Touring by car | Lindeth Fell Country House Hotel
We've all sat in traffic jams and nobody likes it and the Lake District is no more or no less as bad as where you come from. It's all about knowing when to go and timing your drive to perfection; though there always seems to be a caravan or tractor rearing it's head at some point!
The roads in Cumbria are mixed - most of the A roads are fine, though generally to see the area at it's best you need to get onto the 'B' roads and even the unmarked ones. Of course we only advise this if you a] know where you're going and b] have the skills to handle reversing down a single track road with a tractor and line of cars bearing down on you!
Among our favourite drives are:
Fell foot and Lakeside
1. Turn left out of the drive at Lindeth Fell and head along Lyth Valley Road, before turning right onto the B5360 which takes you onto the A592 towards Newby Bridge. This twisting road takes you along the contours of Lake Windermere, where you can stop off for a coffee and hire a boat at Fell Foot Park [National Trust site]. Turn right at the roundabout and once at Newby Bridge you can turn right and head over the little bridge for Lakeside, where you'll find Aquariam of the Lakes, the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway and the opportunity to take a lake cruise back to Bowness or down to Ambleside.
Grange-over-Sands and Cartmel
2. As above, but instead of turning right at the roundabout at the end of the A592, turn left onto the A590 and follow this until you see a sign for Grange-over-Sands [turn right onto the B5271]. The lakes get all the press, but the coastline around the Kent Estuary is fantastic. Stop a while and wander along the promenade, take in the fresh air and maybe an ice-cream. Take any of the minor roads north and head for Cartmel and it's famous Priory. A visit should be followed up with a trip to the Village Shop - so much more than the name suggests; one of Rick Stein's 'food heroes' with deli and surprisingly excellent selection of wine.
The Lakeland Loop
3. Again, head for Newby bridge, stay on the A590 towards Ulverston and turn right at Greenodd onto the A5092. At the hamlet of Lowick Green turn right onto the A5084 and you'll hit the southern tip of Consiton [lake]. Park up and enjoy a flask of coffee or packed lunches while admiring the views. Try an imagine Donald Campbell's 'bluebird' racing down this lake at high speed. Continue North and turn right at Torver onto the A593, taking you to the village on Coniston. This is a quaint little village and if not driving, you could experiment with one of the real ales at the local pub, the Black Bull. Take the B5285 from Consiton and take the twisty road to Hawkshead - if you're feeling energetic hire a bike at Grizedale Forest park or do one of the many route-marked walks. Continue from Hawkshead and pass Esthwaite Water to Sawrey and down the twisty hill to catch the car ferry back across Lake Windermere.