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10 Reasons to visit the Lakes in autumn

As autumn sweeps through the Lake District, the landscape transforms into a stunning masterpiece of rustic colours. This is the perfect time to plan your escape to this picturesque wonderland. From the golden hues of Grasmere’s autumn leaves to the quieter fells and bustling events, here are ten reasons to visit the Lakes in Autumn. 

1. Romantic vibes in Grasmere

Grasmere, often hailed as the best place to witness autumn’s stunning colours in the country offers a romantic atmosphere like no other. The crowds have subsided, leaving you to stroll hand in hand amidst the falling leaves, making it a perfect setting for couples seeking a tranquil retreat. Don’t miss out on exploring the picturesque Grasmere waters, surrounded by the warm colours of autumn. 

Take a leisurely rowboat ride on the lake at Grasmere with the enchanting Faeryland hires, explore the picturesque village, and visit the Wordsworth Museum. Cap off your day with a cosy dinner at The Yan, a multiple award winner and a firm favourite with some of the UK’s best journalists, loved for its warm, welcoming atmosphere and homely comfort food.

2. Quieter fell walks

Autumn brings serenity to the Lake District’s fells. The summer crowds have departed, allowing you to savour the breathtaking landscapes and embark on your fell-walking adventures in blissful solitude. It’s a chance to reconnect with nature and experience the fells as the locals do. You can enjoy a hike from Grasmere village itself to the tops of Loughrigg Fell or the iconic Helm Crag (Lion and the Lamb), or take a relaxed stroll along the lake, down to Rydal, enjoying some of the finest autumnal views in the Lakes.

Check out our guide to the best fell walks in the central Lake District.

Views across hills on a walk in the Lakes

3. Take advantage of our off season prices

Autumn is the season of savings in the Lakes. Accommodation and activity prices drop, making it an ideal time for budget-conscious travellers. Great savings are one of the best reasons to visit the Lakes in autumn.

Speaking of! Don’t forget to take advantage of our special 10% discount on stays at Mary’s Cottage and Fox’s Corner to make your getaway even more affordable. Use code Autumn10 for 10% off when you choose to come and stay before the 1st of December 2023. 

4. Autumn wildlife spectacle

In autumn, the Lake District’s wildlife springs to life, offering enchanting encounters with its diverse inhabitants. Just outside Fox’s Corner, you might catch a glimpse of the local red deer. As you explore the woodlands, keep a watchful eye for the charming red squirrels. In autumn, they become more active, diligently collecting and storing food for the upcoming winter.

The Ambleside area is a haven for birdwatchers. With over 130 different bird species recorded in the vicinity, you can look forward to spotting buzzards and kestrels soaring through the skies, and enjoy watching the mute swans gliding on the lakes.

Lakeside walk in the Lakes
Serene view of Lake District waters

5. Beat the chills

Autumn offers crisp, invigorating air without the extreme cold of winter. It’s the perfect time for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and wildlife watching. Layer up and explore the region’s beauty without worrying about the heat or freezing temperatures.

With the summer heat gone, you won’t break a sweat while hiking or cycling. But here’s a little secret: Autumn is the best time for wild swimming in the lakes too. The water is just right for a cool refreshing dip without the summer crowds or the freezing temps of winter waters. Plus, the scenery is even more breathtaking when you’re swimming in the midst of vibrant autumn foliage.

Some fantastic spots for wild swimming in the Lake District include:

  • Rydal Water: A stunning lake surrounded by woods, offering secluded spots for a peaceful swim.
  • Grasmere: Grasmere’s waters are relatively shallow and safe for swimming. You can take leisurely swims near the shores and explore the beauty of the local town.
  • Coniston: Coniston Water is one of the largest lakes in the Lake District, offering ample opportunities for wild swimming with options available for swimmers of all levels; from the shallow shores to an adventure across the lake. 


Remember to take safety precautions when wild swimming. If you’re new to the sport why not book a 1:2:1 session with one of the region’s wild swimming coaches. 

6. Magical starry nights

Clear autumn nights reveal a celestial spectacle above the Lake District. Venture away from light pollution for an unparalleled stargazing experience. If you’re fascinated by the cosmos, bring along a telescope or even a pair of binoculars to get a closer look. 

