Experience the magic of Northern England in the Lake District, a perfect spot for hiking, boating, and meeting new alpaca friends. An easy overnight trip from Manchester, you'll quickly fall in love with the raw beauty of England’s largest national park and its stunning vistas. Here's how to take in the pastoral sights and the shimmering lakes in just 48 hours.
CHART A COURSE
MANCHESTER, SALFORD M3 5LH, UNITED KINGDOM
The city of Manchester is called the "Gateway to Northern England," making it a great starting point for your road trip to the Lake District. We recommend renting a car and driving the two hours to Ullswater. You can also take a train from Manchester to Penrith and then taxi from Penrith to Ullswater. For the sake of embracing the natural beauty with as many photo stops as possible, we highly recommend the rental car option.
STRETCH YOUR LEGS
NEAR WATERMILLOCK, PENRITH, CUMBRIA CA11, UNITED KINGDOM
Take a walk on the wild side in Aira Force just outside Ullswater. The Aira Force and Gowbarrow trail looks like something out of a fairytale: dense forest, bright green ferns and trickling streams; this is a destination that could tickle your fancy for an hour or much longer. Though the trail can be difficult in some areas, it offers the most rewarding waterfall views.
ENJOY AN ESTATE LUNCH
THE LINGHOLM ESTATE, PORTINSCALE, KESWICK, CUMBRIA CA12 5TZ, UNITED KINGDOM
Settle into a traditional English lunch at The Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden. Set on the grounds of The Lingholm Estate, The Lingholm Kitchen believes a well-balanced lunch includes a soup and salad and plenty of small cakes for desserts. All breads and cakes are made in house — and we highly recommend you sample its Afternoon Tea spread, too.
ALPACA MY BAGS
THE LINGHOLM ESTATE, PORTINSCALE, KESWICK CA12 5TZ, UNITED KINGDOM
After lunch take a walk on the grounds with Milky Joe and Jasper, two cute members of a small herd of alpacas at Alpacaly Ever After. The group of alpacas call a private section of The Lingholm Estate home, and members of the public can book a walking session in advance to get to know them — and see the of the stunning estate. Walks last about 90 minutes and staff encourage you to take as many selfies as your heart desires along the way.
EARN YOUR STARS AT FOREST SIDE
THE FOREST SIDE HOTEL KESWICK ROAD, GRASMERE, CUMBRIA LA22 9RN, UNITED KINGDOM
This Michelin Star restaurant's menu is purposely designed to accentuate the natural beauty of the Lake District through its innovative, sometimes whimsical dishes. Inspired by his childhood in the western portion of the Lake District, Chef Kevin Tickle has designed a menu featuring locally sourced seasonal produce. To enjoy the full experience, pick from his six-course La'l 'Un or 10-course Grand 'Un tasting menus.
CLIMB HADRIAN'S WALL
BRAMPTON CA8 733, UNITED KINGDOM
A wall of epic proportions, Hadrian’s Wall is a UNESCO World Heritage site spanning some 80-plus miles of English countryside. Roman emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of this incredibly sprawling wall for militaristic defense purposes in AD 122. Today, the Wall is the best preserved and the best known frontier of the ancient Roman Empire and remains a beacon of the time's cultural significance. By the way, the wall inspired George RR Martin, author of Game of Thrones.
BEATRIX POTTER TEA ROOM, THE OLD LAUNDRY, CRAG BROW BOWNESS-ON-WINDERMERE LA23 3BX
Dive into the world of Peter Rabbit at the Beatrix Potter Tea Room for sandwiches, soup, cakes, and tea. This is more than just lunchtime – it’s a stroll down memory lane, and a nostalgic and informative look at the author and creator Beatrix Potter.
TEST YOUR SKILLS
UNIT 1 SUNSET HILL, KESWICK CA12 4RN, UNITED KINGDOM
Located on the edge of the Lake District in the town of Keswick, the Keswick Cookery School allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the cooking and baking techniques found throughout this corner of Northern England. Using fresh and locally-sourced ingredients, the chefs will guide you through the steps to create traditional dishes (often with a modern twist), giving you a souvenir — and a memory — that'll last long after your trip is over.
SUNSET AT HALLIN FELL
PENRITH CA10 2NF, UNITED KINGDOM
Work off your meal and experience another side of Ullswater with the Hallin Fell hike. This one is not strenuous and takes about 45 minutes to an hour, but you’ll probably want to stay a bit longer to take in the views. This is a great mountain, lake, and valley vista, giving you the opportunity to stop plenty of times to take in the surroundings and snap some pictures. If you time things right, try to be here for sunset.
RAISE A GLASS
HORSE AND FARRIER, DACRE, PENRITH, CUMBRIA CA11 0HL, UNITED KINGDOM
The Horse and Farrier pub has been a staple of the village of Dacre since the 1700s. The quaint establishment continues to serve wayward travelers its family-farmed, locally grown produce. For a proper English send-off, there's no place better.
HOW TO DO IT & WHERE TO STAY: HILLCREST22 GUESTHOUSE
THE HEADS, KESWICK, LAKE DISTRICT CA12 5ER, UNITED KINGDOM
You can fly nonstop to Manchester from Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, or Boston via Virgin Atlantic. From there, it's an easy drive to the Lake District. Charmingly intimate, HillCrest22 Guesthouse has eight en-suite rooms overlooking Derwentwater and the "Wainwright's fells." Built back in 1887, the exterior of the building has remained virtually untouched. Inside, however, you'll find all the modern conveniences we all know and love alongside more simplistic, often antique pieces as a nod to its past. If you want to embrace the outdoors and the robust history of the area, this is the place to stay.