What could be more relaxing on a visit to the Lake District than a scenic walk followed by lunch or a traditional cream tea in an enchanting tearoom?! Taking the weight off your feet, and enjoying scones, jam and cream within picturesque surroundings - it's our idea of heaven! Here we've chosen some of our favourite walks with tearooms to help you plan your perfect day out...
1. The Ambleside to Grasmere Coffin Route and The Old School Room Tea Shop, Rydal Hall
Rydal Hall provides the perfect stop-and-refresh point on the Ambleside to Grasmere coffin route. As the name hints, this trail follows the path taken by those in days gone by who carried the coffins to St Oswald's Church, and passes by both of Wordsworth's former homes, Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. If you only want to walk in one direction, no problem - why not catch the bus back to Ambleside when you reach the end of the route?! Whilst at Rydal Hall, you should take time to visit The Grot, a fascinating and little-known viewing station built in 1668 which looks out onto the lower Rydal waterfalls. 015394 32050, rydalhall.org
2. The western shore of Windermere and the Courtyard in the Café, Claife Station
Claife Viewing Station is a relatively new addition to our list of Lake District must-sees, after its restoration was completed by the National Trust last year. The viewing station dates back to the 1790s, and was even used for dances in the 1800s! There's a super little pop-up café in the courtyard below, which means that you can walk from Wray Castle to Claife Station along the western shore of Windermere, and complete the rest of the circuit by boat using the ferry and a Walker's Ticket on Windermere Lake Cruises (starting points include Ambleside, Brockhole and Bowness ).
3. Aira Force and National Trust Tea Room, Ullswater
This atmospheric walk takes you initially through ancient yews and tall conifers, and on to a woodland path leading to the breathtaking Aira Force, a twenty one-metre waterfall that thunders into the pools below. Keep going, and you'll also pass a series of smaller cascades and the lesser known and smaller High force, further upstream - you'll find more route ideas on the National Trust website. The tea room at Aira Force is run by the National Trust, so you know that profits are going straight back into their conservation work in the area.
Take a look at our cottages in Ullswater.
4. Dodd Wood and The Old Sawmill Tearoom, near Keswick
Dodd Wood sits on the eastern side of Bassenthwaite Lake (the only true lake in the Lake District!) and is home to the Lake District Osprey Project and a haven for red squirrels! Depending on taste and ability, there are four different trails you can take through the woodland, and some stunning views. If you're into a more serious level of walking, you can also access paths which lead to the Skiddaw mountain range. The Old Sawmill Tearoom, which serves snacks and light lunches, was once a working sawmill, and the original saw blade is still on show! The historic Mirehouse and Gardens is also situated just across the road, so there are plenty of other things to do to make up a full day without car travel.
5. Whinlatter Forest and Siskins Café, Braithwaite, Keswick
Whinlatter is the UK's only true mountain forest, and has views across Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater and Keswick. There are easy, moderate and strenuous trails, from pleasant forest and riverside ambles through to a more vigorous route to Lord's Seat. Designed especially for children, you can also explore the forest on the shorter Stick Man trail! Afterwards, relax and refresh at the alpine-style Siskins Café, where you can enjoy your food on the south facing balcony in good weather and look towards the mountains through the forest's Douglas Firs and larches.
6. Friar's Crag and the Theatre by the Lake Café, Keswick
This short stroll is rewarded with amazing views across Derwentwater, and can be extended further if you fancy a longer walk, in part through woodland. Return back to your starting point and either stop off at the Theatre by the Lake Café or walk into Keswick itself and choose from one of the many other delightful eateries there.
7. Derwentwater and The Chalet, Portinscale
It is possible to walk the entire circuit of Derwentwater on foot, but taking in over eight miles, you'll need to be feeling energetic! Why not cut the length of the walk down by taking the Keswick Launch to Ashness Gate or High Brandelhow ? It's such a relaxing way to start off a walk, and gives a completely new perspective on the scenery. The Chalet at Portinscale will welcome you for lunch or afternoon tea, and then you can make your way back fully recharged and refreshed to Keswick itself.
Take a look at our cottages in the Keswick area.
8. Stanley Ghyll Waterfall and Fellbites, Dalegarth Station
The walk to Stanley Ghyll Waterfall is leafy green, at times humid, and described by some as almost tropical! From Dalegarth Station the route is initially open but soon joins a woodland walk following the river until you reach the magnificent waterfall at the top. You can read more about this walk in our recent blog post covering the route, and round off your visit by stopping at the Fellbites Café at Dalegarth Station.
Take a look at our range of cottages in Eskdale.
9. Buttermere and the Croft House Farm Café
When the rest of the Lake District is crowded with people, Buttermere is one of the quieter areas to head to. You can complete a scenic circuit of Buttermere, which is approximately four and a half miles long, and includes a short stretch on road, before heading back to Buttermere village for something to eat at the Croft House Farm Café. Children will love the 100ft long Hassness Tunnel, which was cut through rock for a Manchester Mill owner in the 19th century, to make walking around the lake easier!
Take a look at our cottages in the Buttermere area.
10. Grizedale Forest and Grizedale Café
Grizedale is best known for its fascinating woodland sculptures - see how many you can spot on a visit there! You can take a number of different walking trails through the forest, so there's something to suit every taste and ability, and there are trails suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs too. If you're with the children, why not try out the Stick Man forest adventure and help this forest character find his way back to the family tree?! Finish off your visit at the Grizedale Café, which also welcomes well-behaved dogs.
11. Coniston lakeshore and the Bluebird and Brantwood Cafés
Coniston Water provides infinite walking possibilities, both long and short. A lakeshore walk along the western shore of Coniston has to be one of the most relaxing of Lake District experiences, and when you have walked far enough, you can simply hop on board the Coniston launch at one of the marked jetties (Torver and Sunny Bank), and enjoy afternoon tea at either the Bluebird Café (western shore) or the Brantwood Café, which also welcomes dogs.
12. Hadrian's Wall and the tearoom at Birdoswald
If you fancy a day out further afield, Birdoswald Roman Fort is the best place from which to take a short walk in magnificent farming countryside and along the finest and longest remaining stretch of Hadrian's Wall. No wonder it was designated a World Heritage Site! To reward your efforts, treat yourself to a delicious afternoon tea at its tearoom, which is open daily from April until October.
Note for all walks: If you plan to try out any of the walks mentioned here, please remember that these are summary descriptions only and that you should always get hold of a map and full route description before setting off. Remember to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and to take plenty of food and drinking water too - even if there is a treat waiting for you at the other end!
We hope you've found something here to inspire you to get out and about on a lovely scenic walk in the Lakes! You can also find your dream Lake District cottage by visiting our search facility online. And if you'd like more walking ideas, visit some of our all-time favourites, including easy walks with great views, in our 10 best walks in the Lake District post.