Lake District Drives

The best drives and attractions within the Lake District and Cumbria

Elterwater & Langdale Lake District Drives describes a series of 16 wonderful driving routes which between them visit all the main lakes, towns, villages and attractions within the Lake District and also many just outside the National Park but still within Cumbria. The area has some of the best scenery and visitor attractions in the country and the routes are designed to take these in and provide great days out for all the family.

There are 15 local drives which are generally 30-50 miles in length and include the best attractions along the way. These drives can normally be done in a couple of hours without any significant stops, or extended with visits to any of the attractions on route. Additionally, the Ultimate Lake District Drive has been designed to take in the best scenery and attractions that the National Park has to offer in a single 126 mile circular route, ideal for those wanting to sample the whole area.

See below for more information on the drives, drive maps, attractions, route descriptions and sat nav.

The Drives

Gatesgarthdale, Buttermere

Webpage Drives

The 15 local drives are available as web versions via the links below.

Central Lakes Drives South Lakes & Cumbria Drives North Lakes & Cumbria Drives

PDF Drives

The 15 local drives are also available as individual PDF files which can be saved to your device so they are always accessible even without internet connection. The remote beauty of the Lake District & Cumbria means that many areas have no WiFi or phone signal. The documents have been carefully formatted and include map, pictures and links, all of which are normally missing from a regular 'Save as PDF'. The 15 PDF drives can be purchased for a small fee using the link below.

The Ultimate Drive

The ultimate drive around the English Lake District, including wonderful scenery and attractions throughout. The drive visits many popular towns, villages, lakes and valleys as it explores different corners of the National Park. An experience never to forget.

Drives Centres Map

Detailed route maps can be found in Route Description pages

The Attractions

Brantwood, SY Gondola, Coniston Old Man

The main attractions en route have brief descriptions and often a photograph. The attractions cover a variety of interests and although it would be a very long day to visit each one, there should be something for everyone and a few stops along the way will help maintain interest levels.

Attractions include; local towns and villages, historic buildings, museums, picnic sites, viewpoints, lake, river and coastal access areas, boat cruises and train rides. Facilities at each attraction are included such as toilets, shops, cafes and whether car parks are free or not (National Trust car parks are identified and are free for members). Some minor attractions are listed within the route description (Travelling) section as are refreshment stops including hotels, pubs, restuarants and cafes. Links to websites are included where available.

Map and listings of all attractions visited by Lake District Drives available via following link;

All attractions

Route Description & Sat Nav

Mardale Head, Haweswater

Each route description page has an interactive map showing the route and the attractions plus a brief description of the route between each attraction. The route description normally starts at a convenient centre and forms a clockwise loop thereby returning to the same centre. Of course you can start the route anywhere along the loop or do it in reverse although route descriptions and mileages would need adjusting. Also bear in mind that the mileage figures given are based on visiting every attraction along the way. If any attractions are bypassed, the total mileage is likely to be reduced.

In addition, for those with sat nav devices, the attraction description includes the Northing and Easting coordinates for the entrance which can be input to your sat nav device for stress free navigation. Due to the quirks of sat nav route finding, no guarantee can be given that the sat nav route will be the same as the route described, especially if not all attractions are visited.

Each route description page has the facility to download the sat nav coordinates for the attractions as Points Of Interest (POI) files. POI files are included for the most common formats; Garmin (csv), TomTom (ov2) & Google Earth (kml). Your device instructions should explain how to upload the relevant file. Other file formats can be created from these files using a suitable POI converter tool, for example here.

You can download attraction POI coordinates for all 15 local drives using the link below. The zip file contains the different POI file formats;

The Blame

This website has been produced by Martin Wilson, a local lad with a passion for exploring the Lake District. A great deal of time and effort has been spent researching the information given. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, the author accepts no liability for any errors which may occur.

Roads can be affected by roadworks or made hazardous by wet or wintry weather. Opening times of attractions will often vary depending on the season and facilities such as toilets may be subject to closure overnight and out of season.

If you have any questions or comments please email

Happy driving!