LAKE DISTRICT EXPLORER
Virtual Tour Guide
Helps you make the most of England's favourite beauty spot
Explore the wild beauty of the Lake District
with your very own mobile tour guide
Location-triggered audio gives you detailed descriptions
of the geology, history & folklore as you drive through
this stunning landscape.
All of the top attractions in the Lake District.
Driving and walking routes.
Hands free experience.
Music, stories and poems.
From top tourist ‘must-sees’ to hidden gems off the beaten track, we give you all you need to make the most of England's most celebrated national park.
Lake District Explorer: Loop 1
This route starts in Windermere valley, driving up to the picturesque village of Troutbeck before winding through rugged mountain scenery, up and up to the Kirkstone Pass, an ancient thoroughfare at nearly 1500 feet above sea level.
The road then drops just as dramatically to the Hartsop valley floor then skirts the mirror-like Brothers water. You can walk it’s opposite bank through some of the oldest trees in the county or carry on to its bigger brother, the tranquil Ullswater, stated as the finest of all the lakes by William Wordsworth.
Either glide across the lake on the oldest passenger vessel on the planet or downsize to a canoe or two.
Follow the water's edge to Aira Force, a magical waterfall in idyllic surroundings then on to Castlerigg stone circle, arguably the most dramatically located megalithic monument in the land. Nearby is St Johns-in-the-Vale chapel and holy spring, hugging the edge of a classic U-shaped valley.
A short but steep climb gives panoramic views of the legendary peaks of Blencathra and Hellvelyn, both of which can be climbed from the loop, and your next destination: the Thirlmere valley. Skirting the waters edge, you rise up to pass Dunmeil Raise, said to cover the bones of the last Celtic King of Cumbria, before descending down into the jewel in the Cumbrian crown: Grasmere. There you can visit Wordsworth’s homes of Dove Cottage and Allan Bank.
Although everywhere you go in the Lakes you are surrounded by extreme beauty it’s hard to beat a gentle walk through the Easedale valley. Follow a delightful little river up to a rugged mountain waterfall then onwards and upwards to Easedale Tarn. Then back to the car to your journey's end in Ambleside for some well-earned sustenance.
You might just want to do it all over again!
Lake District Explorer: Loop 2
This is a journey to one of the wildest regions of the Lake District. Practically everywhere you stop there are beautiful walks to be had.
Leaving Keswick, the road winds alongside peaceful Derwent Water, under the twisted boughs of a forest which used to spread all the way down the west coast of Britain. First stop is Ashness Gate Pier where you can take a dip or jump on the ferry to Hawes End Pier. From there you can take one of the most popular hikes in the Lake District: up to the summit of Cat Bells.
An optional dog-leg from Ashness Gate Pier takes you to the most photographed pack-horse bridge in the region then on through beguiling woodland to Surprise View and the tranquil hamlet of Watendlath.
Rejoining the loop, follow the River Derwent to 'The Land That Time Forgot'. The Borrowdale valley couldn't be accessed by road until the mid 19th century and mains electricity didn't arrive until the 1970's. You can feel the difference as you sip tea in the garden of the Langstrath Inn in Stonethwaite, surrounded by beautiful peaks, before hiking along a crystalline river climbing up past myriad waterfalls to the stunning vistas of High Raise.
If it's a day hike you're after, you can park in nearby Seathwaite for the most popular route up to England's highest peak: Scafell Pike.
From Seathwaite it's on to the dramatically situated Honister Slate Mine, the last working mine in the country. It's also the starting point for the Via Ferrata: an exhilarating protected mountain climbing route that uses metal rungs and rope bridges. Not for the faint-hearted!
Back in the car, the road snakes dramatically down the desolate Honister Pass as you learn about a legendary Viking king before arriving at the stunning twin lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water with sleepy Buttermere Village between.
On the homeward straight, stop off at Whinlatter Visitor Centre to explore England's only mountain forest with much to do for kids (young and old) then visit Bassenthwaite Lake with its majestic Ospreys and connection to Arthurian legend.
Finally, it's back to Keswick to recharge and take stock of a magical ride!
Lake District Explorer: Loop 3
Although this can be driven in a day, it is much better to take at least a few days. If you like big walks then it could take a week!
Catch a car ferry from Bowness across Windermere, the King of the Lakes, before climbing steeply up to Hill Top, the home of one of Britain’s best-loved author: Beatrix Potter. Lovers of Peter Rabbit will instantly recognize Mr. Mcgregor’s vegetable garden.
After a relaxing stroll around traffic-free Hawkshead, drive down to the leafy edge of Coniston water and on to Coniston Village for steamboat rides, gentle walks around the water, stiffer climbs to glorious views and the best museum in The Lakes.
Next stop Glen Mary Bridge car park for a spell-binding walk to Tarn Hows lake alongside a wooded stream with several small but invigorating waterfalls. The grass banks of Tarn Hows itself are a popular spot for picnics.
Back in the car, the route twists through the bucolic charm of Little Langdale, past an iron age hill fort and Viking Moot hill on the way to the Hardknott Pass, considered to be THE most dramatic road in England.
The pass drops down to the Hardknott Roman Fort whose striking location gives commanding views of the Eskdale valley and peaks of the Scafell Range.
Further down the road is Wasdale Head, home to Britain’s favourite view and the birthplace of British mountain-climbing.
Returning to the loop, the route cuts along the lower slopes of Lingmore Fell to desolate Blea tarn with fine views and walks all around.
A stopping place on the road to Great Langdale affords dramatic views of the U-shaped Great Langdale valley. Dubbed ‘Little Switzerland’, this was once the green axe capital of Europe.
Dropping rapidly to the valley floor you can get hearty fare at the walkers institution: Dungeon Ghyll Inn or equally welcoming Stickle Barn.
Then either take an unforgettable hike around the Langdale Pikes or it’s back in the car for a breath-taking drive along the length of Great Langdale with multiple opportunities to stop and explore the waterfalls, peaks and pretty hamlets of this famous area.
Then it’s on to Ambleside to take stock of this epic journey!