TOP 10 picturesque picnic spots …
Aira Force, Ullswater
One of the most famous and largest Lake District waterfalls is surrounded by truly beautiful scenery. The spectacular falls offer a beautiful backdrop in which to have a picnic and relax. By wandering around the falls and surrounding woodland, you could find yourself treading in the footsteps of William Wordsworth, who penned the famous poem ‘Daffodils’ after walking along this part of Ullswater.
Catbells and Ashness Bridge, Keswick
Either of these two vantage points boasts breathtaking views looking down on the natural beauty of fell-flanked Derwentwater. Catbells is a popular family walk, which is not too difficult a climb to reach the top, and once there the views down to Derwent Water and beyond are matchless. Much of the lake is fringed with trees that form a blanket of golds and reds in the autumn. But for those who want to give their legs a rest, you can also get a great view by driving up to Ashness Bridge on the other side of the lake.
Tarn Hows, Coniston
Nestling on the route between the pretty Lakeland villages of Coniston and Hawkshead is Tarn Hows – a hot favourite with visitors. This beauty spot is surrounded by thick, enchanting woodland and is overlooked by the dramatic Langdale Pikes and the infamous Helvellyn. Beatrix Potter bought Tarn Hows as part of the Monk Coniston estate in 1929 before selling it onto the National Trust. Choose the right time to visit and you can experience a true haven of Lakeland tranquillity.
Loughrigg Tarn, Elterwater
Loughrigg Tarn is a fantastic spot, which is undoubtedly one of Cumbria’s hidden treasures. It gives you a feeling of being ‘on top of the world’ with tremendous views of miles of rolling fells across to the rugged beauty of the Langdale Pikes. The serene tarn has magnificent clear blue water, which during the summer months is adorned with beautiful water lilies. Wordsworth gave Loughrigg Tarn the nickname of ‘Diana’s Looking Glass’ after Lake Nemi, (the mirror of Diana), in Rome’s Alban hills.
Gummer’s How, Windermere
There can be few places as perfect for an atmospheric autumn walk and to watch the evening sun set than Gummer’s How near Windermere. The views sweeping north across Lake Windermere are amazing, especially at this time of year when a kaleidoscope of colours bursts out of the rich Lakeland vegetation surrounding the Lake.
Talkin Tarn Country Park, near Brampton
Talkin Tarn Country Park is situated just a few miles from the bustling city of Carlisle, and its 120 acres offers a welcome escape from the demands of city life. The park’s centrepiece is Talkin Tarn, and you can walk along the quiet waters edge, and amongst the fallen leaves. As well as the immense natural beauty on offer, the surrounding woodlands of Talkin Tarn Country Park are a perfect place to catch a glimpse of the ever-elusive red squirrels.
Birdoswald Roman Fort, Hadrian’s Wall
Birdoswald Roman Fort is considered to be one of the most picturesque settings along the 73 mile-long Hadrian’s Wall. Standing in a commanding position, high above the River Irthing, a Roman fort, turret and milecastle can all be seen from this excellent viewpoint.
Stott Park & High Dam Tarn, near Newby Bridge
High Dam Tarn at Finsthwaite near Newby Bridge epitomises a true Lakeland beauty spot. In fact, Alfred Wainwright once referred to this very spot as “a much nicer place than the over-populated Tarn Hows”, but we’ll let you be the judge of that! The views from Finsthwaite are delightful; from Lakeside and Newby Bridge over to Gummers How, and High Dam Tarn is quite simply the jewel in the crown. The tarn was once used to turn the water wheels at nearby Stott Park Bobbin Mill. Enjoy a picnic on the grass at many of the enclosed spots next to the tarn or stop half way around at the most elevated part of the walk and take advantage of the bench looking toward Windermere.
Ruskin’s View, Kirkby Lonsdale
Another one in the running for one of England’s best views is Ruskin’s View in Kirkby Lonsdale. This enchanting spot, looking across the River Lune from the town’s churchyard, was considered so beautiful that it has been forever commemorated in a famous painting by Turner. John Ruskin, so inspired by Turner’s painting was also known to have said that it is ‘one of the loveliest scenes in England’.
Orrest Head, Windermere
The first walk the famous walking guide’s author Alfred Wainwright ever did in the Lake District was Orrest Head, which starts just yards from Windermere Railway station. Wainwright was so impressed, he went onto explore pretty much every summit of the Lake District, writing seven pictorial guides to walking the Lakes. The path up to Orrest Head has changed since Wainwright’s first steps back in 1930, having been asphalted in places so that those in wheelchairs or buggies can reach certain vantage points peering down on Lake Windermere. What have not changed are the views. It’s a meandering 783ft all the way to the top with plenty of seats to rest and signposts pointing the way round every corner.