We talk to so many people who have been or are going to The Lakes. So many head for the same spots and we feel miss the best bits so if you like this route don’t tell anyone!
Leave the M6 at Junction 36 (sometimes called Crooklands)
Take the A590
Instead of going with the flow and heading to Ambleside etc.
Take then A590 towards Newby Bridge, turn right following the signs for Hawkshead, or another 5 minutes down the road is the Motor Museum.
Now if you are interested 20 minutes drive from the motorway is The Lake District Motor Museum. It has a great collection of cars, motorbikes, even pedal cars. If you don’t fancy it the cafe is excellent and has a very nice outdoor seating area overlooking the river.
As you drive to Hawkshead you will pass Esthwaite Water Beatrix Potter’s favourite lake, Esthwaite Water. It is thought to have inspired her creation of the character Jeremy Fisher. Esthwaite Water is one of the smaller and lesser known lakes in the Lake District National Park situated between the much larger lakes of Windermere and Coniston Water.
To the north is the village of Hawkshead and to the west is Grizedale Forest.
The lake covers around 280 acres (1.1 km2) and is known for its excellent fishing, particularly trout and pike and has been designated as a site of special scientific interest.
Next Stop Hawkshead
Hawkshead is an ancient township that has flourished since Norse times, belonging to Furness Abbey until the 12th Century. The monks owned Hawkshead Hall, just outside the village. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537, Hawkshead grew as a market town, with many buildings dating from the 17th Century. It has a few shops, small supermarket, post office and three pubs. Good car parking and toilets.
Now whilst in the area Tarn Hows is a must see. Its a small lake with a nice easy wide path around it so ideal for kids. Sometimes there is an over priced Ice cream man, no toilets! Car parks expensive about £6 I think, but its a very nice walk.
Now you can drive north or we prefer to get the ferry to Bowness.
Its signposted from Hawkshead the road is a very nice scenic drive down the other side of Esthwaite Water. The Ferry is £5 per car.
It runs all year except for Christmas and Boxing Day, and takes about 10 minutes to cross the centre of Windermere from Ferry Nab just south of Bowness to Ferry House at Far Sawrey. The service is run by the Highways Dept of Cumbria County Council.
Now after the tranquility Bowness will be very busy, it has a nice lake front, the usual assortment of shops, loads of eating places and is generally dog friendly.
One top tip, if you fancy the museum and a boat trip walk down to the lake side and you can get a ticket that takes you via boat and bus to the museum, excellent value and a nice day out.
After Bowness you can head back to the motorway or head north towards Keswick.