Our very own Buttermere has been voted by the public as having one of the best views in Britain.
The popular lake is regularly voted as one of the country’s favourite views, and we can understand why! Overlooked by towering fells, the peaceful valley in which Buttermere resides is accessible only by one road running through.
If you’d like to judge the area’s views for yourself, take a look at the lovely cottages we have in this area. We've rounded up some of the best things to do in and around Buttermere below.
Walk around the lake
With only 4 kilometres' worth of low-level, easy walking, Buttermere is one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District and is therefore suitable for almost everyone. An easy stroll around the shores is one of the best and easiest ways to enjoy the gorgeous views from every angle.
Take a look at our Buttermere walk for more details.
Tread in Wainwright’s footsteps
Wainwright is one of Cumbria’s most famous sons thanks to his timeless walking guides. Many Lake District walkers take on the challenge of completing all of the hill and fell walks described in his popular books – all 214 of them!
Whether you’d like to take part in the challenge, or if you’d just like to explore some of the best fell walking routes, Buttermere is an ideal spot for several Wainwright fells, including Grasmoor, Whiteless Pike, Robinson, Fleetwith Pike, High Stile, Red Pike (not to be confused with the Red Pike in Wasdale), and Haystacks. Haystacks, in particular, was Wainwright’s favourite. In fact, the author’s ashes are scattered in Innominate Tarn at the top of the fell!
Honister Slate Mine
Set atop Honister Pass – one of the most twisted and ruggedly beautiful roads in the region – the Honister Slate Mine offers guided tours and a gift shop where you can buy a small gift made of the iconic slate. To further explore the importance of this industry, why not visit towns such as Bowness-on-Windermere and Keswick where you will find many of the houses built entirely of slate.
The Maid of Buttermere
In the 16th century there was a girl in Buttermere who was so beautiful that guidebook writer Joseph Budworth named her as a tourist attraction.
Mary Robinson, the 15-year-old daughter of the village inn’s landlord, became famous overnight following the publication of Budworth’s guidebook. She was later written about again in the William Wordsworth poem, The Prelude.
However, things weren’t to end well for Mary. The young woman, innocent of the outside world, was swept off her feet by one of her visiting admirers, Alexander Augustus Hope, who claimed to be the brother of Lord Hopetoun. After the pair married, Mary’s new husband was accused of stealing Alexander Augustus Hope’s identity, of forging cheques, and of the non-payment of bills. The imposter – really called James Hatfield – then disappeared until he was arrested and hanged in Carlisle. Mary Robinson was left heartbroken.
The inn belonging to Mary's family is now The Fish Inn in Buttermere, which you can still visit for a tasty meal.
Nothing says spring like a sea of bluebells, and there’s no better place to see them in full bloom than in the Rannerdale Valley.
Bluebells are usually found in vast carpets in woodland, so Rannerdale is unusual for its lack of trees! Local legend says that this hidden valley was one of the last seats of resistance against the Norman invaders. The bluebells are said to have sprung up from the blood spilled during the Battle of Rannerdale.
Climbing Via Ferrata
Suitable for both experienced climbers and those who are fresh to the activity, Via Ferrata follows an old miners’ route to the top of Fleetwith Pike. With a continuous cable throughout the climb, the route is suitable for almost all ages.
The Via Ferrata offers two climbs – Classic and Xtreme. Whilst the Classic route has challenges aplenty, the Xtreme version includes a cargo net crossing, Europe’s longest rope bridge, and cliff-edge ladders. It’s not for the faint hearted!
Buttermere’s twin lake
Buttermere is just half of what was once a larger lake. The second half is the twin lake of Crummock Water, set on the other side of Buttermere Village.
Whether you want to walk the two lakes separately or both together, Crummock Water has a lot to offer, with more views of the surrounding fells and a number of ancient homesteads, industrial remains, and the foundations of an old pele tower.
Visit a market town
Despite its peaceful location, Buttermere is conveniently located close to the bustling market town of Keswick and the Georgian town of Cockermouth. Just an half an hour drive out of the valley you will find these two popular towns.
Cockermouth is a colourful town, well-known for being the birthplace of William Wordsworth – the house is now owned by the national trust and is open for visitors who want to step back in time to how the house would have been during Wordsworth’s childhood. There is also a wonderful selection of antique shops and cafes as well as a cinema, live music, the Jennings Brewery (with regular tours) and a castle (privately owned).
Keswick is one of the Lake District’s most popular towns and it’s easy to see why. Set on Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick offers several museums, a big choice of outdoor and independent shops, beautiful slate houses, an independent cinema, the Theatre by the Lake, and an array of outdoor activities.
Brave the Honister Pass
Confident drivers can enjoy a stunning drive across the infamous Honister Pass.
Set off from Gatesgarth Farm at the southern end of Buttermere and follow the road south for the pass. The Honister Pass is one of Cumbria’s highest roads, reaching 1,167 feet at its peak, and is very narrow in many parts, making it a challenging drive. It forms part of a circular route that takes in Keswick, Bassenthwaite Lake, and Whinlatter Forest.
Please note that the Honister Pass is not suitable for driving in wet, icy, or generally bad weather. Please take extra care when using the road.
We all scream for ice cream
After a long day of exploring this stunning area, you can head to Buttermere Ayrshires Ice Cream for some delicious, home-made ice cream. Sit back in the traditional tearooms and enjoy a scrumptious snack made with the best local produce.
Whatever you choose to do in and around Buttermere, enjoy it in style with one of our lovely Buttermere cottages.
Or, if you’d like to explore other areas of the Lake District, try our Cottage Search.
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