Great experiences needn't cost the earth! For us, one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a sunny day in the Lakes is to pack up a picnic and head in search of some of the area's best scenery! Here are just 10 of our favourite Lake District picnic spots:
For a completely unspoilt Lake District experience, you could walk the four-and-a-half mile route round Buttermere - there's a particularly lovely spot at which to stop with a picnic at the south-western tip of the lake. Kids will adore the stone Hassness Tunnel on the east side, which was created in the rock to allow the original owner to walk around the water more easily! Car parking is available in Buttermere itself and, if with children, just be aware there is a short stretch of walk on the road halfway round.
Take a look at our properties around Buttermere and Crummock Water.
2. Tarn Hows, near Coniston
In the heart of the Lake District, Tarn Hows forms part of the Monk Coniston estate preserved by Beatrix Potter and the National Trust, and is a beautiful place for a short circular walk (two miles) and a leisurely picnic. Although you feel as though you're miles from anywhere, toilets are available in the main pay-and-display car park - a bonus if you're out and about with little ones! If you're not using the car, you can walk in from the nearby network of connected footpaths. 015394 41456, nationaltrust.org.uk/tarn-hows-and-coniston
Take a look at our Coniston cottages.
3. Easedale Tarn, Grasmere
There's something magical about settling down to a tasty picnic lunch by a beautiful, tranquil tarn. If you fancy working up an appetite with a good walk before you eat, Easedale Tarn is just the place! The route up to the tarn takes you along Sour Milk Ghyll and past lovely frothy cascades. It can be rather breezy at the tarn, so make sure you take an extra layer just in case! The complete circuit between the village of Grasmere and the tarn itself is just under five-and-a-half miles and of moderate difficulty - a great day out!
View our properties in Grasmere.
4. Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater
On the western shore of Ullswater, a mile from Glenridding, it was close to Glencoyne Bay that William and Dorothy Wordsworth came across the magnificent daffodils that inspired his famous poem! Today, the pebble beach at Glencoyne makes the perfect picnic spot, looking across the lake to Place Fell and down to Barton Fell - the scenery at Ullswater is truly dramatic! There's a National Trust pay-and-display car park on the opposite side of the road to the lakeshore, and toilets just a mile away at the Aira Force car park.
View our cottages in the Ullswater area.
5. Muncaster Gardens, Ravenglass
If you're looking for a great value day out, a visit to Muncaster Castle certainly won't disappoint! Tickets for the gardens provide access to 77 acres of grounds as well as the Hawk and Owl Centre, Enchanted Trail and MeadowVole Maze. The children's adventure playground is situated next to the playground lawn, which has lots of benches as well as picnic tables for a handy lunch stop! 01229 717 614, muncaster.co.uk
View our cottages in Ravenglass.
6. Wray Castle, near Ambleside
It's no coincidence that so many of our favourite picnic areas are by water, but at Wray Castle you have lots of choices! You'll find picnic benches outside the Mock-Gothic castle itself, with fabulous views across fields to the hills. There are also further benches overlooking the stone pathway down to the lake. Although there aren't any seats by the lake itself, one of our favourite things is to take a rug and choose a spot along the expanse of grass and small stone beaches - it's so relaxing to listen to the peaceful sound of water lapping against the shore while you eat!
7. Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick
Set against a dramatic mountain backdrop, the Castlerigg Stone Circle makes the perfect spot for a stop-off and picnic. The light here is never the same two days (or even two hours) running, and Castlerigg is one of Britain's earliest stone circles, dating back to around 3000BC! There is car parking at the stone circle, or you could stop off here on one of the many walks in the area.
Take a look at our cottages in Keswick.
8. Brandlehow, Derwentwater
On the western shore of Derwentwater, Brandlehow Park is recognised as the birthplace of the National Trust in the Lake District, and was purchased at the beginning of the 1900s with money raised through public subscription. The beaches along this edge of Derwentwater make the perfect destination for a lakeside feast, and the best (and a really fun) way to access this area is by boat using the Keswick Launch! There are otters around, but you'll need to be quiet and very patient to be in with a chance of seeing them!
View our properties in and around Keswick.
9. Fell Foot Park, near Newby Bridge
At the southern end of Lake Windermere, Fell Foot Park is a fantastic place to take a family lunch, whilst having all the facilities you might need close at hand. Settle down to a delicious picnic on the park's grassy slopes, enjoy a paddle at the lake's edge, or hire a rowing boat if you're feeling particularly energetic! You can relax while children go wild on Fell Foot's adventure playground, and there's a café on site if you forget anything! The pay-and-display car park is free to National Trust members.
Take a look at our cottages in the Windermere area.
10. Giggle Alley, Eskdale
If you're near the village of Eskdale Green, you should take some time to explore the small Forestry Commission woodland, Giggle Alley. At the heart of the woodland you'll find the fascinating remains of a Japanese Garden, which was created by Thomas Mawson's designers in 1914 and is gradually undergoing restoration. Its series of pools are surrounded by bamboo, magnolia and maples, and there are lots of great spots in which to enjoy a family picnic, followed by a woodland game or two of hide and seek!
Take a look at our cottages in Eskdale.
We hope you've been inspired by our family picnic suggestions, and love to see your photos - why not share pictures of your favourite picnic spots with us over on Twitter and Facebook!? To find the perfect cottage from which to begin your Lake District adventure, take a look at our online search facility.
Staying on a food theme, you may also like:
- 12 Lake District walks with tearooms
- 9 Favourite Lake District Pub Walks
- Top 20 dog-friendly pubs in the Lake District
- The food lover's guide to the Lake District