In these COVID times, traveling abroad for holidays isn’t much of an option, especially for those of us who live in the UK. But, in times of restricted air travel, there is an opportunity to visit all the amazing areas the UK has to offer, and the Lake District is one of the best.
The Lake District offers 2363 square kilometers of mountains, lakes, forests, and rivers filled with beautiful walking trails, boat rides, rock climbing, and a lot more. It’s one of my favorite places in the UK along with the Peak District. Once you’re off the beaten track, you feel like you’ve stepped out of England and been teleported into Canada, walking around huge lakes with mountains in the background.
One of the most fun and budget-friendly ways to see the Lake District is by camping. There are loads of campsites to choose from and they don’t cost much either. In this article, I hope to showcase the best campsites in the Lake District so you can pick one or two for your Easter or Summer Holidays.
Address: Great Langdale, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9JU
Phone: 015394 32733
Open: All year round
Price: Meidum Tent, Adult & Car – £10-22, kids £3, adults £6
Great Langdale campsite sits just north of Lake Windermere in the heart of the Lake District. It’s run by the National Trust and sits in a series of fields surrounded by old trees that give you ample shade when it’s warm and act as excellent windbreaks if any gales decide to come through.
The campsite is excellently maintained, and the surroundings are stunning. It’s a great place to forget about work-life and enjoy some time away from it all in nature.
Being a national trust campsite, Great Langdale has all the facilities you’ll need for a long or short stay. You’ll find a BBQ area, a washing up area, electric hookups for your tent or motorhome, and a shop that sells everything you might need for your camping holiday.
There are also modern toilets, showers a laundry area plus a kids play area, and a bouldering wall to keep them busy while you’re relaxing.
There are numerous trails leading from the campsite into the Lake District for you to explore. The trails lead to Blowfell and Blea Tarn with stunning views along the way and there’s the Langdale Cycle Trail down the road if you want to take some bikes with you.
Not far from the campsite you’ll also find a few outdoor centers that provide adventurous days out canoeing, rock climbing, and a lot more.
Within a few miles of the campsite is the village of Chapel Stile where you’ll find cafes, pubs, and shops for you to get supplies from. There are also three pubs near the campsite within a 15-minute walk that are a great place to meet the locals, have a cold beer, and dinner with the family.
Address: Waterside House Campsite, Howtown Road, Pooley Bridge, Penrith, Cumbria CA10 2NA
Phone: 017684 86332
Open: 23rd March – 11 November
Price: £18-20 for 2 adults & 1 car, kids £3
Waterside house campsite is set on a farm just a mile away from the charming village of Pooley Bridge. You’ll be able to pitch your tent on a field with an adjoining lake with stunning views into the Lake District.
There are 3 camping areas, all with views of the lake and it’s the perfect place to sit back and relax while the kids enjoy some of the numerous activities on offer. You can hire rowing boats, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards to explore the lake with, and even book in some wake surfing lessons.
There are also mountain bikes for hire, numerous walking trails, rock climbing, and you can take a cruise on a steamboat to see the stunning Aira Force Waterfall.
The village of Pooley Bridge is only a mile walk along the lakeshore where you’ll find pubs and cafes serving delicious ales and food, plus a host of shops so you can top up your supplies.
The campsite is kitted out for long stays too with electrical hook-ups for your tent or campervan, modern shower and bathroom facilities, plus a shop with free Wifi and access to freezers for any food you need to keep cold. The shop sells food as well as camping supplies like gas, and more. There’s also a fire pit, washing up area, and a children’s play area.
Nearby you’ll find the old ruins of Lowther Castle, Whinlatter forest and overall it’s one of the best campsites to explore the Lake District from.
Address: Kestrel Lodge Camping, Kestrel Lodge, Bassenthwaite. Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4QX
Phone: 017687 76752
Open: March – November
Price: £10 per night Adult, £4.50 per night Child (high season)
Kestrel Lodge is about as off the beaten track as a campsite can get. It sits in the north of the Lake District and is on a family-run farm and if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, Kestrel Lodge is the place to be.
From the campsite, you have views of Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw, the fourth highest peak in England which is accessible via trails if you plan on summiting it. The lake is just a 15-minute walk away and on it, you can sail, fish, and swim. It’s also a beautiful spot to enjoy a picnic at.
A five-minute walk from the campsite will find you in the village of Bassenthwaite where you can enjoy delicious ales and food from the local pub and stock up on any supplies from the small shop. The larger towns of Cockermouth and Keswick are just down the road too if you want a day out or need to do a big re-supply.
The campsite offers all the facilities you might need during your stay including showers, toilets, Wifi, drinking water, electric hook-ups, covered eating areas, communal firepit, and you can even make your own campfires too.
You’ll also find a shop onsite for picking up anything you might have forgotten, a washing machine for any laundry, coin-operated hair dryers, and an ice pack freezing service.
One of the loveliest things about the Kestrel Lodge campsite is that it faces west. Every evening you can watch as the sun drops down through the valley and lights up the mountains, lake, and sky with gorgeous colors, all from your tent.
