10 reasons to visit the Lake District in spring

Levens Hall in May
Levens Hall in May

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘spring’? Warmth, daffodils, vibrant green leaves and birds in song?

Where better then to enjoy spring this year than in the glorious Lake District? Here are just 10 reasons why you should:

1. Work off those winter pounds

After all that Christmas food and those failed New Year’s Resolutions to exercise the weight off, it’s time to forget the indoor gym and get some fresh air in the great outdoors. If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you’ll know that I am not advocating long mountain walks (I am after all, the world’s most reluctant hill walker!), but the Lakes is bursting with short walks and lakeside strolls which have the most fabulous views for surprisingly little effort. Queen Adelaide’s Hill in Windermere is just one of them.

Queen Adelaide's Hill in the spring
There are lots of short walks – it’s particularly lovely when you can see the frozen hill tops but the sun begins to feel warm for the first time
The beautiful Troutbeck valley in May
The picturesque Troutbeck valley in May

2. The new growth on plants and trees

There’s nothing like the shade of green that first emerges with new shoots and the growth at the beginning of the season. It makes for beautiful photography, and the leaves burst so suddenly sometimes that the transition is incredible.

Claife Heights in the spring becomes a patchwork of colour
In some lights Claife Heights can appear quite dark and menacing – not in spring, when trees coming out at different times create a patchwork effect that I just love

3. Daffodils and bluebells 

Wordsworth made the daffodil iconic in the Lake District, and it is a truly beautiful flower, especially when seen in vast quantities after the monotony of winter. It’s nice to appreciate the scenery as we go first through the daffodil season and then onto the bluebells. Don’t forget also the tulips, and later in spring, the alliums. Nothing’s ever the same for long, and it’s magical to be in touch with the season as it progresses.

I’ve been told that the allium displays at Larch Cottage Nurseries are stunning, so that’s definitely one on my list for 2016!

Daffodils at Holehird
The daffodils at Holehird
The tulips at Levens Hall
Tulips in the gardens at Levens Hall
I really enjoy the alliums – I will be going in search of some more photos of them this year

4. The first Lakeland shows

The Lake District is home to many country and food shows and the first of them begin in early spring. Look out for the Kendal Festival of Food and Damson Day amongst others (note: since this article was written, Damson Day has sadly been cancelled for 2016).

Damson Day
Damson Day in the Lyth Valley, one of the earliest shows on the Lake District calendar
The Fieldside Honey stand at the 2015 Kendal Festival of Food
One of the stands at last year’s Kendal Festival of Food – and definitely the brightest!

5. The 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter

Hopefully you’ll have already seen the recent Beatrix Potter TV documentary on More 4, but if you didn’t, 2016 is the 150th anniversary since Beatrix Potter’s birth.

For the Lake District, there’s a lot to celebrate. Without her incredible persistence and visionary thought which saw her preserve 4,000 acres of Lake District land with the National Trust, the Lakes could have looked a very different place today and be a lot less accessible to us all. Many of the National Trust properties will have exhibitions exploring her life – find out more on the website of Lakes Culture.

Rabbit standing tall
What do you mean, ‘what am I doing?’ I’m auditioning for the role of Peter Rabbit for the 150th anniversary. Will I pass…?

6. The wildlife

Spring sees the return of some very welcome visitors to our garden, including herons which nest annually in the trees next to us and are usually busy preparing their treetop homes any time now.

Across the Lakes, the birds are busy building their nests, animals are stirring from their winter slumber and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of a baby deer out with its mother – nature is incredible and never more miraculous than at this time of year.

Everyone in the garden just goes nuts! (OK, they’re seeds. But you get the idea…)

7. Lambs

There’s also nothing to lift the spirits like a baby lamb sprinting around the field in spring. What better place in the UK to see lambs than the Lake District, home to the iconic Herdwick sheep?

A lamb on the Westmorland Agricultural Society stand at the Kendal Festival of Food. Good job there were no burger vans nearby…

8. Spring gardens

Spring is the time when rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas are ablaze with colour, and the Lake District has the perfect conditions for growing them. Muncaster Castle has fabulous collections in its 70 acres of garden, and the little known and peaceful woodland setting of Stagshaw Garden near Ambleside is also particularly good at this time of year. Check out the National Garden Scheme for Cumbria, whose gardens will also begin opening for the season.

The amazing colour of an azalea in the spring
Grange Ornamental Gardens
Grange Ornamental Gardens awakening from its winter slumber
Sizergh Castle's rock garden in May
Sizergh Castle’s rock garden in May


Spring’s a great time to enjoy the many magnificent vistas before the leaves start to come out on the trees. At this point, some of the views do disappear. Summer may show the Lake District to its very best, but early spring brings its own magic too.

Holehird in spring
Summer’s beautiful but in spring you can see a whole lot more – Holehird near Windermere

10. Lighter evenings

Lighter evenings mean longer days and the opportunity for extended walks and leisurely trips out. The seasonal visitor attractions begin to open up, everything comes to life, and the days are yours to do just as you please.

The Struggle, Kirkstone Pass
A hazy spring afternoon on the way down The Struggle (Kirkstone Pass)

Come and visit us in the Lakes to celebrate this spring – whether for a few hours or a few days, you’re sure to have an amazing experience.

What do you like most about the Lake District in spring? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

One Comment

  1. There’s plenty planned in the Lake District this spring – if you’re in need of some ideas, visit Go Lakes who have a great search facility at http://www.golakes.co.uk/do/whats-on/

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