“So, where is good for camping in Cumbria?”
It’s a question I’ve been asked twice already this week from couples hiring our VW Campervan, and I thought it would make a great subject for my first ever blog post.
It’s an inspiring day for writing about this beautiful corner of England. It is one of those picture-perfect blue sky days, where the tops of the fells are kissed with a scattering of snow but the birdsong and teeniest bit of warmth from the glorious sunshine give you a buzz of Spring.
Anyway, enough of my romanticism. Here’s are five of my favourite campsites in the Lake District (in no particular order).
Enjoy a Quiet Pint at ‘The Quiet Site’ Ullswater
Nestled on the fellside in Watermillock, overlooking the dramatic landscape of Ullswater, The Quiet Site is a well-kept terraced site offering spectacular views and a feeling of remoteness. Yet, with less than a six-mile drive from the busy market town of Penrith and the M6 motorway junction, it is incredibly accessible. There are two reasons we return to The Quiet Site time and time again. The first, “The Quiet Bar” is a quirky onsite pub housed in an old converted agricultural barn dating back to the 1700s. It’s a unique place to enjoy local ales while sitting next to the roaring fire and relaxing after a day exploring. The second reason for our return visits is an 8-mile circular walk from the site’s entrance. The trail leads you along a fellside path with spectacular views over Ullswater, via the nearby village of Dockray and then drops down to Aira Force where you can take in the thrilling force of the waterfalls (most impressive after plenty of rain) before commencing the climb back up.
Location, location, location at the Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Keswick
Okay, it is not rural, in fact, this is one of my favourite campsites for convenience. You’ll find the campground only a five-minute walk from the centre of Keswick, one of the Lake District’s most visited market towns. This makes it a fantastic choice if you enjoy meals out, coffee shop stops and theatre performances, or if you just love browsing the many independent shops and local weekly market. With all this convenience, you could be forgiven for thinking it may lack the picturesque environment and views that you’re yearning for, but you’d be wrong! Its location, right on the shores of Derwentwater, provides magnificent views down the Lake towards Borrowdale and the Honister Pass. Walking and cycling options abound, and the nearby valleys of Borrowdale and Newlands offer much to discover.
Enjoy lakeside family fun at Low Wray National Trust Campsite, Ambleside
Tucked away on the far side of Windermere, England’s largest natural lake, Low Wray campsite enjoys a water’s edge position and offers excellent opportunities for water sports. There are various accommodation options on the site which are scattered throughout the forest, giving everyone space and a feeling of camping in the wild. Electric hook-up is rare, so you have to be prepared to do without, however, if you can cope with that, I’m sure you will fall in love with the place the moment you arrive. And if like us, you have little ones, you will enjoy the gentle stroll along the shoreline to the National Trust property of Wray Castle. Every room is devoted to offering kids hands-on fun while showcasing the area’s other attractions. On a sunny day, the lakeside grounds and adventure playground are perfect for letting off steam. Oh, and did I mention the pizza? Throughout summer, the campsite’s outdoor pizza oven serves up great tasting wood-fired pizzas which you simply won’t be able to resist (or at least we never can).
Bask in the unspoilt simplicity of Waterside House Campsite, Ullswater
Waterside House is the first campsite I ever stayed, so it holds a magical place in my heart. It’s more modest in style than its neighbouring holiday parks, however, for me, that just adds to its appeal. Found on a working farm on the edge of Ullswater, just a mile’s walk from the cheerful Lakeland village of Pooley Bridge, this is a great destination for exploring the shoreline of what many believe to be ‘England’s most beautiful Lake’. Hop aboard an Ullswater Steamer from Pooley Bridge up to the top of the Lake at Glenridding, and you can walk the undulating footpath back along the far end of the Lake to Howtown and all the way back to the campsite. At points, you walk along the water’s edge, while other parts of the trail take you reasonably high to enjoy more aerial views of the valley. Just don’t do what we did the first time and start with the walk; we missed the last steamer back, making for a very long day (and seriously sore feet).
Discover a hidden gem at Eskdale Campsite, Boot
If you’re prepared to travel a little further into the Lake District National Park towards the West Coast, you will be rewarded with yet more dramatic scenery and fewer holiday-makers with which to share it. The area around Eskdale is lesser known to tourists and yet has so much to offer those who want to explore. Idyllic, well-planned Eskdale campsite is located down narrow country lanes in this quiet region which is a haven for walkers and cyclists. If you want to enjoy peace and solitude on your trip, this is certainly worthy of consideration. But don’t be fooled by its seemingly quiet pace of life; there are loads of things to see and do in this corner of Cumbria, and if a jam-packed schedule is what you’re after you’ll certainly find plenty to fill it.
So there you have it, 5 of my favourite haunts. However, with the variety of excellent campsites to choose from in Cumbria, I could have easily doubled this list.
Now, with the sun still beaming in through my open window, I’m tempted to declare it camping season and book a campsite or two for this weekend. But which to choose …?….Hmmmm!
Find out more about each of the campsites featured:
Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Keswick (Hire on of our campers and enjoy the benefit of the club’s privilege scheme)
Many thanks to the campsites for use of images from their website for this blog post.