Forests have such a special feel to them; sunlight dripping through leafy canopies, wildlife scuttling across branches, and the happy sound of birdsong in the air. It's no wonder that you would want to seek them out for a woodland adventure during your Lake District holiday! Here is a list of the best forests in the Lake District, including a number of our own self-catering holiday cottages with their own private woodland access!
Whinlatter Forest - England's only true mountain forest - has a wealth of activities for all ages and tastes. Forest walking trails snake off in all directions and children will especially love hunting along the Zog Activity Trail! Whinlatter is also famed for its thrilling mountain bike trails or - if you prefer something easier on two wheels - there are gentler, family-friendly routes, too.
Add to that a Go Ape! high ropes course, play areas, Segway tours, an all-terrain mobility scooter to hire, and wildlife-spotting galore, Whinlatter is the perfect forest to explore during your holiday.
Find your perfect cottage in the lovely village of Braithwaite, at the foot of Whinlatter Forest.
Holme Wood on the edge of Loweswater lake is a magical place with hidden waterfalls and delightful surprises throughout. The ancient woodland is a peaceful retreat in a lesser-visited area of the Lake District, so you can be sure of seeing fewer people here than in more popular locations of the national park. Holme Force is a must-see whilst visiting, especially after heavy rainfall. You can also enjoy bluebells during the spring and may be lucky enough to spot a red squirrel or two! Other quirky surprises include quirky bird hides and a lakeside bothy complete with rope swings!
Daweswood is a fairytale holiday home with its own private woodland. Once an Edwardian hunting lodge, you can now spend your holiday in the three acres of forest tracking fairies and elves in this truly magical setting! Alternatively, you can sit back on the covered terrace and watch the wildlife - regular visitors include red squirrels, deer, and even the odd badger!
Tucked away in the Eden Valley is Acorn Bank, originally owned by the Knights Templar! With its fascinating history, it's perhaps no surprise that there is an enchanting woodland within the grounds. Follow Crowdundle Beck to a mill at the far end of the property and keep an eye out for the fairy doors hidden in the roots of the ancient trees!
A lot of the original wealth from the estate came from mining, so history buffs will also love the industrial heritage dotted amongst the trees.
Explore our cottages in the Eden Valley.
Grizedale Forest is the perfect place for art lovers with its wonderful sculpture trails and you can discover the hidden artwork along several forest tracks. If that's not your thing, you need not worry! Grizedale Forest also boasts Go Ape! high ropes courses, orienteering, horse riding, bike tracks, Segway tours, and children's play areas. There really is something for everyone!
Cubben House, Eskdale
Cubben House in Eskdale is a luxurious forest retreat set at the edge of woodland. This magical holiday cottage boasts fabulous views, undulating floorboards and nooks and crannies galore, whilst the grounds offer more to fire up the imagination. The multi-level gardens back onto peaceful woodland and you can enjoy a morning cuppa looking out for the birds, red squirrels, and deer that regularly make an appearance! As if that's not enough, head to "The Cubben Arms", a substantial summer house on the edge of the woodland that is a real treat with its mini bar, dart board, games tables, and veranda!
East Cleabarrow, Windermere
This early-20th century holiday home is a delightfully characterful spot with its own beautiful woodland garden and orchard. Follow the winding tracks through the trees to a cairn that offers a view of the central feels in winter and tantalising glimpses even when the leaves are fully out. Continue exploring until you find the pretty summerhouse where you an enjoy a glass of wine or a coffee in your own tranquil forest space.
Overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake, Dodd Wood is a small forest with various trails. The summit trail is fairly easy fell walk and great for a family with young children. As you head towards the top, the trees grow tighter together until the space opens up and you are rewarded with a spectacular view of Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater, and even the coast to the east!
During the season, don't forget to visit the Osprey viewing points and see if you can spot the magnificent birds fishing on the lake from your forest hideaway. After a busy day, head to the charming Old Sawmill Tearoom for a tasty treat!
Find your perfect cottage in the nearby village of Bassenthwaite.
Blea Brows, Water Yeat
Set in sloping woodland, Blea Brows is a quirky cottage that is all you could want from a perfect forest holiday in the Lake District! Two of the three bedrooms have wonderful views over the trees and a patio with BBQ will encourage you to enjoy the sites from outdoors! If that's not enough magic for you, head down to the shared, private lakeside beach for a paddle!
Ennerdale Forest is both the Lake District's most westerly forest and one of Cumbria's biggest. You could well spend a whole day here and not meet another soul, so far away is it from the tourist hubs of the national park. The 20 miles of forest roads give you plenty to enjoy and the Smithy Beck Falls trail in particular will take you from the lakeshore up to the waterfall through hill forest paths.
Adding to its tranquility, there is no road running alongside Ennerdale Water, so park at one of the two car parks at the edge the lake before heading out for a day of relaxation. Don't forget to pack your picnic!
Be close to the forest at one of our Ennerdale cottages.
We hope this can help you plan your ideal forest holiday and that you will be taken in by the mysterious magic of the forests and woods of the Lake District! For more holiday ideas, take a look at our cottage search.
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