|A drive along the main Lake District artery from Ambleside to Keswick which then returns via Ullswater and Kirkstone Pass. Several lakes are visited and there is a Wordsworth theme including a number of locations associated with the famous poet.|
|Central Lakes Drives||Home|
|Summary of main attractions on route (click on name for detail)|
|Distance||Attraction||Car Park Coordinates|
|0 miles||Ambleside||N 54.43406, W 2.96411|
|1.3 miles||Rydal Mount||N 54.44873, W 2.98172|
|2.5 miles||White Moss Common||N 54.44993, W 3.00340|
|3.7 miles||Dove Cottage||N 54.45370, W 3.01670|
|4.0 miles||Grasmere Village||N 54.45608, W 3.02015|
|8.3 miles||Wythburn Church||N 54.51208, W 3.04471|
|10.8 miles||Station Coppice viewpoint||N 54.54360, W 3.05935|
|12.6 miles||Legburthwaite picnic site||N 54.56584, W 3.05555|
|14.0 miles||Thirlmere Dam||N 54.56096, W 3.06968|
|20.0 miles||Keswick||N 54.59936, W 3.13758|
|22.1 miles||Castlerigg Stone Circle||N 54.60376, W 3.09811|
|34.6 miles||Aira Force||N 54.57142, W 2.92862|
|35.9 miles||Glencoyne, Ullswater||N 54.56140, W 2.94969|
|37.2 miles||Glenridding||N 54.54397, W 2.94965|
|40.4 miles||Brothers Water||N 54.51243, W 2.92396|
|44.1 miles||Kirkstone Pass||N 54.46445, W 2.92542|
|47.1 miles||Ambleside||N 54.43406, W 2.96411|
Distance: 0 miles Location: Ambleside, Rydal Road car park Coordinates: N 54.43406, W 2.96411
|Bridge House, Ambleside|
Travelling:Turn left out of Rydal Road car park on the A591 towards Keswick. Ambleside is soon left behind and open country beckons. The first open fields to the right are Rydal Park where Ambleside Sports event is held every year on the last Thursday in July. The fells above Rydal Park form part of the Fairfield Horseshoe, an epic mountain walk, and across the valley to the left is the popular Loughrigg Fell. Shortly, follow the River Rothay on the left and enter Rydal village. Take the minor right turn to Rydal Mount car park which is at the top of the hill on the left.
Distance: 1.3 miles Location: Rydal Mount and Gardens Coordinates: N 54.44873, W 2.98172
Across the lane from the house is the historic Rydal Hall which is now a Christian conference centre. You are free to wonder around the lovely gardens (donation box included) and there is a cafe, open daily all year. Further down the lane is St Mary's Church which has a pleasant churchyard and behind that is Dora's field which was owned by the Wordsworth's and is a mass of daffodils and then bluebells in the spring.
Travelling:Return to the A591 and turn right to continue through Rydal, passing the Glen Rothay Hotel and Badger Bar on the right. The winding road now follows the picturesque shores of Rydal Water on the left. Just after Rydal Water on the left is White Moss Common car park.
Distance: 2.5 miles Location: White Moss Common car park Coordinates: N 54.44993, W 3.00340
|White Moss Common|
Travelling:Turn left out of the car park and continue along the A591 which meanders through a short wooded section, then along the shore of Grasmere lake before reaching the outskirts of Grasmere village. Dove Cottage car park is then a short distance on the right, opposite the imposing Daffodil Hotel.
Distance: 3.7 miles Location: Dove Cottage and Wordsworth Museum Coordinates: N 54.45370, W 3.01670
Travelling:Turn right out of Dove Cottage car park (A591) and after approx 150m, turn left at the mini-roundabout towards Grasmere village centre. Stock Lane car park is 200m on the right.
Distance: 4.0 miles Location: Grasmere Village, Stock Lane car park Coordinates: N 54.45608, W 3.02015
Grasmere Sports event is held annually in late August and is a good place to see various traditional sports events. There are some nice walks along the river and to the lake where rowing boats can be hired. Slightly outside the village, overlooking the lake is Allan Bank, another former home of William Wordsworth, now open to the public. The pay and display car park also has seasonal toilet facilities.
