Autumn in the Lake District – simply stunning


7th November 2020

Autumn in the Lake District is simply stunning. A kaleidoscope of reds, golds, greens and yellows and and every shade in between. A soft veil of mist in early morning. And evenings with warm drinks and roaring fires.

The amazing views from Birkdale House, across Lake Windermere to the Lakeland fells in the distance are nothing short of spectacular. You could sit all day and soak up the view, punctuated with the sounds of the birds in the trees.

But as luxurious as Birkdale House may be, nothing beats an invigorating walk in the countryside, a chance to immerse yourself in the Lake District’s wonderful landscape. So, we thought we would share a few of our favourite places to visit during the Autumn months, and all within a relatively short distance of Birkdale House.

Although we’re closed for the time being, early December still promises vibrant colours, often enhanced by the starkness of the snow-capped mountains beyond. It really is an artist’s palette.

Brant Fell    

Let’s start close to home with a bracing walk up Brant Fell. It’s not a technical walk, in fact it’s relatively easy, but the reward at the top is a panorama packed with vibrant Autumn colours. In front of you lies Lake Windermere, often glasslike at this time of year, reflecting the colours of the Langdale Pikes and Coniston range, and in the distance the mountains of the Lake District.

For those of you who fancy a longer walk from the front door, don your walking boots and head up towards Windermere and follow the signs for Orrest Head, where Alfred Wainwright first laid eyes upon the Lake District fells and mountains, and so began his love affair with the Lakes.

Claife Heights

On the western side of Lake Windermere is Claife Heights, where you can visit the Claife Viewing Station. Originally built in the 1790s and recently restored by the National Trust, the viewing station gives you panoramic views of Lake Windermere. And if the vivid autumn colours are not enough, the Claife Viewing Station has coloured glass around the viewing points, intended to recreate the colours of the seasons and of the moonlight.

What’s more, Claife Heights is nearer than you might think. No need to take the car. Take a stroll to Ferry Nab and get the ferry across the lake. Claife Viewing Station is just a five-minute walk from the ferry.

Tarn Hows

Located between Coniston and Hawkshead, Tarn Hows is one of the most popular spots in the Lake District. And when you see it, you’ll understand why. But did you know that this beauty spot is man-made? The Victorians dammed a beck, creating the three tarns we see today.

As the tarns are surrounded by thick, wooded hills, the colours during Autumn are breath-taking. This is Autumn in the Lake District at its finest.

Tarn Hows is also a fabulous place for those with young families, or with family members with limited mobility. It features in The Lake District National Park’s ‘Miles without Stiles’, described as a “beautiful circular walk around this picturesque location”. For more information, simply click on the link. You won’t be disappointed.


Another walk which features in the ‘Miles without Stiles’ collection is the walk from Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge. Elterwater is a beautiful Lakeland village in the Great Langdale valley, a few miles from Ambleside. And in the Autumn, it is absolutely beautiful.

The walk takes you alongside the Great Langdale Beck, through woodland and then alongside Elter Water itself, the smallest of the Lake District lakes. And while it may be the smallest, the views are nothing short of spectacular, looking across Elter Water towards the Langdale Pikes. At this time of year, the water is often like a looking glass, perfectly reflecting the landscape and the striking autumn colours.

More often than not, we turn around before reaching Skelwith Bridge. When the children were young, they were quite happy to stop for a rest on the Woodburn Bridge and watch the roaring power of Skelwith Force some way below.

Rydal Water  

Between Ambleside and Grasmere is Rydal Water, home to Wordsworth’s Seat, the poet’s favourite Lake District viewpoint. It is also surrounded by autumn colour, making it a photographer’s dream location.

The circular walk around the lake takes in Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount, former homes to William Wordsworth, and while Spring may bring an abundance of daffodils, the autumn light, colours and reflections are well worth the visit.

Of course, there are too many Lake District spots to mention which are worthy of an autumn trip, such as Buttermere, Derwent Water and Ullswater, but in terms of proximity to Birkdale House, these are our favourite autumn walks in the Lake District.

Enjoy your walk.