Lake District Attractions
North West Lakes

Featuring the best attractions in the Lake District and Cumbria including public transport connections between them

Rannerdale, Crummock Water
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The Lake District and Cumbria are home to some of the best scenery and visitor attractions in the country. In the North West Lakes, these are all within easy reach from the popular tourist centre of Keswick and include beautiful Borrowdale valley, Derwent Water, Buttermere, Bassenthwaite Lake, scenic forests, pretty villages and and some impressive mountain passes linking them all.

There are various bus and boat services through the area which will transport you to all of the popular attractions described below. Each attraction includes a brief description, photograph, link to website (where available) and any facilities such as shops, cafes and toilets. Public transport services that stop nearby (within 1 mile) are listed and the location of each stop in relation to the attraction is described. Further information on each transport service, including timetable, approximate route and other attractions visited on route, can be found by following the mode link.

Attractions - North West Lakes

Towns & villages


Keswick Town Centre Keswick is a popular and pretty tourist town nestled between Derwent Water and Skiddaw mountain. There are plenty of attractions for visitors including the Pencil Museum, Keswick Museum and The Puzzling Place. The town has some lovely public park areas which provide peace and quiet away from the often bustling town centre. The main feature of the pedestrianised town centre is the old Moot Hall which now houses the Tourist Information Centre. There are abundant shops, outdoor specialists, cafes, pubs and restaurants.

All buses stop at the main bus station in the town centre. The Keswick launch pier is approx 0.5 miles walk from the town centre.

73, 77, 77A, 78, 208, 554, 571, 555, 888, X4, X5 Keswick launch


Buttermere village A pleasant little village in an awesome setting surrounded by high mountains and picturesque lakes. Not much to see in the village itself but there are a couple of notable hostelries, namely the Fish Inn and the Bridge Hotel plus a couple of cafes. Popular footpaths lead up surrounding mountains but for something flatter and easier it is well worth taking the half mile walk to either Buttermere lake or Crummock Water if only to admire the views. There are more substantial walks around either lake which are also excellent.

Buses stop in the village centre, outside the Fish Inn.

77, 77A

Grange in Borrowdale

Grange in Borrowdale A pretty little village at the 'Jaws of Borrowdale' where the valley starts to become very narrow. An impressive double arched ancient bridge over the River Derwent leads to the village and the river is normally clear and shallow making it ideal for a paddle. There are a couple of cafes in the village, one overlooking the river. Toilet facilities in the village.

Buses stop on the B5289, across the river bridge from the village.

77, 77A, 78

Rosthwaite, Stonethwaite, Seatoller

Borrowdale from Castle Crag These three small, traditional and attractive villages are almost within sight of each other in the heart of the Borrowdale valley. This is great walking country and the three villages offer refreshments and accomodation and are worth some exploring.

Rosthwaite offers refreshments at the Flock-in tea room, the Royal Oak Hotel or the Scafell Hotel. A popular walk leads up nearby Castle Crag, a relatively short but steep climb, which offers magnificent views over Borrowdale and Derwent Water. Buses stop in the village centre and there are toilets at the main car park.

Stonethwaite is situated down a dead end minor road and offers refreshments at the Langstrath Country Inn. Buses stop on the B5289 at the junction of the Stonethwaite road leaving as walk of approx 0.5 miles.

Seatoller marks the end of the Borrowdale valley before the road climbs steeply up the Honister Pass. A good easy walk from here follows the minor road along the picturesque Seathwaite valley which is a popular starting point for many epic mountain walks. There are public toilets at the main car park. Buses stop at the entrance to the car park which is the terminus for the 78 bus.

77, 77A, 78

Lakes & Rivers

Keswick lakeside

Keswick lakeside A little way out of the town centre, this area next to 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 Friarís 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 is also here which has its own facilities. All buses stop at the main bus station in the town centre which is approx 0.5 miles walk.

