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The Ultimate 3 Day Lake District Itinerary

If you’re setting off on an adventure to the Lake District, take a look at this fun-filled itinerary

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Large hills reflecting in a clear lake on a sunny day in Grasmere, Lake District, England, UK

Spending some time in the Lake District National Park? Lucky you. With its captivating landscapes, bustling market towns, and unique attractions, it really is one of the greatest places for a getaway. Whether you’re into getting active on the water or in the mountains, or just prefer to take it easy, you are guaranteed to find something perfectly suited to you and your holiday needs. Here at Plum Guide, we’re the experts when it comes to all things travel, with both our accommodation and advice setting the standard. That’s why our guide is a winner, filled with some of the best Lake District experiences, so read on. Here is the ultimate 3 day Lake District itinerary.

Day 1: Explore the area's largest lake

  • Morning: Head down to Windermere
  • Afternoon: Enjoy a ride on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Day 2: Meet two local literary greats

  • Morning: Visit the former home of William Wordsworth
  • Afternoon: Dive into the world of Beatrix Potter

Day 3: Discover England's tallest mountain

  • Morning: Take a trip to Muncaster Castle
  • Afternoon: Make your way to Ravenglass

Day 1: Explore the area's largest lake

Morning: Head down to Windermere

A dock jutting out into Lake Windermere at sunset, Lake District, England, UK

A dock jutting out into Lake Windermere at sunset, Lake District, England, UK

Start your trip right with a visit to Windermere, the largest lake in the National Park. Naturally, it’s one of the best spots for watersports in the Lake District, with numerous activity centres and marinas along the shores offering sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and water skiing. Bowness-on-Windermere is a town on the banks of the lake, and is a great base for any water activities you do fancy trying your hand at. If you prefer something more relaxing though, hop on a traditional steamer for a lake cruise (we'll join you on that one). At the north end of lake Windermere is Ambleside - one of the main tourist towns where you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants. From here you can set off on a scenic cycle around the lake, or explore the many fell walks that start in this area.

Take Me to the Lakes, Plum Guide home in the Lake District, UK

Take Me to the Lakes, Plum Guide home in the Lake District, UK

Afternoon: Enjoy a ride on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

After an action-packed morning, take it easy with a scenic ride on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. From Ambleside or Bowness-on-Windermere, take a river cruise to Lakeside Pier where you can hop onto a vintage 1950s carriage, hauled by a steam locomotive. Chug along the 3.5 miles to Haverthwaite, passing through the countryside and along the River Leven (don't forget to take plenty of pictures). At Haverthwaite, take a walk around the Engine Shed and get up close and personal with the restored steam and diesel locomotives.

On Water Hill, Plum Guide home in the Lake District, UK

On Water Hill, Plum Guide home in the Lake District, UK

Day 2: Meet two local literary greats

Morning: Visit the former home of William Wordsworth

A still lake in front of green and yellow trees in autumn in Grasmere, Lake District, England, UK

A still lake in front of green and yellow trees in autumn in Grasmere, Lake District, England, UK

Start your day with a relaxing walk around Grasmere. This village is probably the most popular in the Lake District, made famous by iconic poet William Wordsworth. Literary fans can visit Dove Cottage, once home to William and his sister Dorothy from 1799 to 1808 (it may be necessary to tell the kids that no, you are not that old). Stroll around the village, passing through the many shops, and have a hearty breakfast at one of the quaint cafes.

Burn off breakfast with a gentle walk to Rydal Water, one of the smaller lakes in the National Park. Stroll around the lake and check out the views from Wordsworth’s Seat, a natural outcrop believed to have been one of the poet’s favourite viewing spots. It’s not hard to see why this place was so inspiring, is it? You can also climb up Loughrigg Fell for more superb views of the surrounding fells and lakes. While it may be a short climb, it will certainly get your heart rate up. Although, you won't mind once you reach the summit.

Afternoon: Dive into the world of Beatrix Potter

A close up of the window at the Hill Top Beatrix Potter House, Lake District, England, UK

A close up of the window at the Hill Top Beatrix Potter House, Lake District, England, UK

For Peter Rabbit fans, a visit to the Beatrix Potter attractions are an absolute must on your 3 day Lake District itinerary. The famous children’s author spent a large part of her life in the Lake District, and her legacy is preserved in some of the places she lived and worked. The World of Beatrix Potter is an indoor recreation of her books, where you can meet life-sized characters and step into scenes from her stories. As you smell Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s fresh laundry and step through Jemima Puddle-Duck’s woodland glade, you’ll feel as though you’re walking through the pages of your old favourite books - just watch out for Mr McGregor. We heard he can be a little grumpy.

You can also visit Hill Top, the first house that Beatrix Potter bought. The house is kept exactly how she left it, which allows you to see where many of her books were written. It's also a lovely cottage, and certainly wouldn't look out of place in our collection. Another must-see is the Beatrix Potter Gallery - the 17th-century building that was once the office of Beatrix Potter’s husband, a local solicitor. It also contains a handful of her original drawings and paintings, so the fascinating artefacts just keep on coming.

Run River Run, Plum Guide home in the Lake District, UK

Run River Run, Plum Guide home in the Lake District, UK

Day 3: Discover England's tallest mountain

Morning: Take a trip to Muncaster Castle

The Lake District isn’t short of magnificent old mansions and castles, so we definitely recommend adding at least one to your 3 day Lake District itinerary. Spend the morning exploring Muncaster Castle - home to the Pennington family since 1208. Step inside and discover the history of the castle with an audio tour, narrated by members of the family. Admire the lavish furnishings in the great hall, the library, the dining room and the bedrooms. Set amongst 77 acres of grounds and overlooking the River Esk and the surrounding countryside, the castle gardens are a wonderful place to explore. If you’re visiting in spring, the gardens come alive with thousands of vibrant flowers which spread down the hillsides and ravines. Just watch your back, as the castle is rumoured to be haunted by the aptly named Tom Fool, a court jester of the 16th century.

Afternoon: Make your way to Ravenglass

A steam train at the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, Lake District, England, UK

A steam train at the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, Lake District, England, UK

While you’re in the area, head to the coastal village of Ravenglass to enjoy a ride on the vintage Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. Journey through seven miles of breathtaking Lake District scenery, and explore the picturesque valley of Eskdale upon arrival. Alternatively, take a scenic drive to the Wasdale Valley where you’ll find Wastwater - the deepest lake in England at 260 feet. It’s arguably the most dramatic and awe-inspiring of all the lakes in this part of the country. Wastwater is also the lake you’ll see on postcards throughout your trip, so you'll certainly get familiar with it.

It’s surrounded by large, jagged mountains including Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike - England’s tallest peak. If for some reason you really want a challenge, then embark on the steep, 978 metre climb up Scafell Pike (good luck). Or, if you prefer the easy option, enjoy a more relaxing walk around Wastwater. On the far east bank of the lake are the Screes, one of the most famous scenes in the Lakes. This area of loose boulders rises from the lake floor up to a staggering 2,000 feet, so it really is quite a sight to behold. We also recommend visiting at sunset, when the rocks will glow and round off your trip to the Lake District in the perfect manner.

The Keeper, Plum Guide home in Cumbria, UK

The Keeper, Plum Guide home in Cumbria, UK

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