniston Water, the third largest ‘lake’ in the district, is surrounded by stunning scenery and rich history. It’s also worth visiting the charming Coniston Village which features the Ruskin Museum and offers leisurely cruises on the Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola.

Additionally, if you’re up for a bit of adventure, I’d also recommend a hike up the Old Man of Coniston. The views from the top are absolutely worth the climb! However, if you’re looking for something slightly less strenuous consider exploring the hike to Banishead Quarry, or the Coniston Coppermines instead.

Coniston Water

7. Ambleside

Ambleside, located at the top of Windermere is an ideal base. A lively town with plenty of charming cafes, pubs, and shops, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon or two! The town is also home to Rydal Hall Gardens and the iconic Bridge House – make sure pay these a visit whilst exploring this charming town.

Additionally, a must-visit spot is Stock Ghyll Force, a stunning 70-foot waterfall just a short walk from the town centre. Whether you’re hiking, shopping, or simply soaking in the views, Ambleside has something for everyone!

6. Buttermere

It might be one of the smallest lakes, but probably one of the most picturesque in the Lake District. With incredible views and photo-worthy fells this destination is an instagrammers dream! If you’re not really a fan of a steep climb, you can take a leisurely stroll around the lake. The circular route typically takes 1-2 hours to complete.

Nearby, driving through Honister Pass offers dramatic mountain scenery and leads to Honister Slate Mine. Also be sure to check out the scenic Moss Force and Scale Force waterfalls!


5. Keswick

Nestled along the shores of Derwentwater, Keswick is one of the Lake District’s most charming towns. It boasts a vibrant centre, with a variety of independent shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and craft markets. Despite being small, Keswick’s filled with must see museums and attractions. From hiking and mountain biking to boating and fishing on Derwentwater, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the great outdoors in this fabulous area.

Personal highlights include Castlerigg Stone Circle, Lodore Falls and Whinlatter Forest!

4. Ullswater

One of my personal favourites, and possibly one of the most beautiful lakes in the region, is Ullswater! Its shimmering waters and surrounding mountains create a stunning landscape. I’d also suggest you hop on a cruise with the Ullswater Steamers to really soak in the lake’s beauty from the best vantage point.

Also close by is Aira Force, a spectacular waterfall surrounded by beautiful woodland – perfect for a scenic walk and a picnic. The tranquil waters and dramatic landscapes of Ullswater are simply amazing!


3. Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, standing at 978 meters! Truthfully, it’s a tough climb (trust me, I’ve done it) but reaching the summit offers an unparalleled sense of achievement, and stunning panoramic views of the Lake District. Please be careful if the weather is bad, there’s a funny (and costly) story I have about that, watch my Lake District Road Trip video below to find out all about it.

2. Cat Bells & Derwent Water

Cat Bells, a popular fell near Keswick, is a great spot for a hike that’s pretty easy and super rewarding. The climb is doable for most people, and the views from the top are absolutely stunning. You’ll get amazing panoramas of Derwent Water, with its sparkling waters and lush landscapes.

Derwent Water is a gem, perfect for boating, paddleboarding, or just enjoying a relaxing walk along the shores. Together, Cat Bells and Derwent Water offer the perfect blend of adventure and tranquillity.

Derwent Water (View from Catbells)

1. Windermere

Finally, my top pick, and a place you simply cannot miss off your list! Famous for its stunning beauty, with calm waters surrounded by rolling hills, enchanting forests, and charming villages. Adventure seekers of all ages can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, from sailing and kayaking to paddleboarding and scenic cruises. Windermere is also home to historic landmarks like Wray Castle, the Lakeland Motor Museum, and the World of Beatrix Potter attraction, giving you a taste of the region’s rich heritage.

Lake Windermere

I hope this post has highlighted how much the Lake District has to offer! Whether you’re after adventure, relaxation, or a mix of both, this gorgeous region has something for everyone. Make sure you check out these top 10 spots to truly experience the magic of the Lake District, and read my full guide for an even better road trip experience. Enjoy your trip!


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Robbie Roams

Collie dog lover, keen traveler and travel guide writer. In 2022, I launched No Fuss Travel Guides with 'North Coast 500 - The Road Trip of a Lifetime' which became an Amazon best seller. I've since worked with tourism boards including Visit Wales and have been featured in The Guardian 'Best of Travel'.

Hopefully you find some value in my videos & blogs, if there's something you want to ask me, fire away.

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Rob, Staffordshire, UK