About Langdale

Things to do in Langdale

The area is renowned for outstanding natural beauty, and Little Langdale is one of the most picturesque of Lake District valleys, while Great Langdale is marked by the grandeur of the great fells around it, including the iconic Langdale Pikes. It is no surprise that walking and climbing are the chief attractions of this part of the Lake District. Though the valleys maintain a prized sense of remoteness, you certainly will not be left wondering what to do in Langdale. The area is in fact quite central to the Lake District, and only a short drive from the busy centre of Ambleside, and the villages of Coniston and Hawkshead and their attactions are easily accessible. In the Langdales themselves, though, there are also many things to see, do, and experience. You will very likely be entirely satisfied simply gazing at the incredible mountain scenery all around you, and rambling in quiet vales or scrambling up the steep hillsides, but there are many other options to make your holiday in Langdale an unforgettable one.

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Catheral Cavern

A visit to the impressive Cathedral Cavern should be on the itinerary of all visitors to Langdale, providing you are not put off by the rugged terrain to reach it, and the dark tunnels that are wet underfoot and scattered with the debris of slate-mining. The cave is situated in woodland near the Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale and is popular with climbers, while nearby Slaters Bridge, the rustic crossing forged in ages past by the local miners, should also be visited, being a great place for a picnic.

Skelwith BridgeChesters By The River

This cafe at Skelwith Bridge is a wonderful place to take lunch, and is even better for its extraordinary variety of cakes. Combine a coffee break here with a browse around the superb gift shop, and you will find this really is great place to spend a couple of hours or a leisurely afternoon. You can combine a stop here with a river walk between Skelwith Bridge and Elterwater, or a shorter stroll to see the waterfalls at Skelwith Force.

Joint Adventures

If you are looking for active things to do in Langdale and the surrounding area, Joint Adventures provides all the adrenalin you could hope for. Based in Coniston, but running activities across the region, the company uses qualified and experienced instructors to lead you as you take part in rock climbing and abseiling, canoeing, gorge scrambling, archery, and even camping expeditions. – http://www.jointadventures.co.uk/index.htm

KankkuKankku

Langdale is one of the chief destinations for Kankku’s off-road adventures. Their 4 x 4 vehicles will provide thrills and a terrifically fresh way to interact with the superb Lakeland fell landscapes. – http://www.kankku.co.uk

Langdale Hotel and Spa

If you can’t decide what to do in Langdale on a less than fair day, why not head to the Langdale Hotel and Spa, where you can buy a day pass for the gym and swimming pool, which has hot-tub, sauna and steam room facilities. A tennis court is also available for drier conditions. Lakelovers also offers discounted passes for spa facilities in Ambleside and Grasmere. – http://www.langdale.co.uk/spa-facilities.html

Cycling and Mountain-biking

The Langdale valleys are perfect places to see by bike and to access some splendid mountain-biking routes. You can hire cycles from the National Trust Campsite in Great Langdale, near the end of the valley, as well as from many other places in the Lake District, including Ambleside and from the Coniston Boating Centre. – http://www.conistonboatingcentre.co.uk/bikehire

Fishing

There are several opportunities for fishing around the Langdale Valleys, including at Blea Tarn, though do read up on local fishing regulations, and remember that you will likely need a rod licence, available from post offices or online. We like Loughrigg Tarn, which provides good all-year-round fishing for roach, pike, perch and eels. You can purchase a permit from Tarn End Farm nearby.

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

Tourist Information

There is an information centre in Coniston to help you decide what to do in Langdale. Ambleside also has a one.

Shops

There is a well-stocked Co-op store beneath Brambles Cafe in Chapel Stile.

Petrol Stations

The nearest filling stations are in Coniston and in Ambleside, so be sure to fill up on your way to Langdale.

Health Centre

Coniston Health Centre is just a few miles from the Langdale valleys.

Vets

The nearest veterinarian services are in Ambleside on Church Street. – http://www.oakhillvetgroup.co.uk/home.html

Parking

There are several National Trust Car Parks at strategic points around the Langdale Valleys, including at Blea Tarn, Chapel Stile, Elterwater, and near the Sticklebarn Tavern. Some on lane parking is available around the area, though this can be quite hard to come by in Elterwater and Chapel Stile in the busier months.

