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Campgrounds in The Lake District and Cumbria

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74 bookable campgrounds in The Lake District and Cumbria

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Why visit Cumbria?

The Lake District 

When the idea of camping in Cumbria comes up, the Lake District is usually the first place that springs to mind. And for good reason: it’s the UK’s most visited – and biggest – national park, with 912 square miles of lake-studded moorlands and mountains to explore. 

High points

Cumbria is home to the mighty Scafell Pike, England’s tallest mountain at 978 metres above sea level. It’s also got first-rate fells – the local name for hills – like the Catbells, Loughrigg and the Old Man of Coniston. Hardcore hikers camping in the Lake District might want to brave the lofty heights of glacier-carved Helvellyn Ridge. 

Much-loved lakes

As the name suggests, the Lake District is known for its numerous bodies of water. You’ll find England’s deepest and longest lakes here (Wastwater and Windermere), along with some of the country’s prettiest (Ullswater and Grasmere). 

Postcard-worthy places

Lakeside market towns like Kendal and Keswick are home to old-school pubs, tiny art galleries and outdoor gear shops. Make Penrith your base if you’re keen to explore all of Cumbria – set just outside the Lake District off the M6, it’s centrally located. 

Literary locations 

The Lake District is so lovely that it’s inspired creative types for generations. Visit famed poet William Wordsworth's Dove Cottage (especially in March to gaze at the daffodils), then learn about the creator of kids’ favourite Peter Rabbit and his friends at The World of Beatrix Potter. 

Essential things to do in the Lake District 

There are countless experiences to have when staying at camping sites in Cumbria – especially around the Lakes. Here’s what not to miss: 

* Climb a fell – the walk up to Orrest Head, just above Windermere, takes under an hour.

* Sail on a vintage steamer boat from Ullswater to the Aira Force waterfall.

* Catch a contemporary or classic play at the Theatre by the Lake.

* Hire a paddleboard, canoe or sailing dinghy at Coniston Boating Centre.

* Trek the aptly named Struggle trail from Ambleside up to Kirkstone Inn for a pint. 

Unexplored Cumbria 

Outside the Lake District

Cumbria is synonymous with the Lake District, but there’s so much more to the county than this national park. The area also includes the equally enticing Eden Valley, the North Pennines, the Furness Peninsula and a small section of the Yorkshire Dales.

Adventures aplenty 

The beauty of camping or glamping in the Lake District? All you need for fun-filled days is a pair of walking boots. But the area’s also a thrill-seeking hotspot with campsites near places to kayak on lakes and rivers, climb steep crags and mountain bike down massive fells.

Wild swimming 

While you can’t go wild camping in the Lake District – at least not without permission from the landowner – you can go wild swimming. The Eskdale valley, with its clear river pools, is just the place for a post-wander dip. Leap into the lakes (Derwentwater, Rydal Water and Rydal Water are easy to access) as well or refresh yourself under the waterfall at the Langstrath valley’s Black Moss Pot.

Wildlife watching 

Walk around Whinlatter, the UK's only true mountain forest, popping by the Red Squirrel Sanctuary to admire the rare woodland animals. Keep a beady eye out for the local deer, red kites and ospreys enroute.

Here’s how

On your Lake District camping trip, you might like to make sure there’s access to a toilet block and shower. Or perhaps you want a Cumbrian campsite with a bar and clubhouse for local ales to top off your day? 

When we say ‘camping’, we also don’t just mean pitching up in a tent. If you’re not one for canvas-based breaks, browse caravan parks and glamping lodges in the Lake District. There are also shepherd’s huts placed above the North Pennines, luxury cabins set by lakes, and low-key camping pods on real farms. 

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Hoping to holiday somewhere lesser known? Try the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire or check out the beaches along the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Wherever you decide to go, make sure you read our camping guide first for all sorts of info on outdoor stays – from top tips for motorhome beginners to advice on organising the best dark-sky stays