Experience Scenic Driving Roads in the Lake District

Experience Scenic Driving Roads in the Lake District
Photo by Jake Colling / Unsplash

If you're looking for breathtaking scenery and picturesque landscapes, the Lake District in England is the perfect destination for a scenic drive. With its rugged hills, vast valleys, cascading waterfalls, and serene lakes, the Lake District offers a unique driving experience for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Here are some of the best driving roads to explore in the Lake District, including some of the most picturesque towns and tourist attractions along the routes.

Key Takeaways

  • The Lake District offers a unique driving experience for nature lovers and thrill-seekers.
  • There are several scenic driving roads to explore in the Lake District, each offering stunning views and thrilling driving conditions.
  • Visitors can enjoy picturesque towns, tea rooms, and historical sites along the scenic routes.
  • It's essential to plan your drive, follow speed limits, and drive cautiously on the narrow and winding roads.

Explore the A591 - A Scenic Route through the Heart of the Lake District

One of the most popular routes is the A591, which stretches from Kendal to Keswick, taking you through the heart of the Lake District. This scenic driving road is a must-see, offering picturesque towns, tea rooms, and access to some of the most stunning landscapes in the UK.

Starting in Kendal, the A591 takes you through the charming market town of Ambleside, where you can wander through quaint streets and explore a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants. From here, the road continues past Lake Windermere, the largest lake in England, where you can take a boat trip or simply enjoy the views from the shoreline.

As you travel further along the A591, you'll pass through Grasmere, a village famous for its connections to the poet William Wordsworth. Here, you can visit Dove Cottage, Wordsworth's former home, and explore the beautiful landscape that inspired so much of his work.

Continuing on, the road will lead you to the town of Keswick, which sits on the northern edge of Derwentwater. Keswick is a lively town with plenty of attractions, including museums, art galleries, and a vibrant market. The surrounding area is also perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, biking, and even water sports on the lake.

As you drive along the A591, you'll be treated to stunning views of towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and charming villages. The road twists and turns through the Lake District National Park, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the landscape. Keep an eye out for wildlife as you go, as the area is home to a variety of animals, including red deer and rare birds.

If you're planning a trip to the Lake District, exploring the A591 is a must. With its charming towns, stunning scenery, and access to some of the region's most famous attractions, this scenic route offers a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you're a lover of nature, a history enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates a beautiful drive, the A591 is sure to captivate you.

Experience the Beauty of Honister Pass on the B5289

Another scenic road worth exploring is the B5289, also known as the Honister Pass, which takes you through the rugged Honister Slate Mine and offers stunning views. Honister Pass, located in the Lake District, is a picturesque and breathtaking destination for nature lovers. The B5289 road that runs through it offers an unforgettable experience of the region's natural beauty.

Honister Pass is renowned for its stunning views, captivating landscapes, and challenging terrain. Driving along the B5289 allows visitors to immerse themselves in the magnificence of the Lake District national park. With its winding roads and majestic scenery, this route will leave travellers speechless.

The pass is surrounded by towering mountains and deep valleys, providing a sense of adventure and serenity all at once. The road passes through rocky terrain and offers glimpses of crystal-clear lakes and cascading waterfalls, making it an idyllic spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Not only does the B5289 showcase the natural beauty of Honister Pass, but it also leads to several notable attractions in the area. Visitors can explore the historic Honister Slate Mine, which offers underground tours and breathtaking views from its Via Ferrata and Infinity Bridge.

For those seeking a more active experience, the pass also provides access to numerous hiking trails, including the renowned Cat Bells and Fleetwith Pike. These routes allow outdoor enthusiasts to fully immerse themselves in the stunning surroundings and experience the true essence of the Lake District.

In addition to its natural wonders, Honister Pass also offers opportunities to indulge in local cuisine and hospitality. The nearby villages of Keswick and Borrowdale provide a charming setting to stop and enjoy a traditional British meal or relax in a cosy inn after a day of exploration.

Whether you are a seasoned traveller or a nature lover looking for a unique experience, Honister Pass on the B5289 is a must-visit destination. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Lake District, capture breathtaking views, and create unforgettable memories along this stunning and enchanting route.

Test Your Skills on the Challenging Hardknott Pass

For a more challenging drive, consider taking the Hardknott Pass, which offers some of the most dramatic views in the Lake District. The pass is located in the Western Lake District and is known as one of the steepest and most challenging roads in England. The road is narrow, winding, and has a gradient of 1 in 3, which requires a skilled and cautious driver to navigate.

The Hardknott Pass runs between Eskdale and the Duddon Valley, offering the opportunity to experience stunning mountain scenery, deep valleys, and winding roads. As you ascend the pass, you will reach the top of the Wrynose Pass with a height of 393 meters, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the Scafell Pike.