73, 77, 77A, 78, 554, 555, 888, X4, X5 Keswick launch

Calfclose Bay

Calfclose Bay sculpture The picturesque Calfclose Bay has open shingle beaches with attractive views across Derwent Water towards Catbells hill and beyond. At the northern side of the bay is the unusual Centenary Stone sculpture on the shore which was placed there in 1995 to commemorate 100 years of the National Trust in the Lake District. Just beyond that is a small headland with a well placed seat to appreciate the views. A good footpath leads through the trees following the shoreline in both directions. If you follow it northwards, it eventually leads back to Keswick. Across the road from Calfclose Bay there are also good footpaths around Great Wood and they lead on up to Walla Crag high above if you are feeling fit. No facilities in the area.

Buses stop nearby on the B5289 road.


Ashness Bridge & Surprise View

Ashness Bridge Ashness Bridge is a famous old packhorse bridge in a picturesque location. There is an open riverbank area upstream from where you can admire one of the most photographed views in the Lake District with the beautiful backdrop of Derwent Water and Skiddaw. No facilities in the area.

The bridge is located approx 0.5 miles up the Watendlath road from the B5289 and Derwent Water. There is no public transport up the Watendlath road but you can catch a bus or a boat to this road junction (Ashness Gate) from where you will need to walk up the hill.

Approx 0.5 miles beyond Ashness Bridge, further up the Watendlath road, you will come across Surprise View which is a wonderful viewpoint overlooking Derwent Water and its surroundings. The surprise might be that Derwent Water is hidden from the road by trees until you reach this point so the view is quite unexpected. Again no facilites.

78 Keswick launch


Lodore Falls Lodore is a pleasant area centered around the grand Lodore Falls Hotel. Behind the hotel a short path leads to the well known but well hidden Lodore Falls waterfall. The attractive falls are where Watendlath Beck cascades down to the lake from the high valley above. In front of the hotel, a footpath leads down to the picturesque Derwent Water shore and Lodore jetty where the boats stop. On the roadside just beyond the hotel are public toilets. Refreshments are available in the hotel.

Buses stop in front of the hotel.

78 Keswick launch


Buttermere lake Buttermere is a fabulous small lake surrounded by high mountains and wonderful scenery. The footpath around the lake must be one of the best low level walks in the Lake District. The lake is only a short walk from Buttermere village at the northern end or from Gatesgarth Farm at the southern end.

Buses stop at Buttermere village and Gatesgarth Farm.

77, 77A

Crummock Water

Crummock Water Similar to Buttermere lake, Crummock Water is a wonderfully attractive and relatively peaceful lake surrounded by impressive mountains and no discernible development near the shore. The lake is approx 0.5 miles walk from Buttermere village or you can access it from Rannerdale. There is a lovely footpath around the lake which is quite a lengthy walk.

Rannerdale valley adjacent to the lake is also picturesque and worth exploring particularly every April and May when the famous bluebells fill the open valley and provide an incredible sight. Above the valley is Rannerdale Knotts, a relatively small summit with wonderful views over Buttermere, Crummock Water and towards Loweswater.

Buses stop at Buttermere village and Rannerdale.

77, 77A

Historic places

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle Castlerigg stone circle is one of the oldest, most famous and most impressive prehistoric stone circles in the country. It is thought to date from around 3000BC and remains in good condition. The high open setting certainly enhances the experience, with fantastic 360 degree panoramic views including the Thirlmere valley and many notable mountains such as Helvellyn, Skiddaw and Blencathra. Free entry but no facilities.

208 & X4/X5 buses stop at Eleventrees road on the eastern outskirts of Keswick, leaving approx 0.7 mile walk, mostly uphill. The 555 bus stops on the main A591 at Castle Lane, leaving a pleasant level walk of approx 0.6 miles along Castle Lane.

208, 555, X4, X5


Mirehouse Mirehouse is an historic manor house built in 1688 and owned by the same family since 1802. The house has been extended and renovated and although still largely a private residence, the ground floor is sometimes open to the public. There is an interesting collection of furniture, antiques and manuscripts from eminent writers once connected with the owners. The accompanying live piano music helps enhance the experience.

