The Lakes are one of England’s most iconic regions, which is why camping in the Lake District among the rugged hills, and quaint towns that make up the area, is a popular pastime of many.
Thankfully, there are many options for camping here. There are several fantastic campsites set in some of the Lake District’s most stunning spots – we give a few of our top recommendations further down in this article.
Wild camping in the Lake District 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 the Lake District later on in this article.
So grab your tent, a Lake District walking book, and some good company – it’s time to begin your Lake District camping adventure!
Camping in the Lake District
Camping is a popular holiday activity in England, so there are many campsites situated throughout the Lake District.
Many of the best campsites tend to be run by the National Trust, who look after the Lake District National Park. 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 Lake District walking book like this one, and then plan your campsite visits according to what is situated beside the walking trail/s 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 campsites recommendations though, below we share some of our favorites in the Lake District!
Some of the best campsites in the Lake District
One of the great things about this stunning region is that there are a variety of campsites that cater for all types of holidaymakers.
From tourists looking for an adventure, to ones searching for a relaxing holiday in natural surroundings. Here’s a few of our Lake District camping site favorites:
Low Wray Campsite
As this campsite is run by the National Trust, you are guaranteed spectacular views – and it doesn’t disappoint. This is lakeside camping at it’s finest, in one of the most peaceful spots possible on Lake Windermere.
Along with fishing, kayaking, sailing and swimming, all of which you can do on the lake – the largest in England – this campsite is also the perfect base for walkers. Several walking and hiking routes lead directly off the campsite and straight into the rugged landscape.
Whilst Low Wray has basic facilities (toilets, showers, laundry, a small shop), the view at night makes up for it. On a clear evening the stars create incredible viewing here, in the sky and reflected on the lake.
Great Langdale Campsite
The Lake District is famed for it’s lakes, but the area also has some dramatic hilly scenery on offer too. That’s where this campsite shines.
Set in the Great Langdale Valley, and with the looming Langdale Pikes beside, this National Park campsite is set in stunning surroundings. It also has an array of cycling, hiking and walking routes available right beside it.
After an enjoyable day out in England’s finest landscape, you can also grab a locally brewed beer at the campsite’s own pub. Not bad!
Coniston Park Coppice Caravan and Motorhome Club Site
This campsite‘s rather boring name isn’t likely to get you excited – but we promise you the location will!
Set in a wooded area, the pitches are private and it feels far more like you are wild camping than staying on a campsite.
The location is also great for walking the Wainwrights, whilst the picturesque town of Coniston – and many great pubs – is within walking distance.
The Quiet Site
This campsite is exactly what you’d expect from the name – a place to relax, unwind, and enjoy this spectacular region.
The views from the campsite down towards Lake Ullswater are quite something.
Whilst arguably Lake District’s most famous waterfall, Aira Force, is very close by. There’s some very good restaurant and pub options within a five mile radius too.
Wild camping in the Lake District
Wild camping in the Lake District 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 the Lake District 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 the Lake District.
- If you are walking a main trail you should camp away from the path as a matter of courtesy.
- When wild camping in the Lake District 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 our top tips for camping in the Lake District!
Tips for camping in the Lake District
- Heavy rain can happen in the Lake District – even during the holiday season. Make sure you have a rainproof tent that can survive a thunderstorm. A lightweight one-man walking tent like this or similar would be perfect. For a good value tent that fits more than one person, this mosquito-proof one would work well too.
- Keep an eye out for animal poo – if there’s a lot near your perfect camping spot, you may end up being woken up by some enthusiastic animals at 3am!
- There are many water sources in the Lake District but remember to always have plenty of water on you when you’re walking. A space-saving collapsible water bottle would be a good purchase.
- If wild camping, when going to the toilet you should do it at least 30 meters from water sources, such as rivers and lakes. Make sure to use a trowel (like this folding one) to bury any human waste – don’t just leave it out in the open.
- Like many rugged and wild rural areas around the world, there are flora and fauna to be aware of. So read up and make sure you know what to expect in the region or area you are planning to wild camp in.
Recommended for your trip to the Lake District
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