Where To Paddle in the Lake District Today
Paddling and Picnic Spots in the Lake District
Where are the top wild swimming, river paddling and picnic spots in the Lake District?
- Slater’s Bridge, Langdale
- Fell Foot Park, Bowness
- Glenridding, Ullswater
- Brandelhow, Derwentwater
Wild swimming, paddling, river rope-swinging, picnics and the Lake District are all hot-day companions. Join Swallows and Amazons buccaneers, John, Susan, Titty, Bridget and Roger, in enjoying the best wild waterscape in the UK.
Swimming – the Lake District’s top free activity!
Here’s some detail on what you’ll find at these top Lake District paddling, picnic and swimming spots.
Slater’s Bridge, Little Langdale
The tarn and river at Slater’s Bridge, Little Langdale is a corker of a spot for young families to enjoy some water fun on a warm May day. At the charming slate pack-horse bridge, the River Brathay flows gently below offering wonderful shallow water paddlinh, with slabs of flat slate bottom ideal for going barefoot. The green, grassy bank is flat so sun-soakers can relax as little one’s enjoy a splash. And for swimmers, you’ll find a small tarn here too, which is ideal for a proper swim. The later on into summer you go, these tarns have had chance to warm up and they actually retain heat well. Walk along Brathay River and you’ll find rope swings across the water and plenty of river wading opportunities. The shallow ford crossing at Stang End is fun for kids too, but can be slippery so please take care, especially with little paddlers.
Fell Foot Park, Bowness
Sat on the shore of Lake Windermere, Bowness is only a 30-minute drive from the M6 or 3-hour train journey from say Manchester. Take in the stunning scenery of the eastern shore of Windermere as you travel 7.5 miles to its southern tip, and you’ll find a National Trust café with baby changing, outdoor picnic benches and lots of grassy picnic blanket areas, rowing boats for hire, children’s adventure playground. But most importantly it has a beach-like access for splashing about in Lake Windermere.
Ullswater’s southern shore at Glenridding is a hive of water activity over the warm spring and summer months. Here you can wonder along the shoreside path to the famous Gelncoyne Bay, which is a great picnic spot, or you can paddle on the sandy beach taking in the buzz of the boating activity.
If you’re staying in Keswick it is very easy to get to Derwentwater shore, and the large open green parkland of Crow Park, just opposite Theatre by the Lake and where you will find the World Heritage Site plaque.
High Brandelhow at Brandelhow Bay is a good-sized pebbly inlet on the quiet western shore of Derwentwater. A nice walk, about 1.5km, starts from Hawes End (can be reach via Keswick Launch or road) and ambles along Derwentwater shore. There’s a Keswick Launch jetty at either end and so you can easily hop on after a paddle at High Brandelhow, to return back to Keswick for a freshen-up.
Did you know that Brandelhow is the birthday place of the National Trust? It was the first land in the Lakes bought by the Trust in 1094.