Outside the house are some attractive grounds extending to the shores of nearby Bassenthwaite Lake. There are a number of different attractions including a walled garden and various adventure playgrounds for the children. A footpath runs through woods along the peaceful lakeshore and you can also visit the tiny St Begaís Church overlooking the lake. The house is open from Easter to October but only on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday afternoons. The grounds are open daily from March to October. Admission fee applies to both. Toilets and The Old Sawmill Tearoom can be found in Dodd Wood car park across the A591.

Buses stop on the A591 outside the main entrance.

73, 554, X4

Other places

The Bowder Stone

The Bowder Stone A very impressive and famous glacial erratic stone which seems to defy gravity perched on its edge. The stone is about 30 feet high and estimated to be 2000 tons in weight. Steep steps lead to the top for the daring. The stone is approx 0.3 miles walk from the bus stop along a reasonably well made path with some ups and downs.

The bus stop is on the B5289 adjacent to the car park where there are a few pleasant picnic tables dotted around but no other facilities.

77, 77A, 78

Honister Pass

Honister slate mine from Honister Pass summit Apart from the wonderful scenery, the highlight of Honister Pass summit area is the Honister Slate Mine. This famous old mine is still producing slate today and has plenty to offer visitors. There is a visitor centre, gift shop, showroom, cafe and various activities including mine tours and adventure climbing experiences. Entrance is free but there is a charge for the activities. The mine is open all year apart from early January. The summit area also has a Youth Hostel and is a good place to start walks up the surrounding hills. No other facilities.

Buses stop near the slate mine entrance.

77, 77A

Whinlatter Forest

Whinlatter Forest Whinlatter is an attractive forest in the hills overlooking Keswick, Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite lake. There are plenty of activities for visitors, including many walking and cycling trails through the forest offering some fabulous views inbetween the trees. There are some good single track trails for the more adventurous mountain bikers and a Go Ape experience through the tree tops. Many walking and cycling trails lead from the visitor centre up the surrounding hills. More information can be found at the visitor centre where there is also a cafe, mountain bike hire shop and toilet facilities. These are open daily all year except 25/26 December.

Buses stop outside the entrance to the visitor centre.

77, 77A

Dodd Wood

Dodd Wood

Part of the Mirehouse estate and now managed by the Forestry Commission, Dodd Wood provides some lovely forest walks on the slopes of Dodd Fell. There are some fabulous views over Bassenthwaite Lake and the Derwent valley which only improve as you get above the trees and towards the summit of Dodd Fell at 500m. The wood became popular in 2001 when the first Ospreys to breed in England for over 150 years nested in the area and it became the best place to view them. There are two viewing areas in the woods, the lower one approx 15 minute uphill walk from the car park and the upper one approx 20 minutes walk beyond that. There are telescopes and volunteers to help you spot the magnificent birds who are normally in residence between April and September before heading to Africa for the winter.

Toilets and The Old Sawmill Tearoom can be found in the main car park.

Buses stop on the A591 at the main car park.

73, 554, X4

Lake District Wildlife Park

Lake District Wildlife Park, 
Bird of Prey flying display

The only wildlife park in north Cumbria, Lake District Wildlife Park is a popular but quite well hidden attraction to the north of Bassenthwaite Lake. The Park is home to over 100 different species, mostly the less dangerous varieties such as zebras, monkeys, meerkats and birds of prey. The open site is well laid out making it easy to see and interact with the different animals. There are a number of interesting talks and displays where you can get close to many of the animals. Keeper experiences are also available if you want to get even closer. There is a cafe, shop, picnic areas and toilets on site. Admission fee applies. Open daily all year.

Bus X4 stops on the B5291, approx 0.3 miles walk. Buses 73 & 554 stop on the A591 at the Castle Inn, approx 0.7 miles walk.

73, 554, X4

The Lakes Distillery

The Lakes Distillery

Opened in 2014, The Lakes Distillery is a relatively new and unique Lake District attraction and one of only a few distilleryís in England. The distillery produces its own popular whisky, vodka and gin and you can buy these in the shop on site. You can pay to take an interesting tour around the distillery which ends in tasting the local spirits. Outside there are Alpacas to see and you can wander down to the nearby River Derwent which provides water for the distillery. The Bistro on site provides a good choice of food and drink. Open daily.

Buses stop near the entrance.