Marvel at the Milky Way, shooting stars, and, if you’re incredibly fortunate, the Northern Lights. Grizedale Forest is an excellent dark spot for stargazers.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not book onto a canoe in the dark, or a dark sky walk. Path to Adventure hosts regular nighttime adventures close by Coniston and Grizedale.

Download a stargazing app on your smartphone to help you identify constellations and planets. Apps like Stellarium or SkyView are user-friendly. Autumn nights can get chilly, so bring layers to stay warm. A thermos of hot chocolate or tea adds to the experience.

For the ultimate stargazing experience, watch the stars from the comfort of your own private hot tub at either Fox’s Corner or Mary’s Cottage. You’ll be able to lose yourself in the stunning beauty of the starry night sky while relaxing in complete comfort with a glass of something bubbly. It’s the perfect way to unwind and escape the stresses of everyday life.

7. Lakeside bliss

Enjoy serene moments by the Lake District’s waters. Take a rowboat out on Windermere or if you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, consider a leisurely lakeside stroll. The Lake District boasts numerous trails that follow the water’s edge, allowing you to lose yourself in the beauty of the season from shore. Pack a basket with treats from local bakeries and find a quiet spot by the lakeshore for a perfect autumn picnic whilst the leaves fall around you. 

It’s an educational and fun adventure that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the incredible marine life that calls the waters around Anglesey home.

8. Explore historical sites

Autumn in the Lake District means quieter foot traffic, and this is the ideal time to explore its rich historical sites. Stroll through ancient stone circles like Castlerigg or visit historic homes like Brantwood House, where John Ruskin, the famous artist and writer, once lived. With fewer tourists around, you can truly absorb yourself in the rich histories and stories of this region.

9. Autumn festivals and events

Autumn in the Lake District isn’t just about beautiful landscapes and outdoor adventures; it’s also a season of vibrant festivals and cultural events that add a touch of excitement and uniqueness to your visit.

If you’re visiting the Lake District in late October, don’t miss joining spooky celebrations with a ghost hunt. Dive into the eerie depths of history with the Coniston Copper Mines Halloween Ghost Hunt Break on October 30th. Unearth the secrets of the past while exploring the hauntingly beautiful Coniston Copper Mines. This thrilling experience takes you on a spine-tingling journey through the abandoned mines, where you’ll be guided by experts in search of paranormal encounters. With its chilling atmosphere and rich history, this Halloween adventure promises a truly unforgettable experience for those who dare to join.

Beer enthusiasts visiting Grasmere in late September should mark their calendars for the annual Grasmere Guzzler Beer Festival. Hosted by the Tweedies Bar & Lodge, this festival celebrates the art of brewing with over 100 real ales and ciders on tap. Nestled in the heart of Grasmere village, it’s a perfect way to toast the autumn season. Sip on a pint of locally crafted beer while enjoying live music, delicious food, and good company. 

10. Cosy pubs

Autumn is also a time for indulging your taste buds and enjoying the fruits of the season. Visit local pubs and restaurants to enjoy authentic Cumbrian cuisine and warm, welcoming atmospheres. Sit by a roaring fire with a pint of local ale in hand, enjoying hearty British cuisine. Many pubs and restaurants feature seasonal menus, showcasing the best of the region. Try local dishes like Cumberland sausage, Herdwick lamb, or the classic sticky toffee pudding. 

The Drunken Duck Inn is a renowned pub, just a short drive away from Ambleside and just up the road from Fox Corner. It’s famous for its superb selection of real ales brewed on-site. With its rustic charm, it’s the ideal place to unwind with a pint and perhaps enjoy a leisurely walk in the surrounding area.

With the crowds dispersed, it is much easier to pick and choose between the best restaurants without long waiting lists or month-long reservation waits. Explore our guide to the best places to wine and dine around the Lake District.

Autumn is a wonderful time to discover the beauty of the Lake District. With a wide range of experiences available, there’s something for every traveller. If you’re planning a visit this season, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the unique charm of this beloved region, with many reasons to visit the Lakes in autumn.

Don’t forget to take 10% of your autumnal stay. Simply use the code AUTUMN10 for 10% of all stays before the 1st of December.

Book now to secure your perfect staycation. Short breaks available. 


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