Exploring

EXPLORING THE LAKE DISTRICT FROM LANGDALE

Langdale is situated in south-west central Lakeland. It occupies some of the very finest Lake District fell country, but also gives great potential for exploring the wider Lake District. A short run in the car takes you to Ambleside and Grasmere, with Coniston and Hawkshead also nearby. South beyond Hawkshead lies Newby Bridge and lower-lying fells and woodlands. At the end of the Little Langdale valley, the high mountain passes of Wrynose and Hardknott provide an exhilarating drive and unsurpassed views, the imposing Wrynose Pass conveying you towards the peace of the lovely Duddon Valley and Eskdale, from where you can take the Boot to Ravenglass Railway to the west coast. You can continue west through Eskdale, too, and take a drive up to the stunningly rugged northern valley of Wasdale.

Eating & Drinking

PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN LANGDALE

There are several excellent traditional country pubs around Langdale, including the Three shires Inn in Little Langdale, the Old and New Dungeon Ghyll Hotels in Great Langdale, with their walkers bars, and the Sticklebarn Tavern, the only pub run directly by the National Trust in England. The Sticklebarn has a great beer garden for sunny days and is extremely popular with walkers and climbers, lying below Stickle Tarn and the Pikes themselves. The Langdale Hotel and Country Club at Elterwater has a new restaurant open to all, and the Britannia Inn is an excellent old pub in the village. Nearby, too, is Wainwrights Inn near Chapel Stile, a very popular place to eat and drink after a long day on the fells, and The Talbot Inn, attached to the Skelwith Bridge Hotel, offers a good, hearty menu. Brambles Cafe at Chapel Stile is a good spot for a light lunch, and the attached shop is excellent for provisions and picnic lunches. You really should visit Chesters By The River at Skelwith Bridge, too, as the gift shop is highly browsable, and the cafe offers mouthwatering lunches, and an irresistable and wide-ranging selection of cakes. We like the peanut butter blondie!

Follow the link below for our list of places we think you should try for food and drink: https://www.lakelovers.co.uk/hawkshead-cottages/dining-out/

Walks

WALKS IN AND AROUND LANGDALE

Many superb hill walks start from the two valleys, including the Langdale Pikes themselves, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Pike ‘o’ Blisco, and even a route along Mickleden to Scafell Pike. Many of these will appeal to serious mountain walkers and climbers, but there are equally rewarding lower-level walks for those who want to immerse themselves in the finest scenery in England without too much strain. In either case, we urge you to take a suitable map and guidebook on any walk other than the very most straightforward. Most of the walks in Langdale can conveniently be made to involve a country pub either part way through or at the end, but do remember that too many pints of the local ale can impair your walking ability! Our favourites in this hill-walkers paradise vary between the more and less challenging routes:

Langdale Pikes from ElterwaterThe Langdale Pikes and Stickle Tarn

You cannot miss the dramatic peaks that rise so majestically above the Great Langdale valley, and neither should you leave them out of your walking plans. There are various ways on to the fells. We favour the well-laid but steep mountain path that runs from the back of the Sticklebarn Tavern and the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Parking is available in the pay-and-display carpark across the road, and often in the field in front of the New Dungeon Ghyll, with payment at the Walkers Bar. If you only wish to go as far as Stickle Tarn, the walk is relatively short, though still taxing and rewarding, but you can move on to conquer Harrison Stickle, Pike ‘o’ Stickle, and Pavey Ark, some of the best-loved peaks in the Lake District. Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark offers a thrilling and challenging ascent. 3 hrs.

Lingmoor

One of our very favourite of the smaller Lake District hill walks, there are various ways up and down the tongue of hillside that separates Great Langdale from Little Langdale, some of them steep, but none very long. We like to park near the top of the pass between the two valleys, overlooking Blea Tarn, and walk up the Side Pike path and on to the ridge of Lingmoor. Though lower than the surrounding hills, this fell gives unsurpassable views of those greater peaks, and especially the Langdale Pikes across the Great Langdale Valley. 2 hrs.

Blea Tarn

Park in the National Trust car park on the Little Langdale side of the pass from Great Langdale. Access to the rugged mountain tarn is on the far side of the single track road, and you can walk through woods by the tarn shore and up onto the hillside, and on to the top of the pass, returning via the road if you wish. 1 hr.

Slaters Bridge and Cathedral Cavern

This short walk takes in two of the must-see spots in the Langdale valley. Parking on the road near the Three Shires Inn lets you walk a short distance up the hill before bearing left and passing into open fields past the nearby farm. From there you can walk to delightful Slaters Bridge, the rustic river crossing that took the slate miners to their daily work in times past, and on into wooded hillside beyond to discover the tunnel that leads to Cathedral Cavern. Quarrying produced the mighty cave, which was used by film crews in Snow White and The Huntsman. Another, darker and danker tunnel can be found to take you right through the hillside for those brave enough and owning a torch! A circle can then be made via the bridge by the ford back to the Three Shires, though the walk can be extended. 1 hr.

Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge

Lovely riverside, woodland and meadow walk. Start from the car park in Elterwater near the bridge by the Britannia Inn, with return by the same path that runs right by the river and the shores of Elterwater. The first section of path in particular is very well laid and suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users. The woodlands at the Skelwith end incorporate the dramatic Skelwith Force waterfalls. We recommend a half-time break at Chesters-By-The-River at Skelwith Bridge for refreshment. 1 ½ hrs.

Langdale Walking - Silver HowSilver How

Begin by parking beside the little road that winds its way up from Elterwater towards Grasmere, or walk from Elterwater itself. This beautiful fell walk is perfect when time and energy do not recommend one of the tougher hills. The views from the ridge and summit of both Langdale and Grasmere vale are splendid. 1 ½  hrs.

Loughrigg Tarn

At the mouth of the Great Langdale valley near Skelwith Bridge lies Loughrigg Tarn in the shadow of Loughrigg Fell. There is a circular walk around the tarn itself, incorporating some distance of country lane on one side, and offering terrific views of the Langdale Pikes. Consider picnicking by the tarn itself on a sunny day. You can also access Loughrigg Fell from here, and walk over to Grasmere or to Ambleside. A steep little side lane running up from Skelwith Bridge with parking at the top takes you close to start of the path round the tarn. 1 hr.

Further Afield

THINGS TO DO AROUND LANGDALE

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Also known as  ‘Laal Ratty’, this wonderfully picturesque railway runs from Boot in Eskdale through to the west coast at Ravenglass. Drive over the steep and precipitous passes of Wrynose and Hardknott from Langdale to find the little train wending its way through the beautiful west Cumbrian countryside. A trip to the sea makes a lovely contrast to the fells of Langdale and things to do include a visit to Muncaster Castle near Ravenglass, which boasts a hawk and owl sanctuary, Himalayan gardens, a MeadowVole Maze, and playgrounds for children. In fine weather, this must be one of the most rewarding days out in the Lakes. – http://ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Steam Yacht Gondola

The Gondola is a traditional steam yacht, owned by the National Trust. With a decadent saloon cabin as an alternative to taking in the views and lake breezes as you cruise over stunning Coniston Water, this is a perfectly relaxing day out close to the Langdale valleys. – http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola

White Platts Recreation Ground

Ambleside’s recreation ground offers tennis, pitch and putt, crazy golf, and bowls. A great place to while away a few hours and enjoy an ice-cream, while also exploring the many other attractions of Ambleside. It is located near the church in the town centre.

Dove Cottage and The Wordsworth Museum

Dove Cottage in Grasmere, William Wordsworth’s first family home, has been carefully looked after, and gives a great sense of the poet’s life and times. Nearby is the Wordsworth Museum, which offers talks, walks, and mini-festivals. Be sure to pick up some of the famous Grasmere Gingerbread on your visit to the village, too. – https://wordsworth.org.uk/home.html

Spoon Hall Pony Trekking

You don’t need any previous riding experience to enjoy a pony trek under the watch of an experienced tutor, and children as young as 7 years old can take part. Situated at Haws Bank close to the village of Coniston.

Hardknott Roman Fort

If you are brave enough to negotiate the winding mountain roads beyond Langdale, you can find the ruins of one of the loneliest and most spectacularly sited forts of the Roman era. Near the Eskdale end of the high Hardknott Pass, which is to be found after tackling the Wrynose Pass from the end of Little Langdale, this trip will be memorable as much for the spectacular drive as for the destination.

Coniston Boating Centre

Located right by Coniston Water, you can hire rowing boats, motor-boats, and canoes to head out and explore one of the country’s finest lakes. – http://www.conistonboatingcentre.co.uk

Getting to langdale

Langdale Loughrigg Tarn WalkGETTING TO AND FROM LANGDALE

To reach Langdale by car, leave the M6 motorway at Junction 36. Go past Kendal, taking A591 to Ambleside, then the A593 towards Coniston, and at Skelwith Bridge turn for Elterwater and Great Langdale, or continue some way further on the A593 if you are going to Little Langdale. Windermere rail station can be reached on a branch line from Oxenholme station, on the west coast mainline by Kendal, and buses are available from there to Ambleside and on to Elterwater, Chapel Stile and Dungeon Ghyll in Great Langdale, or to Little Langdale. Bus 516 serves both valleys. Details regarding bus timetables and routes in the Lake District can be found here: http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/public-transport-road-safety/transport/publictransport/busserv/busservmap.asp