5 reasons to take a Camper winter break in The Lakes
The UK, as a camping destination, is just as doable, accessible, and enjoyable in the autumn and winter. With the rise of glamping options and many campsites open all year, there’s no excuse for setting off in a campervan to enjoy the UK’s dramatic, beautiful and rugged regions in the chillier months, Here are 5 reasons why The Lake District is a perfect winter destination.
#1 The roads are much less crowded
During these quieter months it’s easy to drive and explore around the vast panorama of lakes and mountains. The roads are much quieter and it’s a pleasure to navigate along the lakeside routes so busy in the summer with constant stop-starting and pulling in to the nearest lay-by to let on-coming traffic go by. Enjoy the Windermere – Coniston route through Beatrix Potter territory and take a short car ferry trip across Windermere lake. Or the Keswick to Bassenthwaite drive around the Skiddaw mountain range. Or the Ambleside to Keswick drive past several dramatic lake settings through Wordsworth country and past his Grassmere cottage that, in summer, can be jam-packed with cars. Even Ambleside is a pleasure in winter, there are actually parking spaces in the street which I gather is a rare thing between May and October.
#2 There are campsites open all year round
You can still enjoy warm showers, campfire evenings, and cosy glamping options in the winter. Park up your camper and stay in a double-glazed wooden camping pod at Great Langdale, Cumbria (winner of the Great Outdoors accommodation of the year award 2014) complete with heating and lighting. Or go for a luxury yurt furnished with Moroccan-style rugs and throws, fairy lights, lanterns and a wood-burning stove. If your camper has heating (take a look at this VW T5 with full Eberspacher heating system that can be used through the night without posing any danger) consider Sykeside campsite. Located in the midst and mists of Lake District’s Dovedale valley, Sykeside is all about views and glorious mountain panoramas that make your eyes widen and your heart soar. In the quieter months there’s no jostling for the best pitches, queuing for loos, or waiting for showers.
#3 You can sit by a different crackling log fire every evening
Autumn and winter are special times of the year in the Lake District. The mountains, forests and lakesides are blazing with colour, the summer crowds have left for home and you and your camper are free to enjoy misty mornings, crisp blue-sky days, and traffic-free roads. What better to end the day than evenings in characterful pubs with stout beams, flagstone floors and crackling log fires. Many are located in isolated valleys with spectacular views (Wasdale Head Inn and Old Dungeon Ghyll), on lakeside shores (Eltermere Inn), and in tucked-away fells (Masons Arms). Most serve delicious hearty dishes, are seriously full of character, and offer cosy, comfy and warm retreats after your day’s campervan exploring.
#4 The winter views are mesmerising
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to spectacular winter views in The Lakes. Enjoy them from the comfort of your camper or step out into the bracing winter weather and choose a winter walk. The National Trust have put together walking trails through valleys and woodland, fells and forests, and around lakeside shores. Head to Elter Water, a series of three small lakes near Elterwater Village, a short drive from Ambleside, and take in the spectacular frosty views from the northern and eastern shores. Find The Chinese Bridge at the head of Derwentwater and head to the Boardwalk at the south of the river and see the glorious frost covered marshes. Or drive up to Tarn Hows and walk the steep path through woodland and past waterfalls and enjoy this iconic beauty spot.
#5 Lose yourself to a different Lake each day and be the only ones around
Home to many waters, meres and tarns, there are 16 bodies of water that are considered to be the main lakes in the Lake District. You and your camper could be the only ones around in the winter to enjoy such dramatic isolation and beautiful scenery and you can explore a different lake each day. Fill the camper fridge with local goodies, Cumbrian Smokey cheese, cumberland sausages, and Cumberland Tatie Pie, and make a point of stopping for a leisurely camper lunch at a different beauty spot each day. Follow the River Crake up to its source at the southern end of Coniston water and enjoy a fantastic winter view of the Coniston fells. Park up alongside Buttermere Lake, enjoy a camper lunch, then wrap up and walk the hour-long circuit around the lake. Or park up at Sawrey and escape to Moss Eccles Tarn, a tiny lake that was owned by Beatrix Potter that takes on a beauty all of its own in autumn and winter.