When's the Best Time to Visit the Lake District?

20 Sep 2016

The Lakes is one of those places whose natural beauty is not overly dependent on decent weather. People will tell you that the best time to visit the Lake District is in spring or summer. And yes, it's hard to beat a ramble across the fells in the sun, when clear skies maximise the far-reaching views; but there's also something uniquely special about a cold, blustery day in the Lakes, with craggy hills towering above you, and the promise of a roaring fire at journey's end.  

There's a good reason writers, artists, poets and walkers have always flocked here to find inspiration.

The peak season runs from April to October, so consider a break outside this period if you want to see fewer people on your travels. July and August are beautiful but busy (busier, anyway), and you're likely to encounter a little traffic on the roads as well as the walking trails. The springtime landscape is dotted with daffodils and the autumn colours are spectacular. Crisp winter days can provide a revitalising retreat.

Bear in mind that the temperature drops one degree for every 150 metres you ascend so if you're hiking the hills, pack accordingly. The weather can change dramatically between December and April so before heading out consult the Lake District's dedicated forecast service called Weatherline, which records conditions from the top of Helvellyn.

Spring: See Wordsworth's golden daffodils and swathes of bluebells colour the landscape on a spring escape. You're likely to find a bargain in March before the Lakes peak season (April to October) kicks in. May is historically one of the driest months in Cumbria and it falls nicely between the Easter rush and the summer crowds.

Summer: Expect the sun to shine between June and August (temperatures can rise to 19°C) but prepare for rain as summer showers are common. The outdoor events line-up is in full swing during this time, from the Lakes Alive arts festival to Kendal Calling, a 3-celebration of indie music.

Autumn: As the crowds disperse, the beautiful autumn colours really come into focus. Check out the fantastic foliage with a trip in October when the average temperature is around 9°C.

Winter: Crisp air and snow-capped hills can make for an invigorating winter break. The low-lying fells see about 20 days per year of falling snow, but that rises to 67 days up on the mountain tops.

5 Hotels We Love in the Lake District

Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
Where: Bowness-on-Windermere
: Prime location in Bowness, overlooking Windermere. Home to a 2-AA-Rosette restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows, plus a 20-metre swimming pool and a spa. The hotel is close to many Lake District attractions - The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction is a 3-minute walk away.
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Lodore Falls Hotel
Keswick, Cumbria
Why: This family-owned hotel overlooking Derwentwater has an indoor pool and sauna, an AA-Rosette-awarded restaurant and (as the name suggests) a waterfall right in the grounds. There’s also an outdoor hot tub and free bike hire for guests, both of which come into their own in the warmer weather.
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Laura Ashley the Belsfield
Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Why: This listed Victorian property reopened in July 2014 after a multimillion-pound refurbishment and collaboration with Laura Ashley. There’s an indoor pool, a stylish cocktail bar, two restaurants and, as you can see, spectacular views over Windermere.
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The Ryebeck

Where: Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Why: A former Edwardian gentlemen’s residence set in five acres of landscaped grounds with sweeping views of Windermere. There’s also a 2-AA-Rosette restaurant on site, and Bowness and Ambleside are just up the road. Rooms have lake or garden views. 
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Wordsworth Hotel & Spa

Grasmere, Cumbria
Why: The village of Grasmere is about as idyllic a spot as you’ll find to usher in the spring months. This hotel is named after the poet William Wordsworth and sits next to another famous institution – the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. The northern tip of Lake Windermere is a 15-minute drive from the hotel. 
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Visit our UK Breaks & Hotels section for even more deals on Lake District hotels - many of our listed properties offer exclusive extras for Travelzoo members. To find the all the best ways to spend time in the area, check out our interactive guide, 101 Things to do in the Lake District.

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