The Lake District is an idyllic destination for those who enjoy beautiful scenery, and everywhere you venture you’ll find scenic drives with plenty of places of interest to stop off at along the way. The Howbeck Guest House offers the perfect base – with some of the most spectacular drives in the Lake District to be found around Windermere and nearby Ambleside.
Here we’ve described two lovely drives from Windermere, one offering a relaxing half-day outing, and the other covering enough ground for a full day’s driving excursion.
A half-day circular route around Windermere and Coniston
For a relaxing drive past some lovely Lakeland scenery, this 40-mile route takes in Windermere, Bowness, Newby Bridge, Coniston, Hawkshead and Ambleside before returning to Windermere and the Howbeck Guest House. You could complete it in an hour and a half, but half a day will give you more time to take in your surroundings properly. Head south from Windermere passing Bowness and the elegant old residences lining the lake, continuing along the lake shore on the A592 to Newby Bridge. Here you could stop off at the Lakes Aquarium or take a ride on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway before carrying on along the A590 to Greenodd and Penny Bridge where you’ll spot the turning off the main road towards Coniston
and the A5084. Following the River Crake up to its source at the southern end of Coniston water, you’ll passing the village of Torver and enjoy a fantastic view of the Coniston fells before reaching the village of Coniston itself. Here you can visit Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin, then take the B5285 to the sweet little village of Hawkshead, which is widely considered one of the prettiest villages in the whole of the Lake District. Next, take the B5286 North to Ambleside, situated right in the heart of the Lake District, where you could enjoy some local fell walks before the easy ten-minute drive on the A591 back to Windermere and the Howbeck Guest House.
A full-day circular route from Windermere over the Kirkstone Pass
Packing in some of the region’s top highlights and some lesser-known spots, this 72-mile circular drive offers an enjoyable day’s motoring in the Lake District, taking in the Kirkstone Pass, Helvellyn, Ullswater and the peaceful Lyvennet Valley.
Starting on the shores of Lake Windermere at the Steamboat Museum (currently closed for redevelopment), you can admire the lake before heading up the A592 towards the 1,500ft Kirkstone Pass. If you’re a keen gardener, you could stop off en route at Holehird to explore the 17-acre hillside gardens, then carry on to the lovely conservation village of Troutbeck to visit the National Trust property of Townend, the former home of a Lakeland “statesman” (or yeoman) farmer, packed with the family’s possessions. Get a bite to eat at the popular Queen’s Head on the main road just beyond Troutbeck, then start climbing up and over the Kirkstone Pass, looking out for the many Lakeland dry stone walls and the amazing views, before dipping back down to Brotherswater. Once you’re driving alongside Ullswater the lake views are gorgeous, with Helvellyn towering above you. If you have enough time you could take a break at Glenridding for a ride on one of the old-fashioned Ullswater “Steamers” before carrying on through Pooley Bridge and Tirril. When you reach the junction with the A6, turn right and look out for the left turn towards Cliburn and Wetheriggs Country Pottery. Stop off at Wetheriggs, a working Victorian steam-powered pottery, then turn right in the centre of Cliburn. When you get to the centre of Morland, turn right onto Water Street heading to the pretty riverside village of Maulds Meaburn in the Lyvennet Valley, then carry on to the junction with the B6260, a little north of Orton before returning to Windermere via the A685 to Kendal, and then the A591.