The Lake District

Named by Norse settlers after the colonies of whooper swans that still swoop across its surface every winter, Elterwater (literally 'swan lake') presents the picture-postcard image of a traditional Lakeland village, with its tree-fringed lake and clump of slate-roofed cottages gathered around a maple-shaded village green. Somewhat bizarrely for such a peaceful spot, Elterwater originally grew up around the industries of slate quarrying, farming and gunpowder manufacture. Various trails wind out along the lake shore.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Lake District attractions

1. Skelwith Bridge


Three miles south of Grasmere, Skelwith Bridge is little more than a knot of cottages along the banks of the River Brathay. Since the 19th century it's…

2. Grasmere Lake & Rydal Water


Quiet paths lead along the shores of Grasmere's twin-set lakes. Rowing boats can be hired at the northern end of Grasmere Lake from the Grasmere Tea…

3. Dove Cottage & The Wordsworth Museum

1.88 MILES

On the edge of Grasmere, this tiny, creeper-clad cottage (formerly a pub called the Dove & Olive Bough) was famously inhabited by William Wordsworth…

4. St Oswald's Church


Named after a Viking saint, Grasmere's medieval chapel is where Wordsworth and his family attended church service every Sunday for many years. It's also…

5. Rydal Mount

2.32 MILES

The poet William Wordsworth's most famous residence in the Lake District is undoubtedly Dove Cottage, but he actually spent a great deal more time at…

6. Galava Roman Fort

2.61 MILES

The foundations of Ambleside's ruined roman fort, built c AD 79, can be seen just west of the Waterhead jetties. The land is now owned by the National…

7. Tarn Hows

2.65 MILES

Two miles off the B5285 from Hawkshead, a winding country lane leads to this famously photogenic artificial lake, now owned by the National Trust. Trails…

8. Bridge House

2.68 MILES

The town's best-known landmark is Bridge House, a tiny cottage that spans the clattering brook of Stock Ghyll. Now occupied by a National Trust shop, it's…