Travelling:Turn right out of the car park to travel through the village of Grasmere. Beyond the village, meet a T junction and turn left on the A591 towards Keswick. Ahead to the left is Helm Crag and from this point you can see why the peak is often called 'The Lion and the Lamb' due to the appearance of the rocks at the southern end of the top. Soon pass The Traveller’s Rest Inn on the right and beyond this the ascent up Dunmail Raise begins, a steady climb on a good wide road. The summit of the road is at 238m and if you want a reduced walk up Fairfield or Helvellyn mountains this is a good place to start from. Once over the road summit, Thirlmere Reservoir can soon be seen in the distance. As the road levels out at the bottom of the descent, pass a left turn which is the minor western shore road and continue approx 0.3 miles to take a minor turn for Wythburn car park on the right.
Distance: 8.3 miles Location: Wythburn Church Coordinates: N 54.51208, W 3.04471
Travelling:Leave the car park and turn right on the main A591 which continues along the picturesque shore of Thirlmere Reservoir. This road was devastated by Storm Desmond in December 2015, much of the road and surrounding drainage had to be rebuilt and the road was closed for several months. After almost 1 mile a small castle-like building with tower battlements can be seen on the lakeshore and this is where the water is abstracted to be sent on its way towards Manchester for water supply. Much of the area is owned by the water company including the surrounding forests. The slopes to the right are very steep all the way to the top of Helvellyn. The road continues along the lake for another 1.5 miles before Station Coppice car park is reached on the left.
Distance: 10.8 miles Location: Station Coppice car park and viewpoint Coordinates: N 54.54360, W 3.05935
|Station Coppice Viewpoint|
Travelling:Continue along the A591 towards Keswick and there are some lovely views down the valley of St John's in the Vale and of Blencathra mountain in the distance. Soon pass The Kings Head Hotel on the right and shortly after this take the right turn which is the B5322, St John's in the Vale road. After approx 0.4 miles, Legburthwaite car park is on the left.
Distance: 12.6 miles Location: Legburthwaite picnic site Coordinates: N 54.56584, W 3.05555
|Legburthwaite picnic site|
Travelling:Leave the car park and turn right to retrace your steps on the B5322. At the T junction with the main A591, turn right towards Keswick. After approx 0.4 miles, turn left on the minor road and in another 0.4 miles the road starts along the top of Thirlmere dam.
Distance: 14.0 miles Location: Thirlmere Dam Coordinates: N 54.56096, W 3.06968
|Thirlmere from the dam|
Travelling:Turn right at the road junction beyond the dam and continue to the A591 T junction where you turn left towards Keswick. After a short drive, the road climbs and over the top there are good views ahead towards Skiddaw mountain and Bassenthwaite Lake. The road then descends towards Keswick. Follow the main road which becomes the A5271 and runs alongside the River Greta towards the town centre. After a couple of sharp bends there is a mini-roundabout where you turn left on the B5289. Follow this for approx 0.3 miles until you reach Keswick Central car park on the left.
Distance: 20.0 miles Location: Keswick, Central car park Coordinates: N 54.59936, W 3.13758
|Keswick town centre|
A little way out of the town centre, the lakeside area on Derwent Water is always popular and you can explore the lake either by boat or the footpath which runs right around the lake. The Keswick launch is the best way to take in the lake and its surroundings. There are regular boats (less in winter) which stop here and at several beauty spots around the lake. It is definitely worth walking the short distance to Friar’s Crag which offers beautiful views down the lake. Crow Park, opposite Lakeside car park, has a lovely open setting next to the lake where you can watch the boats come and go, again with great views. Between Crow Park and the town centre is Hope Park which has attractive landscaped grounds and miniature golf. There is a cafe, toilet facilities and the popular Theatre by the Lake which has its own facilities. Central and Lakeside car parks are pay and display.
Travelling:Turn right out of the car park on the B5289, then right at the mini-roundabout to retrace the route back out of Keswick on the A5271 alongside the River Greta. Soon after the road leaves the river and begins to climb, take the left turn which is the main A591 towards the A66. After only 50m, turn right towards Castlerigg Stone Circle which is a further 0.7 miles uphill on the right.