Drive InformationDetails
LocationWestern Lake District
LengthApproximately 3 miles
Gradient1 in 3
ViewsDramatic and panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the Scafell Pike.

The Hardknott Pass is recommended for experienced drivers only, and it is advised to check the weather and road conditions before embarking on the journey. It is also important to drive carefully and at a slow speed, especially when approaching the hairpin bends and steep inclines.

Despite the challenging drive, the Hardknott Pass offers a unique and rewarding experience for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of the Lake District. The dramatic views and stunning scenery make it a must-see attraction for any driving enthusiast, and it is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who takes on the challenge.

Enjoy a Gentle Drive along the A592 from Windermere to Ullswater

If you prefer a gentler drive, the A592 from Windermere to Ullswater is a great choice, offering picturesque villages and stunning lakeside views. This scenic route takes you through the heart of the Lake District National Park, offering a tranquil and relaxing drive through charming towns and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK.

Starting in Windermere, the largest lake in England, visitors can explore the enchanting shores before embarking on their journey. The A592 weaves through the picturesque countryside, passing through charming villages like Troutbeck and Patterdale, offering panoramic views of the rolling hills and scenic valleys, which are the epitome of the Lake District's beauty.

The drive takes you past several stunning natural attractions, including Ullswater Lake. This stunning body of water is surrounded by magnificent mountains and is known for its serenity and tranquility. You can take a boat ride on the lake or enjoy the breathtaking views from the shores.

There are several quaint pubs and cafes along the way where you can stop for a traditional British meal or a cup of tea. These establishments offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere, allowing motorists to immerse themselves in the local culture.

The A592 road is well-maintained and offers a smooth driving experience, making it perfect for those who want to relax and enjoy the journey. It is recommended to take the drive at a leisurely pace to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the area. The speed limits are strictly enforced, ensuring the safety of all drivers and passengers.

So, sit back, relax and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Lake District National Park as you embark on this memorable journey. The A592 from Windermere to Ullswater offers a delightful and gentle drive through the stunning landscapes and charming villages of the Lake District. It is the perfect route for those seeking a peaceful and enjoyable drive.

Discover History and Scenery on the A66

For those who want to combine a scenic drive with historical sites, the A66 offers the perfect blend, passing by ancient stone circles and Roman fortresses. This iconic road is a gateway to exploring the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region, while also immersing yourself in the stunning scenery of the Lake District National Park and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Hadrian's Wall

One of the most significant historical landmarks on the A66 is Hadrian's Wall, built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD as a frontier defense. The wall stretches across the country and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the remains of the wall and gain insights into its historical significance.

The Bowes Museum

The Bowes Museum, located in County Durham, is an impressive French-style chateau that houses a vast collection of European fine and decorative arts spanning over 600 years. With its stunning architecture and exquisite artworks, this museum offers a captivating journey through history.

Lake District National Park

The A66 also passes through the picturesque Lake District National Park, notorious for its stunning lakes, mountains, and charming villages. Visitors can stop by iconic landmarks such as Lake Windermere and Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the area.

North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is another breathtaking area along the A66, known for its rolling hills, wildflowers, and quaint villages. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this area.


The historic city of Carlisle is also reachable via the A66. Here, you can explore Carlisle Castle, a well-preserved fortress that dates back to the 12th century. The castle offers insights into the city's turbulent past and provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

In conclusion, the A66 is not just a road, but a journey that offers a unique blend of history and scenic beauty in the United Kingdom. From exploring ancient Roman structures to experiencing the natural wonders of the Lake District and the North Pennines, this journey is sure to leave you with lasting memories of the rich heritage and captivating landscapes that this region has to offer.

Marvel at the Views on the Kirkstone Pass

The Lake District is also home to several charming mountain passes, including the Kirkstone Pass, the highest pass open to motor vehicles in the region. The pass offers a scenic drive that will leave you breathless with its natural beauty and awe-inspiring views.

As you make your way along the winding road, you will be treated to panoramic vistas of the stunning landscape surrounding you. Mountains rise up on either side, while the sparkling waters of the lakes shimmer in the distance.

One of the highlights of the Kirkstone Pass is the Kirkstone Inn, situated at the highest point of the road. This historic pub has been welcoming travelers for centuries and serves up traditional British fare and locally brewed ale. Enjoy a pint while taking in the stunning views from the inn's beer garden.

If you're looking for adventure, the Kirkstone Pass is also a great starting point for hikes and walks of varying difficulty, allowing you to explore the rugged terrain and the natural beauty of the surroundings.

The Kirkstone Pass is not just a picturesque route, but also steeped in history. It was once an important trade route, connecting the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. The remnants of the old drovers' road can still be seen today, adding an extra layer of intrigue and historical significance to the journey.