Address: Eskdale, Boot, Holmrook CA19 1TH,
Phone: 015394 32733
Open: 6th March – 31st December
Price: Meidum Tent, Adult & Car – £10-22, kids £3, adults £6
Eskdale campsite is also a National Trust campsite and it’s found on the western side of the Lake District in the Eskdale Valley. If you’re looking for a campsite to get you away from the crowds of Winderemere, this is a great choice.
From the campsite, you not only have access to the coast which is a short drive away but also to some of the most famous walks in the Lake District. Great Gable, Pillar, and Scarfel Pike, the highest peak in England are a short car drive away.
The campsite is set over eight acres with three camping areas; one for families, one for motorhomes with electric hook up, and a no car field that’s for small tents and adults only. You can also rent pods to stay in if you fancy a bit of glamping, and you’ll find these in a wooded area.
The campsite offers all the facilities you’ll need to enjoy your stay including showers, toilets, laundry, washing up areas, and you can even rent a BBQ. There is also a shop on site for any supplies you need and it has free Wifi plus a breakfast station.
Just down the road from the campsite within 5-10 minutes walk are two pubs both of which have an excellent selection of larger and ales plus delicious menus. There isn’t a better way to wind down after a long day exploring the Lake District than having a cold beer and some delicious food in a country pub.
There’s also a whole host of activities available close to the campsite including the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway, the village of Boot, and Wastwater the deepest lake in England. There’s paddleboarding, rock climbing, sailing, fishing, and more.
Address: Syke Farm Camping Ground, Buttermere Village, Buttermere, Cumbria CA13 9XA
Phone: 01768 770222
Open: All year round
Price: Adults £7, children £3 per night. Cars free
If you’re looking to really get away from it all and camp somewhere where camping is what it used to be, then the Syke Farm campsite is the place to be. You’ll find it, off the beaten track on the western side of the Lake District in the tiny hamlet of Buttermere.
The campsite sits between two lakes, Cummok Water & Buttermere with stunning views over them and to the peaks of Grasmoor to the north. You can access both lakes and a whole host of walking trails that gives you access to some of the best hikes in the Lake District.
The campsite is very much a no-frills affair, and this is by design. You can expect low numbers of people and absolute tranquility when you stay at Syke Farm Campsite. There is no shop, no reception, but there some showers, toilets, and drinking water to keep you going.
The farm is famous for its ice cream though and Buttermere Ayrshires Ice Cream is one of the best you’ll ever try.
You’re so in the middle of nature, that you won’t even find a food shop in the village but will have to settle for fresh eggs and milk from the farmhouse. There is also a tearoom that serves a selection of light snacks, salads, cream teas, and cakes.
Being remote in the Lake District doesn’t mean you can’t go out for a nice dinner and sample local ales. You’ll find two pubs in the village both of which have a great menu and the Bridge Hotel has a lovely beer garden along a stream that is a great place to have a cool beer and soak in some summer sunshine.
If you’re looking to truly get back to nature and away from the crowds on your camping trip, then you can’t go wrong at Syke Farm campsite. You truly feel like you’ve stepped back in time to when the world was a much less busy place.
Address: Low Wray, Ambleside LA22 0JA
Phone: 015394 32733
Open: 27th March – 1st November
Price: £12-38 per night depending on tent size, season, and pitch site
Low Wray campsite sits on the western shores of Lake Windermere and if you want to be in amongst it all with the busy crowds that flock to Windermere each year, it’s a great campsite to choose.
Low Wray is right on the shoreline and comes with three different pitching areas including the meadow, lake view, and lakeshore sites. The meadow is the most budget-friendly and the lakeshore the most costly. You also have the option to glamp instead of camp in the onsite safari tents and pods or enjoy amazing views from the two tree tents on offer.
No matter which site you choose, you’re blessed with lovely views across the lake along with access to it too. So bring your blow-up SUP’s, canoes, fishing rods, and swimming trunks so you can thoroughly enjoy the lakeshore location as much as possible.
The campsite is well kitted out with all the facilities you might need during your stay including toilets, showers, washing up sinks, a laundry area, a play space for kids, and a shop for anything you might have forgotten.
You can also hire kayaks, canoes, and mountain bikes from the reception giving you access to the lake biking trail and a vessel to explore the beautiful lake on. The National Trust also offers bat detector kits, bird watching tours, and orienteering lessons to keep your kids happy and learning about nature.
Being so close to Windermere, the amenities a few minutes drive from the campsite are boundless. You can organize rock climbing, sailing, go to lovely pubs, cafes, and take a dive into local history with the lakeshore Claife Viewing Station, views to Beatrix Potter’s garden at Hill Top, or Allan Bank at Grasmere.
I hope you enjoyed the article and have found the perfect campsite for your next trip to the Lake District. It’s one of the best places in the UK to spend time in nature and is full of great walks and kid friendly activities to keep the family happy and entertained.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.