Distance: 22.1 miles Location: Castlerigg Stone Circle Coordinates: N 54.60376, W 3.09811
|Castlerigg Stone Circle|
Travelling:From the stone circle, continue eastwards along the minor road, passing Keswick Climbing Wall. After approx 0.6 miles there is a T junction where you turn right and after a further 0.3 miles is another T junction where you turn right again. There are some good views ahead towards Blencathra mountain and right towards St John’s in the Vale valley. In just over 1 mile the minor road joins the busy A66 and you turn right towards Penrith. The road soon passes the village of Threlkeld and beneath the lofty heights of Blencathra mountain to the left.
After approx 5 miles, turn right on the A5091 towards Ullswater. Immediately pass the Troutbeck Inn on the left and continue along the very pleasant upland road for another 4 miles to Dockray village and The Royal Hotel on the right. Beyond Dockray the road soon starts to descend towards Ullswater and you pass Park Brow National Trust car park on the left which actually provides the shortest walk to Aira Force waterfall. For the main Aira Force car park, continue to descend with some fabulous views up Ullswater before reaching a T junction with the A592 Ullswater shore road. Turn left and Aira Force car park is almost immediately on the left.
Distance: 34.6 miles Location: Aira Force waterfall Coordinates: N 54.57142, W 2.92862
|Aira Force waterfall|
Travelling:Leave Aira Force car park and turn right on the A592 lakeshore road towards Glenridding. Continue along the beautiful road for approx 1 mile to Glencoyne car park on the right.
Distance: 35.9 miles Location: Glencoyne, Ullswater Coordinates: N 54.56140, W 2.94969
|Daffodils at Glencoyne|
Travelling:Leave Glencoyne car park and turn right on the A592. It can be difficult to negotiate the narrow lakeshore road given the fabulous views but there are a few places where you can stop and admire the scenery. After approx 1 mile, enter Glenridding village. Pass 'The Inn on the Lake' on the left and take the first right turn just beyond. The village car park is straight ahead.
Distance: 37.2 miles Location: Glenridding Village car park Coordinates: N 54.54397, W 2.94965
A short walk from the village leads to the shores of Ullswater lake. A car park is also available at Glenridding pier. This is a picturesque parkland area with a large expanse of open grass next to the lake. The impressive scenery makes this a wonderful setting and it is well worth taking a boat trip on the lake to fully appreciate the beauty of the area. Ullswater steamers operate from the adjacent pier (reduced service out of season) and they call at Aira Force, Howtown and Pooley Bridge down the lake. The pier car park is pay and display with a small cafe and toilet facilities in the steamer building. Across the grass from the pier, adjacent to the lake and the main road, is St Patrick's boat landing where you can hire boats and bikes and there is a small snack bar.
Travelling:Turn right on the A592 which soon leaves the village, passes the end of the lake and enters the adjacent village of Patterdale. The Patterdale Hotel has a good looking beer garden on the right, the White Lion pub is just beyond on the left with the village shop just beyond that on the right. Continue on the very scenic road surrounded by mountains for approx 2 miles until you reach a small car park on the right adjacent to Cow Bridge.
Distance: 40.4 miles Location: Cow Bridge car park and Brothers Water Coordinates: N 54.51243, W 2.92396
Travelling:Turn right out of the car park to continue along the A592 which soon follows the eastern shore of Brothers Water and gives some magnificent views of the surrounding hills. Shortly after the lake on the right is the Brotherswater Inn. Beyond this you soon begin to see the full extent of the climb up Kirkstone Pass ahead. Although quite steep and twisty it is a relatively good and wide road, quite easy in a car. As you approach the summit there are a couple of layby's from where you can admire the view back towards Brothers Water. Kirkstone Pass car park is just beyond the summit on the right.
Distance: 44.1 miles Location: Kirkstone Pass Coordinates: N 54.46445, W 2.92542
|Kirkstone Pass towards Brothers Water|
Travelling:In a straight line, Ambleside is not far away but requires a lot of descent. The shortest route leaves the A592 just beyond the summit car park on the right. However, as its name 'The Struggle' suggests, this minor road can be a bit challenging as it is narrow, winding and steep in places. If you don’t fancy that, there is an easier alternative to carry on the A592 all the way to the mini-roundabout at Troutbeck and return to Ambleside along the A591 Windermere shore road. If you take 'The Struggle' road it continues for almost 3 miles and eventually arrives in Ambleside at the mini-roundabout adjacent to Rydal Road car park.
Distance: 47.1 miles Location: Ambleside, Rydal Road car park Coordinates: N 54.43406, W 2.96411
|Kirkstone Pass summit|