Whether you're a seasoned traveler or just someone who loves natural beauty, the Kirkstone Pass is a must-visit destination in the Lake District. Soak up the tranquility, marvel at the scenery, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Plan Your Scenic Drive in the Lake District

To make the most of your scenic drive in the Lake District, it's important to plan your trip carefully, considering traffic conditions and designated viewpoints. The roads in the Lake District can be narrow and winding, so it's essential to take your time and drive cautiously.

Before you set off on your journey, it's a good idea to check the traffic conditions, especially during peak tourist season. Some of the roads, such as the Honister Pass and the Hardknott Pass, can be particularly busy, so it's best to avoid these routes during the busiest times to prevent traffic jams and delays.

As you plan your route, be sure to incorporate some of the designated viewpoints along the way. These viewpoints offer the best vantage points for admiring the stunning scenery of the Lake District, and they are often marked on maps or signposted along the roads. Some of the most popular viewpoints include Surprise View, which offers a breathtaking panorama of Derwentwater, and the Ashness Bridge, a charming stone bridge that spans a babbling stream.

Another essential consideration when planning your scenic drive in the Lake District is the weather. The region is known for its unpredictable weather patterns, so it's advisable to check the forecast before setting off on your trip. In case of inclement weather, it's always a good idea to have a backup plan and some indoor activities ready in case your outdoor plans need to be altered.

Finally, when planning your scenic drive in the Lake District, don't hesitate to seek advice from locals and tourist information centers. They can provide valuable insights into the best routes to take, the most scenic spots to visit, and any safety concerns to be aware of.

With careful planning and consideration, your scenic drive in the Lake District is sure to be a memorable and rewarding experience. So grab your map, pack some snacks, and get ready to embark on an adventure through one of the most beautiful regions in the United Kingdom.

Drive Safely on the Narrow and Winding Lake District Roads

When driving in the Lake District, it's crucial to respect road safety guidelines and drive cautiously on the narrow and winding roads. One of the most important aspects of driving safely is to always be aware of the speed limits, which are typically 30 or 40 miles per hour. Adhering to these limits helps ensure the safety of both drivers and pedestrians.

Another key factor to consider is the weather conditions. The Lake District is known for its unpredictable weather, and roads can become slippery and dangerous. It's important to be prepared for sudden changes in weather and adjust driving accordingly.

In addition to being cautious about speed and weather conditions, drivers should also be aware of other vehicles on the road. Many of the roads in the Lake District are narrow, and it is common to encounter vehicles coming from the opposite direction. Drivers should give way and be patient when passing other vehicles on these roads.

Using the correct gears is also important when navigating the narrow and winding roads. This helps maintain control of the vehicle and ensures better maneuverability. It's advisable to avoid sudden braking or acceleration, as this can cause skidding or loss of control.

Finally, it's essential to remain focused and avoid distractions while driving on these roads. The scenic beauty of the Lake District can be captivating, but it's crucial to keep one's attention on the road. Using mobile phones or other devices while driving is not only illegal but also highly dangerous.

By following these guidelines, drivers can ensure their own safety and the safety of others while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Lake District.

Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of the Lake District

In conclusion, the Lake District in England offers a plethora of scenic driving roads that showcase the region's natural beauty. From winding roads that cut through rugged landscapes to gentle drives that offer picturesque views of lakes and villages, there is something for every type of driver.

But beyond the driving routes, the Lake District is a truly special destination that captures the hearts of all who visit. The region's natural beauty, from its vast lakes to its towering peaks, is a sight to behold. And with a rich history and culture that is evident in its charming towns and villages, there is always something new to discover.

Whether you are looking for a peaceful retreat or an outdoor adventure, the Lake District has something to offer. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the region, enjoy a leisurely drive, and take in all that this stunning destination has to offer.


So, grab your car keys, plan your route, and get ready for an unforgettable experience exploring the scenic driving roads of the Lake District. The Lake District is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque regions in Britain, boasting stunning natural beauty and charming towns. Whether you're an experienced driver or a beginner, there's a scenic route for everyone to enjoy.

From the iconic A591 route through the heart of the Lake District to the adventurous Honister Pass, the Lake District offers a variety of scenic driving experiences. You can test your driving skills on the challenging Hardknott Pass or take a gentle drive along the A592 from Windermere to Ullswater. The A66 route offers a blend of history and scenery, with its stone circles and Roman fortresses.

Make sure you plan your route in advance, taking into account traffic conditions and designated viewpoints. It's important to drive cautiously on the narrow and winding Lake District roads, adhering to speed limits and taking extra care at blind corners.

In conclusion, the Lake District is a must-visit destination for any scenic driving enthusiast. With its natural beauty, picturesque landscapes, and stunning scenery, it's no wonder that it continues to attract tourists from all over the world. So, hop in your car, buckle up, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Lake District - you won't regret it!