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lake district roadtrips

The Lake District may be known for its spectacular walking routes, but it can also be enjoyed just as much by car. In fact, Lake District roadtrips will give you an excellent chance to see even more of the area. Here at Craig Manor, we’ve found some of the best roadtrips and circuits around the area so you can see even more of the Lakes and make the most out of your time in this truly beautiful part of the country.

The West Coast Road

Start: Silecroft  Finish: Silloth

Silecroft – Whitehaven – Workington – Maryport – Silloth

west coast road lake district

This leisurely road trip takes you around the west coast of the Lake District, winding your way through the seaside towns of Whitehaven, Maryport, and Workington before you reach the small port town of Silloth. Take a stop in Whitehaven and visit the marina before getting back on the road up to Workington and Maryport where you can find the Lake District Coast Aquarium. 

This coastal drive will give you a taste of just how beautiful the coastline around the Lake District can be. The route can be completed in less than two hours, but you may find that you want to spend a little longer so you can take in the fantastic views.


The Windermere Circuit

Start: Ambleside Finish: Ambleside

Waterhead – Brockhole Visitor Centre – Bowness on Windermere – Lakeside – Esthwaite Water – Hawkshead Village – Wray Castle – Waterhead

windermere circuit lake district

One of the best ways to see Lake Windermere is with a drive around the entire lake, allowing you to see some of the best bits of one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Starting off at Waterhead in Ambleside, you can make your way around the lake stopping off at key attractions and points where you can get the best views along the way.

The loop brings you back to Waterhead at Ambleside after just over 30 miles of driving. This short route means that you can really take your time and enjoy all the stops over the course of your drive.

You can also discover our guide on things to do in Ambleside.


The Eden Valley

Start: Penrith  Finish: Penrith

eden valley roadtrip

Penrith – Dalemain House & Gardens – Dacre Village – Greystoke Village – Hutton in the Forest – Lacy’s Caves – St. Michael’s Church – Long Meg Stone Circle – Acorn Bank – Brougham Castle – King Arthur’s Round Table – Mayburgh Henge – Penrith

There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view when you take a drive around the Eden Valley. This circuit route starts and ends at Penrith, hitting a number of attractions and points of interest along the way, from pretty villages to ruined castles.

This route is roughly 45 miles long and with so many stops, you can set aside a full day to really get the most out of this drive around the Eden Valley.


The Wrynose Pass

Start: Great Langdale  Finish: Eskdale

Great Langdale – Hard Knott – Eskdale Green

Wrynose pass lake district

Unlike some of these other driving routes, this road trip will not be a leisurely drive! Instead, you’ll get to see some of the spectacular views between Langdale and Eskdale along the Wrynose Pass. The route features steep inclines and some tough roads but you’ll reap the benefits with some incredible vistas.

If you drive straight through, you can do this trip in around an hour so you’ve got plenty of time to stop and get out of the car to really take in the beauty of the area.


The Cumbrian Circuit

Start: Kendal  Finish: Kendal

Kendal – Killington New Bridge – Sedbergh – Dent Village – Kirkby Lonsdale – Lakeland Wildlife Oasis – Arnside – Levens Hall – Sizergh Castle – Kendal

cumbrian circuit roadtrip

Head to the southeast of the Lakes and you’ll get to Kendal, the historic town from which you’ll start and end this drive. The route takes you around Cumbria, taking you right across to Sedbergh, down to Kirkby Lonsdale, back west to Arnside then back up to Kendal, with plenty of other stops in between. 

The route is roughly 55 miles, but with so many stops, including a trip to the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, this is one to set aside a whole day for. 


The Bay Drive

Start: Levens  Finish: Barrow-in-Furness

Levens – Grange-over-Sands – Flookburgh – Haverthwaite – Ulverston – South Lakes Zoo – Barrow-in-Furness

Bay Drive Lakes roadtrip

Take a coastal drive, looking over to Morecambe Bay on this route, ending at Barrow-in-Furness. Stop off at Grange-over-Sands to get some spectacular view across the bay, then treat yourself to a day at the South Lakes Zoo before ending your journey at Barrow-in-Furness, a coastal town which looks out across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man. 

The drive is only around 33 miles, but if you want to spend plenty of time at the South Lakes Zoo, it’s best to get an early start on this drive.


After a good day out, our hotel in Bowness on Windermere, is always ready to welcome you in to relax. Admire the view over Lake Windermere and the cosy authentic Cumbrian charm.