Bordering Scotland, this region is the most north-western county in England and is filled with tantalising views, stunning lakes and unparalleled beauty – which is why camping in Cumbria is such a fantastic holiday choice.
Thankfully, there are many options for camping here. There are several fantastic campsites set in some of Cumbria’s most stunning spots – we give a few of our top recommendations further down in this article.
Wild camping in Cumbria is technically illegal, however the reality is that people still do it. If you are planning on wild camping, and can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite instead, we have more information and tips on how to be considerate when free camping in Cumbria later on in this article.
So grab your tent and some good company – it’s time to begin your Cumbria camping adventure!
Camping in Cumbria
Camping is a popular holiday activity in England, so there are many campsites situated throughout Cumbria – home of the famous Lake District.
Some of the best campsites are perfectly located close to historic gardens, amazing walks and serene lakes. As such, they are often situated in the most picturesque settings, and have fantastic walking and cycling routes close by.
Therefore if you are seeking a walking or cycling holiday, our recommendation would be to get a Cumbria walking book like this one, and then plan your campsite visits according to what is situated beside the walking trails you wish to explore.
You can also access free online maps of each of the major lakes in the region by clicking here. These maps include a few walking routes, but also show campsites situated near the lakes, as well as other amenities, like public bathrooms.
If you’re looking for some great campsite recommendations though, below we share some of our favourites in Cumbria!
Camping in Cumbria: Some of the best campsites in Cumbria
Harbour Lights Campsite
Beautifully located on the south-west tip of the Lake District, this site has ample space for pitching tents. This five acre field is perfectly situated close to the village of Haverigg too, and only two minutes walk from the beach.
The dog-friendly site offers campers uncompromised sunset views over the beach and sea. Campers can enjoy great trails only 15 minutes drive away and discover the charming hills and fells of the Lake District. We love the rugged and tranquil walks along the lakesides here.
Campers can recall the day’s adventure with some nice local beer at the nearest bar- just five minutes from Harbour Lights Campsite. Haverigg has a variety of pubs and a delicious fish and chip shop too! Furthermore, kids and adults will absolutely love the ice cream hut on site selling homemade ice cream with great flavours, smoothies and hot drinks.
Ravenglass Camping and Caravanning Club
Set in six acres of woodlands, Ravenglass Camping and Caravanning Club is perfectly situated at only 500 meters from the seafront, and provides ample opportunity for visitors to discover the coastal areas of the Lake District National Park.
The village of Ravenglass is within walking distance of the site and has nice food choices, including three pubs. For us, we liked the Ratty Arms pub which is found just 5 minutes walk away.
Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club
With breathtaking views over a glistening lake and the surrounding fells, Keswick Camping and Caravanning Club has a fantastic location among the north lakes.
The numerous lake and hillside trails in the area are easily accessible from here and are a magnet for outdoor and nature enthusiasts. The renowned mountain, Skiddaw, is easily reached from the campsite too, and we recommend visiting Derwentwater which is only a 15 minute walk from the site and has panoramic views of the mountains, valleys and lakes.
Windermere Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Situated between the enchanting Bowness-on-Windermere and the town of Kendal, Windermere Club Site is a great base for discovering the alluring beauty of the Lake District National Park.
We love the serene and stunning setting of this site as campers are able to admire the great array of wildlife and breathtaking views by reconnecting with nature. Campers can stock up at the nearby village of Staveley which has great shops, pubs, supermarkets and even the popular Hawkshead Brewery.
Wild camping in Cumbria
Wild camping in Cumbria is illegal, however many people still do it. But if you are camping on private land in the area and you have permission from the landowner, it is legal. There is a long tradition of wild camping in Cumbria though, so often it is tolerated when campers treat the land well.
If you can’t be swayed to stay in a campsite and are determined to wild camp, then we would advise sticking to the following guidelines in order to be as considerate as possible:
- You should camp in the same place for one night only, and pitch your tent discretely and in a remote place. Therefore don’t camp in or near settlements, someone’s farm or on cultivated land. If you think you’re on private land, always seek out the landowner and ask permission.
- Camp above the highest fell wall, and far from the shores of any lake.
- Campers should set up their tent at dusk, and take it down at dawn. A tent that is discreet, blends in with the landscape, and pitches quickly is best. Therefore a lightweight walking and hiking tent like this one would be a great investment for someone planning to wild camp in Cumbria.
- If you are walking a main trail you should camp away from the path as a matter of courtesy.
- When wild camping in Cumbria you must never make a campfire. For cooking, use a storm cooker. The Swedish brand Trangia make fantastic storm cookers that are virtually indestructible. Portable solar ovens, like this one by GoSun, are also a good fuel-less option.
- Take any rubbish with you, and leave your camping spot the way you found it.
Below are some of the best walks and best places to visit in Cumbria!
Some of the best places to visit in Cumbria
With great facilities like disabled access, graded paths, and viewing platforms; Aira Force is the most visited waterfall in the Lake District. Families can enjoy the landscaped Victorian park here and there’s a café at the location too.
This beautiful Elizabethan mansion built around the 13th century is a great way to spend quality family time. Home to the world’s oldest topiary gardens, Levens Hall boasts ten acres of gardens.
We love the abstract and unique collection of ancient box and yew trees, along with the vast selection of over 30,000 bedding plants on site. Colourful!
Ancient Hadrian’s Wall stretches 73 miles from coast to coast and the rich history and breathtaking views are why this spot is a heart-stealer. Visitors can explore the remains of the forts, towers, turrets and towns, as well as Roman artefacts, and find out how people lived on the edge of Roman Britain.
Some of the best walks in Cumbria
Lingmoor Fell Circuit
This 8.3 mile long lowland loop walk passes through the center of the Lake District National Park and is perfect for any outdoor enthusiast. With shimmering tarns and craggy fells to majestic mossy bridges, hikers will experience steep and craggy walks, with glorious views of the Langdale Pikes, Bowfell and Coniston Fells.
Ennerdale and Haystacks
This 14.2 mile long trail is one of the National Park’s best-kept secrets. Ennerdale, which is the most remote valley in the Lake District, offers hikers an idyllic landscape with a vast array of wildlife. Follow this lakeside route to the summit of Haystacks and take in the breathtaking panoramic views of this enchanting region.
Hikers can enjoy this 7.5 mile trail set on 8,000 acres of mixed forest which is full of tracks that are embellished with outdoor sculptures. The panoramic views, astounding artwork and myriad of forest trails make the trails here an unforgettable and fun adventure.
Camping in Cumbria: The weather and best months to visit
With mild to warm temperatures, spring is the perfect time to visit Cumbria as kids and families can make the most of a full day in the famous Lake District. Temperatures range from 10°C to 17°C, and visitors can see flowers in full bloom and wildlife that can be spotted during walks.
Summer is a great time to visit the forests, as well as discover Cumbria’s rich history. With daytime temperatures reaching between 18°C and 22°C, visitors can enjoy views of the ocean and have a pint in a local beer garden. Summer is also a perfect time to undertake long walking trails as the land will be less slippery and hikers can enjoy the longer daylight hours.
With milder temperatures during autumn, it’s the perfect time to avoid the peak summer tourist season, go on hikes, take in the unparalleled and majestic views and enjoy the ever-changing colours of the woodland.
Winter brings the shortest daylight hours and coolest temperatures, but visitors can enjoy the crisp air during walks on the different trails in the region. We love the wide variety of wildlife during this season as well, such as dunlin, sanderling, grey plover and knott which can all be seen at Sandscale Nature Reserve.