Discover the very best The Lake District has to offer. From ancient finds to the wonders of the natural world, and best of all, they won’t cost you a penny!
Cathedral Caves - Little Langdale
Photo Credit: Ken Fawcett, Flickr
Photo Credit: Ken Fawcett, Flickr
A mysterious place deep in the woods, filled with fairies, goblins and dragons (we assume!), Cathedral caves are a great place to explore whatever the weather. The best way to enter the cavern is through the old miner's entrance. The 100m tunnel leads to the main cave which is drenched in light through a natural window above the 40ft high cave walls. The roof of the cave is supported by an impressive sloping pillar, or rather the leaning tower of Cumbria!
This walk is perfect for explorers of all ages, and for those who want to venture off the beaten track.
Remember to bring a torch (preferably a head-torch) to help you find your way through the miner’s tunnel.
Where to park: The best place to park is in Little Langdale village. Don't let the Sat Nav take you directly to the caves, or you could end up in a bit of a pickle!
Walking Distance: If you park in Little Langdale the whole route is about a mile and a half
Photo Credit: English Heritage
Follow in the footsteps of the Romans by visiting the remains of Hardknott Fort.
This remote and visually spectacular fort was built around 117 AD, which makes it one of the oldest in Britain. The ruins are well-marked and include the parade ground, barracks and bath house.
Hardknott pass is one of the most thrilling and challenging drives in The Lakes! You can walk up from the Woolpack pub if you don't fancy driving all the way to the top. Some areas are steep and require a bit of a scramble so make sure you’re wearing a good pair of walking boots. Once you make it to the top the rewards are well worth the trek, you will be treated to spectacular views of Scafell Pike and the Irish sea.
Where to park: Parking spaces are available near the fort, just off the Hardknott Pass. English Heritage suggests that CA19 1TH is the best address to pop in the Sat Nav.
Stay Safe: Hardknott Pass can be a challenging drive, so it’s best to visit in good weather.
Photo Credit: Steve Black, Forestry England
Set in the heart of the national park, Whinlatter is England’s only true mountain forest. It’s a destination for stunning views, fantastic walks, mountain biking, and adventure play.
The forest is managed by Forestry England and is a great day out for all the family. Some of the activities require a fee, however, you can still visit the forest for a free day out. Whinlatter has walking trails of varying lengths to suit all abilities, taking you up to viewpoints across Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwent Water.
Or explore on 2 wheels as you try out one of the 3 cycling trails, the most effective way to discover all 1217 hectares of the forest. Each trail has its own degree of difficulty, so you can choose the one that suits you best.
If keeping the kids entertained is your top priority then the Wildplay trail is perfect for you. A series of different play areas take you on a journey through the trees, including a climbing wall, giant swings and a secret path.
There are also family events held in the forest over the year - check out the Forest England website for more information.
Where to park: Whinlatter Forest has a ‘pay on exit’ car park which is open from 8:30am to 8:30pm. If visitors arrive car-free there is no charge.
Getting there: There are multiple public transport options to get to Whinlatter forest, take a look here. Alternatively, use the Sat Nav code CA12 5TW.
Photo Credit: Cumbrian Wildlife Trust
Fancy a bit of nature spotting? Then Foulshaw Moss is a great destination in the South Lakes. Lowland raised mires like Foulshaw Moss are one of Western Europe’s rarest habitats. The area is incredibly important for a range of wildlife, non more so than the Ospreys. These magnificent birds migrate from the Gambia in Africa to Cumbria every year.
The two mating osprey, named White and Blue, are native to Cumbria and make the journey back home every Spring to spend the warmer months in The Lakes.
The nature reserve is also home to some other spectacular creatures such as an abundance of dragonflies and damselflies, lizards, adders and fallow deer. There have also been reports of a very rare albino deer that lives amongst the herd.
Where to park: Foulshaw has its own private car park, free to those visiting the reserve. Use postcode LA11 6RQ.
Osprey Spotting: The Cumbrian Wildlife Trust have installed their very own Osprey Cam you can check out the link before you set off to make sure the birds have arrived.
Photo Credit: Coppermines Lakes Cottage/Jessica Elleray and Siobhan Miles-Moore
The Coniston Fells are a great adventure destination and there are plenty of attractions to keep the kids busy throughout day. The most spectacular of these arguably being the copper mines. Throughout the 18th century, gunpowder was used in the mines to help split the rocks which contained the copper ore, resulting in previously undisturbed fossils being unearthed.
What might you find? The area is filled with fossils such as graptolites and trilobites which can be collected here, along with brachiopods.
Coniston is also one of the best places in The Lakes to spot Herdwick sheep which will certainly bring a smile to your day! Did ewe know: over 95 percent of Herdwick sheep live within a 15 mile radius of Coniston.
How to get there: For the best parking spot, it is best to use the central Coniston car park, use postcode LA21 8HL. There are other alternative parking spaces available around the village.
Be Aware: The landscape is quite steep in places and there are unstable scree slopes. Take extra care if visiting with children.
Gift Shop: You can’t visit Coniston Copper Mines without visiting the Hidden Treasures Gift Shop, home to the exclusive Coppermines Herdy mug featuring Herdy and friends as they get to work in the mines. Ewe won’t find these super-cute mugs anywhere else!