7 Ways to Take to the Lake District Skies

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Standing at 978 metres (3,209 feet) tall, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. But if you’ve scaled it’s heights and that simply wasn’t enough, or if you're just searching for another way to get a bird’s-eye-view of the Lake District, read on and find out how you can soar to new heights!

1. Hot Air Balloons

Hot air balloonRomantic, relaxing, and breathtaking… You’ll never have another experience quite as wonderful as gently floating above the fells and lakes in a huge hot air balloon. Pendle & Cumbria Balloon Flights runs flights in the South Lakes, passing over Coniston and Windermere. Usually taking place at daybreak between Easter and late Autumn (when conditions are best), but also offering evening and winter trips, their experienced team of pilots will give you an unforgettable experience. Start by helping the crew prepare the balloon for flight before taking off, enjoying an hour in the air, and then landing to a champagne-style toast. Bliss!

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2. Gliding

Gliders at Eden Soaring in the Eden ValleyGliding involves peacefully flying in a light aircraft without the noise and vibrations of an engine. Though gliders usually only have one seat, Eden Soaring in the Eden Valley has two-seaters to enable to you to take to the skies with a qualified instructor. Give it a go with one of their Trial Flights (one 15-20 minute flight or two 5-10 minute flights, dependent on weather) or jump right in with a full day’s course. Starting with the obligatory and important safety brief, you then have your introductory winch launch and, from then on, you’re part of the team for the day! Help other gliders launch, work with other pilots-to-be, and enjoy several more of your own flights. At the end of the experience, you will receive a progress card that counts towards becoming a fully-fledged solo pilot!

Burrellhill is right next door to Eden Soaring, or explore our other cottages in the Eden Valley.

3. Paragliding and Hang Gliding

ParaglidingThere are plenty of places across the Lake District and Cumbria either to try paragliding or hang gliding for the first time or, if you’re already trained, to explore on your own. Escape Paragliding near Keswick offers elementary and intermediate courses (four and six days respectively) as well as tandem flights. You can even work a flight into a walk out on the fells! Let Escape Paragliding know where to meet you and they’ll fly in to pick you up!

If you’re already experienced and are just looking for somewhere to catch the wind, you’re spoiled for choice. Try Barton Fell, near Ullswater, Buttermere Moss by Buttermere, Corney Fell in the south west Lakes, or Wrynose Pass near Ambleside.

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4. Helicopter Rides

Helicopter near Lake WindermereThere’s something very dramatic about stepping out of a helicopter whilst the propellers are pumping, and you can imagine yourself in your very own action movie whilst riding over the stunning scenery of the Lake District!

Central Helicopters are based just outside the Lake District, near Carnforth (a 30-minute drive from Bowness-on-Windermere). They offer two breathtaking flights; one that takes in Morecambe Bay before hovering above Windermere, and a second half-hour tour of Windermere between Newby Bridge at the south and Ambleside at the northernmost point of the lake. They also offer a co-pilot seat upgrade and flying lessons if you really want to get stuck in!

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5. Gyrocopters and Gyroplanes

Gyrocopter with Lake District GyroplanesBased near Ullswater - widely thought to boast the most beautiful Lakes scenery - Lake District Gyroplanes is the only gyroplane experience within the Lake District. After a short introduction, you will lift off with an experienced instructor and choose either to sit back and relax or take control of the ‘copter yourself - or a mix of both! Apart from the Lake District, you also have the option of exploring the rolling hills of the Eden Valley and on into parts of the Yorkshire Dales and Hadrian’s Wall. Lake District Gyroplanes offers three flight lengths: 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and 90 minutes.

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6. Skydiving

If exploring the Lake District skies from a vehicle simply doesn’t hold enough thrill for you, then skydiving might be just the ticket for a real adrenaline rush! Skydive Northwest, based in Flookburgh, offers various options for skydiving. Their tandem skydive means you can enjoy the thrill, safe in the knowledge that you have an experienced instructor with you at all times. Starting with a freefall from up to 1,500 feet, and reaching speeds of around 120mph, the parachute will then open, and you'll float down to earth, taking in the views in a more tranquil frame of mind. Skydive Northwest also offers training if you want to skydive on your own, as well as options for experienced jumpers.

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7. Via Ferrata

Infinity Bridge at Honister Slate MineAn option for those who want to keep one foot on land with the thrill of a bird’s eye view, the Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine follows the original miners’ track up Fleetwith Pike. Although there are two levels, the classic and the Xtreme, the second will have you dangling over the valley on its Burma Bridge (also known as ‘the infinity bridge’ as you often can’t see the end of it!) and a Cargo Net crossing. Whilst you’re safely attached to a continuous cable line for the whole route, the sheer drops and stunning scenery will still get your adrenaline pumping!

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We hope that you’re ready to bite the bullet and do something that may be a little out of your comfort zone! To relax and take a breather, find your perfect base using our cottage search.

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